Building it into your day
The first three years provide a great opportunity for learning. Babies and toddlers need stimulation to help make the most of this time and make learning possible. The best way to do this is to talk to them from the moment they are born - in your home when they’re beside you or out and about, just talk, listen and respond to your baby as much as possible. Play, sing and encourage them as much as possible – have fun together. Read aloud or tell stories – all these natural activities will help to build the foundation for your child to learn more.
Everyday routines, such as feeding, dressing and bath time, are ideal opportunities for your child to understand and learn new things. So try to talk, listen and respond to your baby. The majority of brain development occurs in the first three years of a child’s life so when you play, sing or read to your child and give them time to respond, you will help them make the most of this opportunity.
- Describe the food while feeding your baby
- Count as you do things – like putting out plates
- Allow your toddler to feed themselves as they get older – it helps build their co-ordination
- Talk to your baby about things, especially the things they show an interest in, like a favourite toy
- Encourage your baby to reach for things
- Turn tidying up into a sorting game – for example putting dolls or cars into different boxes
- Play pouring and emptying games with containers
- Describe the toys in the water like the ‘quack’ of ducks
- Let your child feel different shapes and textures outside – leaves, grass or sand
- Talk about the things you see when you’re on the bus, in the car or walking to the shops
- Listen together and name the sounds you hear around you. For example, if you both hear a car engine, say ‘That’s a car’
- Share a book with your child and talk about the pictures
- Count characters or animals in a picture book