There's lots of exciting activities to do during the winter months. Our 52 Things to do before you’re 5 activity pack includes suggested words for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers to develop their language and communication skills. Don't forget to tick off each activity on your fridge poster!
Week 43: Toppling skittles
Make some skittles out of old plastic drinks bottles or stand up old kitchen roll tubes. Use rolled up socks or bean bags to throw and see who can knock over the most.
Learning to throw and catch takes lots of practice and coordination. Involve your child in making the skittles, setting them up and organising the game - who should throw first and how to take turns. Start with the skittles close by, then as your child becomes more skilled with their throwing, move the skittles further away.
Week 44: Mirror mirror on the wall
Using a mirror, ask children to identify parts of their face. Are the same features on your face? For older children, talk about what is similar and what is different.
Use a mirror with your child to name features on their face and start to see the differences between you and them. Encourage your child to ask questions about difference - talk about skin colour, hair colour, gender, religion, special needs and disability. Help your child develop positive attitudes towards diversity and inclusion.
Week 45: Make music
Look around the house for things that make musical sounds - pots, pans, spoons and crunchy paper. Try making a musical instrument and create some music!
Your child will enjoy experimenting with different ways of making music and being creative with sounds. You can help them to listen for a beat and maybe clap along to it. You could record your child as they perform their music and play it back to them so that they know how much you value their efforts.
Week 46: Getting dressed
Get to know the names of all the parts of the body by pointing and saying the names - tummy, arms, legs and head. Older children can do this whilst getting dressed.
Naming parts of the body while your child learns to dress themselves is a fun game, it can help them become more independent. Can they point to their toes before you help with putting on their socks? Why not start off the coat zip but leave them to do the pulling up? Gradually reduce your help until your child can do each step themselves.
Week 47: Helping hands
Involve young children in preparing and tiding up after a meal. They will enjoy the responsibility of carrying a cup and washing up their own plate after snack time.
Children love to be involved in helping. They enjoy the new responsibility and the praise for being a great helper. Your child will learn new physical independence skills such as carrying and pouring. You could ask them to carry their snack to the table, pour a drink or maybe even wash up their plate after they have finished with it.
Week 48: Wheels on the Bus
Go on a bus ride around Derby and see what you can spot from the window. What can you see from inside the bus? Enjoy singing the song ‘Wheels on the Bus’ together.
What an adventure going on a bus! Together you can look out of the window and spot all sorts of familiar places. Whilst you are on the bus, practice ‘Wheels on the Bus’ - a great children’s song! See if your child can remember the words and any actions that go with them. Can they use their singing voice and copy the tune?
Week 49: Go to the dentist
Start brushing baby teeth as soon as the first one appears. Book an appointment for your child with the dentist. Make sure their first trip is lots of fun there and back.
Start by taking your child along with you when you have your check-up. Let your child show the dentist their teeth. Remember to book their appointment. Set up a regular tooth-brushing routine and help your child to clean all their teeth. Talk to them about how important it is to care for their teeth and how having a healthy diet helps.
Week 50: Toddler workout
Help your child to choose some music and come up with some movement sequences. Practice your toddler workout! Who remembers when to jump and when to wave their arms?
Toddler workout sessions are a fun way to keep your child active even on a rainy day. Involve your child in developing the session,can they choose the music and suggest some of the movements? Can they remember the movements the next day and what order they need to do them in? Try to introduce some descriptive and instruction words.
Week 51: Pattern puzzles
Make repeating patterns with everyday objects such as buttons, pens, twigs or pasta. As children grow in confidence, put a mistake in the pattern and see if they notice!
Try talking to your child about the patterns they see around them, maybe in a stripey scarf or a spotty cushion. As they get more confident with spotting and recognising patterns, see if they can make their own using natural or everyday objects. Does your child notice if you make a mistake? Can they put the repeating pattern right?
Week 52: Frosty Fun
Find fun in the cold, frost, ice or snow. Crunch feet on frosted grass, puff out steaming dragon breath or stomp to break an iced puddle. Snowing? Make a snow angel!
Frost and snow are exciting new textures for your child to experience using all their senses. They will have fun drawing on a frosty surface with a twig or seeing dragon breath as they breathe out. If it snows, you can make snowmen, snow angels or big footprints with your wellies!