Parent and Carer Tips and Activities
Download templates to create a kindness plan, weekly meal plan, activity plan and weekly schedule or send notes to family members:
Download project ideas or find ideas for conversation starters
How to adjust an activity to suit the age of a child: presenting similar concepts to siblings of different ages
- limit the number of variables according to ability – for example if you are playing a memory game with a toddler, you might start with just a few pairs of matching memory tiles in a grid pattern. As the child gets the hang of the game, and for older children, introduce more pairs of tiles and for the most advanced, try playing with scattered tiles rather than a grid.
- use age-appropriate language – it’s great to introduce children to new vocabulary but make sure that younger children understand the concept. Sometimes giving an older sibling the opportunity to explain to a younger sibling helps consolidate learning for the older child too.
- add pictures or visual aids to support learning. Consider different learning styles, some of us learn best through visual, aural or tactile experiences. Introducing aids will help you discover the way your child learns best.
Clock & time – There are many stages to learning to tell time and choosing just one aspect of telling time is a great way to build skills and confidence. Start by counting the numbers from one to twelve and use the hands to show “o’clock”, identify each number representing five minute intervals (a great opportunity to practise 5x tables), count the minutes within a five minute segment and then within an hour, divide a clock face into quarters and explore the mirroring of quarter past and quarter to, compare times on a digital clock to a clock face, explore the concept of earlier/ later. Use a clock to identify bed time or other important times within your daily schedule.
Coins game – If you have a coin jar, there are lots of ways children can experience the handling of money. Start sorting coins by their face value, find multiples that create $1 (coin towers), if the child has the skills, add coin values to pay for imaginary items and calculate change needed. The artwork on coins can be explored and if you don’t have a large quantity of coins, children can trace and cut out their own.
Measuring – It’s fun to measure items big and small but remember we can use items other than measuring devices to find the size of things. You can measure distances with steps, table tops using hands or coasters, bathtubs with buckets, buckets with cups. Once children grasp the idea of measurement being a number of units that can be counted out, they can be introduced to a ruler length, a tape measure, measuring cups or scales. You can explore values to the nearest centimetre, millimetre, litre, millilitre, kilogram and gram. Explore concepts of longer/ shorter, heavier/ lighter.
Estimating – step out an area to find the dimensions or perimeter of a room, pour liquid into various sized containers to explore volume, add up shopping item values – rounding them to the nearest dollar to estimate their total cost, Estimate the time taken to complete a task – experience the length of one minute, liken longer times eg. an hour to events that take that amount of time.
Deck of cards – There are so many fun activities that a deck of cards presents. You can start by sorting the cards by colour, by suit – learning the names of the four suits, place cards in number groups (4 of each), lay cards out in number order – introduce the concept of Ace having a value of one. Transition to card games – try Snap/ Patience. Search the internet to learn new games.
How one home based activity can cover a range of key learning areas & capabilities including numeracy, literacy, science, sustainability, creative thinking etc.
Example #1: cupboard or storage shed sorting
- Identify contents – what is this space used for and how can we organise it better?
- Sort and classify – consider purpose, frequency of use, size and shape
- Count and group items into containers / divide shelf space for like items
- Name and label containers or shelves
- Take before and after photos so that you can see the difference you made
Example #2: cooking
- Assess available ingredients and consider possibilities (identify missing ingredients that need to be acquired from garden or grocery store). Or select a meal and then look for ingredients.
- Include researching recipes – sustainability, budget, dietary needs, nutrition
- Prepare ingredients – wash, cut – estimation – Health & hygiene
- Measure ingredients – fractions and multiples
- Work to a time schedule – preheating oven or pan, cooking time, completing different elements to fit together or complete cooking process together for multiple dishes
- Choose appropriate cooking implements, pots and pans based on size, depth etc, serving dishes – size, aesthetic.
- Consider presentation as an artistic expression
How to validate a child’s contribution to a discussion
- Remember “connection over correction” – children respond best when you connect with them and you take a break from correcting them
- Set up a comfortable space to talk together
- Time share the conversation, be equals
- Maintain eye contact and be present
- Show patience while the child is speaking
- Avoid criticism and remove pressure to contribute in a certain way
- Assist contributions by finding examples guided by the child’s interests
- Think about how we all learn differently – we can be visual learners, aural learners, experiential or conceptual. That’s why it’s important to try different ways to explain new concepts.
- Ask open ended questions (questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no)
Teaching empathy: how to promote the consideration of another person’s point of view
- Explore emotions, concepts of feelings by considering characters in books children are familiar with
- Build a vocabulary of words that are helpful or kind (write a list)
- Role play scenarios that explore an emotion – positive and negative
- Use pets as examples to discuss how another being might be feeling when cuddled, included in family activities, or when pushed or ignored, . Observations of insects or birds in the garden or on a walk offers the same opportunities if you do not have a pet.