Fun activities to support learning

In our recent parent survey, a number of parents indicated that they would like more information about how they can help their child at home. 

Don't forget to refer to the Home School Partnership agreement when you're thinking about how to help your child.

Suggested Activities for each year group

Below we have some suggestions from the teaching teams about how you can help your child access the school curriculum more easily. The teaching staff have collated these activities that you can do with your child which would have a real impact on the ease with which they would be able to access the curriculum at school. Most of these activities are quite straightforward but often require regular practice, which there may not always be time for during the school week.


The following information is taken from the Welcome Pack you received when your child joined Foulds in Reception.
It would be tremendous if your child could do these things independently
1. Learn to dress him/herself, especially shoes (velcro rather than laces).
2. Hang up coat with a loop. Button and unbutton coat. Zips on coats.
3. Recognise own name. One capital letter, rest lower case
e.g. Charles, not CHARLES.
4. Use knife and fork before starting school dinners.
5. Encourage child to answer in sentences - not one word.
6. Try to learn colours.
7. Instruct in proper use of toilet - washing of hands.
8. Use of handkerchief and bring a tissue or handkerchief to school.

Developing pre-reading skills
• Share plenty of books with your child (fiction and non-fiction).
• Visit the Library.
• Talk about the illustrations and ask questions. Ask what s/he thinks will happen next, if s/he enjoyed the book.
• Pick out individual letters, saying their sounds to help with phonics. You may find that it helps to whisper each sound, so that you don’t get a long additional sound; e.g. the letter b should sound like “b” not “buh”
• Sit so that your child may follow the text as you run your finger under the words while reading.
• Don’t rush! The illustrations offer much detail to the text so enjoy them as well as the language.
• Read, say and sing rhymes (very important). Make up rhymes, think of words that rhyme (even nonsense words), make up your own nursery rhymes.
• Encourage your child to “read” familiar books.
• While out walking, read signs, shop names etc. Make shopping lists with illustrations.
• Whatever the activities, have fun together.

How to help with reading once your child is using the books from school
and recognising key words.
• Try to choose a time when both you and your child are relaxed and there are no interruptions. It should be an enjoyable experience.
• Read the book to your child first, having asked if they know what the book is about.
• Tell the child the title of the book.
• Introduce new language and explain new words.
• While reading, look carefully at the pictures together and discuss them - Ask questions.
• Try never to get upset or criticise if a word is incorrect. Tell the child the word and use praise, encouraging their efforts.
• If a word is unknown ask what might fit in, mention the initial sound and direct attention to the picture (if relevant). If it is still unknown read the sentence again to aid a guess or simply tell him/her.
• After reading the book with your child ask if they enjoyed it, which was the favourite part/illustration etc.
• If he/she wants to read the book again to you or themselves, that’s fine.
• A reading session should result in a feeling of well being and achievement.

Foundation Stage Mathematics
As a parent, you can help develop number concepts in a variety of ways. There are many opportunities in everyday life to share number experiences with your child. Learning evolves naturally from the things children do.
1. There are always things to count. Variety is important. Count the potatoes on your plate, buttons on your coat, pennies, teeth, your french fries, etc.
2. Find how many ......…….......... spoons we need, cows in a field, eggs in a box, cups in a pint, socks in a pair etc
3. Take an inventory of things in the house. Keep a written record. Count everything. How many chairs? Tables? Cans? Toys?
4. Count things in half .........……........ oranges, jam sandwiches. Do we have two equal parts?
5. In your car, let your child be the navigator. How fast are you going? How many roads to Susan’s house? What is the speed limit? Look for a street address. What is a mile? How many miles to the supermarket?
6. Build a background for mathematical language; Hang your coat on the second hook. Which TV programme is longer (or shorter)? Is it morning, noon, evening, night, afternoon? Which is heavier? Who is nearer?
7. Use numerals to keep score in games, to make price tags and play shop, to write down important phone numbers and to read house numbers.
8. Find numbers in shops, on cereal boxes, in catalogues. What do they tell us ?
9. On holiday................... How cold or hot is it? Look at the map. How far will we travel? Collect shells and sort them. Write numerals in the sand.
10. Measure ingredients for making biscuits. Weigh the pet every two weeks to check that it's staying healthy.
11. Measure the height of family members. Measure other things. Use a variety of measuring tools.
12. Use an old clock to stimulate interest in time. How long is a minute? An hour?
13. When you go to the shop, let your child get two pints of milk, a litre of orange squash.
14. When you pay, let your child count the change.

A few examples of teaching you might do:

This group of skills includes basic discrimination of big and small, related size concepts and matching based on size.
Skill: Understanding big and small, tall and short.
Activity: Take a walk around the garden or neighbourhood with your child and look for objects to compare in size. Your child can find a big leaf and a small leaf, a tall tree and a short tree, a tall person and a short person, a big pet and a small pet.
Have ready a big and a small empty bag or box. Find two each of several objects, one big and one small e.g. an adult-size shoe and a small child’s shoe; a big and a small ball, a small spoon and a large wooden spoon. Put all the objects in a pile. Help your child find two that are similar and then place the big one in the big box and the small one in the small box. Continue until all are sorted.

Colour and shape
Skill: Name and recognise primary colours red, yellow and blue.
Activity: Go for a colour walk with your child. Look for as many things of one colour as possible.
Play a touching game with things around your house. As an example, ask your child to: “ Touch the blue book.” , “ Touch the red chair.” , “ Touch the yellow pot.”
Skill: Recognise circle, square, triangle, rectangle.
Activity: Help your child find various shapes around the house, such as rectangles and squares ( window, door, table top, TV screen) or circles (clock, frying pan, wheels, plates) and triangles.

3) Numbers 
This group of skills includes counting through 10, matching objects one-to-one, and quantity.
Skill: Counting orally through 10.
Activity: In the bottom of each pocket of an empty egg box, place different quantities from 1 to 10, of small items such as buttons, beans, pegs, raisins, or pebbles. Ask your child to count the number in each pocket.
Skill: Matching objects one-to-one
Activity: Make a game of setting the table. Ask your child to help you find a cup for each saucer, a fork for each plate and a glass for each person.

This group of skills includes time of day, year and birthday.
Skill: Understands the concept of day and night
Activity: Look through some magazines with your child for pictures that show daytime(morning or afternoon) and night-time activities. Help your child find clues in the picture that show what time of day it is -- for example, people eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner; the sun or the moon and stars; bright or dark sky.

- Position & Direction 
This group of skills includes word meanings, relative position, left-to-right and top-to-bottom progression and additional descriptive language including opposites.
Skills: Understanding in and out, over and under, front and back, up and down
Activity: Make a game of having your child follow simple directions using these words. For example: “Sit under the table.” “Walk up the stairs.” “Hold the ball over your head.” “Stand in front of me.” “Put your coat on the back of the chair.” “Run behind the house.”
Skill: Understanding descriptive words hot and cold, fast and slow
Activity: Cut out magazine pictures of animals and vehicles that are either fast or slow. Help your child sort the pictures into a fast pile and a slow pile --- for example, turtle and snail in the slow pile, jet plane and eagle in the fast pile.

- Sequencing
This group of skills include simple sequences and story recall.
Skill: Retell simple stories in sequence
Activity: Read a favourite story to your child. Afterwards ask such questions as for example: “What happened first?” “What happened next?” “What happened last?” “What happened before?” and “What happened after?

Year 1 & 2

Suggested activities:
•Cooking! Get them to measure, estimate, talk using the correct measures e.g. grammes, pints, fluid ounces, ml. Using words such as more than, less than, hotter, cooler, temperature, centigrade. Get them to read the recipe, if they can. Lots to learn about germs and hygiene, and you may end up with something good enough to eat if you’re lucky. Setting out baking cases can also help with number.
•Keep a diary – daily activities or on holiday.
•Take your child to the library regularly to borrow books, tapes, CDs etc, take part in the story sessions.
•Reading and sharing books with your child (not just school books).
•Listen to story tapes.
•Let your child write a shopping list. Can they match the items to the list on a receipt?
•Send postcards, thank you letters.
•Write/make birthday cards, write a message on the gift tags.
•Your child can read recipes for you to follow. They can find times of their favourite TV programme, read sign posts on the way to school. Can they spot letters on number plates?
•Finding out about things of interest from Non-fiction books.
•Learn their address, read names and addresses on envelopes.
•Share newspapers and magazines – Look out for certain letters or words from spelling lists.
•Create shows, dances, and songs.
•Play ‘I spy’ and encourage sounding out.
•Sing the alphabet, days of the week, months of the year.
•Play rhyming games, make up alliterations, silly sentences.
•Get your child to make up rhythms, can they clap and copy your rhythm?
•Let your child have the opportunity to talk to you.
•Drawing and making things
•Use of Internet – (eg CBeebies, Sparklebox etc), send emails to friends and family

Numeracy activities:
Lots of these suggestions require no preparation and even very little time! Don’t feel you always need to make your child write things down. Make sure Maths stays fun, natural and part of everyday conversation.
• Help your child to count, by counting pages in a book, looking for odd and even numbers on house doors in your street, counting flowers in a garden or spotting various things while out and about (lampposts, post boxes, street signs etc). Encourage them to familiarise themselves with their important numbers, for instance their age, their birthday, phone number, house numbers. If you’re feeling brave why don’t you encourage them to make their own number line on a roll of paper.
• Count with your child, in ones, twos, fives and maybe even tens. Try this forwards and move on to backwards as well. Practise knowing quickly the pairs of numbers which add up to 10. As your child moves further through Key Stage One they’ll also need to be remembering halves of numbers. Always keep these ‘games’ fun though!!!
• As your child begins to add up encourage them to find different totals – all the ages of the people in your family, groups of objects in different amounts, all the numbers on car number plates. As you use money encourage your child to identify the different coins. Maybe ask them to make different amounts with different coins. As you shop, encourage your child to read the price of different items, and maybe even allow them to check your receipts for prices and totals!
• While you are out and about with your child encourage them to spot different shapes – inside and out. You could score different points for different shapes – this could be with both 2d and 3d shapes. If your child enjoys drawing encourage them to draw around different objects to outline different shapes. You could also play ‘What am I’, describing the different features of shapes as you do.
• If you have magazines or newspapers at home, encourage your child to look at the TV listings – can they read the different times of different programs? Help your child to make a clock and talk about the different things you do at different times of the day. Encourage them to read the time where this is appropriate – do they know what time they go to bed? What time you eat dinner? What time they get up? If you’re feeling brave again, you could do some baking with your child – allowing them to weigh out the ingredients. Maybe as you cook allow your child to read the different food packaging they use and talk about how much it weighs. You could allow them to feel the weight of different items – ordering them from the lightest to the heaviest. Maybe as you do DIY you could encourage your child to measure different materials, maybe even measuring the members of your family – initially in simple units like handspans, moving towards centimetres! You could play your child at ‘the minute challenge’. How many claps/skips/hops/keepy-uppies can you/your child do in 1 minute?
• Finally you could encourage your child to conduct little surveys - What’s the most popular colour of car on your street? What’s the favourite fruit in your family? Which months do your family have birthdays in?

Year 3 & 4

Homework & Organisation
• Help your child develop their organisational skills, so they have what they need when they need it
• Check that they have done their homework and that you have signed their Boomerang Book. 
 Please support your child with homework when they need it 
 Get them into the habit of taking homework home and returning it on the correct days
• You might find it useful to set a certain time during the week for doing homework to avoid 'negotiations'

Suggested activities:
• Cooking helps develop lots of skills and you end up with something tasty at the end of it too. For key benefits, see above. Setting out baking cases can help with times tables. At this age the children should be able to read the measuring scales themselves (with a bit of help). The more adventurous of you could try their doubling skills and see if the recipe still turns out OK. The scientifically minded amongst you could try out “what if…” experiments…
• Make sure your child can tie their shoe laces
• If they have a non-elastic tie, they must be able to tie it themselves
• Practice in any kind of measuring: weighing, capacity and length.
• Times tables - Learning them out of order.
• Know number bonds of all numbers to 20 e.g. 5 + 15 = 20. We will teach them, but it’s really helpful if you just help them by keeping them practising.
• Telling the time – analogue and digital. Aim for your child being able to tell the time at five minute intervals using analogue e.g. it’s twenty five to seven. When using digital time, aim for your child to be able to convert it to analogue time (again, five minute intervals). Can they tell you how long it is until the 6 o’clock news? Or until The Simpsons comes on TV? How long until you have to leave for school?
• Keep a reading diary - books read and whether they liked them.
• Visit Barnet Museum or any other museums if you get the chance
• Walk around the local area so they know where things are.
• Have a game to see how many key words they can spell (your child’s teacher can provide you with a list of the most common words). 
• When writing or reading, help your child check words in a dictionary if they come across one they don't know.
• Read to them even if they are fluent readers and discuss books to assess understanding.
• Read more challenging books to able readers.

Year 5 & 6

Suggested activities:

Homework & Organisation
• Help your child develop their organisational skills, so they have what they need when they need it
• Check that they have done their homework and that you have signed their Boomerang Book. 
 Please support your child with homework when they need it 
 Get them into the habit of taking homework home and returning it on the correct days
• You might find it useful to set a certain time during the week for doing homework to avoid 'negotiations'

- Numeracy 
• Consolidate times tables, aim for rapid recall of all facts out of order (can they give you any times tables answer in less than three seconds? We have children who can consistently accurately recall 50 random tables facts in under a minute).
• Learn division facts for the times tables.
• Know (rapid recall) of all number bonds to 100 e.g. 63 + 34= 100
• Tell the time, using analogue and digital clocks, including 24 hour time. Be able to use a timetable e.g. bus timetable.
• Use money, giving change accurately and reliably.
• Cooking! (for more information, see advice for younger age groups)

• Spelling – help your child spell all high frequency words
Read with them – often! They are never too old to hear a story.
• Encourage them to read independently. Newspapers, magazines (make sure they are age appropriate and that your child isn’t just looking at the pictures of all the latest Xbox games). Ask them about what they have read.
• Ask your child to self-check and proof read any writing that they do.

Develop ICT skills, including:
• Using emails
• Using a search engine efficiently
• e-safety skills – get them to think about viruses, cyber bullying, spam
There is a good child-friendly cybercafe with an excellent fun activity to make children think about how to respond to cyberbullying - click here for the cybercafe.
• Touch typing e.g. BBC Dancemat

Multiple intelligences

The selection of activities is by no means comprehensive and will not suit every child and their needs. Don't be afraid to experiment and expect that some activities will work and other won't. The most valuable experience you can give your child is your undivided attention, it’s probably what children crave most, and with it you can help your child learn and they won’t even realise they are taking part in an educational activity! When thinking about how to help your child learn, think about the whole range of their intelligence. As we all know, life beyond the education system does not mostly consist of Numeracy and Literacy, despite what you may read in the papers! What other skills could you develop? Below is some food for thought – and again, the list is not exhaustive. You will have many more good ideas! One vital tip – whatever you’re doing, try to make it fun and enjoyable for both of you.

Musical: singing  -  keeping rhythms (both simple and complicated), dancing (how good will they be on the dance floor in their twenties?), playing an instrument, listening to and responding to music, going to live performances, creating sounds with body percussion or any household equipment (remember making a tune by tapping bottles containing different amounts of water?).

Artistic – colouring in (develops good hand-eye coordination too!), painting, mixing colours, collage, cutting out (some children find this really difficult), clay, plasticine, creating large sculptures from boxes and junk, creating pictures using natural materials e.g. sand, twigs, leaves etc., potato printing, stencils, visiting galleries, drawing cartoons, copying other people’s work, drawing from life models (so hard!), comic strips, etc.

Interpersonal – how well does your child relate to others? You can be an excellent teacher by having conversations or playing games with them. You can show them the skills relating to taking turns, not interrupting others, asking questions, debating, considering other people’s opinions, etc. Is your child caring? Perhaps they can take responsibility for a pet, or communicate with someone who would really appreciate a letter or phone call from a small child. Do they understand how rights and responsibilities go hand in hand?

Intrapersonal – how well does your child understand himself/herself? How well do they understand how they feel when they are disappointed, angry, envious, tired, etc? Can you help them to look on the bright side? Is your child a perfectionist? Can you help your child deal positively with the challenges they face? You may be able to help them develop strategies to cope when they are angry or upset.

Physical – does your child like any particular sport or activity? We offer quite a range of clubs at Foulds but they may want to try others. Would they prefer a competitive sport, or a non-competitive activity? Team games or something you can do independently? Could you take part as a family?

Linguistic – could your child learn another language? There are lots of videos, DVDs and websites to help you get started.

Existential – depending on the maturity of your child, you could have conversations about the meaning of life, why do we die, how did we get here, the different religions. Is your child spiritual? How can you stimulate their sense of awe and wonder? Sometimes you could take them on awe-inspiring visits, or you could share with them one of the wonders of nature. When was the last time you looked closely at a butterfly or spider?