Children have a lot of energy, which needs to be released each day. This can be difficult when the weather is too hot for them to go outside. So although there are activities you can do with them inside – such as drawing, baking, colouring or reading stories – it is also important that they have opportunities to burn off that energy and also to stimulate their curiosity and challenge their young minds.
Get them out of the house
Ideal solutions are to take children to play areas, or group activities, where they are able to mix with other youngsters and will be encouraged and stimulated through planned activities.
Children are naturally curious and gregarious. They want to know what people around them are doing and will ask questions if they are not sure about what is happening. So getting them out of the house boosts their exposure to fresh experiences and different people’s lives, which means they have more to ask you questions about.
Get creative indoors
It is important that children have opportunities to explore a variety of media and materials. So the more variety you offer them in terms of resources, the more enhanced their early phonological awareness and mathematical concepts will be. One good example of an arts and crafts activity is junk model making. This encourages children to plan their model, communicate with others, touch various materials, make decisions, recall and refer to previous learning and – most importantly – make mistakes. Anything can be used... empty boxes, bottles, paper, cartons etc.
It is important adults are on hand to encourage and support, and to boost children’s learning by challenging them and channelling their thinking. This can be done through discussions and questions, or by helping them with tools. At a nursery, we would encourage the children to revisit their model the next day and continue their work on it.
Another great activity for the home is playing with water – whether it is washing the dishes (no sharp utensils) with lovely bubbles, or washing their toys in the sink.
For quiet time, something as simple as reading them a book... Children love listening to stories so sitting and reading a story – discussing the pictures and the characters – helps to develop their communication and language, phonological awareness, as well as building their vocabulary, enhancing their creative thinking, developing their imagination and of course building their lifelong love of words.
Games for older kids
Children over five are often keen to practise the skills they have learned at school in fun ways. They love memory games, craft modelling, challenging board games and reading fiction books of all kinds. This age group is able to focus for longer periods of time and they particularly like activities that challenge their fine motor control, such as clay model making, or craft work such as puppet making.