Early Years Home Activities

Bookstart Baby Packs

We now have a short video Your Bookstart Baby Pack to help convey the Bookstart message and to explain how parents can access their free Bookstart packs.

To support parents with new babies, we now have a wide selection of videos including:

Hints and Tips for reading to your baby

Rhymes for new born babies

Baby Rhyme times

Parents can arrange to collect their Bookstart pack from one of four Barnet libraries, Chipping Barnet, Colindale, Edgware and Finchley Church End.

Please note, collection is by pre-arrangement only and families cannot just turn up to collect a pack.

More activities for babies, toddlers and older children are available on our YouTube Channel.

The Silly Squad Quiz is the latest addition to the activity programme!

Select and Collect Service

Our new Select and Collect service is also now available from four libraries. This enables families to arrange collection of up to 20 books/CDs/DVDs. Access to books, in this way, enables children to participate in the  Silly Squad Summer Reading Challenge

Virtual Baby Groups

We are looking to start running some virtual baby groups in the next few weeks. If you have any mums or dads who would be interested in joining a virtual group with a view to eventually meeting up, please ask them to contact us at Bookstart@barnet.gov.uk

Simple & Fun, Home Activities

We are bringing together resources and activities for parents and carers to do at home with under fives. These include ideas for exploring sound and rhythm, storytelling and how to make everyday household items fun.

Join Hero for her fun, interactive virtual sessions on our Facebook Page: South Locality Facebook Page


You will need:

  • Paper plates
  • Kitchen roll tube
  • Paints or crayons

Cut around the inside of the paper plates to create the hoops.

To create your hoopla, cut a hole in the middle of a paper plate. Place the kitchen roll tube through the hole and secure with tape.

Decorate both your hoops and hoopla. Enjoy!


You will need:

  • 500 g (handful) dried spaghetti
  • Sealable freezer bag or sandwich bag
  • Food colouring
  • Large tubs or bowls to put the different coloured spaghetti into

Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet. Drain into a colander and rinse under cold running water until cool.

Divide the spaghetti into as many freezer bags as you want colours. Add a few drops of a different coloured food colouring into each bag – a little goes a long way. Seal each bag and move the spaghetti around inside: your child will enjoy helping you do this.

Leave for 10 minutes to absorb the colour, then tip all the spaghetti into a large tub.

Let you child have fun playing with the spaghetti, they will love the texture!

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You will need:

  • A selection of children’s books

Find a cosy corner, cuddle up and share some story books.

Encourage your child to join in with parts they know.

Talk about the pictures.

Talk about what might happen next?



You will need:

  • 1 cupful of plain flour (about 250g)
  • half a cupful of table salt (about 125g)
  • half a cupful of water (about 125ml)

Mix the flour, salt and water together to make the dough.

Roll out the dough and make your own shape or model. You can use cutters or your hand prints. Make the dough around 1-1.5cm think.

If you are making hand prints, press as hard as you can in the dough – The deeper the better!

Place on a baking tray and put in the oven on a low heat for approx. 2 hours or until completely solid.

Once cool, you can add the finishing touches and decorate it.


You will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Tape
  • Toy cars

Cut a length of card, the longer the better. Turn the edges up and with the tape secure into position. The sides will help prevent the car falling off the track. Place one end of the track against something high up i.e. sofa, table or chair.

If you make 2 you could race each other!


You will need:

  • Your favourite book
  • Recording device
  • Internet access (optional)

Read your favourite story to someone else - over the garden fence to your neighbour/ recorded on your smart phone and posted to our Facebook page/ via video call to family members.

Encourage your child to talk about the story and why it is their favourite to the person you are sharing it with.


You will need:

  • Lolly sticks
  • Paper
  • Pens/ pencils
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Draw the characters from your favourite story and colour them in.

Cut out and glue to a lolly stick.

Once they are dry you can re-tell the story using our own puppets! Enjoy!


You will need:

  • Egg shell/ yoghurt pot/ any small container
  • Cress/ grass seed
  • Soil/ cotton wool
  • Pens/ stick on eyes

Decorate any small container you have to look like a face.

Fill with either damp cotton wool or soil.

Scatter your seed on top.

Once the seed starts to grow, it will look like hair!

If you use cress seeds you will be able to snip some off for sandwiches or salads :)


You will need:

  • 1 x Tomato
  • Pot
  • Soil

Fill your pot with soil.

Slice a tomato and place a slice on top of the soil.

Water each day and keep on a warm windowsill.

After around 10 days you will have tomato plants!


You will need:

  • Sunflower seed
  • Pot
  • Pencil
  • Soil

Fill your pot with soil and plant your seeds.

Water them every day and leave in a sunny spot.

When your sunflower opens use the end of the pencil to gently push in eyes and mouth to make your sunflower smile!


You will need:

  • Saucers/ pots
  • Water
  • Vegetable ends

Find out what will re-grow by putting the waste from cutting up fruit and veg in water!

The tops from carrots will re-grow greens which can be eaten in salads, Lettuce will start to grow new leaves, spring onions will grow a whole new plant.


 You will need:

  • Bucket or large bowl
  • Water
  • Paintbrushes

Find some clear pavement or fence and paint a picture with water, watch as the sunshine slowly dries it off.

Take the learning further by doing an experiment - does it dry faster in the sun or shade?