Babies 0–24month approx. Toddlers 24–36 months approx. Preschool 36–60 months approx.
Literacy Stick photos of family members and special people into jam jar lids. Then allow your baby to turn them over. Talk about who they can see and leave them out for further play. Take your child to the local library and rhyme time sessions where you can listen to stories and interact with other children. Afterwards you can pick books and props to take home to read and act out your chosen story. Tell your child that you need them to help you write a shopping list. Explain to them that you need the list for later in the day when you go shopping. Thy could write the first letter, or write their own list next to yours.
Communication and language While going about day to day routines, talk to your baby about sounds they can hear such as the doorbell, phone ringing, dog barking etc and label the noise as it happens. Read stories and look at books and rhymes with your toddler and change your voice to use different pitches and volumes.Encourage repetition, of familiar stories where they finish the sentence. Play games with your child that involve listening and following instructions such as ‘Simon says’. This will encourage them to listen for the instruction and then follow what is being asked of them. You can add descriptive words to extend their understanding such as shuffle forward, wriggle backwards.
Personal, social and emotion development Play games with your baby such as finding and pointing to different parts of the body. Do this in a room with a mirror so that your baby can see themselves as they play. Sing songs such as “Round and round the garden” and “Head, shoulders, knees and toes”. Play games with your toddler that involves turn taking. As you do this, explain whose turn it is each time to make sure they understand that they should stop and swap over when you say “Mummy’s / Daddy’s turn now”. For example everyday things like putting on socks, posting a letter, tidying toys away. Encourage your child to draw pictures of places they have been and their favourite places. Also give them the opportunity to take photos of places or things that they enjoy. They can then later describe why they enjoyed it.
Physical development Make some simple baby friendly play dough out of corn flour and hair conditioner and encourage your baby to grasp, squeeze, poke and generally explore it. Another fun mixture is cornflour silk (cornflour and water) which is not quite liquid or solid. Allow them to press it and dribble it using their fingers or whole hand. Take your toddler to a play park and let them attempt to use the different play equipment. Allow them to try simpler equipment with supervision and trickier equipment with your support. Find a simple recipe and let your child practise their motor skills by pouring out ingredients, kneading, stirring mixtures and scooping them into trays etc. For example biscuits, sponge cakes and bread.
Expressive arts and design Sing songs with your child and change the way you sing to quiet and loud or fast and then slow. Songs that encourage this are “Dingle dangle scarecrow” which has different verses for different volumes, “Hammer, hammer, hammer” and “Roly-poly”. Give your child old mobile phones, television remote controls, wooden spoons, pots and pans and familiar household items to play with. Encourage their imagination by joining in with their basic role plays and model pretending to them. Make a den for your child out of blankets and encourage them to bring their teddies or toys to a tea party in the den.
Understanding the world Read flap books with your baby and encourage them to lift the flaps. Give them old pieces of technology with buttons to explore and experiment with. When out in the environment, talk to your toddler about things they can see, smell and hear. Also give them the chance to talk about their favourite part of being outside. Create a treasure map for your child to follow using pictures or symbols. Support them to find their way to the treasure hidden at the end. Once they understand the concept, get them to make a map for you to find the treasure.
Mathematics Create a treasure basket for your baby with several of the same item. Each time you play with the basket change some of the items to show your baby that items aren’t all the same. For example have two fur cones, three shells, one leaf. Sing number songs with your toddler using props and everyday items. I, 2, 3, 4, 5, once I caught a fish alive (using fingers).5 little ducks (duck prop)One two buckle my shoe. Play a game where you pretend to be a robot and ask your child to give you instructions to get to a specific room in the house.,For example 5 steps forward, turn left and right or they could say turn towards the light switch.