The Start Well Communication and Language Development team have developed a series of home learning activity cards for you to use and share with families. Activities will be added weekly.
The Home Learning Literacy Project
Children like to help parents with jobs around the house, this helps to promote their independence and supports their learning and development. Involving them in simple tasks can support their language and communication, physical skills and their personal, social and emotional development.
Week 1 - Helping around the house
This week's activities will help a child/ren to feel valued and give them a sense of pride. The activities will help them to be more actively involved with day to day jobs around the home. By involving them in daily routines/activities, it will help to develop their self-confidence and self-awareness and most importantly their life skills.
Week 2 - Music and tidy up
Music interweaves through all areas of learning and development. Music can be a way of exploring, communicating and responding to experience. Making music with others in the home can be a social experience, whether this be parent-baby exchanging coos, or two or more children making music with pots, pans or traditional instruments (if available).
This interaction with others, whether this be one other person or a group of children within your household, is personal to each individual and is often an expression of feelings. Sing your child’s favourite song or rhymes and carry out the actions. Use music at tidy up time to support children to put away their toys before the music stops.
Week 3 - Sharing a book
Whether your child has a favourite book they want to read over and over (and over) again, or you just want to keep them interested in a new book. Research indicates that reading to and sharing books with babies/young children helps emotional bonding and promotes strong and loving relationships and secure attachment. These bonds are key to developing the building blocks for positive emotional health and wellbeing in later life.
Children will benefit immensely if you read aloud with them, even once they have started to read themselves. They will learn new words that are beyond their reading ability and will love the time you spend with them. Children learn best when adults are responsive to them – let the child lead and talk about whatever interests them. So by reading to your children, you’ll not only promote their language development, but also nurture an early love of books and reading – an interest that will serve them well for years to come.
Week 4 - Pretend Play and Picnics
When children use their imagination, it allows them to express themselves verbally and physically. Pretend play and dressing up has a positive impact on children’s confidence and self-esteem by allowing them to act out different scenarios in a safe environment. They are also experimenting with decision making and practising social skills.
Encouraging your child to dress up and engage with pretend play helps them to unwind and become whoever they want to be. You could join in and become superhero’s together? This is an opportunity to have fun.
Week 5 - Den Making and Cosy Areas
Children love making their own dens/cosy areas under tables, behind the couch or out in the garden under the washing line. Providing child/ren with the materials they need, such as large sheets/blankets or saris, clothes pegs and a few cushions to make their own den/cosy area, promotes their independence.
Setting up a cosy area for your children helps them to have their own space where they feel safe and secure. This also gives them a quiet area which enables you to interact with your child without all the disruptions of television/radio/mobile phones. It provides them with a quiet space where they can read a book or play with their favourite toys. This will provide opportunities for everyone to talk, listen and take part.
Week 6 - Creative play
Creative play has an important role in childhood, building perseverance, confidence, understanding and imagination. Children love the chance to explore and experiment with different creative materials such as paints, colouring pens and crayons and a variety of different objects. With enough paper and paint, a painting activity can keep even a two-year-old busy for a long time.
This is a serious process, art - the end product may be beautiful, but it’s all about the fun of new textures, messy hands, and discovery! Don’t worry if you have no paint available, you could use other products, try mixing some flour and water with some food colouring and allow your child to explore the texture, mark making with their fingers. Look round the house to see what other materials you have available, marker pens/crayons or pencils. You could create a collage with the finished artwork.
Creative play is a great way for your children to discuss their creative work and learn vocabulary to articulate experience. Children often think aloud while creating their products, providing you the opportunity to observe their thought processes.
Sharing language in daily routines
Over the next two weeks, we are going to focus on sharing language in daily routines.
Week 1 - Words or phrases
It’s important to share language with babies and children during your daily routines. Talking about what you and your child are doing will help them to understand and use new words. When the words match what is happening, they are much easier to learn! It’s never too soon to start doing this.
Over the next two weeks, we will be giving you some ideas of what to say in different daily activities, whatever stage of language development your child is at. This week, we will be looking at what kinds of words or phrases to use at bathtime, at bedtime and at teatime.
It’s a real advantage to speak more than one language and your child will really benefit from being bilingual. Continue using your home language during your daily routines and this will help all of their language learning.
Week 2 - Words and phrases
It’s important to share language with babies and children during your daily routines. Talking about what you and your child are doing will help them to understand and use new words – when the words match what is happening they are much easier to learn! It’s never too soon to start doing this.
We will be giving you some ideas of what to say in different daily activities, whatever stage of language development your child is at. This week, we will be looking at what kinds of words or phrases to use when changing a nappy, or when playing in the sun and in the garden.
It’s a real advantage to speak more than one language and your child will really benefit from being bilingual. Continue using your home language during your daily routines and this will help all their language learning.
Tuning into sound
Tuning into sounds is good for both you and your child, it is a great way to develop your children’s listening and attention skills. Your children’s favourite sound of all is your voice, they love to listen to you talking and singing to them. How about changing your tone of voice or whispering? Tune in and see how your child responds.
Currently we are spending lots more time at home together which can feel overwhelming, so finding things as a positive distraction is good for everyone’s wellbeing.
It's ok to feel anxious, stressed or worried and during this difficult time listening to sounds can be a great way to relax and unwind together.
This week’s theme is around tuning into sounds. It looks at sound hunts, sounds around us and voice sounds.