Home Learning Activities for Pre-school Children
As many families face the prospect of spending many weeks at home with their families, we want to share some activities that you can do at home with your children during self-isolation or social distancing.
If you are doing some fun activities at home with your child, we’d love to see them on ParentZone (www.parentzone.me). Remember to share them!
Activities with Household Items
You might find lots of things around the house that you can quickly and easily turn into an activity.
Music with Pots & Pans
You might want to take this one outside to the garden! Unwanted pots and pans can easily become instruments. Try creating a music wall by attaching pots, pans, lids and more to either a fence or garden wall. If you like the idea of making music, you could also fill bottles or containers with small stones to create your own shakers.
Bed Sheets as Canvases
If you have any unwanted or old bedsheets, you could tie them to a fence or garden wall for children to use as blank canvases and create their own masterpieces.
Building dens can keep children entertained for a long time. Dens can be a cosy place to read books, a safe place to communicate, or build independence. Take a look at Action for Children’s Top 5 Tips for Den Building for more ideas.
If you have some pasta to spare (!) this can be a great activity for getting creative. Simply take some penne pasta, paint them individually with different colours and patterns, and tie them together once they have dried to make a necklace.
Tumble Tots at Home
For any Tumble Tots fans out there, they will be posting live sessions on Facebook at 10.00 am every weekday. Tumble Tots provide activity sessions for young children aged six months to seven years. Take a look at their Facebook Page here:
PE with Joe Wicks (30-minute workouts at 9.00 am every day)
Joe Wicks is becoming the nation’s PE teacher! At 9.00 am every day, Joe will be live-streaming a 30-minute workout to help keep people active over the coming weeks. You can find his videos on YouTube by searching for ‘The Body Coach TV’.
Homemade Sensory Bottles
We shared this activity in our recent Christmas blog; however, seeing as it’s one of our favourites, we wanted to share it again.
Making homemade sensory bottles is an excellent way of engaging with our youngest children. Most of our nurseries have these in their Baby and First Steps Rooms. We have outlined how to make these at home below.
Choosing a Bottle
Choosing the right sized bottle for those little hands is an important starting point; however, please feel free to use empty plastic drinks bottles if you wish to keep costs low.
Adding Contents to the Bottles
You can use whatever you like to add to the bottle; however, some of my personal favourites are:
- Food Colouring
- Rainbow Water Beads
The key is to fill the bottle 3/4 of the way up with water. To slow down the movement of the items in the bottle, add a touch of glycerine (optional). Then add your items and food colouring if you want it to be colourful.
Ensure that the lid is firmly sealed to avoid children from being able to open the bottle. You should then end up with something like this:
Potato stampers are very easy to make. Simply cut a medium-sized potato in half lengthways, and place a shape cutter into the potato. You could also use a knife to carefully cut out your own shapes. Once you push the shape cutter into the potato, you’ll then need to carefully cut around the cutter to make your stamp.
Once your stamp is ready, you’ll need to paint over your shape. You could lay out some newspapers on a table and squeeze a selection of paint colours onto them. Or you could fill a paint palette. Children can then use a brush to paint over their stamps or dab them into the paint.
Fairy Cakes (BBC Good Food Recipe)
Ingredients for the Cakes
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g very soft butter
- 100g self-raising flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients for the Icing
- 200g very soft butter
- 200g icing sugar
- food colouring, sprinkles, marshmallows etc
- Turn the oven on to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put a paper case in each bun hole.
- Put the sugar and butter (it must be soft or you won’t be able to mix it properly) in a bowl and mix it together. Sift in the flour.
- Break the eggs into a separate bowl (spoon out any bits of shell that fall in) and add them to the bowl with the vanilla. Mix everything together.
- Divide between the cases using a spoon, scraping it off with a knife. Put the tray in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Mix the butter and icing sugar to make a creamy icing. Add colouring, if you like. Push an icing nozzle into an icing bag, then scoop in the icing.
- Let the cakes cool completely in the tray. Pipe icing onto each cake and decorate with marshmallows or sprinkles, or whatever you like.
Easy Pizzas (Tesco Real Food Recipe)
- 2 English muffins
- 40ml (2fl oz) spoons of a tomato-based sauce
- 2 slices of ham
- handful basil leaves
- 2x 15ml spoons sweetcorn (canned)
- 60g (2oz) mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the grill.
- Cut the muffins in half to create four pizza bases. Or you could try using different types of bread like crumpets or baguettes instead.
- Spread the tomato-based sauce over each pizza base with a table knife.
- Tear the ham into small pieces with your hands and share it between the pizzas.
- Wash the basil and tear the leaves, before arranging it on top.
- Open the can of sweetcorn and sprinkle some over the pizzas. Children can try any other toppings they like, such as sliced mushroom, chopped cherry tomatoes, diced courgette or canned tuna.
- Tear the mozzarella into small chunks and add it to the pizzas.
- Place them onto the grill pan and ask an adult to put them under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese begins to bubble and turn brown.
- Remove them from the grill and allow them to cool.
- Serve these fantastic pizzas with crunchy salad.
Playdough is a must-have activity for children and is an excellent way for young children to develop their fine motor skills.
If you don’t have any at home, it’s easy to make and lasts longer than shop bought playdough. Here’s an easy recipe to follow:
- 250g plain flour
- 50g salt
- 140ml water
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- few drops food colouring (optional)
- Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and oil.
- Knead well until mixture is smooth about 10 mins. You might need to add a bit more flour or water until the consistency is smooth but not sticky.
- Add food colouring and knead until the colour is thoroughly blended.
- Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for an hour or until chilled enough to use.
Lots of zoos around the world have set up webcams so that you can watch all of the animals go about their daily business! Take a look at the many streams available below:
- Folly Farm, Pembrokeshire
- Edinburgh Zoo
- San Diego Zoo
- Dublin Zoo
- Houston Zoo
- Wildlife Trust, Cumbria
- Kansas City Zoo
- Atlanta Zoo
- African Animals
- Zoos Victoria, Australia
Hopefully, this will keep the family entertained for the time being! We will have more activities to share with you over the coming weeks.
Take care and stay safe.