Home Learning

As a high quality, responsible childcare nursery, Tic Toc Nursery School recognises the incredible importance of maintaining a strong partnership with parents. Partnering helps us, together, to be consistent when it comes to the bespoke learning and development plan set out for each child. Children are best supported when the same goals are shared and worked towards, at both nursery and home. Indeed, this approach is a key part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (‘EYFS’) framework that’s used at the setting. We also value parents’ deeper knowledge of their children and use this to better inform our planning for each of them. Through such a partnership, every child can achieve personal bests and the best possible outcomes in preparation for school.

To this end, we are happy to offer guidance and support for parents when they’re teaching children at home. This could be supporting children through anything from weaning and toilet training to setting bedtime routines, helping with reading, encouraging numeracy, and everything in between. Below are a few ideas for learning and development activities that can take place at home, in support of everything children are doing at the setting. Do feel free to ask our team for further activity ideas and resources if you’d like to see some more.

Home Learning

As a high quality, responsible childcare nursery, Tic Toc Nursery School recognises the incredible importance of maintaining a strong partnership with parents. Partnering helps us, together, to be consistent when it comes to the bespoke learning and development plan set out for each child. Children are best supported when the same goals are shared and worked towards, at both nursery and home. Indeed, this approach is a key part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (‘EYFS’) framework that’s used at the setting. We also value parents’ deeper knowledge of their children and use this to better inform our planning for each of them. Through such a partnership, every child can achieve personal bests and the best possible outcomes in preparation for school.

Home learning activity ideas for parents, to support their child's learning and development programme at nursery or pre-school.

To this end, we are happy to offer guidance and support for parents when they’re teaching children at home. This could be supporting children through anything from weaning and toilet training to setting bedtime routines, helping with reading, encouraging numeracy, and everything in between. Below are a few ideas for learning and development activities that can take place at home, in support of everything children are doing at the setting. Do feel free to ask our team for further activity ideas and resources if you’d like to see some more.

Panda Room

Home learning activities for children aged 3 to 20 months

There are many ways parents can encourage independence, creativity and fine motor skills development, even from an early age. Here are just a few ideas for babies and infants:

  • Self-Feeding — A simple way to encourage self-feeding is to give babies extra spoons and finger food at meal times. With the addition of these, they will be able to independently explore a variety of food textures and tastes. It’s also a great way to add some excitement and enthusiasm to children’s eating.
  • Messy Masterpiece — Why not make edible paints for your little one! You can purée a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables into smooth liquids or pastes. These can then be used just like paint. Infants will love dipping paint brushes into them to create coloured marks, shapes and patterns on paper. They can even paint their hands for extra finger-licking fun!
  • Kitchen Band/Musical Instruments — This is easy with something as simple as homemade rice and pasta shakers. First, wash some recycled plastic bottles. Once dry, part-fill them with dried lentils, rice and/or pasta and then pop the lids back on. Secure the contents using tape and you now have shakers! Give to your child to shake. Perhaps join in using an upturned saucepan or container as a drum and a wooden spoon as a drumstick. Together you can make a wonderful percussive rhythm. Why not sing along too, to a favourite song or nursery rhyme.
Activity ideas to promote independence & healthy eating habits in children aged 3 to 20 months (Panda Room at Tic Toc Nursery School).
Activity ideas to promote independence & healthy eating habits in children aged 3 to 20 months (Panda Room at Tic Toc Nursery School).

Panda Room

Home learning activities for children aged 3 to 20 months

There are many ways parents can encourage independence, creativity and fine motor skills development, even from an early age. Here are just a few ideas for babies and infants:

  • Self-Feeding — A simple way to encourage self-feeding is to give babies extra spoons and finger food at meal times. With the addition of these, they will be able to independently explore a variety of food textures and tastes. It’s also a great way to add some excitement and enthusiasm to children’s eating.
  • Messy Masterpiece — Why not make edible paints for your little one! You can purée a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables into smooth liquids or pastes. These can then be used just like paint. Infants will love dipping paint brushes into them to create coloured marks, shapes and patterns on paper. They can even paint their hands for extra finger-licking fun!
  • Kitchen Band/Musical Instruments — This is easy with something as simple as homemade rice and pasta shakers. First, wash some recycled plastic bottles. Once dry, part-fill them with dried lentils, rice and/or pasta and then pop the lids back on. Secure the contents using tape and you now have shakers! Give to your child to shake. Perhaps join in using an upturned saucepan or container as a drum and a wooden spoon as a drumstick. Together you can make a wonderful percussive rhythm. Why not sing along too, to a favourite song or nursery rhyme.

Dolphin Room

Home learning activities for children aged approx. 20 to 30 months

At this age, children are learning how to communicate effectively. It is vital to talk to your little one as much as possible to encourage this. Children develop listening and speaking skills primarily by copying you when you talk to them.  A few activities around the home can encourage these skills and expand their vocabulary.

  • Matching & Pairing Socks — Peg socks on a (suitably safe) line together. Discuss how many there are, how to pair them and suchlike. This is a great way to introduce your little one to the basics of mathematical language and terminology. It’s also useful support for the EYFS’s “Communication and Language: Mathematics” module.
  • Teddy Bears’ Picnic/Teddy Bears’ Tea Party — Using real or toy cups and plates, children will love pretending to pour “tea” and offering food to their teddy bears. Parents can encourage language skills by talking about the day and asking children questions about what they enjoy eating or drinking. Other discussion points could include taking turns, sharing, being kind and making each other happy. These are great topics to support the “Personal, Social and emotional: Understanding of the world” element of the EYFS.
  • Ball in the Bucket Game — Here, children play with different size objects, like footballs and bouncy balls, and try to get them into a bucket. Who will be the winner? See how many you can each throw, roll or even catch. Use lots of positional language to expand your child’s vocabulary. For example, ask them questions to help them learn whether things are “behind, below, under” or “above”.
Home learning activities to help children aged 20 to 30 months with communication and language (Dolphin Room).
Home learning activities to help children aged 20 to 30 months with communication and language (Dolphin Room).

Dolphin Room

Home learning activities for children aged approx. 20 to 30 months

At this age, children are learning how to communicate effectively. It is vital to talk to your little one as much as possible to encourage this. Children develop listening and speaking skills primarily by copying you when you talk to them.  A few activities around the home can encourage these skills and expand their vocabulary.

  • Matching & Pairing Socks — Peg socks on a (suitably safe) line together. Discuss how many there are, how to pair them and suchlike. This is a great way to introduce your little one to the basics of mathematical language and terminology. It’s also useful support for the EYFS’s “Communication and Language: Mathematics” module.
  • Teddy Bears’ Picnic/Teddy Bears’ Tea Party — Using real or toy cups and plates, children will love pretending to pour “tea” and offering food to their teddy bears. Parents can encourage language skills by talking about the day and asking children questions about what they enjoy eating or drinking. Other discussion points could include taking turns, sharing, being kind and making each other happy. These are great topics to support the “Personal, Social and emotional: Understanding of the world” element of the EYFS.
  • Ball in the Bucket Game — Here, children play with different size objects, like footballs and bouncy balls, and try to get them into a bucket. Who will be the winner? See how many you can each throw, roll or even catch. Use lots of positional language to expand your child’s vocabulary. For example, ask them questions to help them learn whether things are “behind, below, under” or “above”.

Ladybirds Room

Home learning activities for children aged approx. 30 to 38 months

At this age, children are becoming more independent, tend to have a good understanding of instructions and are eager to get involved in everything you do. Making the most of this opportunity will help them learn and discover even more.

  • Baking at Home — Homemade sweet or savoury treats are sure to be a big hit with children. Get them involved in baking at home by ensuring that they are given jobs to do. This could be mixing ingredients or chopping fruits or soft vegetables. Ensure you are using child-safe utensils, including any knives, and always supervise them in the kitchen. Add a little bit of maths to the activity, for example by asking children to help measure or weigh ingredients.
  • A Walk in the Park — Collect sticks, bark, acorns and leaves with your child during a walk to the park. Take them home and build nests and bug hotels together, for animals and insects to move into in the garden. If you don’t have a garden, an outside windowsill or balcony may work. Alternatively, bring your nests to nursery and we can put them in our nursery garden. Either way, quietly visit them together from time to time to see which little creatures have moved in!
  • Happy Helper — Give your child jobs around the house. Ask them to lay the table and count out the items needed. They could empty the washing machine and hang washing on the air dryer too. Also encourage children to tidy away their toys. They will learn lots from these activities, including new skills and knowledge. They will also learn to be more independent and responsible.
Home learning activities for children aged 30 to 38 months (Ladybirds Room).
Home learning activities for children aged 30 to 38 months (Ladybirds Room).

Ladybirds Room

Home learning activities for children aged approx. 30 to 38 months

At this age, children are becoming more independent, tend to have a good understanding of instructions and are eager to get involved in everything you do. Making the most of this opportunity will help them learn and discover even more.

  • Baking at Home — Homemade sweet or savoury treats are sure to be a big hit with children. Get them involved in baking at home by ensuring that they are given jobs to do. This could be mixing ingredients or chopping fruits or soft vegetables. Ensure you are using child-safe utensils, including any knives, and always supervise them in the kitchen. Add a little bit of maths to the activity, for example by asking children to help measure or weigh ingredients.
  • A Walk in the Park — Collect sticks, bark, acorns and leaves with your child during a walk to the park. Take them home and build nests and bug hotels together, for animals and insects to move into in the garden. If you don’t have a garden, an outside windowsill or balcony may work. Alternatively, bring your nests to nursery and we can put them in our nursery garden. Either way, quietly visit them together from time to time to see which little creatures have moved in!
  • Happy Helper — Give your child jobs around the house. Ask them to lay the table and count out the items needed. They could empty the washing machine and hang washing on the air dryer too. Also encourage children to tidy away their toys. They will learn lots from these activities, including new skills and knowledge. They will also learn to be more independent and responsible.

Pre-School

Home learning activities for children aged 38 to 60 months

At pre-school age it’s time to prepare children for school, build on skills and knowledge and encourage confidence in their abilities.

  • Number Hunting — Help children learn numbers by seeing what numbers they can find around the home. See if they can count how many objects they find. Help them correctly match numbers to the appropriate quantities and so on.
  • Pasta Bracelets — Help children create a bracelet by simply threading string through pasta shapes. They’ll love them even more if they can decorate them with paint and sparkles!
  • Tracing Numbers & Letters — Children can use baking paper to trace over numbers and letters that you have drawn for them. This is a great way for them to practise pencil control and improve number and letter recognition.
  • Story Time — Read stories to your children every day before bed. Ensure that you sound enthusiastic when reading, so it is more enjoyable for both you and your child. Talk about the story and also ask questions. This will help to keep your child engaged and improve their comprehension of the story. For example, “What is happening? How are characters feeling? What do you think will happen next?” and so on.
  • Growing Seeds & Plants — This will be a huge hit with most children, particularly if they’re actively involved. Show them how to water and care for the plants each day. Take photos of progress or use a ruler to demonstrate how much they have grown. Growing flowers and vegetables teaches children so much about nature, the natural world and the importance of acting responsibly towards it.
Home learning activities and ideas for preschoolers aged 38 to 60 months.
Home learning activities and ideas for preschoolers aged 38 to 60 months.

Pre-School

Home learning activities for children aged 38 to 60 months

At pre-school age it’s time to prepare children for school, build on skills and knowledge and encourage confidence in their abilities.

  • Number Hunting — Help children learn numbers by seeing what numbers they can find around the home. See if they can count how many objects they find. Help them correctly match numbers to the appropriate quantities and so on.
  • Pasta Bracelets — Help children create a bracelet by simply threading string through pasta shapes. They’ll love them even more if they can decorate them with paint and sparkles!
  • Tracing Numbers & Letters — Children can use baking paper to trace over numbers and letters that you have drawn for them. This is a great way for them to practise pencil control and improve number and letter recognition.
  • Story Time — Read stories to your children every day before bed. Ensure that you sound enthusiastic when reading, so it is more enjoyable for both you and your child. Talk about the story and also ask questions. This will help to keep your child engaged and improve their comprehension of the story. For example, “What is happening? How are characters feeling? What do you think will happen next?” and so on.
  • Growing Seeds & Plants — This will be a huge hit with most children, particularly if they’re actively involved. Show them how to water and care for the plants each day. Take photos of progress or use a ruler to demonstrate how much they have grown. Growing flowers and vegetables teaches children so much about nature, the natural world and the importance of acting responsibly towards it.

Whole Nursery

Home learning activities for children of all ages to enjoy

  • Obstacle Courses — These are immense fun, whether inside or out, and are great for physical fitness and agility. Indoors, use pillows, cardboard boxes, chairs or duvets to make a series of obstacles for your children to manoeuvre around. Outside you can use benches, tyres, cones and boxes to create an adventure course for children to climb on, jump over and run around. They’ll love it! N.B. Supervise safety, of course.
  • Den Building — Children love a den! Use household items like tables and sheets to create a den. Fill with cushions, blankets and fairy lights to make a cosy Story Den – a wonderful place to share favourite stories together. You could even add headphones and a music player. This could be part of a Zen Den where children can listen to relaxing sounds and spend some high quality quiet time. Alternatively, make a Sensory Den together by filling it with different sensory toys, music and torches. You will then have your own mini sensory room for children to experience at home!
  • Family Photos — Look at family photographs together and discuss the family members. It’s a great way to give children a sense of belonging and insight into where they came from. Look at photos of your child too, whether as a baby or older. Discuss how much they’ve grown, how far they’ve come and what they’ve achieved in this short time. It’s also a great bonding activity.
Home learning activities for all nursery/pre-school children to enjoy.
Home learning activities for all nursery/pre-school children to enjoy.

Whole Nursery

Home learning activities for children of all ages to enjoy

  • Obstacle Courses — These are immense fun, whether inside or out, and are great for physical fitness and agility. Indoors, use pillows, cardboard boxes, chairs or duvets to make a series of obstacles for your children to manoeuvre around. Outside you can use benches, tyres, cones and boxes to create an adventure course for children to climb on, jump over and run around. They’ll love it! N.B. Supervise safety, of course.
  • Den Building — Children love a den! Use household items like tables and sheets to create a den. Fill with cushions, blankets and fairy lights to make a cosy Story Den – a wonderful place to share favourite stories together. You could even add headphones and a music player. This could be part of a Zen Den where children can listen to relaxing sounds and spend some high quality quiet time. Alternatively, make a Sensory Den together by filling it with different sensory toys, music and torches. You will then have your own mini sensory room for children to experience at home!
  • Family Photos — Look at family photographs together and discuss the family members. It’s a great way to give children a sense of belonging and insight into where they came from. Look at photos of your child too, whether as a baby or older. Discuss how much they’ve grown, how far they’ve come and what they’ve achieved in this short time. It’s also a great bonding activity.

Additional Home Learning Resources

Hungry Little Minds — simple, fun activities to do with babies and children aged up to five.

Early Years Resources for Learning at home (from BBC Bitesize) — a huge resource of activity ideas to support your child’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

You can also learn much more about the EYFS in this downloadable Acrobat PDF: What to expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS): a guide for parents.

Get more ideas for home learning activities for your child via the following links.

Additional Home Learning Resources

Hungry Little Minds — simple, fun activities to do with babies and children aged up to five.

Early Years Resources for Learning at home (from BBC Bitesize) — a huge resource of activity ideas to support your child’s Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

You can also learn much more about the EYFS in this downloadable Acrobat PDF: What to expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS): a guide for parents.

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