The 100

29. Easel

Find it hard to believe an easel is essential? It’s actually a brilliant piece of equipment to have around, for many more reasons than painting. Easels encourage children’s wrists to bend upwards, in the same way they do for writing. Standing at an easel is also good for upper arm and shoulder strength, which in …

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Independent Play

Child playing independently alongside her mother

As a child, you remember sitting for hours, making your own fun, without the constant supervision or attention of your parents. You recall a sense of deep absorption in your games and how powerful and vivid your imagination had been during these hours spent happily at home or in the garden. But your own children …

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45. Shapes

Learning to distinguish between shapes is essentially an early form of reading. Children who can tell which shapes are which, can better differentiate between different letters when they progress on to reading. Being able to recreate shapes also helps with writing. Most letters are based on a combination of circles and squares, or lines at …

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48. Imaginative play

Imaginative play

Imaginative play – any game that begins with ‘let’s pretend’, dressing-up and make-believe – is a powerful way for children to learn that our thoughts and feelings may be different from someone else’s, helping them to develop a sense of empathy and emotional intelligence. Here’s our at-a-glance guide to imaginative play for the under-fives: Contents: …

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49. Digging

So much of your toddler’s play is about investigation and few activities are more essentially investigative than digging. Taking a spade to the earth and seeing what you can find is one of the simplest and yet most exciting exercises your child can engage in. Are there worms? What colour is the soil? What can …

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