It’s important for children to engage in nursery activities that are fun and enjoyable.
Children learn through play, so these activities can actually extend their learning and teach them something new, whether that’s experimenting with new materials or learning about shapes.
Engaging in play can also help children improve their thinking skills, concentration, and social skills as they will almost certainly need to collaborate with other people as they get older.
In early years especially, play is very important as children are starting to learn about the world around them. Play is a great way to do this in a relaxed way, and for most children, this comes very naturally.
Whether they’re engaging in indoor or outdoors activities, these different environments allow children to explore and discover their immediate world.
This gives them the opportunity to practise new ideas and skills, take risks, show imagination, and solve problems independently.
However, adults still play a crucial role too as they need to provide children with the resources needed to make these activities possible. Nursery practitioners will need to supervise children to ensure activities are safe and age appropriate.
In this post, we’re going to explore 10 nursery activities that your child will love, which are not only enjoyable, but educational too.
So, let’s get stuck in!
Different Nursery Activities
Your child will engage in a range of activities at nursery, all designed to help them explore their environment and learn about new concepts.
The great thing about these activities is that they use simple and easy to source materials, most of which can be found around the home.
This makes it really easy for you to incorporate these activities at home so that your child can continue to play (and learn) outside of nursery.
Furthermore, by playing with simple materials that have no real fixed purpose, it allows children to explore using their imagination.
Even when a child plays with something that has a partuicular purpose, they will often let their imagination take over and repurpose their ‘toy’ to fit their play. For example, what was once a cardboard box, could become a house, and what was once a wooden branch, could become a magic wand.
The possibilities are endless – and that’s the whole point!
With that said, let’s take a look at some simple but effective nursery activities.
Which child doesn’t like playing with sand?!
Whether it’s watching sand sift through their fingers or looking in amazement as it pours from one container to another, a sand pit is a fantastic nursery activity.
Here, children can enjoy scooping, digging, pouring, and sifting which teaches them how different things work together and how materials can flow.
Furthermore, through this activity, children are also building their muscles and coordination as they can transfer sand from one object into another. They will also need to hold and grip different objects which is great for improving their fine motor skills. Sand is a great sensory activity.
This activity could also be done in groups of two or three, which means children can build on their teamwork, sharing, and social skills.
Similar to sand play, water play enables young children to experiment in a safe environment with basic concepts such as weight and volume. In turn, this extends their mathematical thinking and helps them understand more about numbers.
Water play also extends a child’s natural curiosity as they will be problem solving, exploring, and experimenting. Children will soon begin to discover what objects float and sink, or how water freely moves as it is poured into different containers.
Through this type of play, children will discover that water flows downwards and will eventually find a natural horizontal level.
Children will also be exploring measurements and mathematical equations such as “more than” or “less than” as they fill small and large buckets of water.
This will also help them to understand more about quantities, as buckets will start to overflow if they pour too much water in.
Play dough is a fantastic nursery activity and is often used in early years settings to extend learning.
As children are squishing and squashing play dough into different shapes and sizes, they are developing their fine and gross motor skills.
This allows them to develop natural grip movements, and they will be able to hold different sized objects over time. This is a highly useful skill for the future, as it prepares children for the process of writing as they will need to be able to grip a pen/ pencil.
Furthermore, play dough can also help children improve their hand-eye coordination as they need to concentrate on making different shapes. You could also add some jewels or beads to the dough for a fine-motor exercise.
Alternatively, you can ask children to thread beads onto lengths of dried spaghetti held in the dough, which increases the play aspect even more.
The great thing about all of these objects is that they are really cost effective. What’s more, most of these materials can be found around the nursery (and around the house) so you don’t need to worry about buying them.
Dress-up and role play
Every child loves playing dress up as it gives them the chance to transform into someone else for a little while.
Perhaps it’s their favourite Disney princess or their favourite character from a book? Whoever it is, let children run wild and use their imagination.
You will soon find out who makes the budding doctor, vet, nurse, astronaut, chef or Disney princess as children start putting on different outfits.
Whilst this activity is enjoyable, it also helps children begin to make sense of the adult world, their roles, and their interests. For example, take the role of a vet. This person has a job to do and a purpose to serve, as they need to save the animals.
As such, this can help children understand more about adult life and how their role fits into the wider world.
Furthermore, dressing-up can also help reinforce the self-care aspect of getting dressed for school, which is important for primary school and beyond. This also helps children in later life as they will have to get ready for work and follow a routine.
Cooking and Pretend Cooking
Has your child ever tried to feed you a lovely plate of colourful beads or a handful of grass?!
That’s because children love the idea of cooking as it allows them to explore so many different concepts.
Cooking, as an activity, combines elements of sensory play, mathematical concepts, home safety, and discipline, as children need to follow instructions that are given to them by adults. Taken further, children can also learn about nutrition and things like food groups.
However, as well as real cooking, children also love engaging in pretend cooking as there are no limits to what they can achieve. They can turn colourful beads, or even as something as boring as leaves, into a magical dish!
Essentially, they can use their imagination to create anything they like. Furthermore, by working alongside other children, this allows them to improve their confidence and social skills as well as bonding, as they can create something together..
The Cardboard Box
Yes, this has to make it onto our list of 10 of the best nursery activities!
Give any child a cardboard box and they’ll be entertained for hours. So, what makes this simple object so engaging and fun for young children?
It all stems back to the fact that a cardboard box has no fixed purpose, which means children can transform it into anything they like. Will they make it a house, a car, or a shelter for their cuddly toys?
Who knows! And that’s the great thing about it, as children are in control and have freedom to make up their own mind.
To make this nursery activity even better, nursery practitioners should provide little ones with cushions, blankets, toys, pencils, and paper. This lets them truly explore their imagination and work out what they want to do with the cardboard box.
Essentially, this is an empty box full of possibilities which children can make their own. There’s no right or wrong way to play with it which is why it is so inviting. For this short amount of time, children can enter their own world, and make endless adventures.
Music, Dancing, and Singing
Young children are always captivated by music as it stimulates their senses. It also helps them to understand rhythm and sequences, as they can follow along with the beat.
In turn, this can promote their language development, coordination, social interaction, and memory as they are listening carefully to the flow of the song and will recognise different patterns. In terms of literacy skills, music can help children understand vocabulary and better structure their sentences.
Aside from this, listening to music can help children with their mathematical skills as they can count the number of verses or choruses.
And what’s more, music is very fun! Children can sing along to the different songs and will get lost in the music. Even if they don’t know the words, just listening to the background beat can be fantastic stimulation for little ones.
Dancing is also great for little ones as this can build their strength and muscles, not to mention their coordination.
Imaginative play is essentially any type of play that comes naturally to children.
It’s a world of possibilities as children can get lost in a sea of make-believe where there are no limits to their imagination.
Watch as small children play with nothing but a few random objects as they use their imagination to transform them into wonderful things.
At nursery school, it’s essential that there is time for children to engage in imaginative play as aside from being fun, this nursery activity is important for their literacy skills and intellectual reasoning.
It also increases their sense of self-belief and self-esteem, as they are free to make their own choices without being guided by adults. There is no right or wrong answer in this type of play, which allows young learners to experiment and try new things.
It can also help children make sense of the world around them by creating their own stories, testing ideas, and making their own rules.
Children love being outdoors as this gives them the opportunity to interact with nature and explore the world around them.
Getting fresh air is also really important as this helps their concentration, motivation, and overall general wellbeing. There should be ample opportunities at nursery for children to play outdoors, rather than being restricted to a nursery classroom.
Compared to playing indoors, children have much more space to freely run around when they are outside, and they can interact with lots of natural materials. Whether that’s playing with branches, stones, leaves, or pine cones, there is always plenty for children to get their hands on!
That’s why forest nurseries are so popular and highly regarded as they place the emphasis on outdoor learning. Not only does this promote a healthy lifestyle, but it also teaches to respect the environment and the animals within it.
At The Hunny Pot Nursery, we understand how important it is for children to spend time outdoors. That’s why we’ve got a range of outdoor classrooms which expose children to a wide variety of physical activities.
Whether they’re playing in a mud kitchen in Kanaga’s Pocket or planting flowers in the One Hundred Acre Wood, there’s so much for them to see and do. To explore our outdoor facilities in full, book a tour of the nursery.
Sensory Play with Jelly
Sensory play is any activity that stimulates a child’s senses whether that’s through touch, smell, sight, taste, or hearing.
Playing with jelly is a fantastic way to ignite a child’s senses in more ways than one, as they can manipulate the consistency in any way they like whilst feeling the substance in their hands.
All they need is some jelly and an assortment of containers/ trays so that they can start squashing the jelly into different sized containers.
Children will also be fascinated by how the jelly moves as it wibbles and wobbles on different surfaces!
Playing with jelly can also help children understand different textures, as jelly starts off smooth before becoming lumpy and then squishy.
This ignites their curiosity as they’re starting to work out how different things work and how materials can change. Jelly provides the perfect base for your child’s imagination to run wild, so that they can develop their creativity.
10 Nursery Activities That Your Child Will Love
It’s important to remember that when it comes to nursery activities, each nursery setting will differ and will have their own approach to learning.
However, as you can see, there are lots of fun nursery activities that your child will be able to get involved with so that they can learn more about their environment.
Whilst all of these activities are fun and have a play aspect to them, they also bring educational benefits too. Whether that’s helping children to count or improving their literacy skills, they put children in good stead for future education.
One of the most enjoyable nursery activities is being able to play outside. As we’ve mentioned in the post, children love the great outdoors as this allows them to explore without the same restrictions of the classroom.
At The Hunny Pot nursery, we have a range of indoor and outdoor classrooms to ignite your child’s imagination and sense of curiosity. We’re committed to providing the very best learning experience for your little one, and understand that nursery activities are essential to ensure this happens.
To find out more, simply get in touch with our team. We’d love to show you around the nursery so that you can see what we have to offer!