Concepts linked to my early independence
These activities are for children aged four years and over.
What you'll need
Everyday items within the home, such as a big cardboard box and items of clothing.
- Carrying out everyday activities with your child will soon become a familiar routine and are great opportunities to develop an understanding of concepts. These activities can be done at any time with your child throughout the day. They can also be explored in outdoor settings, for example when you and your child are out walking or when playing in the park.
- You can use language to help develop an understanding of these concepts and to reinforce the action. Remember to keep your language short and simple when you’re describing things and give your child time to process information.
- Make important words stand out. For example, if you’re helping your child to put on their coat, your child may not be ready to hear "OK, let’s put your coat on, it is yellow and blue with a white flower on it, and it has buttons and a zip. We will put your arms in first..."
Instead, you could say "Coat on.", "Arms in first.", "Zip up.", "Ready, steady, pull."
When dressing, verbally identify main body parts. For example, "Let’s put your sock on your foot.", or when putting shoes on or off you can say "Shoe on.", or "Let’s take your shoes off."
You can gently touch your child’s foot as you ask, as this provides tactile feedback and reinforcement of the body part.
When helping your child put on their coat, you can identify the parts of the coat, such as the front, back, sleeves and hood. If your child is confident with these, you could also introduce the concept of left and right – "Let’s put your left arm in the sleeve."
This can provide great opportunities to introduce concepts such as in/on/under/in front/behind/between. For example: if you have a large cardboard box, you could play hide and seek games with your child where you take turns to go in the box and under the box. Similarly, when playing with toys, your child can place the toy in/on/under a container or toy box.
Going for a walk
When out for a walk, talk about the weather (wind, rain, sun-warm). Provide opportunities for your child to touch and explore their environment. Talk about the things you see or hear together – "I can hear an ambulance.", "It goes nee-nah." Remember, you can get information from a wide range of different senses. You could play games where you run with your child behind a tree or stand in front of the tree.
Use songs and nursery rhymes, especially action songs, such as Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, The Wheels on the Bus or See the Sleeping Bunnies.
Need to print this?
Download a PDF version of the activity below.