Things to do at Home

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This section of our website contains suggestions of things to do with your child at home to reinforce what we are doing at school.  In essence always carry on doing the things that you did before they started school:
  • talk to them
  • listen to them
  • explain to them
  • play games with them

The most important gift from any parent to their child is time!  Most good educational activity (and this includes homework) is based on interaction.  The ideas that follow are based on this premise.

Remember that children soon get tired - don't work for too long and try to keep it enjoyable!

 Edward Bear

 

 

 

Headings
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Reading
Board Games
On a Journey 1 - Planning the Journey
On a Journey 2 - Games with Car Number Plates
Games with Playing Cards
Watching Television Together
Going Shopping Together
Planning the Activities for a Day

Sports
Use the Internet

 

Reading
Reading should be an enjoyable experience.  Whilst the children will bring books to read from school these are not the only thing to read with them.  Try to follow their interests.  Borrow books with them from the Library - and involve yourself in the choices that they make.  Be seen to be reading yourself.  Continue to read to your child.  Discuss the books you are reading and discuss what you think may happen next.  Prediction and inference are important skills and shows understanding of what has already been read.
Not all children enjoy fiction.  This doesn't mean that reading has nothing to offer.  Some will enjoy books such as the Guiness Book of Records.  Others will enjoy having a quiz book from which they can ask their parents questions.  Some will enjoy magazines about things that interest them (computer games etc).  Atlases hold a fascination for many children and foster an early interest in the world around them.  Games, such as Junior Trivial Pursuit, can involve a lot of reading.  There is much to be read on the internet (though this must be used with care).  Some children will read the pages on the text pages of television (again linked to their interests).  Another possible idea is to put subtitles on to a TV programme.  Some children will enjoy looking at these and seeing how they differ from what is actually said.
There is also a great deal of reading all around us every day - the TV guide, cookbooks (these are good for maths too) and the local newspaper are examples of this.

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Board Games

These are generally very educational.  They involve decision making and learning to take turns.  They also teach children to win and lose.  You can't win everything!  Some, like Monopoly, involve quite a lot of mathematics in the use of money and many involve a lot of reading.  We are so convinced of the educational merit of playing board games that we have a significant stock of them in school.  They are a regular feature of the activities in Eight Twenty and Four Thirty Clubs.

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On a Journey 1 - Planning the Journey

Journeys have to be planned.  Which is the most direct route?  Which would be the fastest route?  Which roads shall we use?  How far is it?  How long will it take?  What time do we need to arrive?  What time shall we leave?
These are complex questions which we consider every time we make a journey.  Involve children in the decisions.  Get them to look at the road atlas and, if you're confident, navigate for you!

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On a Journey 2 - Games with Car Number Plates

Most games rely on a source of random data.  These might come from dice, a spinner or cards.  On a car journey a great source of random numbers and letters is provided by car registration numbers.  The activities below are suggestions.. 
SAFETY WARNING: The passenger should organise the game - drivers concentrate on the road!

Games to Develop Mental Arithmetic Skills

These activities can be individual (can you ...?) or competitive (can you ..... before I do?)

Can you spot a car with the number 7 (etc) on its number plate?  This develops number recognition.
What is the largest / smallest digit on the number plate?  This develops a concept of the relative value of numbers.
What do the first two digits total?
What is the difference between the first two digits?
What do all three add up to?  Develop this to consider the way in which they are added.  A good strategy is to look for pairs of numbers to make ten then add the remaining digit.
Can you spot a car with the total 15?
What do the first two digits multiply together to make?
What do you get if you multiply the first two digits then add (or subtract) the last one?  Who can get the highest total?
What do you get if you multiply the three digits together?

Developing Spelling Skills (Key Stage 2)

Look at the group of three letters on the registration plate.  What is the longest word that you can make starting with the first of those letters and containing the other two in the order they are on the registration.  This is a good way to get the children to consider which suffixes can be added to words to increase their length and complexity.
EXAMPLE: The letters GTH could give the word GATHER but GATHERING would be better and GATHERINGS better still.

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Games with Playing Cards

Once again these are a good way of generating random numbers and they make it into more of a game.  For most of these games you will NOT need the picture cards.  These should be removed from the pack.  An ace counts as 1.  There are endless variations on these themes.  If you think of a good one please let me know.

Addition Pairs (all ages)

Place the cards face down on the table (or carpet).  Turn over two.  If the child adds them correctly in a given time span (count to five) they keep the cards.  If not they give them to you.  Then they go again.  Can they win more cards than you?

Multiplication Pairs (Key Stage 2)

This works in exactly the same way as addition but the cards are multiplied rather than added.

Table Line (Key Stage 2)

Put down two rows of five cards in a grid formation.  Ask the child to pick a table (or choose one for them).  Turn over the first card of the first row and ask for the answer to this number in the given table.  If the child is right you move to the next card in the same row.  If they are wrong you move to the card below in the next row.  Continue until the child moves to the end of a row (success) or moves off the bottom of the grid (more practice needed).  Allow a count of five for an answer to be given.  Re-deal the cards before going again.

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Watch Television Together

There is an awful lot on the television that has little merit educationally but don't let this detract from programmes that are crammed full of it.  For children to really benefit they need to watch with an adult and discuss what they are seeing.  This interaction is crucial though they should be encouraged to concentrate.
For young children (especially pre-school) 'Sesame Street' and similar programmes are outstanding.
For older children 'Countdown' is great for both spelling and mental arithmetic.
All children will benefit in terms of their general knowledge through watching suitable documentaries.  Those about wildlife are often excellent.

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Going Shopping Together

I know this doesn't sound much like fun but it can, nevertheless, be educational. 
Many of the numbers that surround our everyday life are monetary.  Look at them and discuss them.  Shopping is all about decision making.  Where, for example, is petrol cheapest?  Is it worth making a detour to buy it there?  Do you wait and buy petrol when you are in a particular place?

In the supermarket: How much will our shopping cost? Which margarine shall we buy?  Why?  Which represents the best value?  The prices in supermarkets which tell you the actual cost per kg are very useful.  It is useful to estimate the price of the weekly shop before going through the checkout - who is nearest?
There are also opportunities to look at statistics other than price.  An example would be to compare two products and see which has the lesser fat content.

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Planning the Activities for a Day

We all do this every day but it is more complicated than it sounds.  Time planning is a very important mathematical and life skill.  What do we need to do today?  Does anything need to be done at a set time?  How long will each activity take?  Are there any constraints (opening times of shops etc)?  How can we minimise the number of journeys we need to make?

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Sports

Sport is a fantastic source of statistics.  From the simple 'Which team won and by how many' to the full and complex data of the football league tables there is an amazing amount to discuss.  Most sports have their own scoring system which is, in essence, a mathematical model.  In snooker, for example, it is possible to calculate how many points are left on the table or how many snookers a player may require.   Many statistics can be accessed very simply from newspapers, teletext or the internet.

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Use the Internet

If you are reading this you obviously have access.  Try using it with the children.  There are lots of really good educational websites and the web is safe if you are there with them.  Caution must be exercised but the benefits of the web are too great to overlook.  CLICK HERE to go to our page of Bookmarks to find some sites.  It also includes a list of sites for parents and carers.  This is a good starting point but the web is far too big for any list to be comprehensive.  If you find a site from which your children benefit please let us know.

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