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Further Home Learning Activities
Dear Parents/Carers,
We hope that you and your children are keeping well. Thank you to those of you who have been uploading pictures to FirstSteps ParentLink of what your children have been doing at home, we really love seeing them! We are still available for any support you need while at home, so please don't hesitate to get in touch via phone (during Pre-School hours) or email if you have any concerns or queries about how your child is getting on in lockdown.

Please remember that we don't expect you to do all or indeed any of these activities with your child at home, they are simply suggestions in case you're looking for things to do! We would suggest only attempting 1 or 2 planned activities a day, making sure that your child gets lots of unstructured play that they lead themselves rather than being led by an adult. If your planned activities don't go how you expect, don't panic! Just follow your child's lead and see where you end up - these can be the most rewarding and fun activities of all!

Any questions or feedback, please email Kayleigh kbrackett@breastonpreschool.com (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!).
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

PAINTING WITH NATURAL RESOURCES:
Go on a nature walk or use the garden to collect things to make your own paintbrushes. Use small twigs, pine cones, leaves, anything you can find. You can use them as they are or tie to the end of twigs using cotton or elastic bands to form paintbrushes. Use these with your children and talk about the different patterns they create.

What else can your child use instead of standard paint? Mark making in sand, mud, and soil is great fun for children. Do your different paintbrushes make different marks in different materials? Don't be afraid to use technical or descriptive language when talking to your children as it helps to expand their word knowledge.

USING MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY:
Why not pick a topic you’d like to introduce your child to (or something they've shown an interest in), and use the internet to research it, look up photos, read out pages of details, search for facts and look at artwork based on your topic. This is showing the children that media can be used to retrieve information. Some topics they might like to research could be volcanoes, construction, farm animals, different types of doctors, sea creatures, Space, dinosaurs, or their favourite animal.
You could then build on a topic by making a model of it, a drawing or a painting.

There are some great videos for children online with interesting facts:
National Geographic Kids: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXVCgDuD_QCkI7gTKU7-tpg
Maddie Moat: https://www.youtube.com/user/maddiemoate 
Also the host of Cbeebies Maddie's Do You Know?: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b09yn3ly/maddies-do-you-know
The Kids Should See This: https://thekidshouldseethis.com/

CUTTING SKILLS:
If your little one has mastered using scissors, why not take some strips of paper and draw different patterns along them, then get your child to cut along the line. Or just get them to snip strips into little shapes. This is great for their fine motor skills. 
If they haven't mastered scissors yet, why see if you can guide them to hold them correctly and make snips in paper? If paper is too difficult then try making playdough snakes and worms with your child then snip them into pieces! There's no need to be anxious about your child learning to use scissors as showing your child how to appropriately use scissors and giving them supervised practice will help them to develop not only good fine motor and visual motor skills but also foster an appreciation for how to use tools appropriately. Just make sure that you have blunt ended children's scissors to keep it safe, and reinforce the message that we only cut things that we are allowed to - not clothes or hair!

There are lots of templates available to print out online (try https://www.funwithmama.com/printable-preschool-cutting-busy-box/) or you can draw your own. 

You could always have a go at making a collage, or recycled paper if your child has cut up lots of tiny pieces of paper. There's a good guide on how to do this here: https://www.scholastic.com/parents/school-success/learning-toolkit-blog/how-to-make-your-own-recycled-paper.html though be aware that you may need a blender and/or to keep adding hot water over a longer time to make pulp, depending on the type of paper used.
Understanding the World

FOSSILS:
What you need:
  • 1 cup of coffee grounds
  • 1 1/2 cups of cold black coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • A large mixing bowl
  • Some natural materials like leaves, flowers,  pebbles, shells or sticks.
 
What to do:
1. Put all of the ingredients except for the water and 1/2 a cup of flour into the mixing bowl.
2. Add the water, mix together with your hands and then knead to make a dough. If the dough is too sticky add more flour as necessary.
3. Roll the dough into small balls (about the size of the palm of your hand) then flatten slightly.
4. Press your natural materials into the dough so that they make an impression and then carefully remove.
5. Allow the dough to dry out overnight

This activity gives children first-hand experience of how materials and their properties can change. There will be lots of opportunities for the children to develop their language while they are exploring the texture of the ingredients. Encourage them to feel the mixture at each stage, dry and wet. Allow them to talk about the changes they can see and feel. How does the look, feel, smell of the dry ingredients change when the water is added? Let them use their own words but support them by modelling a few new words. For example, knead, texture, imprint, and fossil. You can also talk about the shapes and textures of the things you are using to make your imprints.

For a different texture, you can add sand or soil in place of the coffee grounds.
You could repeat the activity by making imprints of small toy animals or anything else that interests your child. The mixture could be moulded into an egg shape around small plastic dinosaurs. Once it is completely dry (this may take a couple of days) give them to your young palaeontologist to chip away and discover what is inside.

NO BURST BUBBLES:
These bubbles are not guaranteed to never burst but they are tougher than the usual ones.

What you need:
  • 1 cup of cooled boiled water
  • 1 tablespoon of washing up liquid
  • 1 teaspoon of glycerine
  • Different sized bubble blowers or pipe cleaners
 
What to do:
1. Mix the water, washing up liquid and glycerine together.
2. Leave the mixture to stand for 24 hours.
3. Stir the mixture gently and then take it outside and blow your bubbles.

Use lots of different sized bubble blowers. Observe what happens. Is it easier to blow small or large bubbles?  Which size bubbles last the longest? Which way do the bubbles go? Why is that?
Set some challenges. Can you catch a bubble on your hand? Can you join 2 bubbles together? Who can blow the most bubbles in 30 seconds?
How do bubbles work? What made that liquid in the bowl turn into a bubble?
What is inside the bubble?

To make your bubbles even stronger you can try adding a little sugar to the mixture or cooling it before blowing your bubbles. Just remember that your child will probably get it on their clothes.

If you have pipe cleaners you can twist them to make your own bubble wands. Make wands with square or triangular holes. Can you predict what shapes the bubbles might be?  Why do you think that?
If you have a big enough container like a paddling pool try making giant bubbles with a hula hoop. It’s tricky and you’ll need a lot more mixture but it can be done if you’re careful.
On a frosty morning, see if you can blow bubbles outside. If it's cold enough, they might freeze!

There is something wonderful about bubbles, they are always exciting to children. This activity is mainly for fun but it also has a real element of experimentation and will give your child lots of opportunities to challenge themselves. They can make predictions and then test that prediction to see if they were right. They can count and talk about the shape and size of the bubbles. Playing with bubbles is also very physical and often involves lots of jumping and running around.

PUDDLE PRINTING:
This activity needs a puddle but puddles are easy to come by at the moment! If the weather outdoors is very bad try making a puddle indoors in a large bowl. Just be sure to put a towel or other protective layer down under the bowl first.

What you need:
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food colouring
  • Small containers
  • Paper (the thicker the better)
  • A teaspoon
  • A puddle
What you do:
1. Mix a small amount of vegetable oil with some food colouring (just one colour) in a small container and mix really well.
2. Repeat with different colours of food colouring until you have a few little pots of coloured oil.
3. Using the spoon, add some of each colour of oil mixture onto the puddle.
4. Lay your paper on top of the puddle until you begin to see the oil showing through the paper.
5. Carefully lift your paper from one corner and leave it to dry.

 
Maths

LOOKING AT SHAPES IN THE ENVIRONMENT DURING YOUR DAILY WALK:
Talk to your child about “real shapes”. Good examples are the moon, windows and doors, letterboxes, wheels, pizza slices, bricks, etc. Depending on the age and stage of your child you could cut shapes out of card to help support recognition or draw a recording sheet for them to mark off what they see. For older children introduce the concept of 3D shapes, explaining that these are shapes that are not flat like a ball or a box. Use the terms cube, cuboid, pyramid, sphere, cone and cylinder.

Why not try making a checklist of shapes with your child before you go on your walk, and see how many you can tick off?
If the weather is bad, see what shapes you can find inside your house! You could turn it into a fun scavenger hunt!

HOPSCOTCH:
Draw a hopscotch grid outside using chalk (don’t worry we do this in Pre-School and it will disappear in the rain). If you want to do this indoors you could try using masking tape to mark out the squares on the floor. Some children will be able to help draw the squares and write the numbers or produce other marks that they interpret as numbers. Play hopscotch with your child (it's a good form of exercise!) and speak the numbers are you hop and jump. Some children will use random counting words, others will recite them in order, while older children may recognise and say the correct number name when they reach it. Counting things like jumps or claps is a skill in itself as it shows that a child knows anything can be counted not just physical things.

Older children may be ready to start trying to count down from 10 too, but don't worry if they can't!

SINGING TIME:
Hold a singing session with your child, this one is good for involving the whole family! Older siblings may remember songs from their time in Pre-School and younger siblings may know some songs from toddler groups. Use hands to represent numbers holding up the appropriate number of fingers and reducing by one every time an object leaves. This helps children to understand that a number changes when something is taken away. We sing a range of counting songs in Pre-School and your child will have their favourite. Suggestions include:
  • Five Little Ducks
  • 10 Fat Sausages
  • 5 Little Men in a Flying Saucer
  • 1 2, 3, 4, 5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive
  • 2 Little Dickie Birds
  • 5 Little Speckled Frogs
If you are unsure of the words many of the songs are on YouTube and if you fancy singing along with a recording, the BBC Schools Radio is a good resource that can be accessed here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03g64rd
Communication, Language, and Literature

CURIOSITY BOX:
Place an everyday item inside the box and take it in turns with your child to describe it. The item can be anything from a toy, to a flower, to a piece of cutlery - the more unusual the better! 

Can your child use different descriptive language to tell you about the item in the box? Prompt them to tell you about the size, shape, and colour of the object. Does it smell or taste of anything? Where does this item usually live? By taking it in turns you are helping your child to expand their descriptive vocabulary and to think about everyday items in different ways.
If they learn a new descriptive word, why not see what other objects they can apply it to? Are the objects the same? How are they different? 

LUCKY DIP SONGS:
Use some teddies or toys that relate to a nursery rhyme or song and place them in a bag or box. Have the children pull out one and think of a song related to it. Some examples include farm animals for Old MacDonald's Farm, an alien for 5 Little Men in a Flying Saucer, or a star for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

If your child is older, see if they can think of any of their toys that relate to a song that they can put in the box or bag. Singing songs together is a wonderful family activity - and children don't care if you're in tune or not!

QUIET CORNER: 
If you have the space then why not make a new area with cushions, covers and teddies/dolls. This can be a relaxing area for your child to go to when they want to read or play quietly. Having designated zones in your house can be useful for your child to understand what is expected of them in each area, so having a quiet area can be useful for a child who needs to have some quiet time in their daily routine.

See if your child wants to 'read' their favourite book to their teddies/dolls. Try asking them what happens first in the book. What happens next? What happens at the end? This will help them to start to recognise the structure of stories.
Physical Development

THE PAPER DOLLS:
Why not try making some paper chain dolls with your child? A good tutorial on how to fold the paper can be found here: https://www.auntannie.com/FridayFun/DollChain/ Folding and drawing and cutting are great fine motor skills activities for children. Younger children might struggle with the cutting, depending on how many folds are made.
You might want to read Julia Donaldson's The Paper Dolls (if you don't have access to the book at home, it can be found on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BuURAo5f3k ).

Let your child get creative and decorate the dolls however they like! Can they think up names for their paper dolls? Do they go on adventures like the dolls in The Paper Dolls? Why not make a chain of paper dolls to look like your family, or characters from your favourite book?

OBSTACLE COURSE:
Make an obstacle course outside or inside!
Outside you can use garden chairs, any play equipment that you might have like slides, skipping ropes, hula hoops, etc to create obstacles. Try using chalk to draw lines for children to balance and walk along on paving. Use a spoon and a soft toy to create an egg and spoon race section! Can your child stop and spin around three times before continuing to the next section? Maybe they can hop like a kangaroo? Try to add fun variety into the different ways your child can move from one obstacle to the next.

Indoors you can use sofa cushions to create obstacles to climb over, and use sheets and chairs to create tunnels to crawl through. Set up a challenge section where you have to balance a book on your head, or stand on one leg for ten seconds, or do four star jumps! Can your child walk backwards from one part of the course to the next? Place several small toys next to a box and see if your child can put them inside without using their hands, or some blocks and have them stack them before moving on. 
Try to provide a mix of activities wherever you set up your obstacle course and don't forget to time your child so that you can ask them to see if they can beat their time once they finish!

WASHING TOYS:
Fill a paddling pool, bath, or a bowl with warm soapy water and encourage your child to give their toys a bath (check toys for suitability first - we don't want to ruin anything electronic, and favourite soft toys may not dry in time for bed!). This activity promotes good hygiene practises and self-care. It doesn't matter if your child baths dolls or monster trucks, it's still promoting the same values. This can also be a beneficial activity for cleaning outside toys that may have gotten mucky (for instance plastic slides or ride on cars that have been left out in the rain), or perhaps washing plastic or wooden play fruit and vegetables before cooking. 
Give children some scrubbing brushes and cloths to experiment with. This sensory activity is great for fine motor skills and invites imaginary play.

Children love to copy adults, perhaps let your child wash up their own cup and plate after lunch? Just be prepared with all of these activities for your child's clothing to end up at least a little damp!
 Further Resources

This is a list of websites and resources that you may wish to use for further activities for your children. There are endless resources online for young children's entertainment and development, so please feel free to use any that you see fit. Please be aware that we cannot be held responsible for the content of any of these websites and have not tried all of the activities on every website ourselves. Please use your judgement about whether an activity is suitable for your child or not.
 
INTERACTIVE EDUCATIONAL GAMES:
Most of these games are best played on a touch screen, otherwise you may need to assist your child in using a mouse/trackpad (though you might be surprised at how quickly they get the hang os using them!). While unlimited screen time is not recommended for children, limited screen time can be very beneficial, providing a different way to access a whole range of skills and development.
ARTS AND CRAFTS:
PHYSICAL:
MISC:
 
We hope that this email in conjunction with the previous one has been helpful for you in providing activities and inspiration for you to keep your Pre-Schooler active and happy at home. Please keep sharing pictures with us and keep in touch. Hopefully it won't be long before we can welcome you all back to Pre-School.
Take care and stay safe!
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Derby, Derbyshire DE72 3DX
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Breaston Pre-School · Breaston Pre-School · 2 Main Street, Breaston · Derby, Derbyshire DE72 3DX · United Kingdom

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