Family activities 

Welcome to our family activities page!

Here you can find some fun activity ideas for children under the age of five. They include language tips for helping you to make the most of the language involved in play. They can be used by parents, carers and other family members at home.

Below you will find some worksheets and we will be updating these pages with new activities each week, starting on 31st March 2020. You will be able to find them here and on our social media channels. Be sure to check back each day and do share your photos and experiences with us!


Activity of the day

Making playdough

Have fun making playdough together! Children over the age of two can talk about what they will make with their playdough in advance. Give your child items to remember through listening e.g. “we need cups and flour and water, we need….” This is a great opportunity for younger children to learn prepositions (IN the bowl, ON the stove) and verbs (pour, mix, squash).

Older children may focus on quantity (two, four, a few), transitions (What will happen if we put blue colouring in it? Where shall we put it when we’ve finished making it?). Remember it’s as much about the process as the product! If it doesn’t turn out perfectly, this is a great opportunity for language 😊


Previous activities 

Write a letter

For today’s activity, write a letter to someone in your family. Younger children may want to draw pictures whilst you write the words next to them (teaching them that print has meaning). For older children, use vocabulary such as “address”, “envelope”, “stamp”. Talk about what the person receiving the letter might like. E.g. “Let’s draw something for Granny, what’s her favourite animal?”. “Your Auntie loves playing games, what shall we write to her about?”. This develops Theory of Mind. Thinking about what other people like.

You may be able to take a walk to the post box together to post the letter. Ask the recipient to send a picture or a video when they receive it so your child can see them with it.


Pack a bag

For today’s activity pack a bag! This could be for somewhere you are going such as your daily walk to the park or somewhere you are pretending to go – like the beach! If your child is too young to understand that it is pretend, pack the bag for a toy e.g. “Peppa Pig is going swimming today, we need to help her pack her bag”. You could then take the toy for a walk in the garden or for a “swim” in the bath!

Think about all the things you will need, collect them together and pack them. You will be helping your child with planning and thinking about categories (e.g. swimming, picnics, sleepovers).

Very young ones (9-18 months) may simply enjoying packing and unpacking the bag! Use prepositions such as “in” and “out” whilst doing this.

Giving them a backpack to carry is also a great way of getting proprioception (information to the muscles and joints) which has a calm, alerting impact on the body.


Painting with water

Using water with your paintbrush is a cleaner way of entertaining budding artists with lots of language too! Younger children can learn verbs such as “dip”, “paint” and “dry”, older children can have fun painting faces and filling in the missing bits e.g. you paint the eyes and mouth and ask them what’s missing. School age children may enjoy practising their letters and numbers. Talk about how you can make the pictures disappear! Use “gone” for younger children and “disappear” or “vanish” for older ones.


Hopscotch

Draw a hopscotch on the garage floor with chalk or use masking tape on the living room floor to outline the hopscotch. Instead of numbers, put figures (like duplo or a teddy) in each square. Try to use different colours for the squares. For younger children, The activity can just be to jump in the squares for little ones “jump to teddy” or if you prefer then throw a ball in the square. Or for a two part plan: “first we will roll and then we will jump” First we will ____ and then _____”.

For older children explain how you are going to follow the rules  to play hopscotch:

Either by giving instructions to hop onto the correct square “jump in the red square then the yellow square” or putting objects in the square, “put the little car in the red square” and let them throw the ball at one of the objects. They can then give you the instruction when it is your turn.


Make a blended fruit juice

Invite your child to make a fruit juice with you. Separate the fruit e.g. oranges and strawberries. Talk to your young child throughout the whole process. Talk ahead that you are going to cut and squeeze the orange, then mix the strawberries with the orange juice”. Model the vocabulary: cut, squeeze, and mix. “We are making yummy juice”.

For older children, ask: “What fruits shall we use? “I'll divide the orange in half, how many pieces will it be?”  “What colour do you think the juice will be after blending these fruits?”. “Who would like some?”.

You could put some of the mixture into ice cubes and put them in the freezer. Talk about what will happen…what the mixture will be like tomorrow?


Drawing

You can have fun moments with just a piece of paper and coloured pencils. If you have stickers or stamps that can add to the fun. Create a scene you want to match the stickers or stamps as a house, forest, farm, safari, sea, beach.

For younger children, you can paint/print out the scene of your choice or cut out pictures to stick on and talk about the scene: the bird "flies, flies" in the sky, the snake “crawls s,s,s" across the floor. "Where are we going to put the Monkey?  Up, up, up in the tree." This way you can explore prepositions under, up, in, on, etc) and verbs (flying, crawling, climbing).

For older children talk about a scene together and let them draw it. What animals are going to live there?  What characteristics do the animals need? (stripes for zebras etc.) Maybe you can do a picture of a different habitat yourself and share that together at the end.


Take two transparent glasses and fill with water, one with more and one with less. Use an appropriate pen to draw on the glass. On one glass, draw a boat on the water and the fish under the water. On the other glass, draw a whale at the bottom and a bird above the water level and the sun above the bird. If you prefer, you can draw it on paper and paste it on the glass. With younger children, say that we are going to draw “the boat on the water”, “the fish under the water/boat”, “the bird in the sky” and "the sun up the top". After you can ask “where is the animal?” or just comment on it some more.

With older children tell them to draw the “bigger” animal on the “emptier” cup. Or ask: "Where shall we draw the boat, the bird, the fish ...?" And ask to explain why.


Play shops with your child

Improvise a trolley or a basket. Use the kitchen/settee as a place for setting up the shop. First, talk about what you are going to make that day for lunch. “What will we need?”. For younger children, organise the food in each place beforehand and go together to the kitchen and say “We need a banana”, ”we need some bread” etc. and put it in a trolley. If your child can remember two items then say ”we need some bread and bananas”.

Make a list with an older child and ask: “what do I need to make a sandwich?” Wait for him/her to say what is needed, ask for the quantity. Write it down together perhaps asking for the initial sound of each word. Then go to the kitchen to get the food. First modelling and then say: “You are going to buy _________ and _________”. “How many ______ are you going to buy? ”.  You could be a shopkeeper and they come to ask you in a more formal way e.g. “Good morning I have come to buy some bananas and some bread”……“how much does that cost ?”........then count out the change etc.


Make animals with egg boxes

Use an egg box to make creative animal puppets. Use the long part of the separation between the egg box to be the snout of the animal next to 2 round spaces that will be the ears . Cut the ears in the shape closest to the real shape of the animal's ears. Choose pencils or paint to colour the animals. Your animal could be a fox, bear, mouse or a monkey. With younger children talk about the animals they are making: "let's paint pink inside the mouse's ear", "let's paint black outside the fox's snout". For older children talk about what you will do and after ask them: “First we will cut it and then we will colour it. First we will _______ and then _____”

For older children use descriptive language e.g. we will need long whiskers, a pointed snout etc. Talk about where the animal might live and then play some pretend role play games with the finished puppet.


Water activity

The aim of this game is to discover whether objects sink or float in water. Tell to your child that you are going to pick some objects up to take to the container with water. Let them hunt for some too.

E.g. When the object is floating say: “Oh, Look… it goes up, up, up” When the object is sinking say: “Oh, Look… it goes down”

Download the worksheet


Loading the washing machine

Encourage your child to help with washing a few clothes. Pick up two baskets, look at which clothes are daddy’s and which are mummy’s. Put a few pieces in a basket and ask for your child to take daddy's sock and "put it in", then mummy's shirt and "put it in". Ask them to press the button to “switch on” and talk about “we are going to wash, wash…” and the clothes will be “all wet”. When finished, use the same routine to “take it out” and “put it in” the dryer or “hang it up" if using a clothesline. Encourage older children to help hang and fold the clothes.

Talk about how to fold and/or talk about the colours of clothes and the size of each person's clothes, which are easy to fold and which are difficult.


Birdwatching

Set your child the task of looking out for birds through the window or in the garden. Agree on a phrase that they have to say each time they see a bird, it could be “I saw a bird!”. With older children you can look for defining features of the bird and make a list of all the different birds that have been spotted. The RSPB has a good guide of birds to look out for.


Make a rainbow for key workers

Many of us will have seen the colourful rainbows displayed in windows to show appreciation to all key workers. Use the rainbow template we’re providing to encourage your child to colour in the rainbow. With the little ones you can talk about how rainbows always come out when there is rain and sunshine at the same time. With the older children you can talk about the symbolism behind the rainbow as a sign of hope and peace. Ask them how do they feel when they see a rainbow? Talk about your own emotions when you see a rainbow.

Download our rainbow template


Create your own audiobook

We are encouraging parents, grandparents and other family members, to record an audiobook for their children. Choose a familiar story and record yourself or another family member reading the story and then listen to the audiobook with your child. Listen to Frances Clark, LSLS Cert. AVT read her book ‘Violet’s story’ and find out more tips below.

Create your own audiobooks


Making a Sandwich Invite your child to prepare a sandwich with you. Talk ahead about the type of sandwich you are going to prepare and ask them to think about which ingredients are needed. Ask “what will we need?”. For younger children, encourage them to listen to the name of the ingredients used and tell you what to do e.g. ”mix it, spread it, cut it”. For older children, ask them to think of 3 ingredients and then ask them to bring them to the table. Make a plan about how to make the sandwich: “first we spread the butter, then add the cheese, and then cut the sandwich”.


Biscuits Choose an easy biscuit recipe that you like, or use a bought biscuit, talk ahead about decorating the biscuit. “We are going to ice it…yum". For younger children, talk about “mix and roll” until the dough forms and draw their attention to the timer telling them when it will be ready. Perhaps help them to ice a face on the biscuit “eyes, mouth, nose”. ” If the child is older, talk about the ingredients they are going to use, put the ingredients one at a time into a bowl and then talk about which colour they will use to ice it and what picture they would like make on each biscuit. Perhaps a face or a pattern?


Bowling Do you have water bottles or juice bottles ?  They make great skittles. Play  with your child showing them how to  throw the ball toward the bottles. For younger child you can talk about “waiting” and “ready,steady…go”  You could also use these skittles for a Ling check activity. For an older child you can play a True or False game You say a sentence and they need to say whether is true or false and the ball should only be thrown after a true sentence.


Play the ‘mystery bag’ game Use any big bag you have, fill it with random objects, example: a duck, a carrot, a tea bag, a ball, a pen, a toilet roll. Play with your child so that they find what have inside the bag. For little ones, encourage them to “pick it up” and ask “what is this?”. They should say the name and then you say something about the object “oh thanks, I need a pen to write. I need a pen to _____”. For older child, you could play a guessing game by giving them a description and they can then guess what is in the bag or they could close their eyes and  feel around in the bag. You can ask them to describe how it feels if it’s hard/soft/squishy etc. They can talk about the shape, size, and texture, then they can guess the object or ask someone else to guess before they take the object out.


Curl up with some books Ask your child to pick out 2 or 3 of their favourite books and engage in a productive conversation with them. For younger child, ask them to find the book that has the specific character, talk ahead about the story before you read it and then find the characters together and explore the page with the scene you are talking about.  

If the child is older ask about their favourite book and ask why it is their favourite. Talk about what might be happening in that story from the front cover and who wrote the book. Maybe ask them if they can remember what happened next. Make sure your child understood the message of the book.


Peg Leg Animals Use a toy plastic animal and outline the animal on the paper or if you are confident in drawing, draw your own animal. All animals should be drawn without legs. Use some pegs to make the animal legs. For the youngest children help your child to put the legs on “put it on”; “squeeze the peg” “ Let’s see how many we need. Create a scenario for the animals “jump in the puddle”; “eat the grass”;  “go inside/outside the house”, “over/under the bridge” or just have the animals talk to each other.

For older children, you can ask what the animals they want to draw, what do we need to do to show which animal it is, how many legs each animal has, what the colours/patterns they have, where each animal lives, talk about the size of animals and maybe what they would like to eat.


Easter activities Why not organise a treasure hunt? Hide chocolate eggs around a room in the house and give your child clues to find them (you can swap the chocolate eggs for puzzle pieces, or small toy cars – whatever your child will be motivated to find!) You might start with an empty bowl or basket and talk ahead about the problem of the missing eggs i.e. for younger children you might say ‘Uh oh! There’s no eggs! Where are the eggs?’ For an older child you might explain they need to listen for clues and search the room “Look under something with pages that you read”. Or check out our Easter activity sheet.


I spy. Play a variation of the classic game of ‘I spy’ by describing the object that you see. “I spy with my little eye, something that is round, and boils the water”; “I spy with my little eye something that is square, soft and full of feathers”. Adapt the description so that your child can be successful at guessing the object but then see if at the next round you can make it slightly harder. For the little ones you can describe the object by its function “something that we use to eat yoghurt”. For older children ask them to describe an object that you have to guess.


Today’s recommended activity is for our younger children (6 -18 months) as we know at this age children love to put things in and take things out. Fill a muffin tin with different toys and loosely secure them in place with a piece of masking tape. Let your child explore the textures and develop their fine motor skills as they peel back the tape and retrieve the toy. This is a great opportunity to practice reading your child’s thought bubble and giving words for their thinking and their message. Acoustically highlight the words for their message and think about some functional verbs that might be useful “pull pull puuuull”, “take it ooooout”, “uh oh!” and “it’s stuck” etc. 


Spider web doorway. Help your child become Spiderman for the day by creating a spider web in one of your doorways! It’s all about the process, so ensure you talk and involve your child each step of the way. Start by talking about why spiders build their webs and then talk about what could be long and sticky that we could use instead? Get some sticky tape (ideally masking tape so it doesn’t leave marks!) and get your child to help you place strips of tape from one side to the other of the door cross-crossing all the way up. Then make paper-planes or scrunch up pieces of newspaper, and throw them at the giant web to see how many stick without falling.


Help to change the bed sheets. This is a routine that gets done regularly. Involve your child by talking about the process. Your two key strategies will be to ask open questions and pause so that your child has time to think about what you said and give you an answer: “how do we wash the old sheets?”; “where are the new sheets?”. Keep talking about the process and give clear verbal directions e.g. “you hold this corner”, “fold it over” and “tuck it in”.


Preparing breakfast. Try giving your child some small choices at breakfast. These could be “do you want toast or cereal?” or a smaller choice like “do you want jam or butter?”. For the older child ask an open question such as “what do you want for breakfast?”. Be prepared to talk about ‘why’ having ice-cream for breakfast is not a good idea! Remember to talk ahead about the options so that your child is listening to the verbal options.


Create a pretend tight rope or bridge. Place some tape or string across the floor and say to your child that you must walk only on the rope and not fall in the river. Talk about who might be living in the river. A little tip… this game is great for calming down your children as it helps them to focus on walking slowly.


Make a hammock for your teddy. Use a pillowcase to tie two opposite corners to the back of two chairs to make a teddy hammock. Before making the hammock talk to your child about how teddy needs a nap. Ask an open question, where can teddy have a nap? Then suggest that we can have a nap in different places not just in a bed. Explain how a hammock can be built. Listen to how the child is copying this new word, are there any sounds that they are finding tricky? Try whispering the word to highlight the consonants.


Create a Treasure Den. Place a bedsheet over two chairs or a table and call it the ‘Treasure Den’ talk with your child about what are his/her treasures and then make a list of these treasures that they need to find around the house and place in their treasure den. Make sure you wait for your child to say his/her ideas.


Activity worksheets


Other helpful resources and activities