A pen or pencilWriting PaperEnvelopes
A thank you letter to family and friends will always be much appreciated and is a great activity to do on a quiet day soon after Christmas.Settle down together and create a list recalling the gifts received from family and friends. This recalling activity is good for building memory skills. A wise tip is write a list on Christmas day of the gifts received and who sent them. If your child needs some help remembering you could prompt memory recall by saying, “it was something beginning with L”, “something you can build with…”If your child is at the stage of copy writing, write down what your child wants to say in the thank you letter then they can copy this onto the paper. Say the words out loud as you write as this helps your child to see that spoken word can be spoken.If your child is at an earlier stage of making marks you could write the letter leaving spaces for them to draw a picture of the gift they received or cut pictures from a catalogue to stick in to the spaces. If your child is a more confident writer you could introduce a junior dictionary to help them find the words they need.Fold the letter to fit into an envelope then use your address book to help your child find the address to send it too. Stick on a stamp then wrap up warm to go out and post the thank you letters in the letter box.
1 cup of flour 1 cup of salt1 cup of water A rolling pin Shaped Christmas cutters Glitter and decorations Ribbon
Make some salt dough together mixing I cup of flour with I cup of salt and adding up to I cup of water a little at a time until the dough is pliable but not sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes on a floured surface then roll out flat with a rolling pin. Add more flour to the surface and the rolling pin to avoid the dough sticking.Use Christmas shape cookie cutters such as stars, trees and angels and cut out a range of shapes. Place these on grease proof paper on a baking tray then carefully make a hole in the top of each shape. Bake the salt dough shapes at 100 degrees Celsius for about 2 to 3 hours until hard. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.Decorate with PVA glue and glitter or paint with shiny water based paint. When dry thread Christmassy ribbon through the holes. Tie a knot then hang on your tree year after year.
A note padA pen or pencil
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.
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.
Play DoughRolling PinCuttersMuffin Tins Cellophane inserts from biscuit packetsPaper cake casesButtonsBirthday cake candles
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.
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.
Plastic bottles - different shapes and sizesPlastic JugsPlastic Funnels
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.
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.