Most of these activities are suitable for indoor/outdoor
- Sort toys. Sort into colours, sizes, with or without wheels, with or without eyes etc
- Draw toys. Look carefully at the details and encourage your child to keep looking and adding more.
- Draw around toys.
- Use toys to paint or print. Cars dipped in paint make good patterns with their wheels
- Make a toy shop. Make price labels for your toys. Use money to pay for them.
- Write a letter to your toys, a song about them, a letter from one of them to another.
- Count toys. How many cars/dolls/dinosaurs do you have? Encourage your child to move them to count, so that their counting is accurate.
- Take different toys into the bath. Guess whether they will float or sink. Why do you think that? Then check!
- Take a photograph of your favourite toy and send it to us-tell us something about it. Its name, why it’s your favourite, where you got it, where it sleeps. These would be good questions for grown ups to ask. Give time for children to respond.
- Wrap your toys up! Use old wrapping paper/newspaper and sellotape. Can your grown up guess what’s in there? Pretend it’s one of your toy’s birthdays and wrap up some things you think they might like.
- Put a toy in a feely bag. What can you feel? Which toy could it be? Which toy couldn’t it be? Why? What does it feel like?
- Play hide and seek with toys. Give clues as to where the toy is.
- Play a memory game-put out toys then remove one whilst your child closes their eyes. which one is missing?
- Stick numbers on the cars. The “park” them in order. Or make a car park on a piece of paper with numbered spaces, so your child matches the car to the correct space. Or draw a number of dots on a space-the child counts the dots then parks the correct numbered car.
- Attach pens or pencils to the cars and watch the patterns you can make as you send the vehicle along a piece of paper
- Make ramps with pieces of card/wood/pipes/guttering. Which car goes the furthest? How can you make the car go faster/further? Make a mark on the floor with chalk/on paper to show where the cars stopped.
- Large cars and vehicles outside-make a carwash, set up a garage with safe tools to “tinker” with, paint vehicles with water and a paintbrush
- Have a picnic or a party with the toys. Write invitations, make lists of what you need and who is coming. Write a menu and name cards.
- Make outfits and accessories with a paper, scarves and pieces of material.
- Make masks for your toys and turn them into super toys! Give them new Super toy names
- Make beds/homes/dens for them from boxes and baskets
- Play at “Nurseries” with them-put them on the floor and be the teacher. Sing the Welcome Time song (screen ideas). Make a register (see below). Count how many are here today and write it down. Choose a toy to be the leader and do the safety check with them (see below)
- Talk about feelings through toys. How is your toy feeling? Why? We tend to try to use different words to happy/sad. What about excited? Worried? Angry? This could be a good opening for discussing how you and your child feel.
- Toys can be used to give instructions! We use toys in Nursery to tell children who are reluctant to follow routines what to do.
- Use toys to put on a “show”. Make musical instruments with boxes filled with beans/cereal/stones, and sing and dance!
Set up a writing centre which can be left out or packed away. Add
If this is packed away in a box it can be transported outside or to a different room. Young children don’t need to sit at tables to write, and generally boys don’t like to!
Small world play refers to small figures, vehicles, animals and creatures which represent the world in smaller form. Think farm animals, Happy Land, cars, trains, superheroes.
Small world play allows children to re-create experiences and make up stories, and really expands their imagination.
- Make up boxes or baskets to access freely. Add different natural resources or loose parts. Change and add resources to keep children interested. Themes could include-
Add dinosaurs, pebbles, leaves, twigs, grass
Add transport, pieces of wood, blocks, Lego
Add animals, tractors, mud, pebbles, grass, twigs, resources to make fences (straws, little bits of wood)
Add people, any furniture, blocks, Lego
Add diggers, people, pebbles or cereal to dig
Add trains, people, bits of track, wood, pebbles,
To any of these you could also add different scraps of material and paper, foil (makes good ponds and rivers), buttons, bottle tops, small boxes, yoghurt pots.
If you want to contain the play give your child a tray or shallow box to play with the resources in.
Take the play outside for a different experience. Old tyres are great to contain the play, or big lids, sandpits, or just the floor.
Add writing resources-paper, pens, notebooks-to write labels, lists or stories. And if you have any books or stories which relate to the theme add these too. Children can then re-tell or act out the story, or the book may give them inspiration or facts about the resources. Add old maps if you have any.
Use large pieces of card or paper on the floor for children to make a scene-they can draw roads, fields, signs, people. Or use chalk outside.
Change the box when your child is in bed (if they ever go to bed and you have the energy!) This tends to give them the motivation to explore and play (whilst you have a break!) Find old toys at the bottom of toy boxes and under beds they haven’t played with for a while and add these to give them a new lease of life.
Register and Outdoor safety check. Change or add to these to suit your home!