Remember earlier does not necessarily mean better. Don’t force your child to do an activity they are not interested in – you may do more harm than good.

0 – 1 year

cot mobiles; listening to music; baby massage; free kicking; rattles; picture books; activity centres; bath toys; banging utensils; songs and rhymes with actions; nesting beakers; bucket and spade; sand; hide-and-find games

1 – 2.5 years

copying games; dancing; push-along toys; balls; crayons and paper; bricks and stacking toys; shape sorters; peg people; equipment for imitating and make believe; story books; ride-on toys; jigsaws (with lift out pegs); play-dough; painting; turning and screwing toys; threading toys; musical instruments; skittles; hammer toys; construction toys (e.g. Duplo)

3 years+

drawing and colouring (crayons, pencils, chalk, stencils); painting and printing (hand/footprints, string painting; finger painting); cutting and sticking; play-dough modelling; books and stories; finding pairs; early reading and maths skills (recognising letter shapes/letter sounds); pre-writing skills (sand writing, following patterns); musical games (actions songs; guess-the-sound); sand and water play; dressing up and pretending; making masks and jewellery; puppets; miniature words; kitchen activities (sieving, baking, stirring, rolling, measuring, decorating); mini-gardens; collecting (shells, pebbles, stones, feathers, leaves); playground/park visits and outings