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Early Years and Childcare - Communication and Language Development



50 things to do before you're five logo

50 Things To Do Before You’re Five App

50 Things provides a framework of low cost or no cost activities for families that are designed to be universally accessible, play-based, and fun, giving parents confidence to try something they may not otherwise have seen the value in doing with their child, for example, walking to the park and having a serve and return conversation with their child as they make something out of sticks. The project is evidence based and aims to enrich the home learning environment with a diverse range of experiences that are intended to produce outcomes across a broad range of measures:

  • Improved early speech, language and communication/oracy skills
  • Improved school readiness
  • Improved parental confidence in engaging in playful family activities with their child
  • Better fine and gross motor skills
  • Change in behaviours, leading to better health, especially lower obesity, coronary and respiratory fitness
  • Improved self-regulation, metacognition and resilience

50 Things is a place-based offer for all families, which is then followed up by targeted support from local providers for children growing up in poverty. The suggestions are all tailored to each local area and within easy geographical reach, taking cultural and religious sensitivities into account. The suggestions were compiled with the help of local families and include suggestions for all ages and stages of development from 0-5 years. All activity suggestions underwent a screening and quality-improvement process with speech and language therapists and SEND experts to ensure that the 50 things were fully inclusive for children with additional needs.

Good Practice Ideas

50 Things in Action

The 50 things app can benefit children in the setting and home learning environment. In addition to supporting and strengthening working with parents, the activity ideas and information make planning easy. If you don’t already use the app, we would highly recommend exploring it and prompting it to families.

#17 Yummy Picnic – an example of planning opportunities

  • Decide on a day and time for the picnic if you are going to invite parents.
  • Inviting parents will enable you to share the app, talk about the experience you are offering and how this looks on the app. Have the app on devices so that parents can explore it. Encourage them to download it on their own devices. [ensure you risk assess if parents are downloading this on phones whilst in the setting].
  • OR… It may be a spontaneous idea brought about by children sharing their own experiences.
  • 50 Things app provides ideas of stories to share which link to food, picnics, health, adventure… Opportunity to visit the library.
  • Write/draw a shopping list.
  • Visit the shop and find the items on their lists.
  • Prepare food together talking about where foods come from/healthy eating/likes/dislikes and connections to each child’s own lived experience.
  • Decide together where you will have your picnic. Talk about different options depending on the weather.
  • Involve the children in finding blankets/mats/cushions for the picnic.
  • Ask the children if they would like to make decorations. Opportunity to think of ideas and choose resources.

Visit the website 50 Things to Do Before You're Five in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough

Peterborough Children’s Speech & Language Therapy Service Website:

Link for parents to book a virtual advice session with a Speech & Language Therapist (during COVID-19 situation when face-to-face drop-in sessions can’t take place)

Speech & Language Therapy Facebook page (a joint page also including Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Psychology)

Universally Speaking - ages and stages of communication and language development for children aged birth to 5

Speech & Language Therapy Leaflets

Concentrating and listening519KBpdf
Size: 519KBFile format: pdf
Dummies~good or bad1.92MBpdf
Size: 1.92MBFile format: pdf
First words and beyond967KBpdf
Size: 967KBFile format: pdf
How playing helps talking787KBpdf
Size: 787KBFile format: pdf
Speech Sounds1.04MBpdf
Size: 1.04MBFile format: pdf
Stammer (new)1.05MBpdf
Size: 1.05MBFile format: pdf
Talking without words838KBpdf
Size: 838KBFile format: pdf
TV on or off454KBpdf
Size: 454KBFile format: pdf