Ideas to support your child with Cognition and Learning
Useful websites for ideas, games and support:
There are some brilliant activities on this website:
You can select the age of your child and the area of learning you would like ideas and support with
Working memory games
You will need a set of pictures/ letters/ numbers on cards
Ensure your set of cards contains all matching pairs.
Shuffle and spread all cards out on a flat surface, face down.
Players take it in turns to choose any two cards. Make a successful match and you get to take another turn. No match, the cards are returned to their original position.
Success in Memory relies upon children remembering where they have seen each picture in previous turns – both those and those of the other players.
The winner is the person who has matched the most pairs.
Place a number of household items onto a tray (the more items, the more challenging the game so for younger children start with just 3-4 items and increase from there)
Tell your child to have a close look at the items on the tray. Name them together (the more you discuss the items the more likely your child is to remember them so you could ask them what colour or shape each item is or what it is used for).
Cover the items with a tea towel. Ask your child to close their eyes and as they do so remove one item from under the cloth.
Ask them to open their eyes, remove the cloth and tell you what’s missing!
For older children, use more items and allow them to look at them for a full minute. Then cover them up and ask them to write a list or draw as many of the items that they can remember.
I went shopping
The first player starts the game by saying, “I went shopping and bought a ____,” identifying an item they would buy.
The second player continues, “I went shopping and bought a (names the first player’s item) and a ___ (adding a new item to the list).”
Players continue taking turns to remember the items purchased in order as the list gets longer and longer. The winner is the last person who can correctly name all of the items in sequence.
This game can be adapted to many different scenarios, for example, “I went on holidays and packed…” or “I went to school and took …”
Your child may have particular spellings they are learning. Please email your child’s class teacher to find out the words they are learning.
There are different ways you can practise:
Gather some sand (or try using flour, mud, compost) in a tray and write out your spelling words in the sand with your finger.
Make each spelling into its own work of art by writing each in a fantastic font. You could try bubble writing, making the word pop in 3D, or even writing it in the colours of the rainbow.
If your child has a competitive streak, why not see how quickly they can write each spelling? Time how long it takes them to write a word correctly and, as they become more familiar with it, challenge them to reduce this time by one second – while keeping their accuracy intact!
Writing out words backwards can be a great way to reinforce how to spell them (for example, ‘because’ becomes ‘esuaceb’) – plus, the results can be very amusing!
For some extra fun, use these backward words in sentences and see if your family can guess what the original word was. For example, “I really like eseehc” is referring to ‘cheese’!
Write the first letter of a word. Underneath it, write it again and add the next letter in the word. Repeat this process until you complete the word, and you’ll have your very own pyramid! For example:
Super short stories
Write a short story using all of your spelling words. It can be as creative and crazy as you like! You can use this exercise to practise your best handwriting.
Mnemonics are a great way to remember how to spell tricky words. Even now, I sometimes find myself reciting ‘big elephants can always understand small elephants’ to spell ‘because’!
The weirder and wackier the mnemonic, the easier it is to remember. Some more examples include:
Never eat crisps, eat salad sandwiches and remain young (‘necessary’)
Fred ran into evil Nancy’s dog (‘friend’)
Rhythm helps your two hips move (‘rhythm’)
Use this clip to find out other ways for your child to practice their spellings:
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Here are some more tips to help you enjoy story time together:
Ask your child to choose what they’d like to read. They’ll feel more interested in the story if they’ve picked it out themselves. (And don’t worry if they keep returning to the same story, either!)
If you can, turn off the TV, radio and computer. It’s easier for both of you to enjoy the story without any other distractions.
Sit close together. You could encourage your child to hold the book themselves and turn the pages, too.
Take a look at the pictures. You don’t just have to read the words on the page. Maybe there’s something funny in the pictures that you can giggle about together, or perhaps your child enjoys guessing what will happen next.
Ask questions and talk about the book. Picture books can be a great way to talk through your child’s fears and worries, or to help them deal with their emotions. Give them space to talk, and ask how they feel about the situations in the story.
Have fun! There’s no right or wrong way to share a story – as long as you and your child are having fun. Don’t be afraid to act out situations or use funny voices… your children will love it!
Advice and guidance on reading with your child is available in over 20 different languages:
Age 3-4 years:
Age 4-6 years:
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