Learning with Preschoolers: Activities to try!
Guest Post by Faith
(This is the continuation from her wonderful post last week, Learning with Preschoolers. If you haven’t read it yet, why don’t you do that first? Then take a good look through this inspiring list of ways to really get involved with your preschooler in the process of learning and exploring! I know that my kids and I will be trying out several of these suggestions ourselves!)
Here is a list of ideas and suggestions. I included activities which require little preparation.
1. Read with your child everyday.
2. Stop and Play: Take 30 minutes a day and be purposeful in playing with your child!
3. Write with them. (Grocery lists, cards, letters, signs, to do lists)
4. Praise their efforts with reading and writing. Example: Abigail learned to write her name two weeks ago. However, she writes it backwards with some of the letters turned around. I praise and celebrate this accomplishment with her even though it is not right! Why? Because the more excited she is about writing, the more she is willing to try it. I have started to correct her a little at a time, but at first it is often inappropriate.
5. Make mini books together. Take turns being the author and illustrator. Use stickers if you or your child doesn’t like to draw. You may be surprised with the ideas they come up with.
6. Make alphabet books
(My favorite idea)
7. Talk and listen to your child.
8. Describe what you are doing or seeing as you read, play, work and drive.
9. Have a box of scrap paper and scissors that your child can take out and cut, cut, cut that paper!
10. Make snow flakes. Point out the shapes when you open it up.
11. Make an alphabet matching game out of felt. Cut a matching pair of shapes each time you work on a new letter of the alphabet. Let your child cut the shapes out. You can match colors and upper and lower case letters.
12. Handwriting Practice: http://www.first-school.ws/theme/handwriting.htm
13. Have a box of rice or beans for your child to play in! Just make sure to explain the bean box rules to your child and other children that come to play. Like the beans stay in the box! I once neglected to tell our bean box rules to visiting cousins and found our basement completely covered in a layer of beans.
14. Make homemade play dough! It takes 5 min! I’ll post the recipe in the comments!
15. This idea may be a challenge for some. I haven’t been brave enough to try it, but you may be. Get colored painter’s tape and tape a box on your wall. The box becomes an impromptu white board for your child. Use crayons or markers to write. It all wipes off with a Magic Eraser. The person who uses this idea has never had a problem with their nieces/nephews writing anywhere else. I would do a test on your walls to make sure it will come off for you.
16. Check your local library for a kindergarten readiness calendar put out by the local library system or school district. I often see free calendars available in libraries and preschools. Each month has a focus and the weekly activities usually match the focus. Activities are simple but purposeful!
17. Play “I Spy” with colors (or “I Spy” with numbers/letters for a more advanced version).
18. Counting games: How many squares do you see in this room? How many blue cars can you count on the way to the store?
19. Make Ice Cream in a Ziploc bag. (Recipe posted in comments).
20. Do alphabet aerobics. Make the alphabet with your bodies.
21. Make numbers, letters, or shapes in the dirt. Walk on the lines like a balance beam.
22. Play hopscotch. They can help draw the squares and the numbers.
Faith is a preschool teacher, mother to Abigail, and wife to Eric. She
loves engaging with the preschool age through play and learning times.
She will soon be starting a blog where she will dialogue about how God
transforms lives, including her own, at .
Any other ideas for encouraging learning and development for your preschool aged children? What are some of your (or your childrens) favorite activities?
Wow. These are all great ideas! I especially love the alphabet book. We’re going to start that tomorrow! I know my daughter will love it.
those are all great ideas!!! thanks!
Ooh! Great ideas! Thanks!
I can’t wait to see your recipe for zip-lock-bag ice cream! My eight-year-old was just asking about how ice cream was made in the “olden days”.
Sorry, I didn’t realize the post had gone up! I’ve been under the weather lately, so I will add the promised recipes in about an hour! As well as hopefully making the first post on my blog as well!
Ice Cream in a bag
1/2 cup milk and/or cream
1-2 Tbsp sugar (or alternative sweetner to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla
food coloring or alternative flavor if desired.
Put ingredients into a small ziploc bag. Double bag it into another one. Put your double bagged mixture into a large ziploc bag. Fill with ice. Add 2-3 Tbsp salt. Zip the bag. Shake, shake, shake…until you have a soft ice cream. This is a simple recipe. If you want something different, just google and you will find lots of recipes.
No problem, Faith, I forgot to email you. Can I blame it on mommy brain? 🙂
1 cup flour
1 tbsp oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
food coloring, spices, and or glitter (plain white with glitter makes great snow play dough)
Put all ingredients into sauce pan over medium heat and stir until mixture thickens and forms a ball. This happens quickly. Turn out onto cutting board or counter and knead until smooth. *Add glitter while kneading. Stored in a sealed bag or containter, this will last MONTHS!
Okay…so here’s one more idea that the kids had fun with today. Lick mini marshmallow and press them onto paper to make a picture. They stick!
A few ideas and a safety warning:
This is a Montessori based activity – make a basket of plain old dollar-store clothespins and show your child (by age 2 or so) how to clip them to the edge of the basket/box/tin and unclip them. This helps train the hand for holding a pencil and writing.
We’ve had great success with a salt tray — a cookie sheet filled with salt. You can write a letter or a shape, invite child to trace it, then jiggle the tray like an Etch-a-Sketch to erase and challenge the child to make their own. After 5 minutes of practicing “real” shapes or letters, let the child free play. It’s loads of fun and really cheap (get a cookie sheet at a garage sale if you want to keep one available to your child even during baking season).
Magic Erasers, although convenient and oh-so-effective for crayon marks, may not be the safest item for a home with young children. They can be caustic/toxic. I know there are some urban legends out there about children’s faces being burned by the things, but I think there is also some truth to the chemical aspect of the Magic Eraser.
I enjoyed your post, Faith, and I’ll have to check out your site. I’m working on a cache of posts to start my own, called Kitchen Stewardship. I’m going to offer tips on balancing God’s gifts of your time, family’s nutrition, budget and the environment while incorporating prayer in the kitchen. I’ll keep you posted when it’s ready to go!
Thanks, I wish I had thought of doing a cache of posts myself :o).
what were you and your daughter mixing in the washtub on the front porch? great post by the way!
kc, it’s not my own photo (as in, Stephanie of Keeper at the Home), but rather my guest poster’s photo. I believe she and her daughter are mixing some kind of food together for canning! 🙂
Taking a tour of Little Airplane Productions,Inc. is a cool activity for preschoolers to do in NYC. They are the creators of award winning preschool television such as “The Wonder Pets!”, “Go Baby!”, and “Oobi”. Guess what? Their doors are open to the public for friendly guided behind the scenes tours showing how a cartoon is made from start to finish.During the tour children get to record a line in the studio for “The Wonder Pets” and it airs on television. For more information go to http://www.littleairplane.com or (212)965-8999.
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