Learning through Play

Play picnic
Role play a picnic with your picnic mat and plastic tea set. Whilst your little one is enjoying themselves, you are helping to expose them to a range of skills such as turn-taking, sharing, socialising, and self-feeding.

Cause and Effect Games
Babies love seeing how your or their actions result in different effects. They are fascinated by lights turning on and off, turning the TV/radio on and off, clapping, doorbells ringing, rolling balls, turning taps...endless options are possible.

'Jack in the Box' for babies
A gentler version of jack-in-the-box can be made with a finger puppet attached to a stick punched through the bottom of a plastic cup or yoghurt carton. Babies will love watching as your puppet appears and disappears, popping up and down. Any game with an element of anticipation is sure to get a positive response, no matter how simple.

Messy play
A little more messy but lots of fun is the idea of using food to explore textures. A bowl of pasta shapes, rice krispies/cornflakes, cold cooked rice/cous cous or even jelly for the very adventurous can be really enjoyable, and safe if your little feels slightly peckish!

Water painting
All you need is a chunky paint brush your little one can hold and a pot of water. Try painting the patio or a wall outside. Watch how the water changes the shade of colour or just have fun drawing silly faces and stick men. Why not try painting your feet and making watery foot prints. Just remember to capture your creations with your camera before the water dries! For a more colourful experience use coloured chalk to draw on the patio before adding the water. Chalk can be hosed down easily, leaving no mess.

Sensory Bottles
Filling plastic bottles with different materials are great for baby to listen to and watch. Try making shakers by filling with dried pasta, lentils or rice. Alternatives include foil squares, colourful shiny sweet wrappers or glittery water.

Baby band
Create your own set of musical instruments which baby will love. An upside down plastic bowl with a wooden spoon makes an excellent drum, whilst filling bottles with dried pasta or rice create quick and easy maracas.

Fun with Friends
Simply spending time with friends is both free and fun, whilst helping to engage your youngster. Sharing time with peers helps them to develop socially and emotionally, and provides opportunities for sharing, turn-taking and learning from others.

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