Fun activities to help your child grow

Make the most of playtime!

When children are young, every moment is a learning experience. Young children learn through play, exploration, asking questions and trying new things. And they love to learn with their families!

Don’t worry – you don’t need fancy, expensive stuff to do these activities. The most important ingredient is you!

Simple tips to help young children learn

Be safe and healthy. A safe environment (home & school) and proper health and nutrition support early learning.

Talk, sing and read to your child. Your child learns by hearing sounds and words at any age. The more you talk, the more they learn.

Spark curiosity and creativity. Ask your child questions that can’t be answered by just “yes” or “no.” Instead of just asking “Do you see that pretty bird?” add “What other things fly?”

Use everyday moments to learn. You can point out shapes, people, colors, and count different items almost anywhere.

Play with your child. When children play games or dress-up, they are learning important skills—it’s not just child’s play.

2015-GPS-logosmCheck out the Early Learning GPS for more tips and activities to help your child learn and grow! Create a free family account and map for your child where you can save tips and resources from the GPS quiz (check out the “You and your child section” and visit the “Activities” tab in your child’s map for activities sorted by age and the skill the activity primarily focuses on.

Activity Calendars and Cards

 The Office of Child Development and Early Learning has developed family-friendly guides packed with fun activities that also help develop all the skills young children need to success. Each month has a theme and includes four weeks of activities based on the theme. Each activity is also linked to a “learning area” – the type of development that you are encouraging. These learning areas are connected to Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards.

Each calendar also includes suggested books to read that relate to the month’s activities, and suggestions for an “All about Me” book that you can create with your child. Enjoy!

You can download PDF versions of these guides here, or purchase hard copies.

Learning is Everywhere Calendar and Web pageLIEC Cover
Ages: Birth through age five

Includes activities you can do around the house (bedroom, kitchen) and in your neighborhood. Each activity includes something for infants, toddlers and preschoolers and kindergartners so the whole family can participate!

Kindergarten Here I Come!Here I come cover
Ages: Three and four year olds

Includes activities to help preschoolers get ready for kindergarten. Each month focuses on a different area of development, such as sparking creativity and celebrating your child’s difference!

Kindergarten, Here I Am!K here I am Cover
Ages: Kindergartners/ five year olds

Includes activities based on authors of popular children’s books, such as Eric Carle and Dr. Seuss!

Every Day I Learn Through Play!
Ages: Infants and toddlersEveryday I Learn Through Play.jpg

Activities you can do to help your child learn and develop using daily routines, every day interactions and Play.  This guide provides ideas for learning in many areas of development for infants and toddlers.

Recipes for Readiness
Ages: Three and four year olds

Recipe for Readiness cover.jpgRecipes for Readiness provides various family-friendly activities that will assist in promoting the skills that Kindergarten teachers are looking for as children enter their classrooms. Activities are designed for use with children age 3-5 and are aligned to the PA Learning Standards for Early Childhood.  One set of cards comes in both English (one side) and Spanish (the other side).

Building Blocks for Babies
Ages: Birth through age three

Building Blocks for Babies coverBuilding Blocks for Babies are fun activities that adults and young children can do together! Based on the PA Learning Standards for Early Childhood, Building Blocks for Babies offer simple at-home experiences that build infants’ and toddlers’ learning in the areas of social, emotional, physical and academic development.

Other resources

Here are some other great sites with activities to help your child grow:

Playtime Tips for Babies

Make the most of your baby’s playtime. Encourage your baby to play when they are happy, rested and fed. Let your baby decide what he wants to play with and how he wants to play. You are there to keep him safe and play as well, but the child should direct the play.

For babies under six months:

  • Imitate the sounds your baby makes and try to have a “conversation” as you coo or babble back and forth to each other.
  • Sing your favorite songs.
  • Talk to your baby about what’s around you and what you are doing.
  • Let your baby touch objects with different textures.

For babies 6-12 months:

  • Start a bedtime routine that includes quiet play and reading together.
  • Use bath time to gently splash, pour and explore water.
  • Play peek-a-boo!
  • Hide your child’s favorite toy under a blanket and ask where the toy went.

If your baby is spending time in a child care/ early learning program, ask if children have at least one hour of “free play” a day. Other things to look for:

  • Do children have access to different play areas that are developmentally appropriate, i.e., not too easy or too hard?
  • Are there enough toys?
  • Do children get to move around as well as be quieter?
  • Do teachers make sure children are safe, but allow the children to decide how they want to play?
  • Every night I spend 1-2 hours reading stories, singing with my son, this is good for my son’s development and I’m also happy

  • Love your tips. They are so useful for me to apply to my children! And thank you so much for sharing every post

  • Adrienne Briggs says:

    This is a great resource for new parents. I will be sharing this.

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