Locked down but not locked out

We've brought together a few a ideas, from lots of places, for activities you can do at home to stop the children getting bored. We'd love to hear how you get on with any of them - just email us

Getting ready for school

Helping pre-schoolers towards the move up from nursery to school, dealing with parents' questions, or celebrating their early years journey so far, the BBC Bitesize Starting Primary School campaign can help.

There's information for parents about children starting primary school and related activities and games for children

Making the most of home education

Sue Cowley is an author and teacher educator who has helped to run her local early years setting for the last ten years.
She has some useful and interesting things to say in her blog about making the most of home education for young children in the current crisis.

Another good source of ideas for home activities is the Government's hungry little minds page, which is aimed at children from birth right up to 5 years.
It includes 2 apps to help with literacy, language and communication - including writing. Lingumi is for children aged 2-5 and Kaligo for children aged 3-5).


Ice cube fun

* Freeze some water in ice cube trays and start by simply asking your child what they think will happen if they hold it in their hands
* Allow them to hold it and get them to describe what they feel. What do they see when the ice starts to melt?
* Sprinkle salt on the ice and listen to it crackle - watch what happens to the ice.
* Ask what they think will happen if you pour hot water over the ice cubes - and then show them.
* Put some of the ice in a dish a blow it with the hairdryer on cold. Then try it with the dryer on hot and talk to them about the difference.


Free activity packs

One of our suppliers - TTS - has created a selection of activities for children of various ages. Just click on the image on the left to get to their website.

The camping equipment people, GoOutdoors, have also added a page to their website, called GoIndoors. That has puzzles, colouring pages and other ideas for things to do at home. Just click on the picture on the right.


Watching Clouds

What you need:

A sunny day with some clouds.
Possibly sunglasses - if it's very sunny you need to be sure the children aren't looking directly at the sun.
Paper, pencils, pens and clipboard if the children would like to draw the clouds

Babies and toddlers will enjoy cloud watching too - they may not lay down for very long but if adults are also lying down with them, pointing and talking about what they see and singing songs, they are more likely to stay for longer. Could you make up a cloud song using a familiar tune?

What you do

Take the children outside and lie down on the ground together on your backs, looking up into the sky.
Ask the children to look up into the sky. What can they see?
Talk to the children about the clouds, their shapes and their movement. How do they think clouds are made? Where are they travelling to? How are they moving? Why are they white?
Encourage the children to talk about what a particular cloud might be - "Oh look at that one it looks like a ship/ dragon/ a big face" etc
Let them draw what they've seen


Books by the score!

There are lots of sources of free books and on-line stories.

The Book Trust website has books, videos, games and quizzes.

The Library Service has launched a brand new online service. Library members can download magazines and comics for FREE to read at any time on an electronic device. With over a hundred full colour magazines available and over a thousand comics for people of all ages. All you need is your library card number and email address.

Audible Books has a huge selection of audio books to suit all ages. These are free for as long as schools are closed. For a short time they're also offering free downloads of selected books for adults

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