Squishing, rolling, sculpting, molding . . . young children love to play with playdough.
This firm and soft substance holds many benefits for the preschool child.
Through it, our students practiced their fine motor and pre-reading skills as they pinched and rolled the dough.
These actions strengthened the small muscles in their hands and helped with letter recognition.
For this activity, we used playdough to spell the word bus.
One of our letters for the week was B, so we first talked about the sound B made, and then put ourselves to work to create a B, a U, and an S!
Research has shown us that there are six early literacy skills that are essential for young children to become familiar with in order to be successful readers.
These skills include vocabulary, print motivation, print awareness, letter knowledge, narrative skills, and phonological awareness. This activity targeted two of these concepts.
The first, is that of letter knowledge. Letter knowledge reflects an awareness that letters are different from each other.
The second, is that of phonological awareness. Phonological awareness means that your little one understands that letters make sounds. For this activity, we created roads out of yellow and black chalk.
Using cars and a little imagination, we placed our cars onto our chalky roads! These roads were shaped like the letter C. As they placed their cars onto their letter roads, they were encouraged to say, “C is for car!”
A dock is a structure built along, or at an angle from, a navigable waterway so that vessels may lie alongside to receive or discharge cargo.
Because we are learning about all things transportation, we built our own docks using blocks as our docks, plastic boats, and blue fabric as our “water”.
Children learn many concepts through block play.
Play with blocks provides an excellent opportunity for relaying concepts that are best understood by “doing”.
It also plays host to a variety of cognitive skills, such as symbolization and representation, directionality, divergent thinking, and logical reasoning.
We are having so much fun playing and learning with letters!
Today we fished for magnetic letters in our water table!
Each child used a fishing pole to catch a letter and transfer it to its matching mat.
As they caught each letter, they were encouraged to say the name of the letter and/or the letter sound.
They then placed it on a mat, and continued to catch letters until all of them were gone!
This fun challenge enabled your little one to practice their letter recognition and pre-reading skills!
Working with food is not only a fun, engaging activity for children, but one that has been used for years as an important teaching and development tool for all ages.
Hands-on cooking activities help children develop pride and confidence in their skills and abilities. The act of following a recipe can encourage self-direction and independence, while also teaching children to follow directions and use thinking skills to problem solve.
Working with food also integrates physical development. Chopping, squeezing, spreading, and mixing are all cooking skills that help develop a child’s small muscle control and eye-hand coordination. It’s impossible to separate hands-on cooking activities from physical development for young children.
Thirdly, cooking inspires children’s curiosity, thinking, and problem solving, offering new opportunities to make predictions and observations.
Additionally, cooking offers authentic opportunities for students to understand and apply their knowledge of measuring, one-to-one correspondence, numbers, and counting.
As they follow a recipe, children organize ingredients, follow a sequence, and carry out multiple directions. This activity involved your little ones making boats out of mangoes, cheese, and pretzel sticks.
The mango served as the base of the boat, the pretzel was the mast, and the cheese served as a sail! Everyone enjoyed creating and then eating their sailboat snacks!
Because wind impacts many areas of our lives, the physical implications are observable and available for our learning enjoyment.
Using straws, paper boats, and our lungs, we learned about how wind can help boats sail the seas.
We discussed wind direction, and strength in terms that your little one could identify with.
With laughter, and some trial and error, we practiced blowing our boats around our “pond”, observing the powerful affects of air on these tiny vessels.
If you’ve ever watched children at play, you know they’re fascinated with building things—and with taking things apart to see how they work. In other words, children are natural-born engineers.
When children engineer in a school setting, research suggests several positive results. Engineering calls for children to apply what they know about science and math—and their learning is enhanced as a result.
At the same time, because engineering activities are based on real-world technologies and problems, they help children see how disciplines like math and science are relevant to their lives.
Hands-on, project-based learning is the essence of engineering. As groups of students work together to answer questions like “How large should I make the tower?” or “How much sand will it take to make a castle?” they collaborate, think critically and creatively, and communicate with one another.
This engineering activity involved your little one making a train track in a group using popsicle sticks! Students worked together to create a wooden masterpiece!
Name recognition is an important skill for preschoolers.
One of the first words many children learn to read and write is their name.
Children hear their names mentioned all day long.
Their names are personal, meaningful, and recognizable.
By first learning to recognize their name, children are then inspired to write it! For this activity, each child was given a “name train”, with each car appointed a different letter.
It was up to your little one to place the cars in the correct order!
The skills learned from team building are important parts of personal and group development in children.
During team building activities, children have the chance to communicate with each other and work towards a common goal.
By practicing being an effective team member and team leader, children develop confidence in their own abilities.
For this team building project, we created a zoo out of trains, cardboard boxes, train tracks, and plastic animals.
Using their imaginations, students created a little world with their friends!
When done well, preschool science is exciting and intellectually meaningful.
The right preschool science activities can nurture your child’s natural sense of adventure and curiosity, help your child develop his own understanding of the natural world, encourage your child to be a persistent problem solver, and introduce your child to basic elements of scientific reasoning (seeking evidence; testing predictions).
This activity did just that.
First, it required your little one to think critically about an animal on their train track.
Each student first set up a few pieces of wooden train track.
They had to set it up in a way that made it possible for their trains to gain momentum.
At the end of the track was a plastic animal. It was up to your little to determine how many trains it would take to push their creature off of the track.
Lastly, this activity enabled them to make predictions, problem solve, and apply their understanding of cause and effect.