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Top five quick and fun activities for children around the house

Doing a variety of fun activities around the house gives your child the chance to move, play, learn new skills, and feel happy. Encouraging your little ones to take part in energetic play is important - and good for you too!

playing copy cat

Activity ideas for your little ones at home

1. Play with chalk

Chalk is a brilliant tool to help your little ones start their journey towards writing. You can draw on paper or on the floor outside (it washes away easily). If your child is at the stage where they are giving meaning to the marks they make, you could suggest that they draw something familiar to them such as their favourite toy, character from a much-loved book, or even themselves. Remember to join in and give lots of positive praise to boost their confidence.

Watch more top tips in the video below.

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2. Share a book

It's never too early to start reading to your baby! You don’t have to read the story from cover to cover - you and your child can just look at and talk about the pictures together. It's fine if your child wants to look at the same book over and over again. Repetition helps children process new information, learn new words and make sense of the world.

Make your story time special and keep your child interest by adding voices, making silly sounds, or making up actions.

If you're looking for a new book to enjoy, take a look at this book list, which offers great suggestions based on popular titles you might have tried already.

3. Play with water

Little ones are often curious about water and exploring it will help them to feel more comfortable around it. Have a browse through your cupboards and see what will hold water - it could be a plastic food container, a bowl or a mug. Put different kitchen tools into the water such as a spoon, pipette, sieve and talk to your little one about what happens. Does it sink or float? Is it waterproof, or does it turn soggy?

To make the most of your water play, have a go at creating some fun mixtures by adding food colouring and glitter, and then freezing it to see what it looks like as ice.

For more fun with water, take a look at our pouring and tipping or bath time fun activities.

4. Get crafty (with older children)

Help your child prepare for arts and crafts activities! Use sticky tape to attach pieces of paper to a table and give your child some child-friendly scissors. Show your child how to hold and cut with the scissors, by giving them time to explore what feels most comfortable. Describe what they are doing as they do it, “You've cut that piece of paper, well done!”

When you're ready to try an arts and crafts project together, the 'I can do book' is a great place to start.

5. Get creative

If you have five minutes to kill, this activity will allow your child's imagination to run wild! Collect different household objects such as a cardboard box, a plastic plate, a whisk, a bowl, a soft brush and put them on the floor in front of your child. Allow them to touch and explore them. If your child is old enough, you may find they use the objects as toys and before you know it, your child will have made a fire engine, a cot for a baby or a den!

Keep an eye on your child's interests and build them in to this imaginative play time. This can happen any time and anywhere … the more spontaneous the better!

The Start for Life campaign delivered in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, has lots of brilliant ideas for you and your little ones to enjoy at home.

More activities to try at home