Banbury parents reminded of 50 great ideas for under-fives

An app packed with bright ideas for pre-school children is just right for summer fun.

A great idea... explore an exciting trail, an ideal place for learning to ride a bike.
A great idea... explore an exciting trail, an ideal place for learning to ride a bike.

The initiative known as ‘50 things to do before you’re five’ launched last summer as a free, downloadable phone app to offer families with a list of activities designed to help their child’s pre-school development.

It puts the emphasis on parent and child interaction, to assist with speech in the under-fives.

Oxfordshire County Council pioneered it on the basis that being able to communicate effectively supports children’s mental health and wellbeing, their self-confidence and the forming of friendships in early years, as well as being the backbone of later literacy development.

Cllr Liz Brighouse, the council’s cabinet member for children, education and youth services, said: “The phone app has been downloaded nearly 4,800 times since we launched this initiative.

“There are so many wonderful and rewarding ways to interact with your child, from singing nursery rhymes, dancing, telling stories about everything you do together, jumping in puddles and skipping to the shops and nursery.”

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Each suggested activity is no cost or low cost and includes the likes of making mud pies, looking at birds and other easily accessible wildlife; enjoying learning to understand and describe the things around us by using a list of suggested words to expand vocabulary.

Rosie, a parent from Banbury, said: “The app has been so helpful to me, especially in the holidays when you're running low on ideas. I've made sure that family members have it too, so it gives them ideas. The main thing for me is it’s not just an idea, it's where you can do that idea and the learning behind it.”

The app also promotes activities and experiences to young families – with links to venues and events. It offers notifications of important dates and reminders, such as registering with a local dentist and applying for a nursery and school place.

It contains information, guidance and supporting resources that allow parents to build a private digital memory bank of their child's special moments.

The council estimates that there are just under 40,000 children under the age of five in the county.

Further information is available on the website which can be found by clicking here, from where the app can be downloaded.