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Children's Centres - Transition Activities for Parents

What are transitions and the 'EYFS'?

Whether it’s your child's first time in an early year’s provision, or your child is moving from one type of provision to another; this is called a ‘transition’. Children require extra support during this time, so here is some information and guidance for parents, to help prepare your child. This information is targetted at Pre-school to Nursery age children.

Most Early Years provisions, follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum, to support children's learning. In this curriculum there are 7 areas of learning. Please see the below drop-downs for further guidance in each area. Each area of learning has different ideas, activities and suggestions to do with your child at home to support their development.

What are the activities, how do I use them?

 The activities are very simple to follow, they involve using items from around the house and are practical ways to help with your child’s development. TIP: try to use what your child likes or is interested in, for example with mathematics – counting how many buses they see when walking to the shops.

 Often you will find an activity in one area of learning that will also help develop learning in another area, for example – the activity of rolling a ball, will help develop social (playing together), communication (through listening and instructions), and physical (active stretching and pushing the ball) areas of development.  

How can I find out more information or find support and advice?

You can visit the Children's Centre page for more information on activities and support. There will be some upcoming live sessions in August, including 'getting ready for nursery'. Further information will be added to the 'Children's Centre Sessions' page.

Personal Social and Emotional Development

Making relationships, Self-confidence/Self-awareness, managing feelings and behaviour

 1. Teddy bears picnic: Prepare a picnic, make sandwiches or wraps with your child and pack a picnic bag - you can go to the park, garden or even in your living room.

  • Place a blanket on the floor with some picnic/plastic plates and cups. Include any soft toys your child has at home to join the picnic.
  • Involve the family especially siblings too.

 2. Trip to the park, go for walks or even going shopping. Make a shopping list with your child of things you may need at home, or some ingredients to bake with them, or even to make dinner.

  • Let your child look for the ingredients on the shelf and encourage them to tick the item on the list once in the basket.
  • You can use pictures and words

 3. Turn taking or sharing activities such as,

  • Posting objects into a container
  • Rolling the ball to one another
  • Taking turns while mixing ingredients
  • Blowing bubbles.
  • Playing with playdough (have a look on the FSD for more information)

Remember to praise your child as this will build self-confidence.

 4. Talking about different emotions such as happy, sad, angry and scared.

  • How they might be feeling in different situations
  • Share how you may feel also

 5. Walk to your child’s new setting. This will help them understand and familiarise the nursery/pre-school building and entrance when they do start.

 6. Share information the setting has already sent (if the setting has sent information or a virtual tour share this with your child)

  • Talk to them about who their teacher is, what class they will be in, if they will be wearing a uniform and what colour it will be
  • All these will give your child a better understanding and help them settle easier when they start at their setting.

Communication and Language Development

Listening and attention, Understanding and Speaking

 1. Play games by hiding objects around the house (with items you have at home), e.g. hide soft toys, transport such as cars, trucks, plane etc.

  • Encourage your child to look behind, under, over, in front of furniture or other items.
  • Demonstrate this yourself and encourage your child to describe where they have found items, using words such as ‘on’, ‘under’, ‘above’ ‘behind’, ‘on top of’, ‘in front of’ etc.
  • This is called ‘preposition language’ – for example the clock is on the wall, or the ball is under the table

 2. Posting objects: You can use a shoe box or an empty container to cut a hole in and use objects around the house to ‘post’ in the box. You can use food, vegetables, utensils, soft toys etc.

  • To begin with you would place 4 objects on the floor next to the box. You then role model by picking one object, bringing it to your eye, (so you can get some eye contact from your child) name the object and posting it into the box – do this one at a time with each object.
  • Then let your child post the same objects. Give them time to post and you name them while they are posting them.  
  • To extend this, you can place 1 object at a time on the floor next to the box. Name the object and give your child instructions to post it into the box.
  • You can extend this further by placing 2 objects next to the posting box, and naming 1 object out of the 2 for your child to post in the box.

Physical Development

Moving and Handling:

 1. Encourage your child to lift heavy objects (safely) for example a shopping bag with a few items of shopping (not too heavy). This will help them strengthen their shoulder, neck and arm muscles. Or helping you put away shopping items.

 2. Use Bilateral co -ordination skills (ability to use both sides of the body in a co-ordinated way) to help them strengthen your child’s gross motor skills (bigger movements)

For example: Gross motor skills

  • Jumping and skipping
  • Riding a bike
  • Catching a ball
  • Swimming
  • Beating a drum
  • Pushing/pulling activities

To strengthen your child’s fine motor skills (smaller movements)

For example: Fine motor skills.

  • Threading activities
  • Tying shoelaces
  • Cut with scissors
  • Doing up buttons and zips
  • Using tongs or index finger and thumb to pick objects


Health and Self-care:

 1. Support your child to be independent by encouraging them tidy up things they have played with.

 2. Having a routine throughout the day. (See end of document for more info about routines)

 3. Encouraging them to dress themselves. Also, taking their coat/shoes on and off.

All the above will help them develop independent skills before they start nursery. They will develop these and learn more at nursery/pre-school.

Literacy (Reading and Writing):

Literacy (Reading and Writing):

 1.  Read books with your child

  • Read their favourite stories
  • Try and read books during the day and before bed
  • Avoid asking too many questions
  • Give them time to respond back and talk about the pictures in the book
  • Encourage them to turn the pages themselves

 2. Sing your child’s favourite rhymes to them

  • Encourage them to sing themselves by leaving a gap in the middle or the end.

 3.  Show them pictures of family member or friends

  • Even a holiday they might remember.
  • Let them describe picture scenarios to you – who is in the picture, where the picture might have been taken, what else is in the picture etc.

 Note: If you think your child has speech difficulties and you are concerned please contact Hounslow Children’s Centres through  or speak to your GP or Health Visitor for more advice.  You can also self-refer to the Hounslow Speech and Language Team.



 1. Sing simple number rhymes such as ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5 once I caught a fish alive’ or ‘5 Little Monkeys’ or ‘5 Little Ducks’.

 2. Play games when shopping such as counting buses, cars, food items etc.

 3. Counting when doing actions such as how many times you can clap, stomp your feet etc and encourage your child to copy you.

 4. Counting when doing everyday activities such as when cooking count how many potatoes, carrots etc.

 5. Model yourself and encourage your child to use language such as ‘more please’, ‘empty’, ‘enough’, ‘too much’, ‘far away’, ‘full’ – in everyday situations.

Shape, Space and Measure:

 1. Emptying and filling containers using water, pasta, lentils.

  • Use spoons, bowls, cups – you can reuse containers also such as yogurt pots, plastic cups, old butter containers, silver bowls – anything you have at home, check these for cracks or breakages regularly.
  • Use language such as ‘pour’, ‘add’, ‘empty’, ‘heavy’, ‘light’

 2. Encourage them to make their own structures by placing blocks, plastic cups/bowls on top of another.

 3. Puzzles - If you have puzzles at home support them by placing the pieces into their own space.

  • You can make your own puzzles by using recycled cereal boxes or pages from magazines.

 4. Talk about simple shapes such round, circle, square, triangle and rectangle. Look for shapes in your home or outdoor environment.

 5. Sort objects according to their shape or size.

Understanding the World

Understanding the World

 1. Share photos of families, friends, pets or favourite people encourage your child to recognise the familiar faces or places they see in the photos and discuss who they are, where they live, how they know them etc.

 2. Go for a walk explore the natural environment in your local area

  • Encourage your child to describe what they see, hear or feel, you can do this by talking about what you may see, hear or feel.
  • Use magnifying glasses or take pictures of the things look at it later, zoom in and out and experiment with how this changes what they see.

 3. Using ‘First’ and ‘Then’ – explain to your child what they will be doing first, and what will come after.

  • For example, ‘now you will put your shoes on, then we will go for a walk’.
  • This is helpful when instilling a routine.
  • It also helps to encourage co-operation, making it more likely for your child to follow instructions and promotes independence.
  • It is also another instance where communication and language are being modelled.  

 4. Cook together making dinner or baking with your child will encourage them to either use (if safe) or observe different tools being used to mix, make and change the structure of ingredients.

  • For example, using the weighing scales, whisking, seeing how the oven changes the food and awareness of the safety aspects in the kitchen.
  • It’s also an opportunity to help teach skills in a practical way, such as something solid turning liquid, like melting chocolate or cooking eggs.

 5). Pedestrian crossings when crossing the road at traffic lights, let your child press the button.

  • Encourage them to observe the light on the button turning, the colours of the traffic lights changing, and when it is safe to cross.

Expressive Arts and Design

Expressive Arts and Design

 1. Recycled instruments use empty boxes, containers and sticks to make instruments - experiment with sound they make.

  • Experiment with going really loud, and really quiet.
  • Sing familiar rhymes with the ‘instruments’

 2. Make and play with playdough homemade playdough can be made using household food items (including plain flour, salt, cream of tartar and cooking oil)

  • A method to make playdough can be found on the ‘Fun Activities to Try at Home’ page on the FSD website section for Children’s Centres.
  • Make the playdough with your child.
  • You can use cutters or let your child build and make whatever they like, join in and make your own playdough models too!

 3. Dancing and listening to music listen to fun, upbeat (child-friendly) music with your child and have a ‘pretend party’ dance around and use your body to move to the music.

  • You can do slow movements when the music slows down, and speed up movement when the music speeds up.
  • Try to listen to a variety of music – fun and upbeat music, and classical music to help calm.

 5. Make a den Using bedsheets and chairs, or a table, or cushions make a ‘den’ to sit under

  • You can pretend this den is anything a boat on a choppy sea, a cave to hide from monsters, an igloo to keep warm in – try to come up with some and see what else your child can imagine up too!


Why is having a routine importance?

It is important you child has a routine at home as this will help them to settle easier at nursery.

Having a routine:

It is important to have a routine for bedtime including having a bath, story time and bed. It is also important to have a routine in the morning, including brushing teeth, eating breakfast and getting dressed – it is helpful for both the child and you as a parent, promoting independence.

Mealtimes are also a good time to have a routine, including times for meals and snacks, washing hands, sitting at the table and clearing away plates.

Keep the routines consistent, so your child knows what to expect. If you do need to change a routine, let your child know ahead of time to try to avoid being unsettled.

Why 'bed time' is important?

It is important for your child to be in bed at a suitable time so your child is getting enough sleep and they will be much happier in the morning when it’s time to get ready and go to nursery. It is also important to do this well in advance of them starting nursery.

Further Information and Support

Further information and support:

For more information on the EYFS, Please Visit the foundation years website. There are two very useful documents on this website:

1.   Parents’ Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (pdf)

2.  Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework (pdf)

3. Foundation Years - What to expect, when? (pdf)

For more support, advice and practical ideas to help support your child before they start nursery:

Please visit the Children’s Centre section page

For toolkits, information and activities, please visit the Pacey website.

For useful information on children's speech development, please visit the Ican Website.