Drawing and Scribbles

Provide a range of materials for the children to explore and experiment with at the drawing table. Remember to allow enough materials and space for each child to spread out. In the beginning children will enjoy scribbling with crayons. These scribbles are important. Hang up the pictures to build the child's confidence as a writer.

Parent notes: When children scribble, they imitate adult writing by making lines, circles and squiggles. They learn to make shapes that will eventually form letters of the alphabet.

Ask: "What have you drawn/written today?"

Materials required: Paper, pencils, crayons, markers, pastels.

Making a car out of a box

Collect some cardboard boxes large enough for a child to sit in (fruit boxes are a good size). Cut the base out of the box so the child can step inside. Cut some handles or make some straps so the child can move around with the box around their middle. Encourage the children to 'customise' their cars by painting them, attaching paper plates or plastic lids for headlights or making a number plate. Set out an area where the children can drive their cars, adults may need to supervise the flow of traffic or road rules.

Materials required: cardboard boxes, scissors, wide ribbon or fabric for straps, paint, brushes, art smocks, felt pens, tape, glue, light card, paper plates, plastic lids

Painting - easel

By presenting the paper vertically, the easel provides a different perspective for the child. If you don't have an easel, you could tape the paper to a wall or window or take it outside and attach to a tree or fence.

Parent notes: When children are encouraged in their creative endeavours, they learn to express themselves non-verbally. Words to praise children could be: Nice work, Magnificent, I'm proud of You, Amazing effort, Good job, Very original and colourful.

Ask: "Can you tell me about your painting?" "why have you chosen that colour?" "Does anyone live in the tree you painted?"

Materials required: Easel, paper, paint, brushes, smocks, water.

Drip painting

Provide food dye in containers and buy squeezable drips. Have paper towel as the paper base .Children love to see the colours merge together.

Materials required: food dye, containers, squeezable drips, paper


Place large sheets of paper on the floor or a table. Provide washable paint in a variety of colours. Put these in a tub so they won't spill. Provide smocks if you wish but not necessary. Some children don't like to wear a smock and won't engage in the experience. Provide a variety of different sized brushes e.g. thick thin. (From a good art supplier). Keep the handles short as young children find it difficult to control long handled brushes. Wooden paint brushes are best and easy to control.

Materials required: paper, washable paint, paint brushes, smocks

Baby face time

Face time boosts baby's brain development. Babies learn to recognise facial expressions very early in life. Looking at your baby for 20 -30 cm is a perfect distance for them to get to know you. Provide a mirror so babies and toddlers can see their own face. As children get older, you can draw or paste faces on cardboard mirrors that depict different feelings.

Materials required: mirror


Children love to look at themselves. They are fascinated how their body and face moves. Mirrors are good for children to discover who they are and how their face shows feelings to the outer world. Place mirrors down at children height.

Parent notes: When children learn to understand their range of moods and emotions they become socially aware of themselves and others.

Materials required: mirror

Body picture

Draw around the child on a large sheet of paper. The child paints or draws on this life-size body, adding clothing and features to the hair and face. Provide paper or wool to add to the picture. Add scissors, glue, and sticky tape.

Materials required: paper, wool, sticky tape, scissors, glue

Simon Says

Support children to learn the names of their body parts in their native language, then encourage them to learn their body parts in another language. The game Simon says is played by calling out a body part "Simon says hands in the air". When the children understand the names of body parts, have them be Simon and use their name "Tamara says…….

Materials required: space to move

Body Part flashcards

Provide flash cards of different body parts and encourage the children play a game placing the cards on the floor face down. Take it in turns to choose a card. Say the name of the body part and find a way of making it move. Children then choose another child to have a turn. Find different ways of using the cards. You could put them in a box and let children pick one out.

Materials required: flashcards

Who Am I Game

Provide pictures of different animals and have children pick one at a time. Look at the features on the card, and have children guess what the animal is.

For example:

I am small

I like to chase a ball

I can wag my tail

I bark

Who am I?

Materials required: pre-made flashcards


Young children enjoy playing with soft dolls. Steiner dolls make an excellent soft toy. They are made of organic materials, soft colours, and simple features that are easy to hold for young children. Cuddle dolls that have no facial features support the child by allowing the doll to have many moods and feelings that resinate with the child. Sometimes sad, happy or just wanting to be still.

Materials required:

Corn husk doll- making

Put one hair tie around the top of the corn husk to make a head. Make arms and legs by taking small pieces of husk and use reaming hair ties. Put corn fibres on for hair. Make a face with a marker pen.

Materials required: 5 small hair ties. Corn husk and fibre from stripping the corn for hair.


When children have practiced doing circles for some time, their attempts to write begin to develop when fine motor skills develop and children can hold a pencil with a pincer grip. Some children will begin to enjoy copying letters. They will want to write their own name. Print out their name on cardboard in lower case letters and allow them to copy. The first letter of their name will be a capital.

Parent notes: when children show an interest in words and letters, begin to point out street signs such as STOP or open/closed signs in stores. Men/Women signs in restrooms or labels on food items. Have your child tell their own story and you write it down for them. Some children may be able to copy this. Make a story book together. Writing activities help children to understand that letters and words have meaning. Children feel validated and heard when their stories are written down and read back to them.

Ask: "How do you feel about your story today?" "Would you like to add more?"

Materials required:

Cultural activities

Australia has a very diverse society. There are many different cultural traditions and practices. Multiculturalism acknowledges and celebrates Australia's cultural diversity. There are many activities to be found on Book reference: Hands Around the World: 365 Creative Ways to Build Cultural Awareness & Global Respect (Williamson Kids Can! Books) This bestselling author invites children to experience, taste, and embrace the daily lives of children from the far corners of the earth--as they plant and grow, write and tell stories, draw and craft, cook and eat, sing and dance, and learn to live in an atmosphere of global respect and cultural awareness. Be sure to explain the significance of each activity to the children, so they understand the culture behind it. Cultural stories, dance and music can be found in the communication section. Say "Hello" Say "Hello" in many different languages. First ask the children if they know how to say "Hello" in any other language. Ask them to say the word and have the children repeat it.

Materials required:

Animal tracks

To provide children with opportunities to identify how animal tracks and animal movements are important in the lives of Aboriginal peoples, both past and present. Book: Tricky Tracks (from the Pumpkin Hollow series) by: Anne Davis and Alwyn Evans; publisher: Fremantle Arts Centre Press. Provide a sand box after talking about the animal prints and have children make prints cut out from cardboard or wooden animals. Make prints on paper with paint. Print out photographs of different animals and have the children match the prints. This can then be taken further and have the children do their own foot painting. The children can try their whole foot, just toes or heels and see the difference. Make a foot print path to follow around the room to the water hole.

Parent notes: when children learn about different cultures they also learn about themselves

Ask: Talk about individual characteristics of size and shape. "Who has the biggest foot?" "Who can find the smallest foot print?"

Materials required: Sand box, wooden animals, Paint, paper, cardboard cut-outs of Australian animal prints, water and towel for washing children’s feet.

Chinese dragon

Chinese New Year is celebrated widely in Australia with the Chinese Dragon. The dragon is a symbol of power, good luck and new beginnings. The group can make a large Chinese Dragon with material and have the larger children get underneath and walk slowly past their friends. Chinese music helps to set the mood of celebration. Providing Chinese food and chop sticks can also be included.

Materials required: material to make dragon,

Chinese Lanterns

Have each child fold a piece of paper (red is best) in half so that the two longest sides are together. Then have the children cut one strip of paper off. Then have the children cut slits in the paper starting at the fold and going almost to the edges. Have the children make four or five slits. Then roll up the paper connecting the two shorter sides with tape or glue. Then the children may glue the first piece they cut off to the top of the lantern for the handle.

Youtube demonstration of making a paper lantern. (

Materials required: paper, scissors, glue/tape

Japanese kite art

Japanese kites consist of light bamboo which paper is fixed to. The kites can be painted or drawn on. This activity needs adult help to attach. Traditionally the pictures told historical stories. To fly a kite bought good luck. Japanese flew kits to celebrate the birth of a baby. Cut out a kite shape and have your child decorate it with paint, glitter, fabric, crayons, or whatever you can come up with. String to fly the kite.

Materials required: sticks, paper, glue, glitter, paint, crayons

Indonesian shadow puppets

Children can make their own shapes for their puppets with craft sticks. Make a shadow box with muslin or white printer paper. A flash light will cast shadows on the puppets. This can also be done on white walls if the box is too small. Encourage the children to tell traditional stories.


Materials required: muslim/white paper, box, flashlight, wodden sticks, paper

My hands mural

To celebrate the group connection have the children make a large mural with everyone's hands displayed showing unity. Mix colourful paint to match each child's skin colour. Paint the child's hands and have the child press their hands onto a large piece of butcher paper or onto paper that you use for your bulletin board. Write the child's name near their hand prints. Repeat the process for each child.

Materials required: coloured paints, butcher's paper

Cultural dress

Find pictures of cultural dress and talk about what is worn. Point out the differences and similarities. Provide music for different cultures and dance to the music. Have the adults talk to the children about their culture and traditions. Teach a circle or Greek dance

Materials required: music, costumes,


Building cubby house from a box

Collect a large cardboard box from a new refrigerator, oven or washing machine etc. Cut out a window and door. Encourage the children to paint or decorate the box and furnish with cushions, blankets or home corner furniture.

Parent notes: when children are given the opportunity to build their own den they learn to problem solve, demonstrate a sense of ownership of their effort and strengthen their sense of value to the group.

Ask: "Where is a quiet and safe place to make a den?" "What do you need to hold the roof on?" "How does it feel to have a safe place of your own?" "What name will you give your den?"

Materials required: Large cardboard box, scissors, tape, paint, brushes, art smocks, felt pens, fabric, blankets, cushions, home corner furniture

Building cubby houses

Provide materials for building a cubby house. Remember that building the cubby house is part of the fun so involve the children in the planning and construction. Cubbies are easy to make from tables, chairs, card tables, cardboard boxes, blankets, sheets or curtains. Opportunity shops can be treasure troves for cubby house furnishings. Attach a blanket, curtain or sheet between trees, over fixed playground equipment, or secure to a fence at one end and to the ground at the other.

Materials required: Table, chairs, cardboard boxes, blankets, sheets, curtains, tape, pegs, cushions.

Dolls house and dolls

There are lots of opportunities for role play in the dolls' house. You don't need a manufactured dolls' house with all the matching furniture. A cardboard box or some blocks will do just as well. Gathering the bits and pieces is part of the fun. Small dolls, action figures or model animals make great housemates.

Parent notes: When children engage in playing with figurines they build on their own experiences and explore ways of being in a family group. Children are given the opportunity to express their feelings and become aware of their family connections to understand what type of community they belong to.

Ask: "How do the children help at home?" "What do the adults do in the kitchen?" "What do they cook?" "What does papa do?" "What does nanna do ?"

Materials required: Dolls' house, cardboard box, blocks, small wooden blocks, small pieces of fabric, dolls' furniture, small dolls, figures, plastic animals.

Dress ups

Make some dress ups available in a large basket, box or tub. Opportunity shops or garage sales are a great places to pick up some interesting pieces of clothing and accessories. Make sure they are clean and cut to the child's length. Sleeves on shirts can be cut and dress shorter hems. Make sure the items are easy to get in and out of and don't have too many buttons, fastenings or ties to get tangled up in. Look for fun hats, bags and accessories. Scarves are versatile as they can be used in lots of different ways such as capes or head wear. It is best to not encourage children to wear commercial dress up clothing that encourages aggressive play.

Parent notes: When children are creative with a few items that are versatile and can be used as symbols, they can become any imaginary creature or person they want to be. They can use their play to explore, investigate and share ideas with others. This helps with learning about empathy, conflict resolution, language and understanding the nature of relationships.

Ask: "What could you use to make an apron to be a Master Chef?"

Materials required: Recycled clothes, vests, skirts, shirts, bags, hats, scarves.

Home corner

Children show an increasing awareness of themselves as they play and interact in settings that are familiar such as home corner, where they act out familiar daily routines. Set up an area for home corner. Use child size furniture or large boxes to create a "home" environment e.g. fridge, table, chairs, stove, bed, sink. Furnish the home corner with recycled household items e.g. pots and pans, cushions, kitchen utensils, fabric pieces, tea towels. Adding dolls or soft toys encourages dramatic play.

Parent notes: when children engage in home corner play they learn to listen to other's ideas, explore diversity of culture which provides opportunities for learning differences and similarities between people.

Materials required: Child size furniture, large boxes, recycled household items, kitchen utensils, dolls, soft toys.

Large boxes for building

A collection of large cardboard boxes can be the beginnings of some great building. Make sure the children have enough space to use the boxes as they see fit. They could work alone or in a team to build a cubby house or use the box as a car or a boat. You could add some paper, markers and tape to decorate.

Parent notes: Nurture the children's thinking skills by having them discover how to join boxes together.

Materials required: A collection of large cardboard boxes, paper, markers, tape.

Post Office

Use a cardboard box with an elongated slot cut out for posting. Children can post items e.g. postcards, greeting cards, envelopes. Provide some drawing materials so children can make their own "mail" or wrapping paper, tape and string to wrap small parcels.

Materials required: Cardboard box, postcards, greeting cards, envelopes, paper or light card, markers, pencils, crayons, tape, ink stamps, stickers, wrapping paper.

Prams and dolls

Set up an area for the children to play with dolls and prams. Make sure there is enough room for the dolls to be pushed around in the prams. Provide some blankets and dolls clothes so the children can make their 'babies' comfortable.

Materials required: Prams, dolls, blankets, doll's or baby clothes

Restaurant play

Children enjoy modelling families at home cooking. Provide natural items to represent food , such as , pine cones , small blocks of wood, make cloth food to look like carrots, apples, chicken etc. make sure items are not too small for children to put in their mouth. Supervise the play with younger children as they may not realise the difference between pretend /symbolic play yet. Younger children use objects at face value while older children can imagine and use an object to represent something else. Parents can help model the pretend play and become involved as one of the customers. Older Children can make their own menus on cardboard.

Parent notes: When children are involved in pretend play they use many different items as symbols to represent what they perceive in their imagination. This helps with their imagination and creativity.

Ask: "What could you use to make a stone soup?" ‘How many plates do we need for all these customers?" ‘How many spoons do we have now? "What would you do when you have finished eating?" ‘How would the dishes get clean again?" " How does the baby feel when he is hungry?"

Materials required: Child size table and chairs, table cloths, napkins, paper and pencils for orders and menus, aprons, tableware, tongs, utensils.

Set up a pretend bus, plane or boat

Line up the chairs in rows. Don't forget the driver's seat. Dress ups help set the scene. Other props to consider include: tickets, maps, timetable, steering wheel. Consider extending the experience by reading a story or singing a song like the Wheels on the bus or Row, row, row your boat.

Parent notes: When children engage in imaginative play they are learning to understand the role other people play. This may be taking a leadership role, or being an observer, or following directions. Children feel included when they join in with play. They can contribute to the group outcomes.

Ask: "how many miles to the beach?" "How much does it cost on this train/bus?" ‘What time will I get there?" " Who will fix the flat tyre?" ‘ How will you fix the flat tyre?"

Materials required: Chairs or cushions, dress ups, paper, pencils, luggage, maps, steering wheel, transport or journey books.

Shop play

Collect empty food containers and packets to use in home corner to set up a shop. Provide some paper, pencils, magazines and catalogues for making price tags and shopping lists. Have some shopping baskets and bags. If you don't have a cash register, you could use a shoe box and a calculator. Children could have a shoe shop, dress shop, or pet shop. Collect suitable items from OP shops.

Parent notes: When children engage in games of buying and selling items, they are learning negotiation skills. They recognise fairness and unfairness, making choices, problem-solving and literacy and numeracy concepts.

Ask: "what does this pair of shoes cost?" "How much change will you give me?"

Materials required: Empty food containers and packets, paper, pencils, magazines, catalogues, paste, baskets, bags, calculator, shoe box, toy cash register.

Dramatic Play

Children love to imagine and can experience being anything they want to be. "Today I will be a mermaid" or "tomorrow I will be a train driver" Play offers opportunities for children to learn as they discover, create, improvise, and imagine. Dramatic play is when children use symbols, objects and take on roles that they observe in their home and community. They invent from their imagination or stories they have heard. A child can be a parent, Fire officer, ambulance officer, truck driver, doctor, chef, princess, puppy, scary monster, or superhero. Dramatic play is spontaneous, child-initiated play experience. It can change rapidly.

Materials required:

Role Play

Role play for children involves imitating the action of others. Master Chef, baker, pilot, nurse, doctor, florist, parents feeding babies, restaurants, shops, or community workers. For superhero play children need guidelines and limits regarding safe non- aggressive play with others. Provide props for children to create their play but allow the children to design and set up the area or space. The outdoor play space is also a good area for dramatic play. Give children plenty of time to develop their dramatic play as they will return to the area many times. Washing baby and baby clothes in a baby tub and hanging these up to dry on a sunny day is a wonderful activity for dramatic play.

Materials required:


Children enjoy cooking and sharing food. This is how communities relate and celebrate special occasions. Provide simple ingredients so that children can do their own baking, such as making pizzas or cupcakes for someone's birthday. Provide aprons to make the experience interesting. Make sure all the children and adults wash their hands first and provide clean equipment. Prepare the activity before you begin. Allow children to stir and mix. Keep children away from hot ovens. If the setting does not have an oven, look for recipes that do not need cooking such as honey joys made from cornflakes. Google recipes.

Materials required: apron, ingredients, mixing bowls and utensils

Character play

Children explore a new world during imaginary play. They create their own communities that involve a variety of fantasy characters. These characters also have roles to play and fit into the structure and boundaries the child sets.Some children become leaders, others followers. Children soon learn to play their preferred role.

Some examples are:

Firefighters: Provide cardboard boxes for the children to use as the fire truck or large wooden blocks. Rubber hoses cut short, ladders and fire helmets can be used for props.

Pirates: A simple box can be a pirate ship. Make telescopes with cardboard gladwrap rolls.

Fairies and wizards: a stick can be used as a wand​

Materials required: box, hose, head gear, gladwrap rolls, stick


This activity can be set up indoors or outdoors. You can set up a small camp tent or provide sheets and create a tent. Add blankets and pillows to lie on. A pretend camp fire with sticks and red cellophane makes a good cooking fire, Provide frying pans and wooden spoons, a billy, cups for drinking tea. Sing camp fire songs around the fire. Camping is a wonderful family activity and creates wonderful relationships as the family work together to set up their camp home. A blue piece of material can make a river for gathering water for the billy or fishing for dinner.

Materials required: small tent or sheet and tables, blankets and pillows, pretend campfire (sticks and cellophane), frying pans, wooden spoons, cups etc

Teddy Bears Picnic

Collect teddies from an op shop or the children bring their own. Put out a table cloth and cups, plates and pretend food. If possible set up a picnic outdoors. Older children like to make their own invitations to the picnic. Supply paper and pencils to make cards. You could make honey sandwiches and have these with the teddies. After setting the scene with the children you can sing "If you go into the woods today" a teddy Bear Picnic song. There a CDs you can purchase also.

Materials required: Teddy bears, table cloth, cups plates and food,



Provide a variety of different textured balls of different sizes for children of all ages to roll, touch and feel. Prickly, velvet, felt, wooden, plastic balls. Supervise throwing of balls. Only soft balls to be thrown inside. Roll the ball back and forth between you and baby on the floor. As children grow, they can crawl for their favourite ball.

Outside, put a box or basket of different sized balls for the children to kick, roll or throw in their own way. Experiment with different types of balls: textured, light, heavy, dimpled, covered in fabric, different colours and balls that make sounds.

Materials required: Different sorts of balls, a box or basket

Bean bag balancing

Put out some bean bags for the children to use. Ask the children if they can balance a bean bag on their head, show them how. Encourage them to follow the leader around the room, balancing the bean bags. Ask if they can balance it on their nose, shoulder, forehead or foot. Can they stand on one leg while balancing the bean bag on their head?

Materials required: bean bags, space indoors or outside

Bean bags

Bean bags are fun to throw, easier to grasp than a ball and are ideal for children learning to throw and catch. Provide a couple of baskets or boxes and some bean bags for children to gather, pack unpack or carry. A plastic launcher or catapult (available from educational suppliers) is also a wonderful way for children to explore cause and effect.

Materials required: Bean bags, baskets, tubs or boxes, launcher or catapult.

Bean bags into bucket

Provide baskets of bean bags for the children to gather, pack, unpack and carry. Bean bags are fun to throw and catch and are easier to grasp than a ball. Set up a game where the children try to throw the bean bags into a bucket or basket. Indicate where they should stand using a mat or a mark on the floor with masking tape or chalk.

Materials required: bean bags, a basket, tub or bucket, masking tape, chalk

Bikes & Tricycles

Ride- on toys allow children to be propelled through space. Children enjoy the sense of movement. Supervision is required at all times as children become very mobile and can get quite fast. Provide some space for ride -on toys, bikes, wagons and hobby horses. This type of play also provides lots of opportunities for pretend and social play. Adults may need to supervise the sharing and use of these items.

12 to 18 months straddle and propel their feet along after they have learnt to walk and balance. These children push both their feet at the same time. Choose a ride-on with four wheels for stability.

19 to 23 months like ride-on toys that they can put items in the back. They propel with alternate feet.

2 years old the child are able to maneuver their ride-on with better skill and move around objects. Three wheeled scooters with wide platforms are suitable.

3 years old children have developed the ability to pedal and have the ability to steer a handle bar. Tricycles should be the size of the child. Some children can ride a bike with training wheels.

4 to 5 year old can use a scooter by pushing with one foot on the ground. Some children can balance well and ride a small bike without training wheels.

Parent notes: when children have the opportunity to experience ride- on toys they learn to develop a sense of balance, coordination and physical fitness. Encourage children to wear helmets as they get older.

Materials required: Space indoor or outdoors, ride on toys, prams, wagons, hobby horses

Bikes & Tricycles - traffic setting

A pretend traffic setting provides lots of opportunities for exploring a wide range of concepts including sharing, rules, safety and community. Set up a specific space for a circuit. Use traffic cones, chairs, chalk lines or buckets as markers. Children and adults can be involved in directing the traffic. You could use coloured flags or paper plates (green, yellow and red) as traffic lights.

Materials required: An outdoor space, bikes and tricycles, traffic cones, chairs, chalk, buckets, flags, paper plates.

Body awareness

Encourage children to learn the names of parts of their body by reading a book on body parts, singing "Heads shoulders, knees and toes" or "Simon Says" and making flash cards to help children identify what body part they are moving.Sing songs such as "Heads, shoulders, Knees and toes"This is a fun activity to promote children's awareness of how their bodies move in space. It involves understanding how our body fits through spaces and how it can balance.Gather ; small group of children/parents together, take turns in demonstrating actions e.g. small as mouse(crouch down), tall as a tree (stand on tiptoe and stretch out your arms), wide (stretch your arms and legs out wide). Copy Cat: Children can mirror one another doing actions. Taking turns and observing is important for later learning

Parent notes: When children are encouraged to explore what their body can do they can learn new tasks easily. Children begin to understand direction, distance, and location. Some children may identify with animals, such as bird with wings, a tall giraffe, a large elephant, a small snail or turtle.

Ask: "How tall can you grow?","Use your arms to make yourself taller","How small can you make your body", "Roll up into a ball", "How wide can you make yourself?"

Materials required: Space for children and adults to gather together.


Set aside an area for dancing. Provide some props, musical instruments, shakers, ribbons, scarves, dress ups. Use live or recorded music, experiment with different types and styles of music. Allow the children the opportunity to experience different music, fast/slow, high/low, loud/soft. Encourage creative movement. Consider attaching the ribbons/scarves to elastic hair ties to make it easier for children to hold on to them. Fast and slow music helps to encourage children to listen and move appropriately. You can you a drum to do this as well which gives you more control.

Parent notes: When children engage in movement activities it helps to strengthen their muscles and become aware of their bodies in space.

Ask: "What is the music telling you?" "How would you move to this beat?"

Materials required: space for dancing, musical instruments, ribbons, scarves, dress ups, CDs, CD player, someone who can play an instrument

Hula and bean bag toss

Set up a game of skill inside or out with one or two hula hoops and some bean bags. Place the hula hoops on the ground and indicate where the children should stand with a line drawn with chalk, masking tape or a mat to stand on. The children take turns to throw the bean bags into the hoops. Use different coloured bean bags and ask the child to throw a "yellow one" into the hoop etc.

Parent notes: Hula hoops can be used for stepping stones in an imaginary game or story. The children can jump in/out of the hoops during an obstacle course activity.

Materials required: Hula hoops, bean bags, masking tape, chalk or mat.

Kitchen band

Collect plastic bowls, pots, pans, spoons and saucepan lids. Save boxes and king sized food tins to use as drums and plastic wrap cylinders to strike the drum, tap against another cylinder or use as a megaphone.

Parent notes: Supervise children and encourage banging the pots. Modelling how to do this is important for young children so they avoid hitting each other. Allowing children to hear different sounds of tone, pitch and volume when items are hit with different beaters supports listening skills.

Materials required: Plastic bowls, pots, pans, wooden or metal spoons, saucepan lids, boxes, empty food containers, cardboard cylinders.

Obstacles courses - inside

Set up an obstacle course inside. Encourage active play by including things to move around, through, on and under in different ways. Drape a blanket or sheet over a table or a couple of chairs to make a tunnel. Place a couple of carpet squares or mats to step from one to another. Use some hula hoops on the floor for children to jump into. Use masking tape or a chalk line for children to walk along like a tight rope. Place some markers on the floor for children to run around.

Materials required: chairs, hula hoops, carpet squares, masking tape, chalk, witches hats or markers


Use a parachute or large bed sheet to enjoy a group activity for adults and their children. Gather everyone around holding on to the edges of the parachute, alternate adult/child, adults may need to kneel. Move arms up and down to make waves. Lift high over heads and down. Move it faster. Talk about the sounds and breeze created. Roll a large soft ball around the parachute. All move in a circle in one direction singing a favourite song eg. Ring a Rosie

Materials required: Parachute or large bed sheet, space indoors or outside

Rolling ball game

A fun group activity involves adults and children sitting in a circle on the floor. Adults sit with their legs apart with their child sitting in front of them. Using a large soft ball, the first person calls out the name of a child in the group and rolls the ball gently towards them. That person calls out someone else's name and so forth. Older children can play this game without the adults sitting behind them.

Parent notes: When children do this they learn names of their peers. Eye-hand coordination and being part of a group.

Materials required: Space where the group can sit in a circle, large soft ball.

Sand pit

Rake the sandpit ready for some sand play or use a plastic clam shell or large flat plastic container filled with sand. Provide some tools for digging, measuring, planning and building. Some old cookware and kitchen items can provide opportunities for some experimentation and rich pretend play.

Materials required: Sand pit, plastic clam or container with sand, spades, buckets, toy trucks, plastic pipes, old kitchen ware or cook ware.

Sand Tray

If you don't have a sandpit or the weather doesn't permit outside play, bring the sand play inside. Use a shallow tray and some sand. Provide some small tools for digging, measuring and experimenting. You could add some natural resources like small twigs and leaves or some toy figures or animals.

Parent notes: When children play alongside each other they learn to share, take turns and co-construct together. This develops social and emotional wellbeing through interaction.

Ask: "How will you make an animal barn?" "What can you add to make a water trough?"

Materials required: Shallow tray (litter trays are a good size), sand, plastic or tin cups, spoons, twigs, leaves, toy figures, plastic animals.

Stepping stones

Make some stepping stones from non slip material and place on the floor in a simple formation. Children can jump from stepping stone to stepping stone, younger children may need to hold the hand of an adult. If the stepping stones are made of different colours, children can name the colours as they go or count them.

Materials required: Level floor space, stepping stones cut from non slip material eg. Rubber matting, carpet off cuts, or foam.


Place a tunnel in the play area as part of an obstacle course or as a place to investigate or hide. You may have a tunnel or could use a cardboard box, blanket over a table or A frame, or a fabric tube tunnel that is supported at each end by an adult. Encourage the children to crawl through the tunnel and emerge at the other end.

Materials required: Tunnel or cardboard box, blanket, table, A frame, fabric tube tunnel supported by two adults.

Water Play

Cover a table with a towel. Place a couple of centimetres of water in a large dish or tub. Provide a range of different sized plastic or tin cups, jugs, funnels and sieves so the children can experiment with the feel and flow of the water. Adult supervision is required at all times.

Parent notes: Talking with children about concepts of full/ empty / counting using words such as filling up, pouring out, builds language and early mathematical concepts.

Ask: "Show me a full jug?' Show me an empty cup" "How many cups do you need to fill the jug?"

Materials required: Child sized table, towels, large dish or tub, water, plastic cups, jugs, funnels, sieves.

Nature experience for baby

Put babies in a pram outside to experience looking the leaves moving in the wind. Talk to your baby about what you see and experiencing. The colour in the flowers, the tall tree, the moving clouds or the blue sky. Visit a botanical garden or forest with a group of other parents with baby.Allow babies to feel the grass and smell the earth. They like to investigate their surroundings. Allowing children to feel and touch the earth supports their sensory functioning.

Parent notes: when you connect your child with nature it improved eye sight by reducing near-sightedness. It also helps reduce stress for both parent and child.

Materials required:

Toys to grab and chew

Babies love to learn through their senses, especially their mouth. Supervise babies at all times because they love to put things in their mouth. Take away small objects in their reach. Put baby on a play mat with colours to look at. Make mobile for baby to look at out of reach but still in view. Black and white or high contrast patterns are best. Busy Boards help children to practice coordinating hand skills and develop sensory awareness. Babies learn that they can make things happen. Poking, squeezing, twisting and dropping things. Babies love to drop things from their high chair. This is normal learning and they see it as a game. They love to hear the noise the object makes when it hits the floor.

Parent notes: Make sure toys do not have strings or ribbons, small bells that may come out. Check that Busy boards are sturdy and parts won't come off.

Materials required:


Simple games of playing peek-a-boo with a cloth encourage babies to realise that they still exist when they cannot be seen. Hide a soft toy and have baby find it under the cloth. If children are learning to crawl, put the toy a little further away so they need to move toward it.

Materials required: cloth, soft toy

Filling a box

Shoe box is a wonderful play toy for young children to put objects in and out. Use large colourful Duplo blocks, small dolls, small toy trucks, cars.

Materials required: colourful Duplo blocks, small dolls, small toy trucks, cars, shoe box


Colourful graded stacking cups make an ideal game. Children love to build up the tower and knock it down. You can use different sized plastic containers found in the kitchen cupboard, such as bowls and cups. Soft blocks are also good for stacking objects

Materials required: plastic containers,, bowls or cups, soft blocks


Children go from crawling to standing. They then hold onto furniture and cruise around the room. Place solid and safe pieces of furniture to support you child's attempts to move. When in a different environment, supervise and watch your child does not pull unstable objects down. Child proof rooms with stairs or kitchens where children can reach an oven. Encourage cruising once the child is crawling or on their feet. Place a favourite toy on different places around the house or room. Push toys are a good idea, such as a large empty cardboard box. Watch the items in the room are safe to be bumped into.

Materials required:

Bug catching

Encourage children to respect living creature's great and small. Providing binoculars and a bug catcher, the children can look intently at the small bugs without harming them. Children enjoy making small homes for the bugs near trees.

Parent notes: Talk about the size of the bug and the features.

Ask:"What do you think the bug eats?" "Where would the bug sleep?"

Materials required: binoculars, bug catcher


If the playgroup does not have the option to create a garden area, collect small pots or the lids off spray cans for a base to plant seeds. Provide garden tools for children to play in the sandpit and create a pretend garden. Reference book: Nurture through Nature. Claire Walden.

Materials required: pots, garden tools, seeds


Recycling begins at an early age. Intentional teaching of sustainable practices is part of creating an awareness of the impact we have on the environment. Sustainable practices can be imbedded into daily routines. Recycling experiences for children begin with sorting items for the recycling bin or the worm farm. Intentional teaching about sustainable concepts helps children to understand that they can have control over their environment.

*Some practices are to conserve water- encourage children to turn off water after they have washed their hands.

*Recycling waste- worm farms for composting

*Recycled material for play, art and craft

*Planting- Growing vegetables- planting seeds, sprouting seeds.

* talking to children about turning off lights in rooms not occupied

Materials required:


Encourage children to cook what they have grown. Making fruit /vegetable kebabs found in the garden or make tacos with the tomatoes and lettuce. Involving children in cooking is a wonderful activity for developing a love of healthy attitude to food. Children can learn where food comes from and what is nutritious. When children learn to bake their own food they learn many skills, such as science- "Why do cakes rise?" Maths skills such as volume- "How many cups full do you need?" Or weighing and measuring different ingredients. When adults read out the recipe children learn the value of language and reading. Children love to cook. Making banana bread or muffins are ways to encourage healthy eating. Check if you community room has an oven. The children can help with the preparation in the play room. There are some recipes that do not need cooking. Try Google for ideas.

Parent notes: when children engage in cooking experiences they are learning pre- maths skills of measurement, counting and time; and pre- reading skills of sequence, written word and speech.

Ask: "Who much does it weigh?" "How many full spoons do you need?"

Materials required: Bowls, measuring spoons, muffin trays, ingredients for recipe, aprons, recipe written out on a card for children to see the sequence.


Children love to run. Give them space. When in open spaces Supervise running. Watch for roads or stray dogs.

Materials required:


Block Construction

Blocks are a great open-ended play activity. Children can create and imagine. Use large Duplo blocks for younger toddlers, then add wooden blocks with different shapes for children to build structures as they mature.

Add accessories to the blocks, dinosaurs, trees, cars, people, cotton material shapes, natural objects (pinecones, wooden circles, stones, gems) traffic signs, and animals.As children play with shapes they begin to learn their names. Add three dimensional shapes with block construction.

Parent notes: When children engage with blocks they are learning pre- maths skills such as height, length, size, shape, and weight. Supervise younger children around block accessories such as gemstones.

Ask: "tell me about your building?" "What shape have you put on the top of your tower?" "Where do you think you could put this half circle?"

Materials required: A space away from foot traffic where buildings will not be disturbed, blocks made of wood, plastic, cardboard and foam.


Bubbles are fun for all ages. Babies like to watch the bubbles float and toddlers like to catch them. Older children enjoy making their own bubbles. Bubbles are wonderful for visual tracking skills and language skills. Encourage children to watch the bubbles going up/down, fast/ slow in front/behind. Words such as poke, pop, squeeze, blow, clap, are introduced.

Parent notes: Encourage children to look at the colours inside the bubbles. When children observe bubbles they are learning science .Tell the children that when bubbles float it is because warm air is lighter than cold air.

Ask: "Are the bubbles different sizes?"

Materials required: 6 cups of water 1/2 cup of glycerine Combine ingredients, shake and let settle.


Toddlers enjoy the sensory tactile experience when handling clay. Older children enjoy creating forms such as sausages, bowls or balls with clay. Allow the children to make their own creations. Observe and encourage children. Watch that toddles do not eat it. A large slab of clay can be purchased relatively cheap from art suppliers. Clay provides a new sensory open-ended experience for children. It can be pulled apart, moulded together, made into sausage shapes, flattered, built up, formed into shapes such as a bowl for bird eggs. Provide pictures of animals to stimulate children's imagination to create their own zoo, farm yard animal's bird parks etc.

Parent notes:When children use clay they learn concepts of physical manipulation of squeezing, patting, poking, piling up, 3D forms. When children use open ended play materials to investigate, explore ideas, and follow their interests they learn to solve problems. Adults can model different ways of using the clay, have children try out their thinking and talk about what worked and what didn't and what they can try next.

Ask: "how can you make your clay flat?" "What can you do to join two pieces together?" "How many birds' eggs can you count?"

Materials required: Buy a plastic tub with a lid to keep the clay in. Clay needs to be keep moist, so when putting away make square blocks, push your thumb in the middle and add water to the indent. Put in the tub and cover with a lid. Large ceramic tiles to work clay or plastic bread boards are useful. Sponge’s scrapers and water are good for cleaning up. Smock or apron, white or brown clay, rolling pin, modelling tools. Children need access to water to wash their hands after the activity.


Provide a range of materials on the art table for children to make collages. Provide sturdy pieces of paper, paste and a collection of interesting bits and pieces for the children to select and arrange as they would like.

Materials required: Sturdy paper, paste or glue, brushes, small pieces of coloured paper, fabric or card, feathers, wool, string, confetti, leaves, stickers, pictures cut from magazines, recycled items.

Cutting and pasting

Learning to use scissors is skill that takes some time to master. A fun way to encourage this is to provide some paper, paste and some coloured paper or magazines for the children to cut out pictures or shapes and paste them to their sheet of paper.

Materials required: Sheets of paper, child size scissors, paste or glue, coloured paper, old magazines or catalogues, crayons, markers or pencils.

Finger painting

This works best on a laminate table, have the paint in a small container so you can limit how much is put on the table - a spoon can be used to transfer paint to the tabletop. Encourage the child to use their hands and fingers to spread the paint over the surface, enjoying the feel of the paint and the patterns made - remember finger painting is all about the process not the product. If you would like to make a print, press strong paper down on the painting, smooth over with the palms of your hands and carefully lift the paper up to reveal a copy of the design. Clear away the excess paint and wipe the table with a sponge and soapy water.

Parent notes: When children engage with open-ended play materials their active involvement transforms their learning. Long periods of uninterrupted play helps children to invent, investigate and discover the world around them.

Ask: "How does the paint feel?" "Tell me about what patterns have you been able to make"

Materials required: A laminate table top, paint, small tray for paint, spoon, sponge, soapy water, strong paper, smocks. A bucket and towel near the table for children to wash & dry hands.

Fishing game

Make paper fish that can be caught with a string and a magnet.Or cut out plastic fish that can be put in a small tub of water to be caught. If you don't have magnets make pipe cleaner fishing rods.

Materials required: Materials: a large cardboard box painted blue, fish stickers, sticks for the fishing rod, masking tape, pipe cleaners for hooks, ( twist the pipe cleaner and tape it onto a stick and make a hook)shells, paper or card to cut out fish.

Jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles come in different sizes and suit different developmental stages of children. Young children become frustrated with puzzles they cannot solve. They do not have the eye- hand coordination to manipulate the pieces in place. Provide younger children with big knobs on the puzzle pieces. Children begin to learn the size of the puzzle piece and the shape of the whole. As the children mature, they are more capable and are able to complete them on their own. Find more challenging puzzles with more pieces for these children.

Parent notes: When children engage in playing with jigsaw Puzzles they provide an excellent learning tool for children to develop fine motor skills, special awareness and cognitive development. Puzzles need to be carefully selected so they encourage eye- hand coordination, visual perception, mathematical concepts, problem-solving strategies and collaborative social development.Adult intervention is needed for children to gain maxim experience. At first children try to bang the pieces into the inset board by trial and error. Adults can support children to have patience and persist.

Ask: "We need to work together to solve this "Where do you think the straight edge will fit?" "Can you find the round piece?" "Well done, you have completed the picture". Talk about the picture.

Materials required: Table or floor space and a range of jigsaw puzzles e.g. wooden jigsaw puzzles, puzzles pieces with knobs, large floor puzzles to accommodate the differing abilities and interests of children at playgroup.

Play dough making

Play dough making can be a fun group activity. Create the recipe with large pictures so the children can see the sequence of events and how many cups of flour /oil or spoons of salt/water/essential oils, are needed. Have the ingredients, plastic bowls and spoons ready on the table. A small group, approx. 2- 4 children at a time, can work to produce one batch. Allow the children to pour, stir and knead the dough. This can also be achieved with each parent and child working together to produce their own portion.

Parent notes: do the activity on a table at children's height. Read out the recipe, point to the pictures of each step, and let the child participate in measuring the ingredients and stirring the mixture. To ensure the safety of the children, adults will need to add the boiling water to the mixture away from where the children are working. When the mixture has cooled slightly, kneading the warm playgroup dough brings another sensory element to the play.

Ask: How many cups of water is needed?" What is the next step?" "How does it feel?"

Materials required: Play dough for one ingredients: 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, 1 tablespoon cream of tartar, 1 cup of boiling water with food colouring added), 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Equipment required: Smocks/aprons, bowls, spoons, measuring cups, access to boiling water, copy of the recipe. Instructions: Measure and mix all dry ingredients together and add vegetable oil. Away from the children, an adult can add the boiling water and food colouring. Mix together with a spoon to forma soft light dough. When the mixture has cooled slightly, turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.


Children enjoy games such as classifying and sorting objects. You can have baskets or bowls for children to identify similar and different objects. Sorting objects/pictures that are alike or different. Older children can then classify the objects into groups such as natural objects or plastic objects.

Parent notes: talk about how your animal/ gum nuts, leaves, are the same or different than the child's. When children learns to match objects they are learning to classify objects.

Materials required: Small box or basket with a range of themed items e.g. small and large animals, soft and hard items, soft and rough textures.


Threading to make necklaces, bracelets, anklets have been used in many ceremonies over centuries. The items are usually sourced locally from the natural environment. Paper muffin liners make easy items to thread. You also make these into flowers for older children, placing cut-out circles in the centre. Paper chains are also easy to create with children.Making Threading Cards, where children follow the threading pattern from cardboard strips using large wooden beads helps children to learn to classify.Supervise children with small bead items.

Parent Notes: When children learn traditional crafts they become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing through the interaction with others and feel a sense of personal success. They learn pre-maths concepts such as more, less, add another, counting, addition, classifying colours, and practice their fine motor skills.

Ask: "How many beads do you have?" "What colour do you need to make a repeating pattern?"

Materials required: Materials: String, yarn, thin elastic, pipe cleaners (good for younger children). Pasta shells, beads, or cut up plastic straws into small tubs or paper with holes. Children can use a hole- punch to make their own item to thread.

Play dough- adding items

Cookie cutters, chopping board, wooden plates ,bowls, to put "cakes" on for a tea party, wooden knives, rolling pins, gumnuts, small wooden logs to represent candles, cardboard shapes.

Materials required: Cookie cutters, chopping board, wooden plates ,bowls, to put “cakes” on for a tea party, wooden knives, rolling pins, gumnuts, small wooden logs to represent candles, cardboard shapes.

Paper construction

A variety of paper (different thickness, width, colours, and types) can be sourced such as tissue paper, cellophane, home-made paper, crepe paper. Have strong glue, scissors, brushes sticky tape and cardboard base for the work to be put upon. Encourage the children to tear, cut, curl, fold or rip the paper. Children are encouraged to create their own work as they go.

Parent notes: when children are allowed to experiment and use their imagination, they are learning to problem-solve, construct skill development and confidence through trial and error.

Ask: "What do you need to make it longer?" "How will the paper stay on?"

Materials required: Sheets of paper, child size scissors, paste or glue, coloured paper, old magazines or catalogues, crayons, markers or pencils.

Paper Weaving

Weaving is an art that indigenous communities have been doing for hundreds of years. Generally woman would weave baskets for carrying goods or weave cloth the wear as clothing. Paper Weaving is a difficult practice and takes some time to learn. Support children to weave strips in and out of the base. The process is to weave over and under. Make a paper base by folding in half and cut slits 2.5 cm apart, form the fold to the edge. Do not cut right through. Cut out thin paper strips 2.5 cm wide in a variety of colours. Staple strips to the top and bottom

Parent notes: when children try they are learning to persist and give difficult tasks a go.

Ask: "How many strips of paper altogether?"

Materials required: paper, scissors, staples

Pipe Cleaner Shapes

Children enjoy making their own shapes with soft materials. Pipe cleaners make a great open-ended material that children can manipulate. They are able to practice their fine motor skills as the bend, twist, add to, and create.

Materials required: pipecleaners

Sewing/ weaving hessian

Weaving and sewing play a major role in many cultures and traditions around the world. Grass baskets made of local reeds are part of the Australian Indigenous culture. You can buy different coloured pieces of hessian and cut to a suitable shape. Generally a square is easy for young children to manage. Hessian potato bags need to be washed before using with children. Different lengths of coloured wool, ribbon, raffia, or long pieces of grass for threading. Blunt darning needle. Large buttons, beads can also be added. Children need supervision with this activity and will need help to get started.

Parent notes: When children are challenged to develop new skills and knowledge they are learning to become confident, make choices, learn patterns, sequences of events, counting and develop new words (add, sew, thread, before, next to, after, though, over, under).

Materials required: Hessian potato bags. Different lengths of coloured wool, ribbon, raffia, or long pieces of grass for threading. Blunt darning needle. Large buttons, beads can also be added.

Colour matching games

Pom poms and paint chips: Get some Paint chip samples .Buy a bag of pompoms .Match them with your samples. Laminate the paint samples. Stick the samples down on a tray or heavy cardboard. Children then match the pompoms to the same colour chip.

Egg cartons: Paint several half dozen egg cartons in different colours. Have the children put the pompoms onto the right coloured trays.

Cups and paperclips: Coloured cups and dough with paper clips. Match the coloured pompoms on the appropriate coloured cup.

Colour tubes: Paint gladwrap rolls and stick with double sided masking tape securely to the glass or a wall. Place white bowls under each tube. The children then match the pompoms to the tube and fill the bowl.

Parent notes: when children engage in matching games, they are learning problem-solving skills, eye-hand coordination development, language skills by labelling the differences colour names.

Materials required: pom poms, paper clips, cups, paint samples, tray, cups, gladwrap rolls


Acting out a well known story

Encourage a small group of children to act out a favourite story. Use a book or your memory to familiarise the children with the story. Provide some dress ups and props to help the children create the characters and scenes. The great big enormous turnip or Billy Goats Gruff is great for four to five year olds to act out for younger children

Parents notes: When children act out a song or story they are increasing their memory skills and learning sequencing

Ask:"What comes first?" "What comes next?"

Materials required: A book or a favourite story, dress ups, props relating to the story eg. Miss Polly had a dolly might require a doll, a bed, a telephone, a doctor's coat, a stethoscope a bag and a hat.

Book corner

Make a comfy reading corner away from active play areas that is inviting to adults and children alike. Provide seating that encourages adults and children to sit together while sharing a story in pairs or small groups. Garage sales, fetes or opportunity shops are great places to pick up a wide variety of books at very low cost.

Materials required: Sofa, chairs, mats, bean bag, pillows or cushions. A shelf, box or basket for books. Sturdy, hard cover, big books with bright pictures. Books made from vinyl or material for babies. Books that reflect the families


Some of the best reading opportunities are those that happen spontaneously. Share a book with one or two children and others may come or go as they please. Follow the child's interest and don't worry if they want to skip a page or not finish the story.Sharing books provides many opportunities to ask questions and talk about the story

Books for Baby:Need to be soft cloth or board books. Large pictures with one picture to a page. Reading together is cruital in developing language skills. Allow the child to hold the book themselves after reading.

Parent notes: Reading is fundamental to develop children's language. Children learn to identify sounds and patterns and recognise visual cues in books. Reading stories to children promotes bonding and helps build your relationship.

Ask: "what can you see in this picture?" "Why was the cat up in the tree?" "What sound does the cat make?"

Materials required: Comfy seating, chairs, sofa, bean bags, cushions or a rug. A range of books, board books, picture books, story books, reference books, photo albums and home made books.

Books - making

Make a book by pasting photos, pictures cut from magazines or drawings to pieces of light card to form pages.

My Story- Book Maker: This is an iPad app that allows young children to create digital stories. Children draw their own pictures, take photos and record their voice.

Materials required: photos, pictures cut from magazines, paper, card, paste, pencils, felt pens, tape, stapler, hole punch, scissors, wool or ribbon

Books - specific topic or subject

Books at playgroup can be used to support children's development or experiences - choosing specific books that reflect aspects of children's lives or interests e.g. sharing, arrival of a new baby, dinosaur books, going to hospital, going on a trip or books that reflect cultural practices. These books help children identify who they are and relate to experiences they are having. Books that reflect cultural practices are important for all children to gain an understanding of other people and the different way they may live. Stories about families and culture give children a sense of their place in the world

Parent notes: children begin to understand that he printed word has meaning when stories are read allowed to them. Books on specific topics helps children embrace change in their lives.

Ask: "How did the girl feel before she went to the dentist?" "What helped her to feel comfortable?"

Materials required: Books that reflect: -Interests of children at playgroup e.g. dinosaurs, cars, animals - Common childhood experiences e.g. new baby, sharing, friendship - Different cultures

Small group music time - singing

Gather a few of the children and adults together in a circle for a group singing session. Sit on the floor with the children. Build up a repertoire of favourite songs, you could use recorded music if you are not a confident singer but children prefer enthusiasm over talent. Invite the children to request a favourite song, from the box of songs cards with picture prompts. The children can choose their favourite from the colourful song box. Use props to help set the scene and prompt song choice, e.g. Plastic or felt duck for "Five little ducks". Keep the session interactive and short to suit the attention span of children. Many find it difficult to sit still for too long.

Materials required: A space for the group to gather together, a list of favourite songs, CDs and player, puppets, props related to the song eg. A teapot for "I'm a little teapot", a teddy bear for "Rock a bye your bear".

Library - visiting

Plan a visit to the library for the whole playgroup. Find out if your local library has programmed events that you can join in with. Explore the children's section. Find out about becoming a member, borrow some books to take home or back to playgroup. Adults are responsible for the children they bring.

Parent notes: Allow children to choose their own books.

Materials required: The address and directions to the library, opening hours, events calendar, library bag.

Making a drum

Make a drum from an empty tins, ice cream container or any large plastic tub with a lid. Tape the lid on, decorate with paint, markers or contact. Beat out a rhythm with the hands, a wooden spoon or short log. Encourage older children to make fast/slow beats, loud/ soft beats or follow a Beats.

Parent notes: When children begin to recognise sound patterns they learn to extend their listening and memory skills.

Ask: "how many beats did you hear me play" "Was that a fast or slow beat?"

Materials required: Empty ice cream container, tape, paint, markers, contact, wooden spoon, sticks.

Making rhythm sticks

Make rhythm sticks form glad wrap rolls. Paint them and leave to dry.Buy a long piece of dowel from a hardware store and cut Rhythm sticks, approximately 15-20cm and the width manageable for small hands Sand each dowel and leave natural. It's not recommended to paint the sticks due to lead poising in paint. Some young children may suck them. Tap sticks together or use as drum sticks. Experiment with Rhythm patterns clapping, drumming or rhythm sticks e.g. copy a beat –adult beats twice, child listens and copy's the pattern. Increase the beats for the child as they mature.

Materials required: Pieces of dowel cut into pieces manageable by small hands (about 15-20cm)

Making shakers

Involve children in making their own shakers for music time. Collect small containers with lids and a range of small items to fit inside to make the sound. Large black cooking beans are a good idea or buttons. Once the shakers are made, an adult needs to tightly secure the lids with masking tape.  Be careful of small and loose items around small children which may be swallowed. Shakers made plastic bottles can include colourful cellophane or glitter for younger children to look at. However they MUST be secure and not leak glitter. Supervision with young children is essential at all times. When finished with the music activity, please put the shaker away in a high safe place.

Materials required: Small containers with tight fitting lids, pebbles, buttons, beads, sand, seeds, glitter, straws, cellophane, foil, small bells, instant glue

Kitchen band

Collect plastic bowls, pots, pans, spoons and saucepan lids. Save boxes and king sized food tins to use as drums and plastic wrap cylinders to strike the drum, tap against another cylinder or use as a megaphone.

Parent notes: Supervise children and encourage banging the pots. Modelling how to do this is important for young children so they avoid hitting each other. Allowing children to hear different sounds of tone, pitch and volume when items are hit with different beaters supports listening skills.

Materials required: Plastic bowls, pots, pans, wooden or metal spoons, saucepan lids, boxes, empty food containers, cardboard cylinders.

Musical statues

Gather the children together, use recorded or live music. Encourage the children to dance while the music plays and when the music stops, the children stand like a statue. At this age, the aim of the game is to develop listening and social skills. Do not eliminate players, encourage their efforts and have another try.

Materials required: Recorded (CD player and CDs) or live music, space where children can move freely.


Use a parachute or large bed sheet to enjoy a group activity for adults and their children. Gather everyone around holding on to the edges of the parachute, alternate adult/child, adults may need to kneel. Move arms up and down to make waves. Lift high over heads and down. Move it faster. Talk about the sounds and breeze created. Roll a large soft ball around the parachute. All move in a circle in one direction singing a favourite song eg. Ring a Rosie

Materials required: Parachute or large bed sheet, space indoors or outside

Photo album - making

Children love looking at photos of themselves or favourite people or places. Use small photo albums to display photographs (with permission) of 'my family' or 'playgroup friends', familiar routines or activities - snack time, playing in the sandpit etc. to add to the playgroup bookshelf.

Parent notes: Look through pictures or a photo album and tell stories about the people or animals they are seeing. When interacting with children who are able to understand your words, give them choices. This will give them confidence that they can make good choices.

Materials required: small photo albums, photos

Playing musical instruments- Toddler and Preschool group

Provide a selection of instruments e.g. bought and home made in a basket or box for the children to play and experiment with. This activity works best when there are a range of different instruments and there are enough instruments to go round. If you are the facilitator of the group, talk about boundaries and limits. Holds up your hand for the music to stop. Otherwise the singing and playing will be drowned out. Practice this stop /start action before you begin.Adding instruments to favourite songs helps children learn a sense of rhythm.

Parent notes: It is best to supervise the children and have a few songs where the children can make their own music to go along with the singing.

Materials required: Basket, box or tub. A range of children's instruments bought or home-made e.g. drums, shakers, tambourines, castanets, triangles, rhythm sticks

Reading - group time

Some playgroups choose to have a regular time in their session for a whole group activity. It helps if other equipment is packed away before you begin. Encourage adults to sit with their child and to model good listening and participation. Keep this time short and fun. Ask an enthusiastic person to read a book they are familiar with to the group. A simple lift the flap book like Dear Zoo is a good title to start with as it has a certain predictability and most children find the story engaging. Encourage families to bring in a favourite book and share it with the group.

Parent notes: Hold the book to the side so children can see the pictures as you read along. Keep your voice interesting, changing tones as different characters are introduced. Read slowly and clearly. Children learn language concepts of pace and flow. It is preferable not to ask questions until the end of the story as the flow is disrupted. Encourage children to learn the sequence in the story.

Ask: "What happened first?" What happened next?" what happened in the end?" "Who was behind the green door?"

Materials required: A space where the children and adults can sit comfortably, a chair for the reader of the story so everyone can see the book, a selection of books (perhaps one that is not available at other times during the session).


Some playgroups choose to have a regular time in their session for a whole group activity such as rhyme time. It helps if other equipment is packed away before you begin. Encourage adults to sit with their child and to model good listening and participation. Keep this time short and active. Choose some rhymes that adult and child can enjoy together eg. Round and round the garden, Pat a cake, Pat a cake, Three cheeky monkeys. Encourage parents to participate one-on –one with their child or encourage a small group to participate together. Having props for young children to see helps with the rhyme. Jack and Jill went up the hill; you may have a bucket. Have fun with language and play games with words that rhyme together. Cat sounds like bat or mat or hat. Playing with words builds children's vocabulary.

Materials required: A space where the children and adults can sit comfortably, a selection of rhymes or poems, a book of rhymes or download from the internet.

Sound wall - outside

Attach pots, pans, metal trays, lids, cans etc. to an area of wall or fence outside. Provide spoons or short wooden rhythm sticks for the children to experiment with sound, beat, rhythm and volume.

Materials required: An area of wall or fence outside, metal pots, pans, trays, lids, cans, spoons, short wooden sticks.

Wind chimes - making

Gather together some recycled items to make a wind chime with the children. Children can make their own or work together. Find a support to hang the items and string to attach the items to the frame. This activity provides an opportunity for adults and children to work together, as children will need help constructing their chime.

Ask "What do you think this may sound like in the wind?"

Materials required: Branch, piece of dowel or wooden coat hanger, thick string or cord (no longer than 30cm for safety reasons and to minimise tangling) for attaching the items to the frame, recyclable materials e.g. lids, tins, shakers, spoons

Large group music time -Song and Rhymes

Some playgroups choose to have a regular time in their session for a whole group activity such as singing. It helps if other equipment is packed away before you begin. You can begin the transition by singing a pack away song "pack away, pack away, it's time to pack the toys away". Encourage parents to sit with their child and participate. Modelling singing and joining in with the actions is important for children and encourages participation. Keep this time short and active. Try singing one or two songs with actions to begin with, e.g. Twinkle, twinkle little star or Open, shut them. "Heads and shoulders, knee and toes" Hold a teddy or do the actions of "Teddy bear, Teddy bear..." Sing "Old Mac Donald had a farm" using pictures or soft animals to act out the song. Interactive singing such as "Row, row, row your boat..." encourage parents to sit opposite their children, hold hands, move back and forth, singing.

Parent notes: Preparation is important when conducting group singing. Be prepared in advance so the children retain their interest. Check that you have your song box, the CD works and your props are nearby.

Materials required: Make a group song book/folder /box with the words and pictures of favourite songs, poems rhymes enjoyed by the group. A space for the group to gather together, Encourage children to choose a song from the box themselves. Everyone will sing the song together. This could be; I’m a little teapot, Miss Polly had a dolly, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, 5 little ducks, 3 cheeky monkeys. CDs and CD player, puppets, props related to the song

Playing musical instruments- Baby group

A large drum is a wonderful way to encourage babies to be involved in a music group.

Materials required: large drum

Communicating with babies

Learn to communicate with babies through gesture, sounds and facial expressions. Watch your baby and understand the signals of, hungry, happy, unhappy or wet. Children feel loved when adults understand their signals. A baby or toddler may ask a question using non-verbal language when they: Look closely at a certain page in the bookPoints to somethingTouches somethingReaches for an object When they do this tell them what it is. Children relate to your voice and learn to build trust. Developing language and literacy skills begins at birth in everyday loving interactions-sharing books, telling stories, singing songs, and talking to one another. Encourage language skills that will help children to understand their feelings and the feelings of others, and develop an interest in learning. For older children who are verbal, ask questions to encourage their language skills. Ask and answer your child's questions during the reading of books and other texts. Experiences such as music, drama, dance, storytelling, and technology, help children to develop imagination, problem solving, self-expression and confidence in their unique abilities.

Materials required:


Provide a box of small items such as dolls, shells, cars, animals, material, small logs, and place on a cloth. Sit with the child and create a story from the items selected together. Use some small props to tell a familiar story. Keep all the pieces in a box. The items don't need to be a matching set or all the same size. An adult can use the props to tell the story to a child, later the child may want to tell the story to others using the items in the box. For example, to tell the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, you could gather together three small bowls, three little chairs and three little boxes with fabric inside to look like beds.

Materials required: A box, some little dolls or figurines, key items from a well-known story. Make felt mats with different themes

Singing with Babies

Music is an excellent way to bond with your child. You can sing to babies during routines such as feeding, bathing, changing nappies, putting the washing on the clothes line, doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, raking the leaves. Young children love to hear the human voice and they will learn to identify your special voice as a parent. Singing helps children feel calm. The human voice is preferable to CD's. Finger puppets are a good way to attract children's visual attention. Put the puppet no further than 10 inches. Buy or make set of finger puppets. Make sure there are no loose objects. Do not sew on button or bead eyes. Draw with a felt pen. Cardboard cylinders make interesting characters you can create.

Parent notes: Speak slowly to babies. Introduce the puppet by saying "Hello, I'm brown cat" "meow" Play, engage and have fun. Soon the baby will be tracking the puppet as you move it up and down, side to side. When children do this they learn to track visual cues which is important for later reading and writing skills.

Materials required: Use puppets to sing familiar songs to your baby.


Babies love to watch and listen to rattles.

Parent notes: When adults shake rattles with different sounds, babies learn auditory cues. Move the rattle in different directions to see if baby can track the noise. This is important when children begin to learn to listen to language. As children grow they will be able to grasp the rattle themselves.

Materials required: rattle

Technology -iPad- Personalised learning

The iPad is now an everyday learning tool, just like all other tools, needs to be monitored. Toddlers are able to use touch pads efficiently. The children can use the drawing app, play games, listen to songs, and learn to read with interactive stories. ipads can support children's learning and motivation by meeting the child's interests, needs and abilities to promote learning to think and independence. iIpads promote memory and recognition skills. Children can learn when they are provided with the appropriate learning conditions, apps and adults who can support this learning by working alongside the child communicating. ipads are a great research device for looking for pictures of animals and their habitats or another topic of interest that needs a visual or auditory cue.

Materials required: iPad

Group Movement activities to music

Forming a circle and singing "Here we go around the mulberry bush" "Hokey pokey" or the "Seven Steps" can be fun in a group.

Materials required: CD player, CDs, space to move

Copy Cat

Older children enjoy being leader and follower to copy movements. It supports children's self- confidence to have a chance to be a leader in the movement activity

Materials required:

Creative movement

Provide instrumental music without words, such as classical or jazz to create a mood and rhythm to move to. You will need CD player and space free of equipment to allow for the freedom of expression. Set aside an area for dancing. Provide some props, musical instruments, shakers, ribbons, scarves, dancing skirts. Use live or recorded music, experiment with different types and styles of music. For example, classical, hip hop, rock, pop. CD player id using recorded music. Allow the children the opportunity to experience different music, fast/slow, high/low, loud/soft.

Movement with babies: Lead an activity with music and encourage the concepts of high, low, in /out, around and around.

Materials required: Recorded (CD player and CDs) or live music, rhythm sticks or a drum. Carpet squares. Have enough space where children can move freely.

Creative movement- group

Provide scarves or ribbons for the children to use while dancing to recorded or live music. This can encourage creative movement. Consider attaching the ribbons/scarves to elastic hair ties to make it easier for children to hold on to them. Suggest that they put the ribbons up high, down low, side to side. You could use the imagery of painting the room with colour. Once they have the idea to extend their body movement allow children to experiment with their own way to move. Join in with the children and model a variety of movement, then choose a child how id doing something different to demonstrate to the others.

Parent notes: When children are encouraged to move and dance freely they create a healthy self- awareness of their bodies.

Materials required: Recorded (CD player and CDs) or live music, rhythm sticks or a drum. Carpet squares. Have enough space where children can move freely.

Relaxation Time

It is important to encourage children to learn how to relax at an early age. This can be done with everyone lying down and listening to quiet soothing music.

Materials required: Soothing music


When learning involves indigenous Australian stories, respect for the rights of the traditional owners of artworks, songs, stories and dances needs acknowledgement. Traditional Indigenous dance varies in expression and style, depending on the region from which it comes. Aboriginal Australian arts are viewed not separately but as an interrelated aspect of Aboriginal peoples' lives. Ceremonial life, song, dance and storytelling explain creation, spirituality and beliefs. Build your own knowledge and understanding of Indigenous artefacts.

Toddlers enjoy using an object to pretend it is something else such as a block of wood could be a boat. A stone could be a turtle, frog or a stick a snake. Allow children to create their own drama games with art props they have constructed. Making face masks from paper plates.Provide a variety of interesting craft props that children can make. Farm yard face masks are a good start to acting out "The rain puddle" or "Three Little pigs" Costumes can be simple, such as a head band with pink ears cut from paper for the three little pigs and a mask for the wolf. Older children like to act out familiar stories such as "Billy Goats gruff" or "The great gig enormous turnip" Parent notes: When children are involved in drama activities they learn to develop their repertoire for speech dynamics and develop confidence. They also learn memory skills and sequencing of events.

Materials required: props and costumes

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Tuesday - 10/03/2015

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