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  • Writer's pictureHello Happy Learner

Nurture Adventure - Parent Guide

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

Here you will find information, ideas and tips to support your happy learner on their journey through this adventure.

Hello Star!

Role Play Your adventure includes a wonderful star hidden in a small bag. This is designed to be hidden for your happy learner to find. You could laminate the star if you would like your happy learner to be able to wash it. Top tip: once laminated cut it out leaving about 5mm or more of sealed laminate around the star. If you have chosen to laminate it you could make it dirty with mud to be washed off.

Where could you hide the star? Could it be hidden under leaves to find out on a walk or hidden around the house?

Role play is vital to children's development. Through role play children can begin to understand their role in life. They can experiment doing new things or being in new situations before they have to encounter them in real life, such as role playing buying things from a shop or boarding a train. They can test out new vocabulary they have heard. Letting children take the lead and playing alongside them can help them explore these new situations and roles with increasing confidence. It is also a fabulous opportunity for you to help them learn new vocabulary. Try to demonstrate new words, or the correct way of saying things by repeating their corrected or improved sentences back to them or by narrating what you are doing rather than a direct correction such as no it is swam not swimmed.

Children may want to act out the books they read or stories they have seen. This is a great way to develop and use the new vocabulary introduced in the book or show as well as get a better understanding of story structure. As children grow in confidence they may wish to mix stories and characters together from books and shows they are familiar with. They are on their way to becoming an author as this is exactly what many authors do. Next time you are reading a book or watching a show can you spot where the author/writer's idea may have come from?

Older children may be able to use toys to act out their role play rather than take on the character themselves. Younger children may parallel play while role playing. This is where they role play in a similar theme to you or another child with limited or no direct interaction. They may wish not wish to 'buy' items from you in a shop but enjoy you also shopping at the same time. It goes without saying, that is until you try to purchase the item they want!

Nurture This adventure focusses on nurture. Understanding what helps nurture us, thinking about what is important to us and developing empathy for others by role playing nurturing our own Star. Encourage your child to nurture their star, to pick a name which everyone then uses as part of the play. What do they think the star might like? Begin to talk to your child about how everyone has different things they like. Things they may like to do may not also appeal to their Star.

Try using the book My Pet Star to ask questions about the activities Star likes and why. Below are some example questions for each relevant page:

  • The page where Star is in the bath - How do you think Star is feeling? Why? Why do you think the girl chose to give Star a bath and 'cosmic' snacks?

  • The page where they share books together - What do you think Star enjoys about the books? Why? What do you enjoy about reading with an adult?

  • The page with the melting ice creams - What is Star doing at this point? Why? How do you think the girl feels? Is it ok that the Star doesn't want to share the ice cream? Try to talk about that even though it makes the girl sad, Star should also be able to prioritise their needs. What could we say to the girl to help her realise what Star needs? This can be a good opportunity to talk about how we sometimes want to do different things to our friends and don't always want to play with the same people. Children can often fall out as they believe their friend no longer likes them because they don't want to play with them at that point.

  • The page where star doesn't want to play tennis or with the blocks - What is the girl trying to do here? How do you think Star is feeling? What might star want to do? What games do you enjoy? Is there a game your friend likes to play that you don't enjoy? What could you do next time you want to play with your friend but they don't like your game? This can be a good opportunity to talk about the difference between not wanting to play with someone and just not wanting to play the same game. Sometimes children can find it difficult to understand that their friend may want to play with them but just not like the game they are playing. If their friend wants to play a different game, children can sometimes feel that this means their friend no longer likes them and cause them both to fall out. The page where the girl is bouncing on the trampoline - What does Star want to do? Do they need to be doing the same thing? Have you ever just wanted to be with someone even if your not doing the same thing as them?

  • The page where the girl opens the window - How do you think Star feels? How do you think the girl feels? How would you feel to let Star go? Is there a time when we have had to do something we don't want to because it is best for someone else?

  • The final page - How do you think Star feels now? How does the girl feel? Is there someone you don't see but you know is still there for you and loves you?

Your favourite things and what makes you feel better?

Wellbeing & Gratitude In our blog on daily gratitude, is an introduction to the growing body of research which shows that focussing on the positive aspects of our lives can help us reduce our experience of the symptoms of depression and anxiety and increase our feeling of wellbeing. Our adventures are designed to provide different examples and opportunities to do this. When things go wrong it can be difficult not to get caught up with all the negative aspects of what has happened and even to let this spill out into other areas of our lives. Helping our children get into the habit of focussing on the positives, even in times of trouble can help their ability to cope with set backs in life.

Your adventure is designed to help your happy learner get to know themselves better. Can they think about what they like to do with others and why? What is it about that activity that they like? What makes it better by being done with others? What do they think the other person enjoys about the activity? Why do other people do these activities with you? You could also use photos here showing your happy learner doing what they love with someone.

In the adventure, your happy learner is asked to think about what makes them feel better. Try asking them: Why does this make you feel better? Are there different things that help you at different times? Who helps you feel better? Why do they help you? This is a good opportunity to highlight to your child how loved and cherished they are by those that are important to them. Part of the three-good-things intervention, that is discussed earlier in this guide, is the recognition of why good things have happened in our lives. Understanding that others do nice things for us as they love/care for us. This can help children have a greater feeling of wellbeing, and develop their ability to express gratitude. Research has found that people who recognise the involvement of others in their success (gratitude), work harder and are more successful in their progress towards goals (Smith et al., 2020). Those with higher levels of gratitude, recognise the impact of the own actions to their success and happiness as well as the impact of others (Smith et al., 2020). Smith et al., (2020) also explain that research has demonstrated that people who express higher levels of gratitude experience magnified positive feelings even though their experience of negative feelings is not reduced. This shows that by supporting our children in developing their understanding of how others can positively impact our lives can make help them experience more positive feelings.

For more information read The Gratitude Project by Smith, J., Newman, K., Marsh, J. and Kelter, D.

Smith, J., Newman, K., Marsh, J. and Keltner, D. (2020) The Gratitude Project: How the Science of Thankfulness Can Rewire Our Brains For Resilience, Optimism, and the Greater Good. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications

Art and Crafts

In your adventure, we provide your happy learner with different opportunities to be creative and develop their fine motor skills. Letting your children take the lead lets them develop a range of skills and learn from their mistakes.

Salt dough

Can your children measure out the ingredients themselves? You can use any cup or container to measure out the quantities and the recipe is relatively forgiving if your happy learner isn't accurate with their measurements. If you fear the mess, could this be done outside? Measuring the ingredients helps your child develop their mathematical understanding, helps them understand the importance of reading and reading comprehension in being able to follow the instructions and develops their hand-eye coordination in being able to move items from one container to another. What can they create? Don't worry if their creations don't resemble the things they say they are or if they just enjoy making different things that aren't supposed to be anything at all. Young children may enjoy simply playing with a new material and the challenges they face with it. Dryer doughs will require more finger and hand strength to manipulate than wetter doughs. Once dry, children may wish to paint their creations or decorate them with felt tip, pencils or stickers.

Stained-glassed stars

Is there anything else in the house that they could use to create a similar stain-glass effect? What do they notice about the tissue paper when the light shines through it? What other things could they create using the same techniques?

For your star

Encourage your happy learner to use small wrist and hand movements when colouring to help them have greater control over their pencil. You may want to help children cut out their shapes to ensure they are safe, but for older children with careful supervision they may be able to have a go themselves. Don't worry if they are not cutting accurately as long as they are happy with the end results.

For all activities

Older children may find that when they dry their creations change in appearance. Why do they think this might be? What could they do differently next time? If possible give them another opportunity to do the activity at a later date so that they can build on what worked well and change things that they think can be improved. This helps develop the understanding that mistakes or set backs are opportunities for learning and that they don't need to get things 'right' the first time. You may wish to share this plan with your learner before they start the activity the first time to set that expectation that they can enjoy what they do and improve on their own successes.

If you are concerned about your child's mental health, seek support and advice from a professional.

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