Heuristic play is a simple child-led approach to helping your little one learn. Heuristic play allows babies and young children to make choices and develop preferences using a variety of natural and household resources.
Playing with the treasure baskets must be as child-led as possible. With your not-yet-mobile babies, their learning can be supported by sitting them up and handing them materials to explore.
Have fun with your little one exploring the never ending learning opportunities of Heuristic play.
It is NEVER too early or too late or to start sharing books with your child. It’s a great chance to sit, cuddle up and enjoy a book, and deepen your ever growing bond. Books can be shared throughout the day, anytime and anyplace…they don’t have to be saved for bedtime.
Did you know? Before your little one learns to speak, they enjoy listening to the sound of your voice. This gives your child a feel for the sounds, rhythm and rhymes of language.
What you need:
Your favourite story book
...and a place to get comfortable, cushions, blankets or even a den
Play dough cutters are great, but without cutters your child has the opportunity to use their imagination even more! Their creations can be anything they want...cakes, dinosaur footprints or maybe even a wiggly worm at the bottom of the garden. ‘How many wiggly worms to we have 1, 2, 3, 4.
If you have a childs knife and fork set, you can use this to make patterns, shapes and finer details.
What you need:
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/5 cup luke warm water adding in increments
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. cream of tartar
- Food colouring, essence
Using paper and crayons to draw your own masterpiece, as you draw model how you talk about your picture…
“I’m using a blue crayon”
“Look at this big circle”
“This is the wheel for my bike”
You don’t have to be a fantastic drawer, in fact, the more abstract the better so your child doesn’t feel they have to produce something ‘perfect’ like yours.
As your child draws, don’t ask them what it is, ask them to tell you about it.
Remember to praise all efforts from your child, scribbles are a normal part of development for your child’s mark making skills and often the more scribbly pictures are a far better talking point than a perfectly formed flower or house.
You can play about with different types of marks and ask your child to follow your instructions, draw scribbles, up and down zig zags, circles and then instruct them to “stop” before they “go” and carry on with their scribbles.
You can turn this into a little rhyme that they will begin to repeat with you:
“Up and down, up and down, round and round, and round and round and stop”
Block play is open ended. Your child’s creations can be anything they want it to be from a rocket blasting off in to space, to a farmyard or fairy garden. The possibilities are endless! There is no right or wrong way to play with blocks.
Block play allows your child to develop in all areas of learning. For example Maths; balance, estimation, patterns sizes. Physical development; spatial awareness, development of hand and finger muscles Language; telling the story of what they are creating. Personal social and emotional; self-resilience when challenge occurs, confidence in achieving their goal and overcoming obstacles.
In your bag you have a few wooden blocks to get you started, but there will lots of other things around your house you can add; empty containers and boxes...so get washing out the used butter tub!
Below is a list of organisations providing useful resources and activities for you to do with your little ones to help keep them active, engaged and learning whilst at home:
Cheshire West and Chester Libraries
It is now possible to join the library online and access eBooks, audio downloads, eMagazines and some eResources straight away without having to collect a card in-branch.
Complete the online joining form using the link below:
After completing the form email libraries
This temporary card will be initially valid for one year, and can be exchanged for a physical card once libraries reopen.
Looking for something fun as a family? Enjoy storytime with our free online books and videos, play games, win prizes, test your knowledge in our book-themed quizzes, or even learn how to draw some of your favourite characters.
Hungry Little Minds
Simple, fun activities for kids, from newborn to five. You’ll find some short videos and simple, fun activities that you and your child can do together.
The National Literacy Trust
Resources and tools for early language development and parental engagement.
The Communications Trust
you can find various resources to help support your work in the Early Years, including information about children's communication development and how to identify and support children with speech, language and communication needs.
The Imagination Tree
Fun and practical activities for parents to use while their children are at home
National Numeracy is an independent charity established in 2012 to help raise low levels of numeracy among both adults and children and to promote the importance of everyday maths skills.
10 Minute Shake Up games
Change4Life and Disney have teamed up again to bring you new Shake Up games inspired by Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 and Incredibles 2, and Disney's The Lion King and Frozen. These 10-minute bursts of fun will really get your kids moving and count towards the 60 active minutes they need every day!
50 Fantastic Ideas to Try at Home. This collection of activities/ideas is simply here to help parents and carers find fun things to do if they find themselves unexpectedly at home with younger children.
Explore our range of resources to help with teaching and learning at home and at school
Wondering what to do with your children now that they are at home? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Tiny Happy People
Tiny Happy People is here to help you develop your child's communication skills. Explore our simple activities and play ideas and find out about their amazing early development.
What to expect, when? - Action for Children (pdf): A guide to your child’s learning and development in the early years foundation stage.
Small Talk - The Communication Trust (pdf): How children learn to talk, from birth to age 5