You don’t have to have lots of money or expensive toys to teach children some basic life skills. Here are a few simple suggestions to make the most of being at home with your children.
Learning while you walk
Going for walks and talking about the things you can see is a great way for children to learn.
You can use house numbers to teach all kinds of skills: counting, odd and even numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as well as place value, patterns and ordering.
Click here for some easy ideas.
Make up stories at mealtimes
Use meals as a time to sit and chat to your children.
You can make up number stories or word problems for them to solve. Here is an example:
“Chantel had six oranges. She ate 2 on Monday and 3 on Wednesday. How many oranges did she eat altogether? How many were left over?”
Ask your children to make up problems for you to work out!
You can also make up stories to tell each other using simple objects from around the house. Look at this example to give you some ideas.
Help children explore
Encourage your children to think and ask questions
You can do this through lots of fun activities such as junk modelling and measuring things. Click here for ideas.
If you have any paint brushes and paving slabs or concrete in your garden, children will love ‘painting’ on the slabs with water. It’s quick to organise, fun to do and only needs the sun or the rain to help the images disappear again.
Talk to your children – it’s free and effective
- Talk to your children when:
- When you read them a story or watch TV together
- You eat breakfast, lunch or tea together
- When your children are having a bath
- When you are walking to the shops or the park or to a friend’s house
Talk about what you can see, hear and smell. Talk about how you feel, what you can see on a road sign, what flowers are growing in the cracks in the pavement, the shape of the clouds in the sky.
All of these interactions will make your children look, think and express their feelings.
Encourage your children to play creatively.
- Make a dressing up box. Find out more here.
- Build a den.
- Create a mystery box. It could be a cereal box with the ends taped up and a hole cut in the centre of one side. Write down suggestions of things to do each day – some things to do inside the house, some things that you can do outside. Take turns for your children to pick out a suggestion. This could be an activity to decide what will happen that day, or it could be a way of rewarding your children when they have worked and played well.
Whatever you do with your children at home, have fun together.
Top tip: Praise is important. Reward your children for working well and tidying up with something they might like – looking at a book together, playing outside for a while or watching a TV programme.
Talk to your children. Listen to them. Play with them. Love them.