10 Creative and Fun Ideas to Support your child at home
Embedding learning in to daily routines can be an invaluable way of supporting your child’s learning and development in a way that feels natural and is enjoyable for both parent and child. The ideas below are designed to be used as a starting point however they are in now way prescriptive and adapting to change and the differing moods of your child helps to maintain the spontaneity and fun!
Don’t be disheartened if your child does not respond in the way that you expect surprises are what keeps things interesting! Consistency is key so choose two/ three activities each day to start with. Don’t be afraid to adapt them to suit your family life.
Have a ‘Good Morning’ Song
Having a consistent good morning song that you sing together is a great way to start the day and to introduce new vocabulary. Songs such as ‘If your happy and you know it’ or ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ are old favourites and reinforce key verbs and parts of the body vocabulary. Doing the actions hand over hand at first will help to develop confidence. The support can be gradually reduced to build independence.
Make Breakfast together
Cooking is a great way of introducing verbs and sequencing. To start, try something simple like making toast. You could draw a picture on a whiteboard to represent each stage of your ‘recipe’ and cross them off as you go along. Taking turns to make and eat and model the key vocabulary you want them to pick up e.g. ‘Freddie’s turn to spread. Look . . . Freddie is spreading.’ Remember keep key instructions simple and clear too many words can be confusing when you find language difficult.
Make getting dressed fun
This is another great time to model sequencing. Try laying out clothes on the bed in the order that you want him to put them on. Model the vocabulary first, then, next etc . . . then the name of the item of clothing. Encourage him to get each piece in turn and give it to you and maybe even have a go at putting it on himself.
Play ‘I spy’
The traditional ‘I spy’ game of long car journeys may be a step too far, however it is important to remember that repeated exposure to vocabulary supports our language acquisition. Pointing out key landmarks each day on familiar journeys, such as going to nursery e.g. saying bye to your house, pointing out a post box, key landmarks or shops along the journey, will help your child to develop an awareness of their environment and develop sequencing skills and anticipate what come next.
Make the most of TV time
Some children’s television programmes targeted at very young children have been specifically designed to support language and communication development, e.g. Mr Tumble and RaRa the noisy Lion. The Communication Trust has published supporting documents for parents, arguing that these programmes can support language, sequencing and even rhyme. While watching TV may not immediately appear educational and should not be done for hours on end, the parent-child activities suggested by The Communication Trust can be a stimulus for many further activities.
Take turns with toys and books
Like many of us, Children can become indifferent to things that they see every day. Having a small selection of toys and books out which you can play with together and rotating these regularly will keep play sessions fun and stimulating. It is important to get a chance to practice skills and some repetition is great but if you see your child beginning to become disinterested change things around.
Enthusiasm is contagious. Even simple objects around the house can be a source of hours of fun. Some ‘ooohs’ ‘ahhhhs’ and ‘wows’ from you for new and found objects can develop engagement and attention. Try watching some of Gina Davies’ Bucket Time sessions on YouTube.
Hide and Seek
Whether you hide the toy behind your back, on their head or up their jumper. Hiding something exciting (maybe even something that lights up) and very quickly finding it again is a fun and quick activity that you can build in at any point in the day. It develops attention, alertness and problem solving skills. Putting it on various body parts e.g. the light is on your nose/ on your ear etc. . . . is also a great way to develop vocabulary.
Bath time fun
Splash, laugh, play! Have fun, use bath toys and pour water out of and in to containers. Develop anticipation by playing ‘ready, steady, go’ games and waiting just before you splash or pour. Use language to comment on what you are doing and encourage your child to ask for ‘more’ if he wants to play a game again.
Use Bedtime stories and Songs
As with the morning routine, this is a lovely opportunity for some 1:1 time as part of the bedtime routine. Share stories to model language and calming songs.
This blog was written by our tutor Suzanna, a qualified teacher with 12 years experience, specialising in early years, SENCO, Autism, Speech and language and social skills. She supports children with Academic Challenges, Maths, English, Spelling and Reading, Memory and Processing challenges.
You can see her full tutor profile here
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