Children MUST do these 30 activities before starting school, parents say

KIDS must jump in a puddle, make a friend and visit their local swimming pool before they start school, parents have revealed.

Mums and dads also reckon children should feed the ducks, host a birthday party, and meet some friendly farm animals ahead of their first day of primary education.

The catalogue of 30 bucket list activities was compiled in a poll of 1,000 pre-school parents.

Jumping on a bouncy castle, taking a trip to a toy shop and dancing with parents also ranked highly on the list of things to do in their formative years.

It also emerged 89 per cent of parents believe it is important to regularly introduce new things to their little ones to help with their development. 

The research, commissioned by childcare provider Busy Bees, found for 72 per cent of parents, experiencing new things is vital for building their youngsters' confidence.


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Seven in 10 believe it helps pre-schoolers learn new things, while 60 per cent say it allows children to explore different emotions.

Deena Billings, head of experience at Busy Bees, said: "Life is full of wonderful things and every child should experience as much as they possibly can during their early years to help them develop their confidence and understanding of the world.

"Sadly, many have missed out on important milestone moments due to the pandemic.

"These findings confirm what we have seen in our nurseries and heard from parents as they hope to introduce their children to more experiences now that life is returning to normality.

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"That’s why we’re building in extra activities at our centres to provide our children with the additional developmental support they need."

To extend these experiences further than childcare surroundings, Busy Bees has created a playful quiz to see which activities their child has already ticked off the list.

Almost two-thirds of parents (63 per cent) believe their child has missed out on many of these key experiences due to the pandemic, with 78 per cent agreeing their development has been held back because of this.  

Social interaction (53 per cent), social skills (51 per cent) and speech (30 per cent) were voted the top things that have been affected.

In a separate survey conducted by the nursery, polling 1,905 parents, it emerged more than a third (36 per cent) are concerned the pandemic has made it harder for their child to feel ready for school.

In fact, four in 10 members of the Busy Bees Parent Panel said they had spoken to their child’s nursery key worker about the impact that the pandemic has had on their kid.


1. Swim in a pool

2. Jump in a puddle

3. Make a friend

4. Feed the ducks

5. Have a birthday party

6. Meet some friendly farm animals

7. Go to a toy shop

8. Go on a bouncy castle

9. Paddle in the sea

10. Dance with their parents

11. Bake a cake

12. Build a snowman

13. Play with playdough or slime

14. Watch at least one Disney movie

15. Have chips at the seaside

16. Finger painting

17. Jump into a big pile of crunchy autumn leaves

18. Ride on a bus

19. Dig a huge hole or build a sandcastle at the beach

20. Wear fancy dress

21. Have a teddy bears’ picnic

22. Make a sofa fort

23. Plant a seed and see it grow

24. Go to a funfair

25. Use a bed like a trampoline

26. Go on a treasure hunt

27. Eat a 99 flake

28. Go to the cinema

29. Go on a bug hunt

30. Scrape their knees

More than half (52 per cent) plan on making up for this over the summer and have already started ticking things off their list, according to the OnePoll study – with eight in 10 parents planning new and exciting experiences for their child.

It also emerged 89 per cent ‘feel good as a parent’ when seeing their child enjoy new things, with the average mum and dad aiming to give their child four new experiences each month.

Despite this, a third still struggle to come up with new things to do.

The main source of inspiration for what to do with their little ones is friends and family (59 per cent), while 43 per cent usually turn to Instagram, and 27 per cent look to their nurseries or childcare settings.

A further 39 per cent will turn to various websites, and 37 per cent scroll through other people’s Facebook posts or ask the child themselves.

However, not being able to live life as normal during the pandemic did have its perks for parents as 61 per cent enjoyed spending more time together as a family.

And almost half of the parents surveyed (49 per cent) say they plan to continue making space for more family time and shared activities in the future.

Deena Billings added: "There are lots of things families have missed out on over the last two years because of the pandemic, but it’s great to see that parents are keen to make up for lost time.

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"That’s why we’ve worked with parents to develop a list of 30 things all children should try before they start school.

"We hope this provides some inspiration for family-friendly activities to take away over the coming summer months."

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