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Pick an essential skill you want to build

Listening

The receiving, retaining and processing of information or ideas
The oral transmission of information or ideas
The ability to find a solution to a situation or challenge
The use of imagination and the generation of new ideas
The ability to use tactics and strategies to overcome setbacks and achieve goals
The ability to set clear, tangible goals and devise a robust route to achieving them
Supporting, encouraging and developing others to achieve a shared goal
Working cooperatively with others towards achieving a shared goal

Getting started

To begin building this skill with your child you can help them to understand why they should listen carefully to you and others.

Introduction video for parents and carers

This video is approximately 1 minute long.

Build the skill with your child

Have a go at some of these activities with your child to develop this skill. We recommend you spend the amount of time to best suit you and your child - perhaps completing one section at a time. You can always come back and carry on!

Read

This section gives you a simple skill story to read and share together.

Talk

This section suggests questions for you to ask when speaking with your child about this skill.

Do

This section provides an activity idea for you and your child to do together.

The importance of listening

Start here

Read

Read this story about the skill of Listening together.

Listen out for times when the characters are listening carefully to other people speaking or when they are not.

When you have finished the story, talk about:

  • What happened in the story?
  • What does it mean to interrupt people?
  • How did Finn and Fran show when they had listened carefully?
  • How did listening help them with their designs?
The characters Finn and Fran standing outside in a park within the city.

Talk

Flashing up on the screen is a piece of paper with letter i for information, a cartoon listening ear and a cartoon head with cog turning where the brain should be.

Talk about all of the people you might need to listen to and when.

  • Why is it important to listen to them?
  • How can you show you are listening carefully?
  • What does it mean to interrupt someone? When is this OK?

Do

Make a picture together to show all of the people you listened to this week so far.

Remembering short instructions

Then this

Talk

A laptop with a bicycle on the screen and the text 'How to ride a bicycle' appears.

Talk about times when you have had to listen to and follow instructions.

  • Why is it important that you remember instructions?
  • When do you struggle to listen to instructions?
  • What could you do to better listen to instructions?

Do

Listen to the sound clip.

Follow the instructions together or have a go at another a simple activity of your own for family members to do.  

Give them clear instructions so they know what to do.

After the activity, talk about whether they could remember and follow the instructions they had been given.

Transcript

We need to lay the table for dinner time - can you help please?

First, the table will need wiping before the place mats are laid out.

Next, each person will need a knife, fork and spoon.

Can you make sure everyone has a glass for some water too?

And the water jug - this can be found next to the  kitchen sink.

Oh, finally, remember to put out some plates and sauces you want!

Understanding what you have heard

Now this

Talk

A person speaking to another person who looks confused to begin with but then smilles.

Talk about a time when you have been listening and you have felt confused.

Share some ideas about how you could check you understand what you have heard.

  • Why is someone talking to you?
  • Could you repeat what you have heard to check you understand?
  • Have you ever made a note of important information to help you remember and understand something?
  • What questions could you ask to improve your understanding?

Do

Look at the pictures and flip the cards to read a description.

Choose one of the activities in the pictures or a different activity of your own.

Try to use different ways to check you are understanding any instructions.

Use a video online to learn how to make a paper boat.
Ask a family member to teach you a simple card game.
Follow an exercise video.
REVEAL
An orange, origami boat made from paper.
REVEAL
A family sat around the table playing a game of cards.
REVEAL
A young woman doing yoga in front of a laptop screen.
No items found.

Books to read and share with your child

Look out for these story books which all include Listening as a theme in your local library. Read, share and enjoy with your child.

  • Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen by Susan Cornelison
  • My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook
  • Listen Buddy by Helen Lester
  • Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker by Christianne C. Jones
  • Worst Day of My Life Ever! by Julia Cook
  • Why Should I Listen? by Claire Llewellyn
  • I Have a Little Problem, Said the Bear by Heinz Janisch
  • Quiet Please, Owen McPhee! by Trudy Ludwig and Patrice Barto
  • Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer
  • Listen, Listen by Phillis Gershator
An open book on a table outside

Introduction video for parents and carers

This video is approximately 1 minute long.

Build the skill with your child

Have a go at some of these activities with your child to develop this skill. We recommend you spend the amount of time to best suit you and your child - perhaps completing one section at a time. You can always come back and carry on!

Read

This section gives you some more information about the skill to read and share together.

Talk

This section suggests questions for you to ask when speaking with your child about this skill.

Do

This section provides an activity idea for you and your child to do together.

The importance of listening

Start here

Read

Read this story about the skill of Listening together.

Listen out for times when the characters are listening carefully to other people speaking or when they are not.

When you have finished the story, talk about:

  • What happened in the story?
  • What does it mean to interrupt people?
  • How did Finn and Fran show when they had listened carefully?
  • How did listening help them with their designs?
The characters Finn and Fran standing outside in a park within the city.

Talk

Flashing up on the screen is a piece of paper with letter i for information, a cartoon listening ear and a cartoon head with cog turning where the brain should be.

Talk about all of the people you might need to listen to and when.

  • Why is it important to listen to them?
  • How can you show you are listening carefully?
  • What does it mean to interrupt someone? When is this OK?

Do

Make a picture together to show all of the people you listened to this week so far.

Remembering short instructions

Then this

Talk

A laptop with a bicycle on the screen and the text 'How to ride a bicycle' appears.

Talk about times when you have had to listen to and follow instructions.

  • Why is it important that you remember instructions?
  • When do you struggle to listen to instructions?
  • What could you do to better listen to instructions?

Do

Listen to the sound clip.

Follow the instructions together or have a go at another a simple activity of your own for family members to do.  

Give them clear instructions so they know what to do.

After the activity, talk about whether they could remember and follow the instructions they had been given.

Transcript

We need to lay the table for dinner time - can you help please?

First, the table will need wiping before the place mats are laid out.

Next, each person will need a knife, fork and spoon.

Can you make sure everyone has a glass for some water too?

And the water jug - this can be found next to the  kitchen sink.

Oh, finally, remember to put out some plates and sauces you want!

Understanding what you have heard

Now this

Talk

A person speaking to another person who looks confused to begin with but then smilles.

Talk about a time when you have been listening and you have felt confused.

Share some ideas about how you could check you understand what you have heard.

  • Why is someone talking to you?
  • Could you repeat what you have heard to check you understand?
  • Have you ever made a note of important information to help you remember and understand something?
  • What questions could you ask to improve your understanding?

Do

Look at the pictures and flip the cards to read a description.

Choose one of the activities in the pictures or a different activity of your own.

Try to use different ways to check you are understanding any instructions.

Use a video online to learn how to make a paper boat.
Ask a family member to teach you a simple card game.
Follow an exercise video.
REVEAL
An orange, origami boat made from paper.
REVEAL
A family sat around the table playing a game of cards.
REVEAL
A young woman doing yoga in front of a laptop screen.
No items found.

Introduction video for parents and carers

This video is approximately 1 minute long.

Build the skill with your child

Have a go at some of these activities with your child to develop this skill. We recommend you spend the amount of time to best suit you and your child - perhaps completing one section at a time. You can always come back and carry on!

Read

This section gives you more information about the online tool that can be used to support your child to build their essential skills.

Talk

This section suggests questions for you to use when speaking with your child about their use of this online tool.

Do

This section provides an online activity for your child to complete with support, or independently if more suitable for them.

Support your child to build this skill with interactive learning modules

Read

We have suggested modules to support your child's skill development at this stage. However, it can also be used to support individual needs or guide your child through a choice of courses based on the essential skills.

Your child (11+) can sign up to build their essential skills in three steps:
Identify key learning related to the skill step.
Practise the skill step with a choice of interactive online and offline activities.
Articulate (talk about) their understanding of the skill step through written words or discussion with others.

As a parent/carer, support your child to use Skills Builder Launchpad to:

  • Support your child to independently build their own essential skills.
  • Give opportunities for your child to apply the skill at different times and places.
  • Encourage your child to reflect on their skills.
  • See the results of skills-building conversations and activities at home.
  • Support the transition to next steps such as: moving up a year at school, applying for employment/ further education and preparing for independent living.

Talk

Here are some suggested questions for you to talk about together when using Skills Builder Launchpad:

  • What have you learnt in this module?
  • Which activities did you do to practise this skill? How did you get on?
  • Shall we talk through the reflection questions at the end of the module?
  • When is your next chance of applying this skill? How will you go about it?
  • Can you think of any examples of when you have used this skill?
  • What might you do next to develop this skill?

Do

Support your child to build this skill with interactive learning modules.

No items found.

Discover strengths and areas for improvement with our self-assessment tool

Read

Skills Builder Benchmark is an online tool for your child to reflect on their essential skills.


Your child (11+) can sign up to explore their essential skills in three steps:
Step 1: Choose an essential skill and answer some simple questions.
Step 2: Find their strengths and areas for development, alongside practical ideas to improve their skills.
Step 3: Download their own Skills Report to use and share with others at home or at school/college.

As a parent/carer, support your child to use Skills Builder Benchmark to:

  • Support your child to reflect on their essential skills in everyday life.
  • See the results of skills-building conversations and activities at home.
  • Support the transition to next steps such as: moving up a year at school, applying for employment/ further education and preparing for independent living.

Talk

Here are some suggested questions for you to talk about together when using Skills Builder Benchmark:

  • How did you feel whilst reflecting on this skill?
  • Can you share your strengths and areas for development for this skill?
  • When do you use this skill in your everyday life? Can you think of any examples?
  • What could you do based on the suggestions to improve this skill?
  • Where else could you continue to practise and improve this skill?

Do

Discover strengths and areas for improvement with our self-assessment tool.

START YOUR
Listening
ASSESSMENT

Introduction video for parents and carers

This video is approximately 1 minute long.

Build the skill with your child

Have a go at some of these activities with your child to develop this skill. We recommend you spend the amount of time to best suit you and your child - perhaps completing one section at a time. You can always come back and carry on!

Read

This section gives you more information about the online tool that can be used to support your child to build their essential skills.

Talk

This section suggests questions for you to use when speaking with your child about their use of this online tool.

Do

This section provides an online activity for your child to complete with support, or independently if more suitable for them.

Support your child to build this skill with interactive learning modules

Read

We have suggested modules to support your child's skill development at this stage. However, it can also be used to support individual needs or guide your child through a choice of courses based on the essential skills.

Your child (11+) can sign up to build their essential skills in three steps:
Identify key learning related to the skill step.
Practise the skill step with a choice of interactive online and offline activities.
Articulate (talk about) their understanding of the skill step through written words or discussion with others.

As a parent/carer, support your child to use Skills Builder Launchpad to:

  • Support your child to independently build their own essential skills.
  • Give opportunities for your child to apply the skill at different times and places.
  • Encourage your child to reflect on their skills.
  • See the results of skills-building conversations and activities at home.
  • Support the transition to next steps such as: moving up a year at school, applying for employment/ further education and preparing for independent living.

Talk

Here are some suggested questions for you to talk about together when using Skills Builder Launchpad:

  • What have you learnt in this module?
  • Which activities did you do to practise this skill? How did you get on?
  • Shall we talk through the reflection questions at the end of the module?
  • Can you think of any examples of when you have used this skill?
  • When is your next chance of applying this skill? How will you go about it?
  • What might you do next to develop this skill?

Do

Support your child to build this skill with interactive learning modules.

No items found.

Discover strengths and areas for improvement with our self-assessment tool

Read

Skills Builder Benchmark is an online tool for your child to reflect on their essential skills.


Your child (11+) can sign up to explore their essential skills in three steps:
Step 1: Choose an essential skill and answer some simple questions.
Step 2: Find their strengths and areas for development, alongside practical ideas to improve their skills.
Step 3: Download their own Skills Report to use and share with others at home or at school/college.

As a parent/carer, support your child to use Skills Builder Benchmark to:

  • Support your child to reflect on their essential skills in everyday life.
  • See the results of skills-building conversations and activities at home.
  • Support the transition to next steps such as: moving up a year at school, applying for employment/ further education and preparing for independent living.

Talk

Here are some suggested questions for you to talk about together when using Skills Builder Benchmark:

  • How did you feel whilst reflecting on this skill?
  • Can you share your strengths and areas for development for this skill?
  • When do you use this skill in your everyday life? Can you think of any examples?
  • What could you do based on the suggestions to improve this skill?
  • Where else could you continue to practise and improve this skill?

Do

Discover strengths and areas for improvement with our self-assessment tool.

START YOUR
Listening
ASSESSMENT

Continue to build this skill at home by taking part in these weekly skill challenges - encourage all of the family to join in and have fun together!

More Listening Skill Challenges

Watch or listen to a news broadcast.

What is the news story about? Who is involved? What might happen next in this story?

Discuss the news story with a friend or family member. What do they think about it?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you make sure you are listening carefully?

Intermediate: What does it mean to summarise what you have heard?

Advanced: Why is summarising or rephrasing what you have heard useful sometimes?

Mastery: How might changing the language (words) used affect how you feel about something?

Listening

Sit or lie very still. Listen.  

Listen to the sounds you can hear around you - indoors, or outdoors, close by or from far away.  

Listen to your own breathing.  Just listen very carefully for as long as you can.

Tell a family member or a friend what you have heard.

Challenge them to listen carefully too and listen carefully as they tell you what they heard.  

Did you hear the same things or different things?

How did you feel as you listened carefully? How did they feel as they listened carefully?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you make sure you are listening carefully?

Intermediate: What does it mean to summarise what you have heard?

Advanced: Why is summarising or rephrasing what you have heard useful sometimes?

Mastery: How might changing the language (words) used affect how you feel about something?

Listening

Listen carefully to a song you know well. It might be one of your favourites.  Really concentrate on the lyrics (words).

Ask yourself what the song is about?  Why do you like it? Do the lyrics tell a story? Which words stand out to you and are memorable?  

After you have listened to the song, tell someone else about it. Say why you like it.

Have a go at explaining what you think the song is about.  

Can you summarise it or rephrase it? Maybe you can sing it.

Ask them to tell you about one of their favourite songs too.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you make sure you are listening carefully?

Intermediate: What does it mean to summarise what you have heard?

Advanced: Why is summarising or rephrasing what you have heard useful sometimes?

Mastery: How might changing the language (words) used affect how you feel about something?

Listening

Think of someone in your family who has a talent that you admire.

It could be they are great at baking delicious cakes, or they seem to have green fingers and their plants always grow really well. They may know lots of card tricks or they have fun ideas of things do on rainy days.

Ask them to help you learn something they know - to share their talent with you.

Listen carefully as they explain and ask questions to help you understand more.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you make sure you are listening carefully?

Intermediate: What does it mean to summarise what you have heard?

Advanced: How is the speaker using tone to persuade you the listener?

Mastery: How can you identify the core (main) points being made?

Listening

Make it your mission to listen carefully all day today.

You could listen to a story, a podcast, the lyrics of a song, a news report on the TV or radio or a conversation.

Choose one thing you have listened carefully to and tell someone else about it, making sure you include the important information.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you make sure you are listening carefully?

Intermediate: What does it mean to summarise what you have heard?

Advanced: How does the speaker use tone to persuade you as the listener?

Mastery: How can you identify the core points being made?

Listening

With a member of your household, each make a decision to listen very carefully to a different TV programme, radio show, podcast or similar.

Think about what you will need to do to really listen so that you are able to summarise and tell others what you've heard.

What is the most important information you will need to share with them?

Then listen to their summary of what they have listened too.

Can you identify from what you've heard what the most important parts were?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you make sure you are listening carefully?

Intermediate: What does it mean to summarise what you have heard?

Advanced: What questions can you ask to to further your understanding?

Mastery: How can you identify the core points being made?

Listening

Think of a person you admire who speaks out on issues that matter to them and search online for a speech or interview they have made to persuade others.

For example, it could be Emma Watson speaking about gender issues or Marcus Rashford speaking about child poverty.

Listen carefully to their speech or interview, and observe how they use tone, body language and specific wording to persuade the listener.

Extension: Summarise the key points of the speech.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you make sure you are listening carefully?

Intermediate: What does it mean to summarise what you have heard?

Advanced: How is the speaker using tone to persuade the listener?

Mastery: How can you identify the core points being made?

Listening

Ask a family member which is their favourite season and why.

Listen carefully to their answer and summarise what they have told you, asking any questions to further your understanding.

Reflection Questions

Beginner: How do we listen?

Intermediate: Do you have any ways of helping maintaining concentration when listening?

Advanced: What is the value of summarising what you have heard?

Expert: How can you identify the core points being made?

Listening
More Speaking Skill Challenges

Imagine you are giving a presentation about your favourite music artist.

Who are they? What style of music do they create? Why do you like them more than other artists?

Talk about your favourite artist to a friend or family member.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do we know if we are speaking clearly?

Intermediate: As you speak how can put your points into a logical order so you can be easily understood?

Advanced: How can you use tone, expression and gesture to make your speaking engaging?

Mastery: Would your voice over for the film trailer influence and persuade listeners to watch your film?

Speaking

Imagine a film (movie) has been made about your family.  

Prepare a 30 second voice over for the trailer to advertise the film.

Think about what you would say to advertise the film and how you would say it clearly.

You might want to record your voice over or perform it 'live' to the rest of your family.  

Challenge other family members to have a go too and then enjoy listening to each others trailers.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do we know if we are speaking clearly?

Intermediate: As you speak how can put your points into a logical order so you can be easily understood?

Advanced: How can you use tone, expression and gesture to make your speaking engaging?

Mastery: Would your voice over for the film trailer influence and persuade listeners to watch your film?

Speaking

Imagine you are having a special party and you can invite just four very important special guests.

Your special guests could be real people you know, imaginary characters from a book or film,  or historcial figures from the past.

Think about who you would want to be your guests and why.  

Prepare a short speech to explain your thinking.

Ask your family to do the same and then take it in turns to present your speeches, clearly explaining who your special party guests would be and why.

Enjoy finding out who would be at this very special party!

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do we know if we are speaking clearly?

Intermediate: As you speak how can put your points into a logical order so you can be easily understood?

Advanced: How can you use tone, expression and gesture to make your speaking engaging?

Mastery: How might you change what you are saying in response to your listeners reactions?

Speaking

You have been challenged to tell a group of people up to 5 'fascinating facts' about yourself.

Think about what they already know. What might you share with them which will be new and interesting?

Prepare a short speech to share in person or by recording.

Encourage other family members to have a go to and ask each other questions about the fascinating facts.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do we know if we are speaking clearly?

Intermediate: How can put your points in a logical order as you speak?

Advanced: How can you use tone, expression and gesture to make your speaking engaging for the listener?

Mastery: How can you adapt (change) the content of what you are saying, in response to your listeners?

Speaking

Imagine you have been asked to speak on a podcast about things to do in your local area.

Prepare a short speech detailing all the things you enjoy doing in your community.

Practise what you will say and then you could record your presentation to share afterwards or do a live performance!

Invite your 'Listeners' to ask you questions about your speech.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do we know if we are speaking clearly?

Intermediate: How do you think you can put your points in a logical order?

Advanced: How can you use tone, expression and gesture to make your speaking engaging?

Mastery: How can you adapt the content of what you are saying, in response to listeners?

Speaking

Challenge yourself to give someone in your household clear directions to get to a local place, maybe a relative or friend's house, the park, library or a shop.  

They will need to listen carefully and follow your directions as you travel with them.  

Think about the order you are giving the instructions and speak clearly so that you and they can arrive together safely at your destination.

What happens if the directions you are sharing get jumbled up?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do we know if we are speaking clearly?

Intermediate: How do you think you can put your points in a logical order?

Advanced: How can you use tone, expression and gesture to make your speaking engaging?

Mastery: How can you adapt the content of what you are saying, in response to listeners?

Speaking

Write a persuasive speech about an issue you feel passionately about and deliver the speech to members of your family.

You might first research other well known speeches for inspiration, for example, one of Greta Thunberg's speeches on climate change.

Think carefully about how you use tone, body language and gesture to engage the listener and how you communicate the issue effectively and persuasively.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do we know if we are speaking clearly?

Intermediate: How do you think you can put your points in a logical order?

Advanced: How can you use tone, expression and gesture to make your speaking engaging?

Mastery: How can you adapt the content of what you are saying, in response to listeners?

Speaking

Prepare a short presentation for your family about your favourite season.

This could be delivered as a poem, or with accompanying drawings or photos.

Talk about how the season makes you feel and what you enjoy most about this particular time of the year.

Reflection Questions

Beginner: How do we know if we are speaking clearly?

Intermediate: How do you think you can put your points in a logical order?

Advanced: How can you use tone, expression and gesture to make your speaking engaging?

Expert: How can you adapt the content of what you are saying, in response to listeners?

Speaking
More Problem Solving Skill Challenges

Consider this challenge: a charity wishes to organise a 'fun run' in your local area.

The course must be accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Draw different routes your 'fun run' could take.

Which one would be best so that everyone could be involved?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: What are the instructions?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of possible solutions?

Advanced: Why is it important to consider a range of solutions for problems?

Mastery: How might you choose between different solutions to a complex problem?

Problem Solving

Consider the problem: you have been asked to design and make bird feeders for your local area, but you can only use recyclable materials as there is no extra money for making them.

Think about different designs for bird feeders and the household items you could reuse to make them.  

Draw 4 or 5 examples you can think of for bird feeders. Label them clearly to show the recyclable materials you would suggest the feeders were made from.  

Share your ideas with your family.  Ask for their feedback on your design ideas.  

Which one do they like best and why? Which one would you like to have a go at making?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: What are the instructions?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of possible solutions?

Advanced: Why is it important to consider a range of solutions for problems?

Mastery: How might you choose between different solutions to a problem?

Problem Solving

Think about the problem: a town has an area of land that is not being used for anything.  It has become untidy, littered waste land.  The people of the town want to improve this and make it a useable space. You have been asked to come up with design ideas of how this area of land could be used and improved.  

The people of the town would like it to be a useful, pleasant space for people of all ages to enjoy.

The town has voted to use only recycled materials for any improvements, so you need to make sure your designs are environmentally friendly.

Can you come up with at least 3 different design ideas to solve the problem?  

Label your design drawings to show the recylced materials you have included and other environmentally friendly features. Do you have a favourite design?

Share your design ideas with your family and friends. Which design idea do they like the look and sound of best to solve the problem for the town?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: What are the instructions?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of possible solutions?

Advanced: Why is it important to consider a range of solutions for complex problems?

Mastery: How might you choose between different solutions to a complex problem?

Problem Solving

Consider the problem: a local charity wishes to organise a 'fun run' in your local area which people of all ages can join in.

The course should be approximately 5 kilometres in length and must be accessible to people of all ages to either run, walk, wheelchair, skip, scoot etc.

Draw different routes your 'fun run' could take.

Which one would be best so that everyone could be involved?

How could you make sure everyone was safe on the route?

Challenge your family to follow your route with you.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: What are the instructions?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of possible solutions?

Advanced: Why is it important to consider a range of solutions for complex problems?

Mastery: How might you choose between different solutions to a complex problem?

Problem Solving

Consider the problem: You need to pack as many things as you can into a container, such as a shoe box, a suitcase or another container of some kind.

How will you go about this?

Try different arrangements to see the maximum number of items you can get into the container space.

You might want to challenge a family member to to see if they can match or better your total.

Make the challenge harder by making it so some irregular shaped items have to be included.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: What are the instructions?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of possible solutions?

Advanced: Why is it important to consider a range of solutions for complex problems?

Mastery: How might you choose between different solutions to a complex problem?

Problem Solving

Consider the problem: A family have planned to have a picnic in the park today but the forecast shows there will be heavy rain.

They have all the picnic food ready and are really looking forward it, but don't want to get soaking wet!

Can you come up with three different solutions to help them to solve the problem.

You could draw, write or talk about your ideas.

Which solution do you think is the best and why?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: What are the instructions?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of possible solutions?

Advanced: Why is it important to consider a range of solutions for complex problems?

Mastery: How might you choose between different solutions to a complex problem?

Problem Solving

Consider the problem: You are stranded on a desert island and you find a pile of wood.

What do you use the wood for and why?

Think through the different options and consider the pros and cons of each idea.

Talk to others at home about what they would do with the wood and why.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: What are the instructions?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of possible solutions?

Advanced: Why is it important to consider a range of solutions for complex problems?

Mastery: How might you choose between different solutions to a complex problem?

Problem Solving

Consider the problem: Too many cars on the road can cause air pollution.

Discuss this issue with a member of your household.

What different solutions can you think of to address this problem where you live?

Write down or talk about your ideas.

Extension: Discuss the pros and cons of your different solutions.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: What are the instructions?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of possible solutions?

Advanced: Why is it important to consider a range of solutions for complex problems?

Mastery: How might you choose between different solutions to a complex problem?

Problem Solving
More Creativity Skill Challenges

Imagine the floor in your home has turned to jelly. How would this change the way you lived there?

Extension: design a gadget that would help you to live in a jelly home!

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you share what you imagine?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of different ideas?

Advanced: How can you combine different ideas to create new ones?

Mastery: How can you help someone else to be creative?

Creativity

A paper clip is a useful item for holding pieces of paper together.

Use your imagination to come up with as many different ideas in 1 minute as you can for what else a paper clip could be used for.  

Make a list or draw your ideas. Challenge your family and friends to do the same.  

Did they come up with the same or different ideas?  

What was the most unusual idea you came up with?  

Can you combine your ideas and come up with even more together?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you share what you imagine?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of different ideas?

Advanced: How can you combine different ideas to create new ones?

Mastery: How can you help someone else to be creative?

Creativity

Think about your favourite book.  What does the front cover of the book look like?

If it is a fiction (story) book, does it show the characters, the setting or give a clue to the plot of the story?  

If it is non fiction book (full of facts) does it show just one image (picture or photograph)or more than one?  What else is on the cover?

Imagine you have been asked to come up with front cover ideas for another edition (printing) of the book.  

How would you redesign your favourite book's cover?

Come up with at least 3 different designs.  

You might want to draw, paint, collage or use technology to help you create different design ideas.

Share your design ideas with your family.  Which one do they like the best and why?  

Challenge them to redesign their favourite book cover too and talk about your designs together.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you share what you imagine?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of different ideas?

Advanced: What is a mind map? How might one help you with this challenge?

Mastery: How can you help someone else to be creative?

Creativity

Imagine you are a designer for a greetings card company. You have been asked to come up with ideas for a brand new range of cards.

Design 3 different types of cards for different occasions that are important to you and your family.

You might want to draw or make the card to show your favourite ideas.

Ask a family member which card they like best and why.

You could challenge them to come up with ideas for your new range of cards too.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you share what you imagine?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of different ideas?

Advanced: What is a mind map? How might it help you with this challenge?

Mastery: How can you support someone else to be creative?

Creativity

Take a look at a map of the world. Choose a country that interests you. Find out about the food of that country.  

Imagine you have been asked to design a menu which includes food from that country.  

Which foods might you include on that menu?  

How many different ideas can you come up with?

Create an example menu and include pictures of the dishes to show your family.

You may want to challenge them to choose another country and do the same.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you share what you imagine?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of different ideas?

Advanced: What is a mind map? How might it help you with this challenge?

Mastery: How can you support someone else to be creative?

Creativity

Design a new item of clothing that could be worn whatever the weather.

Think about how it could be adapted to keep you warm and dry if needed on colder, wetter days, or cool and comfortable when it is hot outside.

Reflection Questions

How can you share what you imagine?

How can you come up with lots of different ideas?

What is a mind map? How might it help you with this challenge?

How can you support someone else to be creative?

Creativity

Imagine the local council have asked you to design a poster to attract tourists to your local area.

What would you include in the design?

Consider images of local landmarks you might use and plan some alternative designs.

Share your initial ideas with members of your household and discuss which is the strongest design to develop further.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you share what you imagine?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of different ideas?

Advanced: What is a mind map? How might it help you with this challenge?

Mastery: How can you support someone else to be creative?

Creativity

Design a new protective face mask for young teenagers.

Think about the shape, the attachments, materials and the theme for the mask.

It needs to be effective at protecting against Covid 19, but also appealing to wear.

Develop a range of different ideas and then work with a family member to choose one design to draw up and label in more detail.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you share what you imagine?

Intermediate: How can you come up with lots of different ideas?

Advanced: What is a mind map? How might it help you with this challenge?

Mastery: How can you support someone else to be creative?

Creativity
More Staying Positive Skill Challenges

Create a mood board to include words and pictures of things that make you feel positive.

Invite your family to make their own mood board too.

Take it in turns to talk about what you have each included and why these words and pictures make you feel more positive.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How could you use this activity to feel more positive when something goes wrong?

Advanced: How could this help you to look on the bright side of something?

Mastery: How can you manage your emotional response to best support others?

Staying Positive

Affirmations are positive statements that can help people to feel happier when they are having negative thoughts and feelings in tough times.  Challenge yourself to come up with 5 positive things (affirmations) you could say to yourself when you do not feel so happy.  

Some examples include: 'I am a friendly kind person.'  'I tell great jokes to cheer others up.' 'I am thoughtful and always remember my friends birthdays.'  

What affirmations would you come up with for other people in your family or your friends?  

Share your ideas and talk about how these might help you all to stay positive.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How could you use this activity to feel more positive when something goes wrong?

Advanced: How could this help you to look on the bright side of something?

Mastery: How can you manage your emotional response to best support others?

Staying Positive

Take 5 minutes for this calming activity today:

Step 1: Find a quiet space where you can look out of the window.

Step 2: Look at everything there is to see - try to notice the colours, the patterns, the textures.

Step 3: Pay attention to any movements such as traffic passing by, people walking or running by, raindrops falling or leaves blowing around in the breeze.

Step 4: Notice the many different shapes you can see from where you sit quietly.

Step 5: If you become distracted, gently bring your thoughts back to what you can see through the window.

Ask a family member or friend to try this calming activity too. Afterwards, talk about how it made you feel.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How could you use this activity to feel more positive when something goes wrong?

Advanced: How could this help you to look on the bright side of something?

Mastery: How can you manage your emotional response to best support others?

Staying Positive

When inventing the lightbulb Thomas Edison tried and failed many times. He is quoted as saying, ‘I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that do not work’.

Talk to a family member about this quote.  

Share your feelings about a time when you have experienced a sense of failure and how you kept going.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How could you use this activity to feel more positive when something goes wrong?

Advanced: How could this help you to look on the bright side of something?

Mastery: How can you manage your emotional response to best support others?

Staying Positive

Create a simple collage of images that make you feel calm.

You can use photos, images from magazines or draw pictures.

Share your calm collage with your family and friends.

Tell them why you chose each of the images.

Does it make them feel calm too?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How could you use this activity to feel more positive when something goes wrong?

Advanced: How could this help you to look on the bright side of something?

Mastery: How can you manage your emotional response to best support others?

Staying Positive

Create a happy list. Spend just 5 minutes writing down as many things as you can that make you smile and feel good when you think of them.

This could be anything from your favourite food, music or place to visit, a special family member or pet, or watching your favourite footballer score a goal!

Discuss your list with others in your household. What would they put on their happy list?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How could you use this activity to feel more positive when something goes wrong?

Advanced: How could this help you to look on the bright side of something?

Mastery: How can you manage your emotional response to best support others?

Staying Positive

Sit quietly for 5 minutes to think and make a list of all the things you can do that make you feel happy and positive, even if something has gone wrong.

Share your list with others in your household.  

You may have ideas that would help and support them in difficult times.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How could you use this activity to feel more positive when something goes wrong?

Advanced: How could this help you to look on the bright side of something?

Mastery: How can you manage your emotional response to best support others?

Staying Positive

Do something nice for someone else today.

It could be a simple thing like clearing the table after dinner, reading a younger sibling a story or offering to sort the recycling.

How does this good deed make the other person feel?

Reflection Questions

Beginner: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How could you use this activity to feel more positive when something goes wrong?

Advanced: How could this help you to look on the bright side of something?

Expert: How can you manage your emotional response to best support others?

Staying Positive
More Aiming High Skill Challenges

Think about something you would really like to be able to do.  It might be to learn a new skill, visit a new place, learn a new language or reach a fitness goal.

Carry out research to find out as much as you can about the thing you would like to be able to do.

You could talk to other people about your ideas to find out more, read about it and plan how you will reach your new goal.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do you know if something is too difficult for you?

Intermediate: Why is it important to be willing to take on new challenges?

Advanced: What resources might you need to achieve your goals?

Mastery: What steps do you need to put in place to make your goals happen?

Aiming High

Aim to learn the meaning of a new word every day this week and use the new words when you are talking and writing.

Doing this will help you develop a rich and interesting vocabulary.  

Where might you look for the new words?  Who might be able to make suggestions for you to try and include in your spoken and written words?

Challenge your family to do the same. Take a couple of minutes each day to see if you can guess each others new word.  

Make a list or a create a special family dictionary,  adding the new words and their meanings as the week goes on.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do you know if something is too difficult for you?

Intermediate: Why is it important to be willing to take on new challenges?

Advanced: What resources might you need to achieve your goals?

Mastery: What steps do you need to put in place to make your goals happen?

Aiming High

Take a moment. Pause. Think of all the many things you can do. What do you find easy? What do you find more difficult?

You may want to write or draw as you think.

What else would you like to be able to do? Learn a new language, run faster, get more sleep, solve a crossword puzzle in record time, juggle?

What can you do in the next few weeks to work towards your goal?

Share your ideas with someone else - they might be able to help you achieve your goal.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do you know if something is too difficult for you?

Intermediate: Why is it important to be willing to take on new challenges?

Advanced: What resources might you need to achieve your goals?

Mastery: What steps do you need to put in place to make your goals happen?

Aiming High

Consider a goal that you would like to achieve in the next few weeks or months of the year. What are the steps your will need to take to reach your goal?

Draw these as stepping stones and write down 3 actions you should take to help your reach your goal.  

Share your drawing with a family member and talk about what you are going to do.  

They may have some great ideas and encouragement to help you.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do you know if something is too difficult for you?

Intermediate: Why is it important to be willing to take on new challenges?

Advanced: What resources might you need to achieve a goal you have set for yourself?

Mastery: What steps do you need to take to get closer to reaching your goal?

Aiming High

Think about what you would like to achieve in the coming weeks and months.

Maybe you could try a new activity or learn something new.

Talk to someone about what you hope to achieve and begin to plan how you can reach that goal.

Think about what will success look like and how you feel when you achieve your goal.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do you know if something is too difficult for you?

Intermediate: Why is it important to be willing to take on new challenges?

Advanced: What resources might you need to achieve your goals?

Mastery: What steps do you need to put in place to make your goals happen?

Aiming High

Create an outdoor challenge for your family or friends in a garden or local park.

You could set up an obstacle course, a circuits workout or plan a running route.

Explain the rules clearly and set everyone, including yourself, a target or goal to achieve.

Encourage others to have a go and to aim high!

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do you know if something is too difficult for you?

Intermediate: Why is it important to be willing to take on new challenges?

Advanced: What resources might you need to achieve your goals?

Mastery: What steps do you need to put in place to make your goals happen?

Aiming High

At the start of the week, get together with everyone at home to share ideas for challenges you can all take part in.

You could try a new food, reduce your screen time, work to improve your personal best in a game, recycle instead of buying something new, start a new book, or try a new craft.

Choose challenges for each other that will stretch - but not be so hard you stand no chance of succeeding.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How do you know if something is too difficult for you?

Intermediate: Why is it important to be willing to take on new challenges?

Advanced: What resources might you need to achieve your goals?

Mastery: What steps do you need to put in place to make your goals happen?

Aiming High

Set yourself a challenge for the coming weeks.

It could be to create and stick to a new revision plan for your school work, to set a new target for a hobby or activity or to teach yourself a new skill.

Be clear about what you want to achieve and by when.

Reflection Questions

Beginner: How do you know if something is too difficult for you?

Intermediate: Why is it important to be willing to take on new challenges?

Advanced: What resources might you need to achieve your goals?

Expert: What steps do you need to put in place to make your goals happen?

Aiming High
More Leadership Skill Challenges

Talk to to your family.  Find out about the things they feel they are good at (their strengths).

Create a picture together of your family which shows everyone and their strengths.  

Talk about the things that you all find more difficult (weaknesses).  

How might you help each other to feel more confident with these?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How can you find out about how others are feeling about something?

Intermediate: How can you find out more about strengths and weaknesses in others?

Advanced: How might you be able to motivate others to improve their weaknesses?

Mastery: What kind of leader would you like to be?

Leadership

Imagine you are your family's fitness coach and you need to lead their next exercise session.  

Plan a short exercise session with those who can join in by asking them what kind of exercises they enjoy or how they would like to improve their fitness.  

As you prepare for the session, think about including exercises you have done before or you might want to get some new ideas from other family members or different fitness websites. Remember to include a warm up and cool down.  Try to include something to stretch or strengthen different parts of the body (for example arms, legs, stomach). Remember to get some music ready that everyone will enjoy listening to as they work out.

Invite your famliy and friends to take part in your fitness session. Lead them through the planned exercises. As their fitness coach - the leader of the session - give your instructions clearly. Show them what to do safely. Encourage them to keep trying and have fun together.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How can you identify strengths and weaknesses in others?

Advanced: How can you develop your own leadership skills?

Mastery: What are good leaders able to do?

Leadership

Organise a family quiz or games night.

Choose a theme for your quiz or a game your family will enjoy.

Make sure everyone has a job as you get ready for the quiz or game.

You may need someone to set the questions for the quiz, to ask the questions and to keep the scores.

You may want someone to set the game up, explain the rules to everyone - and remember someone will  need to sort out drinks and snacks!  

As a leader think about everyone's strengths - what job would they be best at to help you set up and run the quiz or game so that you all have fun?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How can you spot strengths and weaknesses in others?

Advanced: How can you develop your leadership skills?

Mastery: What are good leaders able to do?

Leadership

Think of someone you know who you think is good at something - it could be cooking delicious meals, being a helpful friend, making you smile - anything you think they are good at.  

Draw them a picture, make them a card, send them a message or give them a call to let them know you think they are great at whatever it is you have thought of.

Let them know you recognise their strength.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How can you identify strengths and weaknesses in others?

Advanced: How can you support and motivate others?

Mastery: What are good leaders able to do?

Leadership

Plan a picnic for all of the family to enjoy - it could be at home or out and about.

What do you need to prepare beforehand?

Can you share out the jobs that need to be done with others in your household and let everyone know their role and responsibility?

Think about who would be best at which jobs and why.

Reflection Questions

How does this activity make you feel?

How can you identify strengths and weaknesses in others?

How can you develop your own leadership skills?

What are good leaders able to do?

Leadership

Consider who you think of as a good leader - it could be a friend, a family member, someone in your community or someone you have seen on television or read about.

What strengths do you consider they have?

Ask family and trusted friends who they think of as a good leader.  

Listen carefully to the way they speak about the person they have chosen.

What strengths do they mention this admired leader has?  

Now think about whether you have any of the same strengths?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: How does this activity make you feel?

Intermediate: How can you identify strengths and weaknesses in others?

Advanced: How can you develop your own leadership skills?

Mastery: What are good leaders able to do?

Leadership

Organise an outdoor game that everyone in your household can take part in.

Ask all members of the household to contribute their ideas of what to play, where and when.

It could be hide and seek in the garden, football in the park or rounders in a field.

Support everyone to reach a group decision that you are all happy with and organise what you need for the game.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: What are different emotions? How have you felt these today?

Intermediate: How do you make sure everyone has a chance to contribute their ideas?

Advanced: How can you manage disagreements to reach a shared decision?

Mastery: How can you motivate others to engage in this challenge?

Leadership

Organise a fun activity for your household for the weekend.

Encourage everyone to come up with different ideas for the activity and when it might take place.

It could be anything you all enjoy, from a pizza night to a walk to your favourite park, but everyone needs to take part.

You might need to organise a vote to decide. Manage disagreements carefully and most importantly, have fun!

Extension: Consider what resources you might need to organise in advance of the activity.

Reflection Questions

Beginner: What are different emotions? How have you felt these in this challenge?

Intermediate: How do you make sure everyone has a chance to contribute their ideas?

Advanced: How can you manage disagreements to reach a shared decision?

Expert: How can you motivate others to engage in this challenge?

Leadership
More Teamwork Skill Challenges

Work with your family to either play a well known piece of music or create your own brand new piece of music together.

You could use your voices, household objects, or real instruments if you have them to help you make your music.

Make decisions so that everyone knows what is going on and can be involved.

Practise before performing together.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: When do you find it easier (or more difficult) to work with others in a positive way?

Intermediate: Have you helped make decisions with others?

Advanced: How can you encourage others to help out too?

Mastery: What is an 'unhelpful conflict'? How can you avoid this when working with others?

Teamwork

Work together in your family team to build the tallest tower you can.  

You can use anything you like to build your tower safely.

It must be free standing (not leaning against anything or fixed to anything to keep it upright).

You could use blocks, other toys, empty cereal boxes, cushions - anything really!  

Work as a team to try out different ideas and remember to measure your towers.  

What is the tallest tower your famliy team can build together?

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: When do you find it easier (or more difficult) to work with others in a positive way?

Intermediate: Have you helped make decisions with others?

Advanced: How can you encourage others to help out too?

Mastery: What is an 'unhelpful conflict'? How can you avoid this when working with others?

Teamwork

Work with your family this week to get any household chores done together.

Draw up a plan of action so that everyone knows what chores they need to do.  

Talk to each other about how you can get your chores done quickly (and well) so that you can then enjoy relaxing together.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: When do you find it easier (or more difficult) to work with others in a positive way?

Intermediate: Have you helped make decisions with others?

Advanced: How can you encourage others to help out too?

Mastery: What is an 'unhelpful conflict'? How can you avoid this when working with others?

Teamwork

Plan a special family meal to have at home. Talk together to decide about what you are going to cook and when.

Share jobs out between you. Someone might want to take responsibility for making sure you have the ingredients, someone might be able to lead on making the food, setting the table, even making menus.

Enjoy celebrating your great teamwork by enjoying the meal together.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: When do you find it easier or more difficult to work with others in a positive way?

Intermediate: Have you contributed to the group decision making?

Advanced: How can you encourage others to contribute?

Mastery: How might you help a team if someone was struggling to work together on the task?

Teamwork

When you are out in the garden, at the park, woods or the seaside with your family, work together to create a piece of natural art.

Encourage everyone to join in and decide together where to make the art, what to use and what it will look like.

Work as a team to gather natural resources such as sticks, leaves, stones or shells to create your art.

Can you share ideas and come to an agreement about the design?

Can you help each other creating it?

Reflection Questions

When do you find it easier or more difficult to work with others in a positive way?

Have you contributed to the group decision making?

How can you encourage others to contribute?

What is an unhelpful conflict? How can you avoid this?

Teamwork

As a household discuss the chores that need to be done this week.  

As a team make sure everyone has a task they can help with.  

Then crack on and do your job!

Celebrate as a team together when all the chores are done by doing something fun together.

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: When do you find it easier or more difficult to work with others in a positive way?

Intermediate: Have you contributed to the group decision making?

Advanced: How can you encourage others to contribute?

Mastery: What is an unhelpful conflict? How can you avoid this?

Teamwork

Work together to create a story.

You need to come to a group decision on what the theme of the story will be and choose one person to write or tell everyone how the story begins.

Take in turns to then add to the story, building on each others' ideas.

Keep it positive and encourage everyone to contribute and have fun!

Reflection Questions

Getting Started: When do you find it easier or more difficult to work with others in a positive way?

Intermediate: Have you contributed to the group decision making?

Advanced: How can you encourage others to contribute?

Mastery: What is an unhelpful conflict? How can you avoid this?

Teamwork

Organise a family photo shoot.

Talk to members of your household to decide when and where you will take the photos, which of you will be the photographer and if there is a special theme for the photo shoot.

Encourage everyone to join in (perhaps including pets) and share the photos with your family afterwards.

Reflection Questions

Beginner: When do you find it easier or more difficult to work with others in a positive way?

Intermediate: Have you contributed to the group decision making?

Advanced: How can you encourage others to contribute?

Expert: What is an unhelpful conflict? How can you avoid this?

Teamwork

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