Play is more than fun for babies and children. It’s how they learn and develop. While children do need time to play alone and with other children research shows that playtime with a close adult is one of the most important things you can do.
See below for some ideas of fun experiences to share with your child.
Please note: Some ingredients used in sensory/craft experiences could trigger an allergic response. For this reason, please check the suitability of materials used in activities to make sure they will not affect your child. Also remember to never leave young children unattended whilst they are exploring sensory/craft experiences.
Why not go outside and explore the falling autumn leaves? Enjoy scooping up the leaves and let them fall to the ground, throw them, kick them, create a big pile of leaves and jump in them and collect some! Why not use the leaves you have collected to make a leaf crown. Cut a strip of card long enough to fit round your child’s head, use cellotape to join both ends together and decorate by sticking on the leaves you have collected.
Autumn time is such a vibrant time of the year. There is so much to see and do outdoors whether this is in your garden, a local walk or even a trip to a wood. Go for a walk collecting natural materials you find on the way, leaves, acorns, conkers, fir cones etc.
When you get home, make pictures using the things you have collected. You can create your picture either on the ground or provide your child with a large piece of card or perhaps a carpet tile on which to arrange their picture. How many different pictures can you make? Take some photographs of your child’s creation to keep and talk about together, maybe you would like to share your creations on our Facebook page - we would love to see them.
Still enjoying searching for autumn treasures? Want some more autumn play ideas?
If the leaves are dry you could lay down in them and play hide and seek. Why not sort your autumn treasures according to colours or practise counting how many leaves, conkers, fir cones you have found. Perhaps you could put all your autumn treasures in a box or a tray to create an autumn wood small world scene for your child to play with their small world people and animal figures.
Why not make a bird cake with your child? This will attract the birds to come into your garden and make life easier for them during the winter. This is a good exploratory craft experience which will further develop your child’s physical and communication skills.
For a recipe and instructions visit the activity village website.
Notes of caution!
Some products used in craft activities can contain ingredients that could trigger an allergic response. For this reason, please check the suitability of materials used in this activity to make sure they will not affect your child. Remember to never leave your child unattended whilst creating your bird cake.
Go for a walk with your child, look up at the trees; can you spot any bird nests? Collect some leaves, twigs, grass and other natural materials and build a nest together. Playing in this way provides the chance to support your child’s creativity, understanding of the world, problem solving skills and communication development, have fun!!
Young children find the texture of foam fascinating! Whisking baby safe/tear free bubble bath in warm water makes plenty of foam which can be scooped off the top and put into a tray for your child to play with. Why not add a little food colouring? Your child will enjoy exploring the foam, but to add to the fun add spoons and pots to scoop up the bubbles or some of your child’s favourite small world toys such as animals or cars. Remember to use baby safe bubble bath as it might well be tasted! This is a good exploratory play experience to offer at home, this play will further develop your child’s communication, exploratory skills and physical skills which will aid early writing.
For outdoor den ideas and others visit the Woodland Trust’s website.
Pinterest also has lots of examples of dens for children indoors and out.
Why not use your decorated eggs to have an egg and spoon race! Balance an egg on spoon or a spade and practise walking with it, you could even try running or jumping with it!!! This experience is great for developing your child’s co-ordination.
Another good Easter activity to play with your child using their decorated eggs is an egg hunt!! Hide the eggs inside your home, in the garden or around your local area, then search for them! Take it in turns with your child to be the hider of the eggs and the searcher of them. To support language development hunt for the eggs together repeating “Is there one under here, oh dear!”
How about exploring rolling with your decorated eggs down a hill or slope! Why not have an egg rolling competition to see whose or which egg rolls the fastest or slowest! Help your child to learn new words by talking about the races which egg is fastest, slowest, first, second, third?
Did you know there are countless benefits to being outdoors? The outdoors is a natural environment where children enjoy playing and learning about the world around them. It also helps your child to be healthy and feel good about themselves, so wrap up warm and explore the winter environment!
Visit the RSPB website for free ideas you can do with your child to explore the natural world further.
Children love to explore water! How about giving them some sponges, flannels and brushes with a bowl of soapy water so they can wash their own toys! This active learning experience will help to develop your child’s sense of responsibility and pride whilst supporting their muscle control which will help with their early writing development.
Play a game of hide and seek at home, using a favourite toy. To support language development hunt for the toy together repeating “Is … under here, oh dear!”
Go on a journey around your garden, down the road or through the park and see what treasures you can find.
Cover a medium sized stick in double sized sticky tape and stick on the interesting things you find along the way.
When you get back home you can look at and remember your journey and things you saw and collected.
Alternatively…..cover a piece of card and stick the objects you find on the card. These could then be laminated and used as a book mark!
Getting outside and flying a kite in the breeze is a wonderful experience. Actually seeing your own kite flying is very rewarding.
Try a tried and tested easy way to make an A3 sheet of paper fly. You and your child can enjoy making, decorating and flying this together
Remember to never leave your child unattended when kite flying.
Why not make a bird feeder with your child this will encourage birds to come closer and make life easier for them as the weather starts to change.
Why not make a boat with your child to play with. All you need is some empty food packages, paper, cellotape, glue etc. Your child will enjoy testing their boats out in a bowl of water.
Thinking of safety, remember toddlers need to be watched even with a little bowl of water. This is a good exploratory play experience to offer at home, this play will further develop your child’s communication, imagination and physical skills which will aid early writing.
There are some good ideas to get you started on Pinterest.
Mark making is an important developmental milestone and starts children on their journey to becoming a writer. Children like to make their mark but pencils and paper are not always a favourite particularly with boys and younger children. Offering experiences which are outside give children the chance to make marks on a larger scale. A simple way to do this is to give your child a pot of water, selection of brushes and rollers and let them experiment with make their mark on the ground, fence or wall. They can make as much mess as they like, there’s little to clear up and it’s exciting to see how magically the marks will just disappear!”
Get outside - for more ideas to encourage your child to get outside and make their mark download the Chalk it Up leaflet.
Young children are naturally curious about the world around them. They will be fascinated to find some of the creatures which can easily be found under pieces of wood and on leaves just outside the door. Whilst looking for creatures your child will enjoy learning about the world around them. Being in the outdoor environment also helps your child to be healthy and feel good about themselves.
There are some good ideas on the Nature Detectives website.
Children love to explore mud and water! Mud kitchens provide the much loved cooking element of children’s play with being outside. Have you thought about creating a mud kitchen? All you need is mud, water, old saucepans, containers, utensils, and other natural resources such as leaves and sticks. Playing outdoors in this way provides the chance to support your child’s creativity, role play and communication development, so get exploring together with your child and have some muddy fun! Please note for health reasons it is important that the soil you use has not been contaminated by animal faeces.
Remember to never leave your child unattended whilst experiencing mud kitchen play.
Did you know the British Heart Foundation recommends that children should participate in 3 hours physical activity every day? Physical activity brings benefits including helping children to be happy, sleep well and reduce stress. The Outdoors and Active project team have tested a variety of ways to get children active in the home, with ideas to encourage children to be more physical outside using some fun active games to play and share with your child. To find out more, go to the Early Education website.
Jasmine Pasch ‘BoingWhooshRolyPoly’ approach to developing balance provides different ideas to encourage your children to be active and move. Go to the Early Education website to see some great ideas.
Young children love picnics! It could be in your garden, at a friend’s, in the park or even if the weather is typically British, (and it rains), then have an indoor picnic! Your child may even like to invite some of their favourite toys to attend. Having a picnic fosters the imagination and allows children to experiment and role play.
Did you know there are countless benefits to being outdoors? The outdoors is a natural environment where children enjoy playing and learning about the world around them. It also helps your child to be healthy and feel good about themselves.
Washing Clothes - You don’t need a toybox full of toys – toddlers love to be involved in the everyday experiences at home. Young children love to do the things you do and will enjoy washing clothes in a bowl and hanging them out to dry on their own little washing line.
Children love things that move and turn, this is why they enjoy playing with cars and vehicles of all kinds. How about having some races or exploring the speed of their vehicles along a path, down a slope or even through a tube! Why not have a competition to see whose or which car travels the furthest, fastest or slowest! Help your child to learn new words by talking about the speed of the vehicle and races, which car is the fastest, slowest, first, second, third? This play will further develop your child’s communication and understanding of cause and effect.