Your first step into early childhood education & care
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At Home

There are many things you can do at home to help your child grow and develop.

One of the most effective ways is through play based learning – using a variety of playful methods to encourage your child to use their imagination and develop skills.

Some ways to contribute to your child’s learning through play:

  • promote safe play practices to encourage your child’s learning and decision making
  • be playful and have fun with your child to encourage healthy habits and bonding.

See below for:

  • fun activities you can do with your child at home
  • getting into a routine
  • benefits of talking to other parents and families

Read our fact sheet on the different types of early childhood education and care services and ways you can prepare your child for care.  

Activities you can do at home with your child

These are some examples of the different activities suitable for a wide range of children’s ages. Every child is different and develops at their own pace, so please choose carefully which activity is appropriate for your child.

Get active

    • Be active – take your child to the playground where they can run on the grass, jump over puddles, climb the play equipment and crawl about
    • Make an obstacle course with your child and explore it together
    • Play sports together e.g. throwing and catching a ball


    • Games galore – play hopscotch, hide and seek, animal games e.g. jump like a kangaroo or walk slow like an elephant
    • Encourage your child’s thinking – let your child play using building blocks to create a car, train, house or whatever their imagination creates
    • Let your child blow bubbles on a windy day and try to guess how high they will go
    • Encourage creativity by painting
    • Play and interact with your baby during nappy change e.g. blow gently on their belly, play peek-a-boo, make happy sounds etc
    • Create and play with items you would normally think are rubbish e.g. an empty tissue box or toilet paper roll

Work it out

    • Take your child with you to post a letter and count the mailboxes on the way
    • Play eye spy with my little eye
    • Shadow play e.g. use a torch to make hand shadows on the wall with your child
    • It’s never too early for maths – get your child to help you count the money when you pay for things 

Get out and about

    • Go to a park where they can feed the ducks in the pond
    • Be spontaneous and ask questions, e.g. how many ducks are there?
    • Take your child to appointments with you e.g. the doctor
    • Go shopping together

Word play

    • Read with your child and tell them stories
    • Play with sounds e.g. try to hear and name different sounds e.g. a phone ringing
    • Encourage your child to be creative with sounds and words - play with rhymes and get your child to try to rhyme

Getting ready

    • Get your child to help pack their bag before child care, preschool or school
    • Let your child get themselves ready e.g. brushing teeth, getting dressed
    • Splash time in the bath e.g. let them play with the water and watch how it moves


    • Birthdays (for themselves and/or other family members) – get your child to make a birthday card or bake a birthday cake together
    • Easter / Christmas – set up an Easter egg hunt for your child, decorate the Christmas tree together or let your child wrap presents
    • New Year – take your child to watch your local community New Year celebrations e.g. fireworks

Grow and create

    • Prepare food together – let your child help and explain in detail what you’re doing e.g. “now we’re stirring the pot so the food can cook”
    • Grow your own veggies and explain to your child the process and responsibilities e.g. watering them and leaving them to grow in the sun
    • Cook with them – make pancakes together, let them help you squeeze orange juice
    • Be creative! Bake cupcakes with your child and let them decorate their own cupcake

For more fun activities that you can do with your child visit:

Get into a routine

Routines – we all need them but they don’t have to be strict and boring. They can help families be organised and set aside free time to spend together and have fun.

Daily routines help everyone to get ready e.g. bath time, bedtime, dinner time. They help teach children healthy habits like brushing their teeth, washing their hands after using the toilet, and so on. Then there are weekly routines for things like chores e.g. cleaning their room and taking the rubbish out.

Giving your child an important job to do in your family routine will help them to manage time better and develop basic work skills and a sense of responsibility.

Maintaining consistent routines at home as well as in child care and preschool is important for a range of reasons.

See our fact sheet on building strong links between home and child care or preschool here.

Hygiene at home

One of the best ways to stop infections spreading is by washing and drying your hands. You can support your child’s personal hygiene skills by encouraging them to develop good habits. Here is some simple hygiene rules you can follow to maintain a hygienic environment at home:

  • Remind your child when they should wash their hands e.g. before eating, after using the toilet, after touching an animal etc.
  • Model good personal hygiene skills, and describe to your child what you are doing
  • Encourage your child to think about why good hygiene skills are important
  • Always have a spare set of clothes ready in case of any accidents e.g. toilet accidents or food and drink spills
  • Keep your child at home when they are sick and potentially contagious

The best way to wash your hands

This method is recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council:

  1. Wash hands with running water
  2. Use liquid soap and spread over hands
  3. Rub your hands together and wash all over
  4. Wash palms and backs of hands, between your fingers, under finger nails and around your wrists
  5. Rinse your hands enough so all the soap and germs are gone
  6. Turn off tap using paper towel
  7. Pat dry your hands with a new paper
  8. Encourage your children not to touch the tap after they have used it as the tap will have germs on it.

Talk to other parents and families

Sometimes reading through all the useful information isn’t enough. Sometimes you need to talk to people who have been there or are about to start on their own journey.

Our Starting Blocks Facebook page is a forum where parents can collaborate and share useful tips with other parents and family members who also follow our page.