Parents & Carers

Third Birthday Celebrations

We are three years old!

50 Things To Do Before You're Five Third Birthday Logo
50 Things To Do Before You’re Five celebrated its third birthday on May 9th 2021. Informed by the experiences of teachers and parents at St. Edmund’s Nursery School in Girlington, Bradford, 10 ‘50 Things’ projects are now part of local authority approaches to early years across England, reaching out to hundreds of thousands of under 5s.

Our story

In three short years, the 50 Things To Do Before You’re Five offer has grown into an initiative of national recognition.The idea for 50 Things was conceived by Anne- Marie, the previous
executive head at St. Edmund’s Nursery School in Girlington, Bradford. It started as a pilot project supporting early language, motor skills and cognitive development.

The idea that simply engaging in regular playful activities with your family has significant, positive early learning and health impacts on young children, and that these benefits would continue to be seen through all their lives. With funding from Big Change, the initiative was shaped into a menu of low and no cost activities for families to do together, launched at the Houses of Parliament in 2018.

This offer has since reached 30,000 children across Bradford, and currently supports 9 more ‘50 Things’ projects nationally, including in all five West Yorkshire authorities. There are now hundreds of thousands of under fives who are reached out to by local 50 Things offers, supporting parents and carers all the way across the country.

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Celebrating in Bradford

We celebrated across the Bradford district! While we couldn't have a physical birthday celebration due to ongoing Covid restrictions, we still shared the joy by offering free giant bubble kits to schools and settings in Bradford for them to host their own bubble parties. We searched far and wide for children who were also born in May 2018, who we've been delivering 50 Things goodie bags to.

National Context

The growth of the offer has taken place in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent national focus on young children. The government recently released its ‘First 1001 days’ vision after national calls for more support for babies born in lockdown. Early childhood hit the headlines again this week, as newly published EEF research showed the concerns of parents and teachers of children who are due to start primary school after a year of lockdowns. 96% of schools surveyed said they were concerned about pupils' speech-and-language development, and 56% of parents were concerned about their child starting at school following the lockdown in the spring and summer. Parents are increasingly looking for support and reassurance that children will be able to cope at school, and help is at hand from the 50 Things app.


How your local authority can improve the lives of your under 5's

In our very first event in January, Angie Gaughan of Wakefield Council, mum Carrie Priestley and Andrea Richardson, former Head of Early Years at Leeds city council, spoke about the 50 Things offer.

Placing families and early years at the heart of your COVID recovery strategy

In March, Professor Mark Mon-Williams joined Christian and Andrea for an event focused on Covid-recovery and the Early Years.

How will Local Authorities Promote Healthy Development During Early Childhood?

In April, Dr. Amanda Waterman and Victoria Wadsworth spoke at our event, focusing on how local authorities can help promote healthy development in their districts.

In the news

BBC News

Jamie Coulson of BBC Look North came to St. Edmunds Nursery to find out about the project. Featuring interviews from parents!

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Times Educational Supplement

In 2020, 50 Things was featured in the Times, with interviews from our Director Christian and the responses of children to the project.

Telegraph and Argus

In April 2021, our 'Walk, Talk, Discover and Draw' sessions were picked up by Bradford press, as part of the ongoing reopening of Bradford Museums and Galleries.

BBC Radio Bradford and BBC Radio Leeds

Project Officer Rachael has appeared on BBC radio twice, talking about the work 50 Things is doing in the Bradford community.

Three of our favourite parent stories

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In January 2021, Claire Drake, mum to 3 year old Euan, gave her top tips for keeping the outdoors exciting for young children, with pictures of her day out!

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In March 2021, Victoria Wadsworth, Speech and Language Therapist and mum of two, wrote for us about using 50 Things at home to build communication and early life experience.

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In November 2020, Chloe Storr 50 Things Enthusiast and mother to Avery, shared her moving story of using signing for communication with her child.

A growing team

Christian Bunting


Christian has worked on the 50 Things initiative from its inception, his passion for education spanning a number of years in senior roles, formerly in schools and presently as a Partnership Board member for the Bradford Opportunity Area.

Andrea Layzell
National Lead



Andrea has been with 50 Things since before its 2018 launch, after having worked in Early Years for over 30 years. She continues to teach BA students at the Bradford Birth To 19 Teaching School alongside her work at 50 Things.

Rachael Dennis
Project Officer



Rachael has been volunteering with families in local communities and beyond for over a decade. Before joining the team in late 2020, Rachael was a 50 Things Enthusiast, and volunteered for 5 years with the NCT Charity, the UK's largest charity for parents.

Aisha Thakker
Marketing and Communications Officer

Aisha graduated from the University of Manchester with a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics in 2019. She worked within the adult social care sector before joining 50 Things To Do Before You're Five in autumn of 2020.

Patricia Ramon
Marketing and Communications Officer

Patricia has recently graduated from the University of Leeds where she studied a BA in Communications and Media. Prior to joining 50 Things To Do Before You're Five, she worked as a Student Engagement Assistant for her university department.

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Hana Kesedzic
Marketing and Communications Officer

The third team member on the growing Marketing and Communications team, Hana joined in Spring of 2021. Before 50 Things To Do Before You're Five, she studied film at Ravensbourne University, London.

"We have come a long way since our wonderful friends at Big Change saw the potential of 50 Things. Shine continue to back our work with Bradford’s two year olds. From our humble beginnings in a wonderful school in inner-city Bradford, 50 Things is a key part of the Early Years offer of a large and growing family of Local Authorities. Right now, we have set our sights on 50 Things being part of the offer of every UK Local Authority."

Christian Bunting

Join us

The 50 Things To Do project is attracting national attention and we'd like you to be part of it. We are seeking further forward-thinking Local Authorities to join the 50 Things To Do initiative. It is our aim to make this opportunity available to every child and family in the country.

Contact us


The mobile App

50 Things To Do Before You’re Five gives you 50 activities that parents and carers can support their children to try out and repeat.

Download the mobile app from Apple AppStore or Google PlayStore...