Five play and learning activities you can do from home
Cornflour is an amazing ingredient to make a fabulous concoction with – gloop! Soft and runny until you hold it tighten your hand and it becomes firm, this is a great sensory experience for young learners to have. You can add just water or try conditioner or shampoo to create variations. Once you have mixed the cornflour with spice, hot chocolate powder, out of date muscle or cereals for texture, find some small animals or little folk to create a little landscape with the gloop. There’s loads of combinations to discover. Just make sure you protect your surroundings!
Another idea is to play the spoon and ball race. Place a range of spoons beside a variety of balls of different sizes. Suggest to the children to pair them up and then try to carry the balls carefully to the other side of the room and back. Remember if you don’t have a ball roll up some tin foil, paper or a pair of socks. Use ladles, spatulas and tea strainers to add a bit of challenge. Suggest walking backwards or round in a circle while balancing the balls. What about up the stairs! This activity is fabulous for small and gross motor skills such as wrist action, in hand manipulation, grips and grasps.
It’s always a good idea to read to your children but how can we engage them in what they are reading more? Here’s an activity to expand on their story time:
Children are drawn to such a variety of different characters, choose one to lead the play. Use a character to invite the children to talk about an aspect of play. An example would perhaps be a ‘monster’ or alien who can’t speak our language. Can the children help them paint a picture? Suggest the children need to name everything they need and tell the character. Paper, paint, three colours. Maybe blue, green and purple. You might use a sponge or brush. Then suggest they show the character how to choose somewhere to paint on a table top, an easel or a painting tray on the floor.
Painting is a great activity to be creative but it doesn’t have to be with just paint and paper! Try dipping things in paint and rolling them across the page, maybe drag a string through some paint and see what print it leaves behind. What if you use your nose or elbows to paint instead of fingers? What prints could you make with lace fabric? Or with cut out stencils? You could also try using the plug from the sink to print with or a colander of strainers to drip the paint through like Jackson Pollock.There are loads of ways to make painting an exciting activity which uses creativity in it’s process and encourages imagination!
There are loads of ways you can learn science around the home with everyday objects, but be careful which ingredients you are mixing to avoid unwanted chemical reactions! Always do some research before you mix things. One example is tie-dye milk which can teach children about surface tension. You just need: a small dish or platter, some milk (2% or whole), food coloring, cotton buds and liquid dish soap. Here are the steps:
Pour the milk into the dish.
Add a few drops of food coloring to the middle of the milk. Use up to four colors, but make sure not to put the drops on top of each other, they should be beside each other in the middle.
Dip the end of the cotton bud into the dish soap.
Gently place the soap covered end of the cotton swab into the middle of the milk and watch what happens.
As the food coloring moves around you can add more drops of soap to make the pattern and colors swirl and change.