Learning Activities for the Preschooler
Oh to be a preschooler again. I don't remember much of it, but I imagine it was lots of fun. I know my preschoolers have always loved just about anything. The preschool years are a time of learning, discovery, exploration and fun. This age group delights in the simplest of things. The amount of things they learn each day is amazing and there are plenty of activities you can do with your child to help them on their path to learning.
The preschool years are all about developing fine motor, gross motor and thinking skills. They are trying hard to learn all about the world around them. Talking to you preschooler about what you are doing, why you are doing it and how things work will ignite a natural curiosity in them and they will learn so much. Be prepared to answer questions though, because this age loves to ask them.
There are so many inexpensive activities you can do with your child at this age. Sorting things is something kids this age need to learn and it is so much fun too. You can buy a bag of assorted beans and have them sort them by size, shape, color, etc. They can not only group them, but also count them and create patterns. When they are done you can either collect the beans for other activities or cook them up. (Beans need to be soaked and boiled for so long that I don't think you need to be worried about germs.) You can also let your child glue the beans on craft projects.
Your child can also sort pasta, but you will have to buy several boxes of different shapes and sizes. When your child is done, they can dye the pasta in food coloring mixed with water and then string the pasta up into necklaces. Pasta can also be used in craft projects.
Preschool is also the time for learning all about letters, numbers and colors. Having a letter, number or color of the day is a great way for your child to learn and explore. Having days like this will cost no extra money. On "B" day you can serve bananas, bagels with butter, and blueberries for breakfast for example. You can also read books, watch for birds and take a bubble bath. On "4" day you can find groups of four things as you go about your day and see how many times your child can find the number four around the house. You can also give them wooden numbers or letters (from a puzzle) and have them put them in the right order or spell their name.
Puzzles and board games are wonderful for children and if the parent sits down with them and plays and discusses different aspects of these things while they are doing it, the child will learn a lot. Kids love all games, not just board games. Active games are very important for kids to improve their gross motor skills. Hopscotch, races, galloping like a horse, and contests to determine who can jump the highest, farthest, and the most will help your child grow stronger. Playing follow the leader is fun and challenging for your preschooler. Don't forget to let your child do the leading too.
Preschoolers love to talk and are full of questions. Instead of the parent answering the questions all the time, turn it around on them. Ask the child questions and when your child asks you why something is the way it is, ask them what they think. You might be surprised at the answers.
Preschoolers also love to help and pretend to be grown up. Take advantage of this and include them in the things that you do around the house. Preschoolers are capable of being pretty good helpers and can dust, sweep (with a little sweeper), clean up toys, match socks, fold napkins, help cook (count right number of hotdogs for lunch or stir up the pancake batter) and set the table. Getting your preschooler started with household tasks (at your side) when they are young will not only teach them necessary skills, but foster their self confidence and teach them to do chores cheerfully.
Preschoolers love crafts. Making different craft supplies available for them to create with will teach them so much. Gluing, cutting, coloring, etc are necessary things for kids this age to do. Preschoolers are so much fun and everything you do with them is an opportunity for learning on their part. Talk to them and have fun with them and they will learn so much.