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Learning At Home Activities

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Age Groups: Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Play Dough Cakes for Counting Fun
You will need:

Play Dough
Rolling Pin
Cutters
Muffin Tins
Cellophane inserts from biscuit packets
Paper cake cases
Buttons
Birthday cake candles

Directions:

Play alongside your child making cakes with the play dough, roll into balls in your hand or use a rolling pin and cutters.
Place one paper cake case into each ‘hole’ in the tin or cellophane insert, counting out each one aloud.
Do the same when adding your play dough cakes to each paper case. It’s important that children hear this one- to- one counting with objects.
You can then make cherries with small bits of play dough or add buttons, or candles to the top of each cake, again counting each one aloud as you place it on top of the cake. When you and your child have finished, count each cake then affirm the final amount e.g. “we have made six cakes”.
You can add some stretch and challenge by helping your child work out how many cakes are needed for family members and how many will be left, or how many more are needed.

Tip:

This fun counting activity helps children acquire five important counting principles proposed by Gelman and Gallistel (1978) in meaningful ways.
1. One to one correspondence: principle Understanding that a number word is assigned to an item.
2. Stable order principle: Understanding that order of number words is always consistent. Ideally this should be the conventionally accepted sequence of number words.
3. Cardinal principle: Understanding that the final number said signifies the number in the set.
4. Abstraction principle: Understanding counting can be applied to anything.
5. Order- irrelevance principle: Understanding that items can be counted in any order so long as each item is only counted once.


Age Groups: Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Writing in the Sand
You will need:

Sand - or a sunny beach
A stick or index finger

Directions:

Use a stick to make marks in the sand - vertical and horizontal lines, circles and crosses are good to start with.
Encourage your child to copy you then ask him/her to make marks for you to copy.
Talk about the marks and letters you make and the movements you do to make them. “I’m starting here, then going down, then stop”. “I’m starting here then going round and round and round”. “I’m going to make M for Mummy”

Tip:

This helps your child develop skills and confidence in forming and connecting the curves, vertical, horizontal and zig-zag lines that form the bias of letter shapes.
Starting big then gradually working down to smaller develops as your child’s hand and eye co-ordination skills and manual dexterity skills mature and integrate.
As your child associates the language of the mark or letter shape with the action of forming these, he/she will be getting kinesthetic feedback which is essential for any motor action.
Kinesthesia is the knowledge of where each body part is and direction in which it is moving.
It is an important component of motor control for legible handwriting.


Age Groups: Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Pour and Fill
You will need:

Plastic bottles - different shapes and sizes
Plastic Jugs
Plastic Funnels

Directions:

Collect up different size plastic bottles, plastic funnels and jugs for bath-time maths.
Have fun pouring water into the bottles, whilst playing talk about; Filling the bottle to the top, “Is it nearly full?”, “How many little bottles of water does it take to fill this big bottle?”, “Shall we fill it half full?”.
You can add some stretch and challenge by marking up quantities with a permanent marker pen or coloured waterproof tape. For example, marking up 250ml on a 500ml bottle, and marking up 50 ml units on a 200ml bottle.
If you have 2 different shaped bottles that hold the same amount ask your child which one he/she thinks will hold the most water. Help him/her test out to see what happens.

Tip:

Playing with water in this way helps children explore capacity and volume.
Talking with your child as they fill up bottles helps them develop understanding of mathematical terms associated with capacity and volume in ways that are meaningful.
Exploring how the volume of water stays the same regardless of the size or shape of a container is an important mathematical concept to develop. This is referred to as conservation of volume; having the ability to understand that redistributing liquid does not affect its volume. Children usually master this at around the age of seven years.
Children are likely to think that a tall narrow bottle contains more liquid than an equal amount in a short fat bottle. Through playing with water and different shaped containers that hold the same amount, children will begin to explore conservation of volume.


Age Groups: Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Writing Shopping Lists Together
You will need:

A note pad
A pen or pencil

Directions:

When you sit down to write your shopping list provide your child with a shopping list note pad and pen and sit together writing your lists.
As you write talk about what you are writing down “We need more milk”. “I need some tomatoes”. Ask your child to write down what he/she thinks you need to buy.
Take your shopping lists with you when you go shopping and refer to them as you go round the supermarket. “This says I need to get some tomatoes”. “What does your list tell you to get”.
Don’t worry if your child’s marks and squiggles don’t look like words, your child will be able to recall what his or her marks mean.

Tip:

When children see adults writing they perceive that writing is important. This this creates a inspiration to be a writer and to be part of this fascinating world of writing and reading.
By sitting at you elbow as you write your child will see how spoken words are converted to words and will imitate what you are doing. This is an important element of creating a desire to write for a purpose.
This activity will help your child develop an understanding of the instrumental function of writing and how it helps to him/her to obtain goods and services.