Early years, that is the first five years of life, present a critical learning window. It is because of the astounding rate of brain development, during the first five years of their lives, young children learn so many things.
Why Preschool Activities are Important in Early Years?
To put it to perspective, consider this. Babies, fragile and completely incapable of anything at birth, pick up language and start walking, by the end of the first year. At two years they start talking with new words, analyzing, self-feeding among many other things. And by the time they are 5, most of them are multi-lingual, understand social relationships, can do basic math, ride bike and quite independent. For the next 13 years, they learn to be self-sufficient.
Isn’t it amazing? The progress made in first five years of life clearly outsmarts to that made in later years. Even though no major motor skills are developed during the latter years. Rather, most to all learning that happens later is contingent to the skills acquired during the initial five years.
The point is that this extreme ability to learn is unmatched. Never during the course of their life, humans learn as fast and as much as during the first five years.
This tremendous brain growth and ability to learn can set a child on a future path of lifelong learning. The activities, games, conversations a child engages in during the first 5years make a lasting impact and help shaping the child. And that is why ‘Preschool’ Activities matter.
Preschool activities need not be ‘educational’ in a conventional way. That is to say instead of focusing on just teaching alphabets, you may choose to read aloud to your child. Well thought preschool activities can provide young children with the right positive experience and thus help shape their future thoughts and personality.
The sole aim of these preschool activities should be to spark the joy of learning and inculcate curiosity. At this tender young age, children cannot be expected to be focused and stationary for long durations of 20 to 30 minutes. Hence, preschool activities that allow ample movement are much more apt than those requiring children to sit and work.
For children, play is real work. Albert Einstein said:
‘ Play is the highest form of Research’ .
Keeping this in mind, here is our selection of carefully thought and hand-picked pre-school activities that will ensure fun while learning.
Literacy Pre-School Activities
1. Alphabet Squish: This is one excellent way to teach letters to your preschooler. Little children just love messy play and this one is just that. But not uncontrollably messy, which would make it your favorite too. We used cupcake tin with fewer letters initially. Once your kiddo is thorough with all the letters, you can try the original version.
2. Letter Sensory bins: Another much loved activity, this one combines the magic of sensory bins with early literacy skills. These sensory bins can be modifies to teach letter recognition, enhance vocabulary and letter sounds.
3. Snowball Throw Alphabet Game: This playful game not only builds literacy skills but also enhances your little one’s motor skills. All you need is a ball and some post-its. You can modify the game and put pictures instead of letters. Your little one hits the picture which has the same beginning sound as that of the letter called out.
4. Alphabet Relay: For all those of you who are blessed with children who can stay still, here is one letter game that will make movement fun. It is great game and much fun when played with more than one child. That ways it transforms into a race and point making game.
5. Magical Letters: A great way to teach letters to your little one the magical way. Watch them jump with joy as the letters magically appear as they paint.
6. Letter Hunt: This one is good for children who have mastered their letters and are now beginning to learn small and big letters. An easy set up makes it popular with all the moms. Make sure you give this a try.
7. Crocodile Circle game: Simple and easy to set up, this game can be played two ways. Either your little one feeds the called out alphabet to the croc or pulls out alphabet cards from croc’s mouth and recognize its sound. Either way it is a fun game.
8. Ping-Pong Literacy Game: Make use of empty toilet roll tubes lying around to play this fantastic pin-pong alphabet game. You can never go wrong with this game.
9. Sensory Nature Letters: This one is our personal favorite. You can use leaves, flower petals even grass blades for this beautiful activity. It is good for building those early fine motor skills too. So give your child’s little fingers some practice while learning letters.
10. Feather tip salt tray writing: Disguise letter writing practice into this fun salt tray feather activity. Your little one will just love practicing writing with feather.
1. Measuring soup vegetables: Measurement is early math activity. While many ignore these basic mathematic concepts, be sure you are not one of them. This activity helps children establish correlation between math skills with life skills. Bonus points for toddlers are likely to eat what they help you make.
2. Number Pocket Game: This is such a lovely game and very hands-on for your little one. It helps your child learn and identify numbers. Sure to keep your little one busy for good 20 minutes. Also it is a great game to strengthen fine motor skills.
3. Button Counting: Another game to build early numeracy skills, this one is quite interesting. All you need is buttons. We like big chunky buttons in varied colors. Make sure your child does this activity under your supervision as young children can choke on small buttons.
4. Snakes and Ladders: Teach numbers to your preschooler with this classic board game. Let them roll the dice and navigate on the board to discover a world of numbers.
5. Water Balloon Target Practice: Now this is one game that your little one may get addicted to. Just chalk down some numbers on the floor and let the fun begin. Start by shooting the water balloons on the numbered floor. Or alternatively you can call out the number and your little one has to hit it. Either way, it is oodles of fun.
6. Giant wall dot-to-dot: Take dot-to-dot to the next level with this easy wall dot-to-dot. This game is good for children who have learned their numbers and sequencing.
7. Counting & Math Skills With Play Dough: Teach your little one counting and quantification with this simple set up. All you need is play dough and matchsticks. You may use spaghetti or any other loose parts like pebbles for this activity. It is a must-do.
8. Number Hop: This is great way to teach numbers to your little one who just cannot sit still. Children just love jumping and hopping. Make this gross motor activity enriching by adding numeracy to it.
9. Play dough Geometry: Don’t limit the math skills of your tot to numbers and counting. Add some shapes to aid complete math skill’s development. Shapes are an integral part of math skills and this simple activity will help your little one experiment and learn shapes the fun way.
10. Colour Sorting Activity: Another important math skill, sorting is much loved by preschoolers. Let your child sort crayons and other loose parts like pebbles, buttons, blocks according to different attributes.
1. Paper Towel Art: This is our favourite for number of reasons. First, it is open ended. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Second, it is great for sparking creativity. Third, not only does it nourish the creative side of your child but also strengthen their fine motor and observation skills.
2. Painting with Marbles: Another open-ended art project, this one is sure to keep your toddler busy while minimizing the mess. All you need is a deep dish, few marbles and water paints. Tweak it with primary colors and let your child discover how these primary colors mix to form secondary colors.
3. Rainbow Art with Cars: An excellent rainbow art project that is based on the principles of movement and gravity. Set it up for your vehicle crazy child and let her explore while creating her own piece of art.
4. Stamp Art: Make use of the empty toilet rolls lying in the house to create your own stamp art. An excellent way to reuse things and add geometry to art, this one is surely going to charm your toddler.
5. Back and Forth Art Game: A great art game to play together or in teams. This game helps participants unfold their creativity and think out of the box. Children love it because of free nature. No directions, only one rule.
6. Paint with Feet: That is one interesting art project that you must engage in. Instead of using hands, try using your feet to create art. Hop, walk, twist to see how each movement influences your art.
7. Tin foil art: Children love experimenting with different materials. This helps them understand the world around them and nurtures their innate curiosity. This simple foil art is great at doing just that.
8. Finger print art: You can never go wrong with this creative project. Children love stamping their hands. Take a big chart paper, stick it on the floor and you are ready to let your kiddo create their masterpieces. Join in to add more fun and make a family mural.
9. Leaf Crowns: Add some nature to your art projects with these leaf crowns. Your kids are going to love these simple, easy to make leaf crowns. Let them wear them and flaunt around.
10. Clay Structures: Let that little engineer inside your kiddo come out and play. All you need is clay, some loose parts of your child’s choice and imagination. These activities are great at building comprehension and understanding in young children.