MOST kids find having fun and learning about new things comes naturally. But not content to let nature take its course the Scottish Government has felt the need to produce a list of “must do’s” for under threes in an effort to stimulate development and encourage parents to become more involved with their offspring.
The list is part of the Scottish Government’s PlayTalkRead campaign, which focuses on the early years of children’s lives.
Entitled “30 Things to do Before You’re 3”, the ultimate children’s checklist is backed by evidence which shows that during the first three years of a child’s life 75 per cent of brain growth is complete and an estimated 50 per cent of our language is in place. From jumping in puddles and bursting bubbles to pulling silly faces in the mirror and feeding the ducks in the park, it’s a suggested list of fun for little ones to get under their belt before their early years are over.
Launching the initiative, Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell said: “We can never underestimate the power of play and its crucial role in the positive development of our wee ones.”
However, the list has generated a mixed response from parents. Tara Ellard, 32, from Liberton, and mother to six-month old, Conor, said: “It seems well intentioned but it’s a little depressing to think people might need a nudge from the government before singing Old Macdonald or playing peek-a-boo with their child.
“You would hope that parents and kids would already be doing the things on this list anyway.
“One thing the list does show, though, is that kids don’t need expensive toys or days out – everything on it is free to do.”
Parenting Across Scotland, a partnership of high-profile charities such as Capability Scotland and Children 1st, are getting behind the campaign.
Project manager Clare Simpson said: “We all remember the simple things, like going to the park and going down the slide or splashing in puddles on a rainy day but quite often take for granted how precious and important these moments were.
“The good news for mums and dads is you don’t have to wait until your kids are bigger to do fun things together.”
The list can be downloaded from the PlayTalkRead website – www.playtalkread.org.
30 things to do before you are 3
• Feed the birds
• Dig out your wellies, jump in a puddle and make a splash!
• Make a foot/hand print
• Build a sand or mud castle – if you can’t get to the beach create your own sandpit
• Catch a snowflake
• Take part in a treasure hunt and collect sticks, stones and leaves
• Play hide & seek
• Pull a silly face in the mirror
• Play peek-a-boo
• Sing Old Macdonald had a Farm
• Build a secret den – throw a sheet over a table or chairs for a new space to play in!
• Get squishy with playdough
• Get busy in the kitchen – create a clown face with fruit or help dad with some rock cakes
• Take a trip to the park and go down the slide frontwards and backwards
• Max out your library card
• Pretend you are your favourite superhero
• Burst a bubble
• Get noisy and make your own drum kit with pots and pans
• Plant a seed and watch something grow
• See a creepy crawly up close
• Visit a castle
• Climb on an adult for a piggy back/horsey ride
• Have a laugh in the bath getting playful with soap and suds
• See how many different animal noises you can make
• Paint a picture of your family or pet
• Do the hokey cokey
• Do the actions to Incy Wincy Spider
• Spot a plane in the sky
• Spot and chase your own shadow
• Build a tower and knock it down