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It's Child's Play

The experiences a child has before they start primary school provide the building blocks for their life.

We're here to help parents support their children's pre-school learning and development with free, quick and simple activities that can fit into busy lives.

A little bit of play goes a long way!

Did you know that something as easy as chatting to your child about the colour of the buses they see in the street, the noises farm animals make, or basic counting exercises can help give them the best start at school?

Everyday interactions between a parent and child can be key learning moments for pre-school children, and they don’t need to be long or complicated!

Our new campaign ‘It’s Child’s Play’ provides practical resources and easy ways of engaging with children to help get them school ready, and make sure that children from all backgrounds can have the best start to school.

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I found it easier to play and talk with my kids while I was doing other activities around the house like the cooking or tidying up. I would point out colours in the kitchen while putting the dinner on or hold up shapes while moving things out the way when tidying. This meant that I could still get my jobs done and spend meaningful time with my kids all while helping their development.

Kirsten O’Brien, CBBC Presenter and It’s Child’s Play Ambassador

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Play our new interactive games for more ideas on how to make learning part of your everyday life

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Even the simplest parent-child interactions in early stages can shape a child’s growth, development and life course.

We know that some parents don’t have much time or may not be sure on how to best enhance their child’s skills, but we hope that this campaign will serve as a useful starting point to give parents the confidence and resources to help improve their child’s development.

Tina Stowell, Social Mobility Commissioner


Disadvantaged children start school developmentally on average 4.5 months behind all others and leave school just over 18 months of learning behind their peers!

The years before children start school are the most important time for parents to provide the building blocks for their child’s life. We know that families in more deprived areas are less likely to have the resources, confidence or time to support their child’s development. This is why we developed ‘It’s Child’s Play’, a campaign that promotes free and simple ways to enhance confidence and encourage important child development which can lead to greater opportunities and better life outcomes.

Parenting is challenging but important. It has the potential to shape a child’s growth, development and life course for the better, irrespective of background or circumstance.

‘It’s Child’s Play’ is supported by research to better understand the barriers parents face in supporting their children’s development, and how best to help them.


If you’re interested in hearing more about how parents can support their children’s cognitive, social and emotional development in their early years, and what we’re doing to help, you can find all our latest research and blogs below!

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Parents and carers are children’s first teachers and the tiny things they do, like chatting, reading and playing with their young children make a huge difference to their performance at school.

Tina Stowell, Commissioner

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