The Inside the Council column with Labour councillor Jane Scullion

Experiences: Don't leave it too late for your child: Picture: Courtesy of Matt Radcliffe Photography
Experiences: Don't leave it too late for your child: Picture: Courtesy of Matt Radcliffe Photography

You hear a lot these days about people preparing their ‘bucket lists’ of things to do before they die.

Some people plan to take up sky-diving or learn to play the piano while others want to tick off great travel experiences like seeing the Taj Mahal.

Here at Calderdale Council we believe that you shouldn’t leave it too late to be having great experiences and that’s why we have developed a new application to put on your mobile phone.

It’s called ‘50 things to do before you are Five’.

The fun and learning that children have before they are five years old really helps to set them up for the rest of their lives and that early learning is so important.

Never mind a bucket list – we think a bucket and spade list would be a good thing

Now that the bigger children are back at school it is a real challenge finding things to do every day with the little ones.

The application, which can be downloaded from any app store, has great ideas to stimulate your thinking about how to keep children entertained and inspired.

There are ideas about doing messy stuff like blowing bubbles or making magic potions and growing green stuff with toddlers.

There are lots of creative ideas like making paper aeroplanes (remember those?) and chalking out hopscotch on the pavement.

And even ideas for your little one to get with the Bake Off craze and make things out of dough.

There is active stuff about woodland wandering and making dens to get the children (and you) out in our great Pennine landscape.

I particularly like the ideas about transport, buses and spotting diggers and cranes.

Let’s face it; we have plenty of opportunities for toddlers who are keen on machines to do some spotting along the roads of the upper valley!

Some of the ideas are old fashioned but they are all no cost or low cost and so really accessible to all parents and carers. Why, you might ask, is the Council getting involved in this –surely parents can sort these things out themselves?

The short answer is that we now know, from all the research that has been carried out, that the experiences that children have in their early years are so important in shaping their physical and mental well-being and their success in later life.

Many of you reading this will be able to tap back into your own memories of playing in the streets until your parents called you in when it got dark or of having the freedom to make dens in the nearby woods.

We would like the children of today to have at least a taste of those experiences, so spread the word about 50 things to do before you are Five and let children have their own list to tick off!