My child loves... knights and dragons
Loose parts dragon
Encourage your child's creativity and imagination as they use loose parts to create their own dragon.
Always ensure that loose parts are clean and safe for your child to use. If offering this experience to children aged under 3, make sure materials will not cause a choking hazard.
What to do
Head outdoors with your child and encourage them to find a selection of natural materials such as leaves, sticks and fir cones, place these into a container to take home.
Show your child a picture of a dragon pointing out some key features such as their scales or claws. Explain to your child that we are going to make our own dragons with the materials you have collected. Encourage them to think through their project, thinking about which materials they are going to use to make each part of the dragon.
Model being a thinker, for example you could say "We need two round materials for the dragon's snout. What do you think we could use?"
Creative open ended experiences such as this one are all about the process rather than the end result. This allows your child to explore materials to their own satisfaction and test out and experiment with their ideas.
My child loves... Superheroes
Spider web challenge
Help develop your child's pincer grip in this experience; ideal for Spiderman enthusiasts!
Make sure the spiders do not pose a choking hazard and the string does not pose a strangulation hazard. Supervise your child with these resources.
What to do
Set up this fine motor experience for your child. If using a basket and string, tie the string across the top of the basket so it criss crosses over and looks like a web. If using a shoe box and masking tape, tape strips of the masking tape over the top of the box so it criss crosses over and looks like a web. Place the spiders in the box or basket.
Give your child a wooden peg and encourage them to use it to rescue the spiders!
You could provide an additional challenge by getting them to see how many they can rescue in one minute!
Experiences for children that include tweezers and pegs, contribute to developing their fine motor skills in their fingers, hands and wrists. This helps with them learning to write.
Free the Superhero
Encourage your child's concentration with this fine motor experience
Supervise your child while using string
What to do
Print out some favourite superheroes and stick them to some thin card. You could also cut these out from a magazine or draw your own pictures
Use a hole punch to punch holes in different places around the superhero. Thread some string through the holes so the superhero is tied up!
Encourage your child to free the superhero! They might then want to re-tie up the superhero by re-threading the string
Threading opportunities support children with their manipulating and grasping skills, supporting the children with being able to manipulate objects using one hand later in life such as using scissors.
Attention and concentration are building blocks to help children develop secure fine motor skills, therefore providing opportunities for children where they need to focus to complete a task will support this.
My child loves... Unicorns
Develop your child's creativity and imaginative skills as they create their own unicorn wands.
Supervise your child carefully with small items that may cause a choking hazard. Avoid using small items for children aged under 3. Check sticks being used are not sharp and are clean before use.
What to do
Explain to your child that we are going to be making our own unicorn wands. Invite your child to help look for the natural materials such as sticks and leaves either out in the garden or within your local area.
Following this, encourage your child to stick leaves or unicorn pictures to the end of the stick. Encourage them to decorate their wand such as by sprinkling on glitter, tying pieces of ribbon to the end of the wand or sticking on tissue paper or gem stones.
As the wands dry, you could talk about what unicorn spells you might cast with the wands. Once the wands are dry, join in with your child role playing with the magical unicorn wands seeing what spells you can make together.
This experience supports your child's creative skills as they use materials to decorate their unicorn wands, where this also provides a great opportunity to support your child's colour recognition.
My child loves... fairies
Support your child's early handwriting skills with this magical fairy dust experience
Avoid using glitter and sequins with children aged under 3. Ensure your child knows that their fairy dust is not to be eaten! Encourage your child to wash their hands after using fairy dust
What to do
In a small tray or container create your own fairy dust. This could be using any type of flour, salt, sand or compost. Add some sparkle, for example different coloured glitter, sequins and gem stones.
Show your child how they can use their fingers to make patterns in the fairy dust. Model how you can also write letters, shapes and numbers. Encourage your child to explore using the fairy dust.
Letters are formed from basic shapes and patterns. Making these shapes in different ways supports your child's understanding of how letters are formed
My child loves... Space
Encourage your child to take part in this experiment as they see which liquid will fizz!
Ensure your child is carefully supervised during this experience and encourage them to wash their hands after taking part.
What to do
Provide your child with a paper plate and a star biscuit mould. Encourage them to scoop bicarbonate of soda into the base of the mould until the bottom is covered. Invite them to choose glitter and food colouring that they would like to add to their star.
Provide the children with a selection of liquids – Water, vinegar, oil, soap. Encourage your child to choose a liquid that they think will make their star fizz. Using a tea spoon (or pipette if you have one) support the children in adding the liquid of their choice to the mould.
Explain to your child that the fizzing is caused by a chemical reaction taking place between the bicarbonate of soda and the vinegar. One of the products of this reaction is carbon dioxide, which makes the bubbles.
During this experience your child has the opportunity to test out their ideas, make predictions and find the answer. Experiences where children are able to complete this process on their own support children's problem solving and thinking skills.
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