Tanglewood Nursery School





Learning at Home

Many parents ask for ways in which they can help their children to extend their learning at home. We hope you find some of these ideas useful and fun.

The Early Years Foundation Stage and You as a Parent:

The Early Years Foundation Stage recognises that parents are a crucial part of their child’s learning. When your child is with you they are learning all the time—at any time and anywhere.

Here are some ways you can help your child learn and develop:

* Watch and listen to your child

* Talk to them and join in with their play

* Give lots of praise and encouragement

* Develop their independence by letting them try things out

* Sing rhymes and enjoy books with your baby or child

* Encourage your child to be active

* Go outside in all types of weather! Let your child experience the weather and all the different sounds, smells, textures and sights of the outdoors.

Young children learn best when:

* Their learning is fun.

* Their learning is practical and relevant to the child.

* The child feels successful and they can try things out without fear of failure.

* They have opportunities to participate in well planned play, which takes place both indoors and outdoors.

Helping your child learn and play does not have to cost money. Your time and attention are the most valuable resources and are much more important than anything else!

Remember your child learns most from you.

Below are some ideas you could try throughout the year...We hope you have lots of fun!

It is always good to hear how you get on and to hear of any other great ideas that you have for the children.

Autumn Term

Autumn Term

The ideas are set out under the seven areas of Learning and Development:

Personal, Social and Emotional

* If you haven’t already, enjoy making the “All About Me” book with your child. Look at photographs of your family with your child.

* Talk about holidays you have had together or days out you have enjoyed. Perhaps your child could bring in favourite photographs to share with their friends and put them in their Learning Journey.

* Play games with your child and encourage them to take turns and share. Talk about the rules and expectations of the game, but make sure you keep it simple. The children don’t always have to win!

* Encourage your child to tidy up their toys and belongings, set them challenges such as who can pick up the most bricks by the time I’ve sung ‘incy wincy spider’.

Communication and Language

* When you sit around the table at meal times let the children talk about anything that interests them.

* Go on an Autumn sounds walk. What sounds can you hear?


* Turn the television off and enjoy looking at a book. Here are some good stories which you might like to share with your child and that the children enjoy at Tanglewood; ‘My cat likes to hide in boxes’, ‘Whatever Next’, ‘Kippers Toy Box’ and ‘Dear Zoo’. Don’t forget you can borrow books from our library.

* Why not get you coats and wellies on and do some mark making outside. Use large chalks on the patio or use sticks to make marks in the mud.

Expressive Arts and Design

* Enjoy listening to some music, find out what your family likes listening to. Dance and play instruments along to your favourite songs.

* Why not have a go at Apple printing, cut an apple in half, dip in paint and print away. What other fruit and vegetables could you use? You could even print your own Christmas wrapping paper and tags.

* Let your child play inside large boxes. What will it become? A boat? A train? A cave? The possibilities are endless!


* Children love to count, incorporate this into everyday activities such as the number of steps up and down the stairs, how many apples you put in the fruit bowl

* Try sharing number rhymes with your child. Some of the songs we will be singing in will include 5 little ducks, 5 current buns, 5 little monkeys and 5 speckled frogs. Ask your child to show you the actions. Other ideas include 1,2,3,4,5 once I caught a fish alive,

Hickory Dickory Dock, and 2 Little Dicky Birds. You can find some more rhymes in the ‘Tanglewood Recipes’ booklet available from the office for £2.50

* Give your child a small box and ask them to find things that will fit inside. How many big things will fit in? How many small things can you fit in? Use the language of bigger than/smaller than.

Understanding the World

* Find a cosy space and share memories of family occasions using photographs and objects. You could bring in a photograph to add to your child’s treasure box.

* Find some autumn treasures e.g. acorns, conkers, and leaves. Make a treasure box to put them in.

* There are some religious celebrations in the Autumn

Eid-ul-Adha, Diwali and Hannukah. Why don’t you see what you can find out about theses celebrations.

Physical Development

* Go for lots of autumn walks and enjoy running in the woods, jumping in puddles, kicking the leaves, and squelching in the mud!

* Have fun threading a shoelace with all sorts of things—pasta cotton reels, leaves, buttons. Take care to provide your child with things that won’t be swallowed.

* Now that the weather is getting colder, encourage your child to be independent with dressing and undressing, fastening coats and changing shoes and wellies. Help them by providing clothes and shoes with easy fastenings, including Velcro, that they can manage themselves.

* It is really important that your child is as independent as possible; please help them develop their self-help skills e.g. going to the toilet, flushing it, washing hands.

Spring Term

Spring Term

The ideas are set out under the seven areas of Learning and Development:

Personal, Social and Emotional

* While you are out and about, encourage your child to challenge themselves on climbing apparatus, to help them to take ‘safe risks’, e.g. will they choose the smaller or bigger climbing frame at the park. Can they find different ways of using the apparatus safely? Remember to praise all their efforts!

* Working together, can you make a den indoors or outdoors using boxes? Can you hide in it? How many can fit into the den? What can you do in the den? Think how you could solve these ‘problems’ together.

* When doing an activity as a family, use opportunities to talk about how to share the task. How will you decide who is going to do what? 

Communication and Language

* Take some photos or cut some pictures out of a magazine and use them to make a story e.g. going to the park or Granny coming to tea.

* Visit the library and find some information books. What can you find out?

* Throughout the day try offering children a choice so that they begin to make independent choices e.g. giving them a choice of apple or banana for snack.


* Try finding ways of making ‘big’ pictures e.g. mark making on the back of an old roll of wallpaper. Make sure you value your child’s efforts.

* Make a cosy space (cushions on the floor) or a den (spread a sheet over a table) and share a book.

* Make a homemade card to celebrate a family occasion. Decide together what message you want to write inside.

* Take a walk in the countryside- can you see any animals? What are they called? Take some photos and make a book about your trip.


* Do some cooking or make some playdough. Encourage your child to help measure out the ingredients and introduce vocabulary such as more, less, heavy and light.

* Look for shapes and numbers in the environment. How many squares can you find in your kitchen? What numbers do you see on your way to nursery?

* Involve your child in laying the table for tea. How many cups, plates, knives, and forks do you need? This is also a good time to develop your child’s positional language such as next to, behind and in front.

Expressive Arts and Design

* Have a party for your child’s favourite toys; let your child take charge of the arrangements. Encourage them to think about what they will need. Let loose their imagination and creativity.

* How can you make music using everyday household objects? Enjoy dancing to the sounds you make!

* Create a dressing up box using things you can find around the house e.g. net curtains, scarves, old shoes etc.

* Children love painting boxes, give them some paint and different sized brushes and let them get to work.

Understanding the World

* When you are out and about look for signs of spring and talk to your child about what you both see.

* Try a different fruit and vegetable that you have never tried before.

* Go on a technology walk. Look for pedestrian crossings, scanners in shops, cash machines etc.

* On a windy day why not go out and fly a kite!.

Physical Development

* When you are out exploring take a small box or bag with you. See what ‘treasures’ you can pick up along the way – a small leaf, a tiny stone, or an acorn maybe. What’s the smallest thing you can pick up.

* Plan a journey on a bike and explore your local cycle paths.

* When you’re having a snack let your child peel their own orange or banana.

* It is really important that your child is as independent as possible; please help them develop their self-help skills e.g. brushing their teeth and combing their hair.

Summer Term

Summer Term

The ideas are set out under the seven areas of Learning and Development:

Personal, Social and Emotional

* Sun safety – talk to your child about keeping safe in the sun. Remember SLIP on a t-shirt, SLAP on a hat, and SLOP on some sun cream!

* Meet with your friends and go out on a picnic! Have fun deciding where to go, planning the journey and the menu. It would be lovely to see any photographs that your child may wish to put in their Learning Journey.

* Summer is the season when children often spot bugs and mini-beasts. Encourage your child to respect different creatures however odd they look and teach them not to harm things.

* Encourage your child to look after your garden with you. Let them help with the weeding or watering. Take your child to explore the garden and together find things to make pictures and sculptures.

* After gardening or handling any animal or mini beast encourage thorough hand washing with soap and water. Dry on a towel

Communication and Language

* Take a trip to the supermarket and name as many fruits and vegetables as you can. Ask if you’re not sure what they are, or what to do with them!

* Show your child a work of art, ask them to describe what they see. Talk about why they like, or dislike, about the painting.


* Look out for things you see as you make a journey. You might take photographs together and make a simple photograph book. This could be an I Spy game next time you make the journey, or could help when creating a map.

* Make marks outside using water on the patio. Use big brushes, footprints, bike tyres, toys cars and anything else you can lay your hands on. See how long they last before they dry up.

* For mark making and pencil control, remember that children love drawing pictures of insects, mini beasts, flowers and trees


* Use position words when you talk about the journey you are making or when looking for bugs in the garden (under the stone, next to the shop, near, between, turn the corner, round the roundabout).

* Make a fishing game – cut a fish out of paper, put a paperclip on its nose and catch it with a magnet hanging on a piece of string. How many can you catch?

* On a trip to the beach or in your sand tray at home, see how many sandcastles you can make. Can you make big ones? What is the smallest sandcastle you can make?

* Collect shells and pebbles. How many different ways can you sort them?

* Compare length and size of insects/worms/runner beans and sunflowers

* Practice counting and thinking about numbers. Try asking questions such as:

-how many bugs can you see?

-how many leaves on the flower?

-if I have got 5 seeds and you plant 2, how many have we got left?

Expressive Arts and Design

* Create pictures or mobiles using different materials such as paint, shells, paper and fabric…the bigger the better!

* Mix chalk and water together and see what fabulous colours you can make. Have fun painting with them on large sheets of paper.

* Old net curtains make wonderful butterfly, birds’ and bees’ wings! How could you decorate them?

* Use chairs, boxes and anything else you can find to build a bus, plane or train and go on an adventure.

* Gather mementoes from a journey you make and stck them onto a piece of paper or card and create a collage map.

* Create pictures of ‘Beside the Sea’ using paint, shells, paper and material. Have fun making up imaginary stories about your adventures at the beach. Don’t forget to share your stories with us!

* Collect natural materials from the garden to make a collage picture, or make a smelly’ picture using herbs.

* Collect boxes and other recyclable materials to make a large sculpture in your garden. Remember, sculpture doesn’t have to “be” anything, it can simply be an arrangement of materials. Let your child take the lead.

Understanding the World

* Take a trip on a bus or train. Remember your child may wish to bring in a momento to put in their treasure box!

* Switch the TV off and go on a creepy crawly hunt and find out where they live. How many can you find in your garden? Someone else’s garden? The park? Why not look under logs, stones, pots and in dark corners!

* Create your own mini garden. Perhaps you can corner off an area in your garden, or maybe a large flower pot/grow bag on your balcony. Plants such as cress, sun flowers, marigolds and nasturtiums grow easily in a window box. Cut a toilet roll in half for a plant pot and plant straight in to the ground.

* Children like looking at maps. This is an ideal opportunity to begin to understand where our food comes from. Show them where your oranges and strawberries come from and talk about countries you know about. You could also visit a local Pick ‘Your Own’ farm.

Physical Development

* If you don’t all ready, try walking to school once a week or park further away and ‘park and stride’.

* Create a huge picture using rollers and decorating brushes and encourage your child to make really big movements.

* Take a trip to the forest…see if you can create a picture or sculpture using sticks, leaves and anything else you can find.

* Your child could practice their cutting and spreading skills while they help you to prepare a picnic.

* Have fun in your garden or the local park. Try playing catch, football, or get on your bike and go for a ride.

* Get the paddling pool out and have a splash about! Enjoy exploring the water together.

Useful Links

50 things to do before you're 5

50 things to do before you're 11 3/4