Climbing, running, jumping, playing. Children’s bodies are growing at a rapid rate and crave active play, as well as the opportunity to challenge themselves. Find more ideas from our village of professionals.

Activities to try at home
Social play – simple games with people
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Explore the fun and magic of people, while children build language and positive interactions between friends new and old. Learn new games, create new memories and most of all, have fun!

As people we can turn ourselves into anything that creates a meaningful and interesting game. We can change our voices, the pitch and volume. We can use any part of our body to create noises or new touch sensations. We can become the most amazing and super toy that a child can ever learn or engage with. Being excitable, interactive and most of all fun, allows children to want to be with us. This in turn builds their skills and creates a secure attachment between us and children. 

Learning benefit/skills developed:

  • Improves social skills: children who regularly play with other children learn how to work together, solve arguments amongst themselves and establish friendships. While playing with others they notice social cues, develop listening, and taking another person’s perspective into consideration, which are key aspects to developing empathy. Social play also requires children to share ideas and express feelings while negotiating and reaching compromises.
  • Builds confidence: children gain the confidence to take on leadership roles, voice their opinions and think independently.
  • Encourages teamwork: social play activities encourage children to learn how to lead, support and work with their teammates, so they can all work together to achieve a specific goal or overcome a challenge.
  • Emotional development: children learn self-regulation as they follow norms and pay attention while experiencing feelings such as anticipation or frustration. Play also teaches children how to set and change rules, and how to decide when to lead and when to follow.

What you’ll need: 

Social and people games, come in many forms. All you need is a willing peer or adult and a smile on your face.

Some social games include but are not limited to:

  • Running and chasing games
  • Round and round the garden (like a teddy bear)
  • Follow the leader
  • What’s the time Mr Wolf
  • Finger games such as tickles, or patty cake

The main rule to follow in social games is to make it fun! Anything can be a social game as long as it involves a person. Smile, laugh, make big exciting sounds and get your child involved by being the MOST exciting thing in the room. This creates strong bonds and positive interactions.

Instructions:

  • Select your game, depending on the age and level of your child. Think about their likes and dislikes. If your child likes to run you could play a chasing game.
  • Some children may like to lead the game while others may prefer an adult or older peer take charge. Work to the child’s comfort level and preference.

Inclusive possibility:

For children who are developing their skills of social play, they may find it difficult to engage in large group play experiences. As it may become overwhelming for them, introducing them slowly to family members during play at home is a way for children to build their skills in a comfortable environment. Start first with only yourself and your child and as their confidence builds, begin to add a new person to your game. Work at your child’s pace; keep the games simple and the limit on number of participants while your child is learning.

Download or print activity here.

Mission Impossible - laser maze challenge
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This activity allows children to engage in physical activity indoors, working their way through this physical challenge by jumping, crawling and climbing to the end, Mission Impossible-style.

Age group: generally children 2 years and up (with supervision)

Learning benefit/skill developed:

  • Enhances fundamental movement, coordination and balance abilities
  • Promotes Teamwork and collaboration
  • Fosters problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • Encourages children to navigate their surroundings

What you’ll need:

  • Masking Tape (to reduce damage to walls)
  • Crepe Paper or Paper Roll

Instructions:

  • Tape the crepe paper from one wall to the other in a zig-zag pattern, back and forth, high and low, across the room (or down the hallway).
  • Once maze is in place, encourage children to make their way through the laser maze without touching the lasers, to get through it safely (just like in the movies).
  • Encourage a few rounds going back and forth through the maze.

Tips / modifications:

  • Try to make the laser maze challenging enough for children to carry out a variety of movements such us under, over and in between.
  • Depending on the skill level and a child’s ability, an additional challenge could be set to see if the laser maze could be completed quicker on round two or three.
  • This challenge is a great way for children to work together, taking turns with friends or family who may wish to take part

Download or print activity here.

SDN Milperra have fun with their Mission Impossible Laser maze challenge

Shape jump – building an interest in shapes
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Engage in shared interaction with your child, helping them build their knowledge and interest in shapes through this fun active game.

Age group: generally children 2 years and up

Learning benefit/skill developed:

  • Encourages shape recognition, labelling and awareness
  • Encourages physical movement as your child jumps into each shape
  • Supports gross motor development

What you’ll need:

  • ​Masking tape
  • Large Dice (or a box to make your own)
  • Textas to draw/write on the dice (or you can print out pictures and cut and paste)

Instructions:

  • Use masking tape to make shapes on the floor.
  • Using the store-bought dice, or making your own, draw on the shapes, or print them and paste them on.
  • Roll the dice, encourage your child to jump into the shape that matches the one on the dice.
  • Try different movements once in the shape, like star jumps inside the star, or making yourself into a circle standing in a circle, or a triangle in the triangle.

Tips/advice:

  • As they play, encourage your child to label the shape (help with this if they are unsure). Your child may also enjoy rolling the dice themselves.
  • You may wish to add a couple of unfamiliar shapes to build familiarity of shapes with your child.
  • You can also do this game with colours, placing coloured paper on the floor and using dice with different coloured sides.

Download or print activity here.

Ribbon tree – reach, grasp and pull
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Encourage your child’s hand and eye coordination through this grasping and pulling activity.

Age group: generally 0-2 years with supervision

Learning benefit / skills developed:

  • Encourages babies to reach, grasp and pull, which strengthens their muscles
  • Uses hand and eye coordination as they reach for the moving ribbons

What you’ll need: 

  • Ribbons/fabric
  • Somewhere to hang the ribbons (preferably outside on a tree, so they move in the breeze)
  • A mat/towel/blanket for your child to lay on
  • Optional: music and/or bubbles

Instructions:

  • Attach ribbons/fabric over tree branches
  • Place them low enough so your child can reach and grab them, ensuring to supervise at all times so your child does not get caught in the ribbons
  • You can also play relaxing music as your child engages in this activity, or add some bubbles for extra fun!

Download or print activity here.

Baby box play – encourage movement
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Encourage your baby to explore different body movements through this simple activity

Age group: generally 0-2 years

Learning benefit / skills developed:

  • Develops gross motor skills through the movement of children’s big muscle groups. Child needs to coordinate body movements to manoeuvre successfully through the box and engage large muscle groups to do this.
  • Engaging in problem solving - child needs to formulate different strategies for moving their body through the box. This may mean some trial and error to achieve the desired result.
  • Understanding of spatial awareness - child needs to consider their own physical proximity to the box whilst assessing the size and shape of the hole in the box and whether their body will fit through the space. They also developing an understanding of how their limbs are moving without needing to directly look at them (proprioception).

What you’ll need: 

  • A cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • Masking or electrical tape

Instructions:

  • Take an old cardboard box and cut out some tunnel holes on the side.
    • Tip: make sure the edges are not sharp. Use masking or electrical tape along the edge of the cuts of the box, so the child does not scratch themselves.
  • Place the box at your child’s level and let them explore!

Sometimes, placing a favourite toy or blanket inside the box will encourage the child to explore, if they are a bit hesitant at first.

Download or print activity here.

Obstacle course - explore movement and creativity
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A great way to use furniture items at home to create a fun physical activity for children. They can explore active movement by climbing up, moving under, over and put their creative minds to work. Can be played inside or out.

Age group:  Generally children 2 and up

Learning benefit / skills developed:

  • Strength and balance
  • Sensory input
  • Development of gross motor skills
  • Memory and navigation skills

Family benefit:

  • Not just children but family or other relatives can also get creative with this game. Be creative about items you use, like couch cushions, bean bags other household items.
  • This activity can become a way to foster positive reinforcement and connection with your child who may be able to complete the obstacle in a certain time or follow clear instructions about the course, creating a sense of positive achievement.

Tips:

  • Keep in mind the ages, abilities, and number of children involved as well as the space you have, and adjust the course accordingly.
  • If working at home, be sure to set up near where you work so you can ensure they are safe.

Download or print activity here.

Pom Pom drop – strengthen fine motor skills
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Support your child’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination through playing this fun pom pom drop activity with them.

Age group: generally children 1.5 years and up, with supervision so pom pom’s aren’t mouthed

Learning benefit/skills developed:

  • Helps strengthen fine motor skills in the hands and fingers through manipulating the tongs and the small pom poms (requires a pincer grip)
  • Supports hand-eye coordination
  • Encourages language development as you talk about what you are doing and helps learn about positioning through the use of words in/through/out

What you'll need:

  • Tongs
  • A small box
  • Masking tape
  • Colourful pom poms
  • Cardboard tubes

Instructions:

  • Use the masking tape to attach the cardboard tubes to the box
  • Add the pom-poms and place the tongs next to the box
  • Encourage your child to use the tongs, or their fingers, to pick up the pom-poms and drop them through the tubes.

Extension: use paint or coloured paper to colour the tubes, then use matching pom-poms and encourage your child to drop the coloured pom pom through the matching coloured tube.

Download or print activity here.

 

Hygiene learning - with an experiment
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Educators are transforming children’s perspectives on hand-washing; what was once a dull duty is now one of the most fun features of the day. We’ve utilised games, songs, activities, stickers, stamps and more to help our children manage their hygiene.

Top tips for talking hygiene

  • Talk together, following your children’s lead. Help them discover these simple ideas:
  • Germs make us sick
  • Germs love to be shared (in this case, sharing is NOT caring)
  • Germs often spread through our hands – they live in our body, in our snot and our spit
  • When we touch our face, the germs may spread to our hands and whatever we touch next
  • Washing hands with soap and water kill germs, so we can keep safe.
  • In our centres, we’ve been doing science games to demonstrate good hygiene. Try this one at home.

The black pepper experiment – to try at home

  • Sprinkle some ground black pepper in a bowl of tap water.
  • Fill a second bowl with water and soap.
  • Dip a finger into the pepper water bowl. Notice the pepper stuck to it.
  • Now, dip your finger in the soap water bowl. Make sure it’s fully submerged.
  • Dip your soapy finger back into the pepper water. See the pepper immediately move away from your finger? That’s just like germs ‘running away’ from the soap.

To read more of Hygiene learning at SDN read more on our Story hub.

Hand - washing

Coughs and sneezes 

Download or print activity here.

Yoga - to strengthen and calm
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Just like adults, there are benefits to yoga practice for children, helping to support and strengthen growing bodies. Breathing and mindfulness are incorporated into the practice, which helps calm children’s minds and nervous system.

Age group:  Generally children 3 and up

Duration:  10 mins up to 30 mins

Learning benefit / skills developed:  

  • Strength, coordination and body awareness.
  • Improves a child’s concentration and a sense of calm.

What you’ll need:

  • A yoga mat or towel
  • Enough space in the house or outside
  • Access to a PC or TV if viewing from online or YouTube

Family benefit:

  • Yoga can be an activity that can be enjoyed together as a family supporting each other’s progress.
  • Yoga can and introduce discussion positive of the importance of physical activity, body awareness and effective breathing to remain calm and centred.
  • Yoga can improve behavioural issues, in a positive direction and can provide children with an outlet as a way to manage their behaviour.
  • If viewing from a screen or website, this is recognised as active screen time for children.

Tips:

  • If viewing from Youtube, we recommend Cosmic Kids Yoga (there is a variety of long and short yoga videos) 

Download or print activity here.

SDN is committed to the safety of children and families and encourages the safe undertaking of activities on the hub. For more information read our terms and conditionsFor more on child safety at home visit Raising Children network.

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