All the tips in one place
Here are some handy hints and tips. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for even more ideas that will help you make the most of every day.
Most kids love popping bubble wrap – and if you have lying around at home, why not have a bubble wrap race? Who can pop the most in a minute? You can count the burst bubbles together to find out.
Playing dice games with your child is a simple way you can help them with their counting.
Create a tally chart, for example to find out the family’s favourite animal or fruit or TV show. You could also do it the other way round, and find out which vegetable or type of music is their least favourite!
Try taking it in turns to say alternate numbers to 30, while rolling or throwing a ball back and forth. Then, if you’re up for a challenge, try it backwards and in 2s. Start at different numbers, or if you don’t have a ball handy pat your tummy or clap your hands while you count.
Making crayon rubbings of coins is a great way to help your child find out about the numbers on coins, and the different sizes of each coin.
Next time you’re in a shop, get your child to look for prices and check how much different things cost. You could turn it into a bit of a treasure hunt, and look for items that cost more than and less than £1. Or look for any item that costs £2 exactly. If something is on offer – 2 for £1, say – you could help your child work out what each individual item costs.
Try spotting shapes together – how many circles, triangles or squares can your child spot in the room. After they’ve named the shape, they could look for other items with the same shape.
You can play guessing games anywhere and everywhere. It’s an easy way to make a walk to school, or a car or bus journey more fun. Just think of a number between 0-30 and get your child to guess what it is. You can help them by saying ‘higher’ or ‘lower’.
Kids love doing grown-up things. So the next time you pop out for a few things at the shops, why not let your child have a go at counting out and paying at the till?
Have a go at making a simple shopping list together, and looking online to work out how much it would cost. What’s the change from £10?
Try breakfast by numbers, using your morning cereal packs to count the number of words beginning with the same letter. Or, for fun, you could try and find rhyming words together.
Put some music on, dance around, and get your child to count out different actions with you – like 10 hops or 16 jumps – in time to the music. It’s a good way to use up some excess energy too!
Singing counting songs such as 5 currant buns, 10 green bottles, can be a great way to help your child count backwards.
If you don’t have stairs in your home, you could count footsteps on the way to bed instead. You could try guessing how many steps before they reach their bedroom door? How many steps from the door to their bed? Then count them out to get the number.
Get your kids to help a ‘book buddy’ to read. Buddies can be a younger sister or brother, or even a favourite soft toy. Letting your child help their book buddy to read will keep them occupied, and help them with their own reading.
When you’ve finished reading a story, ask your child to write or draw a new story about their favourite character in the book.
Play ‘guess what happens next’ when reading stories together. Kids have a great imagination, and it’s amazing what they can think up!
If you come across a new word while you’re reading a story, try making up funny sentences with the new word.
Read a book together and play I-Spy with the pictures – can your child find something in the book beginning with say P? Or D? You could try lots of other letters, too.
Ask your child to write about a castle they would build for a King or Queen. They could think about how many rooms it would have, what might be in the rooms, and what they’d be used for.
Plan your next party – write out a list of who to invite, and make your own invitations
Lots of kids are fascinated by space, and the idea of walking on the moon. You could take a chat about space travel even further, and watch some YouTube videos together, or interviews with astronaut Tim Peake. A question like ‘What would you take into space?’ could inspire some fun replies! And you could help your child to write down five items they would take into space with them.
Kids love to talk about their favourite characters from their tv shows or cartoons they like. You could get them to write about them, too. Ask your child to say why they like that character? Are they funny, clever, do they have special powers?
Choose a letter of the alphabet, then ask your child to write down a food, an animal, a name, and a place that begins with this letter.
Ask them to write a story about the insect they saw. What’s their name? How big is their family? Where are they going? Do they have any superpowers?
Pick somewhere your child goes to a lot – like their school, or the park, or a shop – and ask them to write down directions for how to get there from your home.
Get your child to think up a tasty feast their toys might enjoy – and then get them to write everything down in a shopping list. They could think about how many potatoes they’d need to buy? What’s for dessert?
Writing a list can be a great way for kids to use their imagination. Ask your child what they’d pack if they were going into the jungle? What might they find there, and would they need to include any special items?
Even mealtimes can turn into storytimes. Ask your child to create a story about the Cutlery family – with characters like Peggy Plate, Jamie Knife, Fiona Fork and Baby Spoon.
Seasonal: Make a gift list for Christmas/the holidays – what’s on your list? What do you need to get for your friends and family?