Published On: Thu, Apr 28th, 2022

Top 30 things children ‘must do’ before starting school – including jumping in a puddle


Jumping on a bouncy castle, taking a trip to a toy shop, and dancing with parents also ranked highly on the list of things to do in their formative years.

And it emerged 89 percent of parents believe it is important to regularly introduce new things to their children, to help with their development.

The research, commissioned by childcare provider Busy Bees, found that nearly three-quarters of parents (72 percent) agree experiencing new things is important for building their little ones’ confidence.

Seven in ten believe it helps pre-schoolers learn new things, while 60 percent say it allows children to explore different emotions.

Deena Billings, Head of Experience at Busy Bees, said: “Life is full of wonderful things, and every child should experience as much as they possibly can during their early years to help them develop their confidence and understanding of the world.

“Sadly, many have missed out on important milestone moments due to the pandemic.

“These findings confirm what we have seen in our nurseries and heard from parents as they hope to introduce their children to more experiences now that life is returning to normality.

“That’s why we’re building in extra activities at our centres to provide our children with the additional developmental support they need.”

To extend these experiences further than childcare surroundings, Busy Bees has created a playful quiz to see which activities their child has already ticked off the list.

Almost two-thirds of parents (63 percent) believe their child has missed out on many of these key experiences due to the pandemic, with 78 percent agreeing their development has been held back because of this.

Social interaction (53 percent), social skills (51 percent) and speech (30 percent) were voted as the top things that have been affected.

In a separate survey conducted by the nursery, polling 1,905 parents, it emerged more than a third (36 percent) are concerned the pandemic has made it harder for their child to feel ready for school.

In fact, four in ten members of the Busy Bees Parent Panel said they had spoken to their child’s nursery key worker about the impact that the pandemic has had on their child.

More than half (52 percent) plan on making up for this over the summer, and have already started ticking things off their list, according to the OnePoll study – with eight in ten parents planning new and exciting experiences for their child.

It also emerged 89 percent “feel good as a parent” when seeing their child enjoy new things, with the average mum and dad aiming to give their child four new experiences each month.

Despite this, a third still struggle to come up with new things to do with their little one.

The main source of inspiration for what to do with their little ones is friends and family (59 percent), while 43 percent usually turn to Instagram, and 27 percent look to their nurseries or childcare settings.

A further 39 percent will turn to various websites, and 37 percent scroll through other people’s Facebook posts – or ask the child themselves.

However, not being able to live life as normal during the pandemic did have its perks for parents, as 61 percent enjoyed spending more time together as a family.

And almost half of the parents surveyed (49 percent) say they plan to continue making space for more family time and shared activities in the future.

Deena Billings added: “There are lots of things families have missed out on over the last two years because of the pandemic, but it’s great to see that parents are keen to make up for lost time.

“That’s why we’ve worked with parents to develop a list of 30 things all children should try before they start school.

“We hope this provides some inspiration for family-friendly activities to take away over the coming summer months.”

TOP 30 THINGS EVERY CHILD SHOULD DO BEFORE THEY START SCHOOL:

  1. Swim in a pool
  2. Jump in a puddle
  3. Make a friend
  4. Feed the ducks
  5. Have a birthday party
  6. Meet some friendly farm animals
  7. Go to a toy shop
  8. Go on a bouncy castle
  9. Paddle in the sea
  10. Dance with their parents
  11. Bake a cake
  12. Build a snowman
  13. Play with Playdough or slime
  14. Watch at least one Disney movie
  15. Have chips at the seaside
  16. Finger painting
  17. Jump into a big pile of crunchy autumn leaves
  18. Ride on a bus
  19. Dig a huge hole or build a sandcastle at the beach
  20. Wear fancy dress
  21. Have a teddy bear’s picnic
  22. Make a sofa fort
  23. Plant a seed and see it grow
  24. Go to a funfair
  25. Use a bed like a trampoline
  26. Go on a treasure hunt
  27. Eat a 99 Flake
  28. Go to the cinema
  29. Go on a bug hunt
  30. Scrape their knees



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