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Home Learning Activites
Dear parents/carers,
Welcome to this bumper email packed full of lots of different activities for you and your child to try while they are at home. We have tried to provide activities that cover all the key learning areas that we cover at Pre-School.
There is no expectation that you do all or any of these activities. If you do try any of them, we'd love it if you could upload some photos to your child's learning journal via the First Steps Parent Link app, but again there are no expectations. Please bear in mind that some activities may be aimed at older or younger children than your own, although there should be something in each activity for all ages.
There's no set amount of time for each activity, and it's ok if your child doesn't want to do an activity as set or the activity changes. Child-led learning is a big part of our approach at Pre-School so while we set up activities with specific goals in mind, we adapt and change them in line with what the children want to do with the resources provided.

Any questions or feedback, please email Kayleigh (but please bear in mind that I'm homeschooling my 6-year-old and have my preschooler at home too so it might take me a day to get back to you!).

If you have any questions or concerns about how your child is getting on in lockdown, please know that Sarah and your child's keyworker are available for you. You can either telephone 01332 874832 or email You can message the Pre-School Facebook page, but please be aware that the page is managed by the parent committee so messages are not confidential between yourself and Sarah.
Activities for Pre-Schoolers to try at home!
We have broadly categorised the following activities by EYFS Areas of Learning, but many of them overlap more than one area. This list has been put together collaboratively by all of the staff at Pre-School, and we hope that you find some fun activities that you and your children enjoy!
Expressive Arts and Design

Use loo rolls, elastic bands, fabric, tissue paper or ordinary paper to make these, you can fill them with rice, lentils, stones and anything else you can find. Make the shaker together with your child and you can talk about how you think it might sound once it’s finished. The children can collect things to put inside, decorate it how they like and make predictions of how it will sound. Then when made you can use them to shake along to their favourite songs which you can sing together.

What other instruments can you make?
Some links to other instrument crafts to try:
Try filling different containers (yoghurt pots, egg boxes, plastic bottles, etc) with pasta, or rice, or lentils, and see if they sound different.

For the craft-adverse parent, have your child decorate a cardboard box 'drum' or simply bang a saucepan along to their favourite song!

This is always a big hit at preschool! Use things you can find in the garden or on a walk, like dandelions, leaves, petals, berries etc (also a good opportunity to remind children not to put things in their mouths). Let the children stir these into the water, maybe add some bubbles, some lotions, or anything safe to use. Ask your child what they think it’ll smell like, ask them who they are making it for, and what magic powers it might have!

This activity can be done outside to minimise the mess and clear up or if it's just too cold, consider putting down an old towel inside to catch any spills. Be creative, let your child use measuring spoons and different utensils, coloured water (food colouring, paint, or tissue paper coloured water), lentils, rice, herbs... the possibilities are endless and your child will love experimenting with different ingredients!

We're sure that your children are spending lots of time playing, but why not read a book to them that you can then play out together, either yourselves or using small world toys. Books such as Goldilocks and the three bears, Jack and the beanstalk, The Gruffalo etc are great to play out together after reading them. You could use little toys, try to get down on your child’s level and let them guide the play and see how much of the story they remember!

If you've exhausted your library of books at home, then YouTube has a vast collection of stories for children being read aloud. Please make sure that you watch any video in advance to ensure that the content is suitable for your child.
Below are a couple of links to get you started: - Storytime Now 'The Gruffalo' - Nottingham City Libraries 'Storytime with Stacey' videos are fantastic and cover a wide range of books for young children. 
Understanding the World

You will need:
  • Glass container
  • Warm water
  • Small bowl
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil (olive oil doesn't work well for some reason)
  • Food colouring
  • Fork to mix
  1. Put 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl and carefully add a few drops of brightly coloured food colouring. Try to put each different colour into a different place in the bowl.
  2. Mix it very gently until the food colouring breaks into small blobs. Don’t try to combine the liquids.
  3. Fill a glass container almost to the top with warm water.
  4. Pour in your coloured oil mix and watch. As the coloured mixture sinks to the bottom it will begin to combine making a really pretty effect.
Encourage your child to look carefully and talk about what they can see. How is it changing? What do they think is happening and why? Does it remind them of anything they have ever seen before? Don’t forget to tell them what you think as well.
Afterwards, you could ask your child to draw a picture of what they see and then use it to tell someone else about what they did.

The density of each of the liquids is different. The oil is less dense so will float on the top. The food colouring is denser than the oil so will sink through it and as the drops dissolve they should combine with the water and ‘explode’.

The purpose of this activity is firstly (and mainly) fun. Secondly, it is a way to encourage your child to talk about what they observe and think about why what they see in front of them is happening and what is making it work. It doesn’t matter what their ideas and reasons are so long as you encourage them to share them and talk about them. They are not going to talk about the density of liquids but if they are interested and you want to talk to them about heavy and light and sinking and floating that’s great. The most important thing is that you spark their curiosity and get them talking.

Watch the book being read here: (For younger children, skip ahead to 3 minutes 30 seconds which is the start of the actual book).

The story is about a boy who can’t go out but his grandad makes him see that actually, the world comes to him every day

Find a map of the world and make a rough copy of it onto a large piece of paper. It doesn’t have to be perfect so long as it’s reasonably similar. (Example at the end!)
Draw a picture of your house on the UK to show where you live.  Explain to your child that, although we have to stay inside, every day the world comes to us. 

Using packaging from food that you have in your home, look and see where in the world that food has come from. Then see if you can find that place on the map. Talk to your child about what it might be like in that place. Use the internet or books to find out. What might the weather be like? If the food is a plant, did it grow on a tree, in the ground or on a bush? What does it look like in that place? How is it similar to where we live? How is it different? How did the food get here? Look on the map to see where it had to cross the sea. Then stick a picture of the food onto the country that it came from. This can be a drawing, cut from a magazine or packaging or printed from the internet. Over the week add different foods to your map.

This activity will help your children to find about the similarities and differences between the place they live and other parts of the world. They can talk about the features of the environment that they already know and find out about the environments that some of their food comes from and how they may vary.

This activity is based on the story of ‘Silly Billy’ by Anthony Browne.
The activity is from the blog of Alistair Bryce-Clegg. Please check it out for some really lovely activities to do with your child. It’s called ABC Does.
If you don’t have the book here is the Youtube link of him reading the story and showing the activity or you can find it on the blog.
Lots of children are worried about what is happening at the moment. They are worried about not being able to go out to see their family or friends or go to Pre-school. They may worry if they have heard about people becoming ill.

This book tells the story of Billy who worries about everything. When he goes to visit his grandma she listens to him and understands that he is not being silly but just needs to be able to share his worries with someone. She gives him some Guatemalan worry dolls and encourages him to share his worries with them. This makes Billy feel better.

All you need to make your own worry dolls:
  1. Some small sticks
  2. Some brightly coloured wool, cotton or thin strips of fabric.
  3. Some moss, cotton wool or wool for the hair
  4. Some glue to help things stay in place if necessary 
  5. A pen to draw on a face
Simply choose your favourite colours and wrap them around the sticks in stripes. Add a face and some hair. Use a little glue to hold the ends in place if you need to. Maybe you could find a small box to keep your worry dolls in so that you will know where to find them. Don’t forget to give each of them a name!

(ideal activity for fun at bath time fun but can be played indoors or outdoors with a container of water)

Fill a container (or the bath) with water, you can be creative and add bubbles, bath bombs, glitter or colours. Use a range of plastic containers, anything will do (plastic lunchboxes, jugs, spoons, or even clean yoghurt pots) but they need to be different sizes and shapes.  

Explore mathematical concepts by talking about big/small, full/empty, floating/sinking, more/less.  Use directional clues to find an item (Where is the jug? Is it behind you? Or has it sunk to the bottom?) Terms such as in front, behind, at the bottom, on the top, at the side, underneath are all good examples.

Introduce size, capacity and estimating skills by pouring water from one container to another.  Discuss “will the water in this jug fit into the box?  Oh no, it's overflowing… the box is too small, the jug holds more water than the box!” etc. Ask older children to estimate how many, e.g. “how many spoons will it take to fill the tube?" and then count with them to see how accurate they were. See if your child can decide accurately which will hold more between two different sized and shaped containers.

With your child, collect a small number (5-10) of different sized rocks, stones or pebbles from your garden or when you are out for a walk. Let your child decorate them using a range of media - paint, felt tip pens, glitter, tissues paper, feathers, sequins, whatever you have. When they have dried, write a number on the back of each one and then hide them either in your garden or around the house.

Play a treasure hunt game, giving your child clues as to where to find them using directional language (behind... on top of… next to… at the side of… underneath...).  If your child enjoys this, get them to hide the rocks and see if they can give you directional clues.  Once found, count them out with your child to check you have found them all (younger children may use random counting words, some will use counting words in order and older children may count them correctly).  With older children see if they can identify which rock was given which number and put them in order.

Baking is a great way to introduce the concepts of weighing and measuring and children can get involved by weighing or measuring ingredients using cups. 
All children can use tools or their hands to mix or knead and older children may be able to crack eggs or pour liquids. (Ask children to crack eggs into a separate bowl rather than the main mixing bowl, that way it is easier to fish out any shell pieces!)

The exact recipe you use will be influenced by the ingredients you have available at this time, if fairy cakes are not an option there are numerous online recipes for crispy cakes or flourless brownies depending on what you have in your cupboard.
When decorating cakes, children can count out a number of items from a small group using sweets, nuts, raisins or whatever you have to decorate with.

Children can also help to chop vegetables or fruit into pieces and talk about early fractions (you made 1 apple into 2 halves or 4 quarters) before counting how many they have made. Supervise your child closely while cutting, making sure that they hold the knife correctly and watch out for their fingers. Start them off with soft things like bananas, before moving on to harder fruit and vegetables once they've gotten the hang of it.
Communication, Language, and Literature

Make up some binoculars using toilet rolls. Stick them together with glue or tape, and allow your child to decorate them with pens, paints, stickers, or whatever you have at home.
Outdoors or indoors, take turns to play I-Spy using your new binoculars! 
Some examples include, "I spy something that is green" or "I spy something that is round".

Write some letters or your child's name in chalk and give them some water and a paintbrush to "paint" over the letters and make them disappear! This can be done indoors on a chalkboard, or outdoors on the floor or a wall. Please stick to lower case letters for Pre-School age children, except at the start of their name. For younger children, draw different types of lines and simple shapes for them to paint over. 

Use everyday objects to retell a story. An example of this is using leaves and food for the hungry caterpillar. If you don't have the book, there is a video of the author reading it here:

See if your child can retell the story back to you using the props.
This can be done with any books you have at home.
If you are struggling for props, why not make your own out of cardboard or paper together with your child?
Physical Development

(Yes this featured further up, but it's a great activity with so many benefits including something tasty to eat at the end!)
Why not try baking some stained glass cookies? (This is the simplest recipe with the least ingredients). Have your child help you to weigh out and mix all of the ingredients, as well as trying to roll out the dough and using the cookie cutters. These are excellent motor skills activities and help to strengthen your child's hand and finger muscles which in turns gets them ready for being able to write.

These biscuits only need to cook for 8 minutes too, which is great for impatient little bakers! Make sure that the middles have cooled before little fingers touch them though.

An alternative to Playdough is Cloud Dough. There are lots of different recipes online, this one uses cornflour instead of regular flour:
Please note that using hair conditioner, this dough is NOT edible and parental supervision is required, especially with younger children who might put it in their mouth. Please feel free to substitute for any playdough you might have at home or use a different recipe.

The physical benefits of playing with dough are well documented, and it's therapeutic for adults too! You can use playdough in lots of other activities, or just let your child lead the play and make whatever they desire! Making food items from playdough is always popular at Pre-School, using cupcake cases or making mini pizzas.

Go for a walk in your local area and see if you can find long grass, mud, streams/puddles, woods, or even a cave! Repeat the refrain 'We can't go over it, we can't go under it, we'll have to go THROUGH IT!" as you (safely) make your way through each obstacle looking for the bear.

Even if you have a copy of the book, we recommend this excellent performance by the author Michael Rosen

Cosmic Kids Yoga is a brilliant resource on Youtube for kids to get active! 'Yoga Adventures' are stories with lots of yoga poses thrown in for children (and adults!) to copy. If they are too long for your child, then try the 'Yoga Time' aimed at younger children, or 'Disco Yoga' for a boogie, or compete at 'Super Yoga' trying to do all the yoga poses in the time limit. Bright, colourful, and fun, Cosmic Kids Yoga is a great resource for getting your children on their feet and moving! 

Please be aware that some of the videos are just previews for a paid app, but everything on Youtube is free of charge. There are a lot of excellent videos for older siblings too on mindfulness and guided meditation.
Personal, Social, and Emotional Development

Watch 'The Feelings Book' with your child
Can they tell you about what makes them happy? What makes them sad? What makes them want to hide?
Have your child look in a mirror. Can they make a sad face? An angry face? A silly face? Make a game of it where you make a face and get your child to guess what emotion or feeling you are portraying, then swap over.

Emotion recognition is important for children to be able to communicate their own needs and feelings, as well as recognising them in other people.

Help your child to blow up balloons and draw different faces on them depicting different feelings, happy, sad, etc. See if you can bounce the balloons up in the air and keep them off the ground. Maybe try having a competition to see who can keep their balloon up in the air the longest before it touches the floor!

If your child is ok with loud noises you could pop the sad face balloon to get rid of sad feelings but make sure that they know it is ok to feel sad, even if we don't want to be.
If you don't have balloons, maybe you have a ball that you can draw a face on? Can your child tell you how the ball/balloon might be feeling as it is thrown up in the air?

The CBeebies show 'Feeling Better' explores different feelings in a fun and relatable way for younger children. Why not watch an episode and discuss it with your child? 

See if your child can answer any of the questions in the 'teacher notes' for each clip, but don't worry if they can't!

We hope that this email has provided plenty of activities for you and your child to try, we will send out another one next week.

Stay safe and take care,
Breaston Pre-School
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Derby, Derbyshire DE72 3DX
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Breaston Pre-school CIO · Breaston Pre-School CIO · 2a Main Street, Breaston · Derby, Derbyshire DE72 3DX · United Kingdom

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