Activities and games are more than just fun for a preschooler, they also help with early learning and physical development Just because your little one isn’t in elementary school yet, it doesn’t mean his path to learning hasn’t started. Encourage him to experiment with the concepts behind math, reading, science with these fun, at-home educational activities for preschoolers, most of which can be done with items that you’ve pulled from around the house. Pretty soon, they’ll be counting, reciting their letters, and sorting their toys by color or shape.
Play Games and Puzzles
Board games and puzzles can be a fun and a useful way to pass the time. They help children develop their attention spans, and they often work on things like hand-eye coordination, taking turns, and matching colors or shapes
Playing with puzzles has significant impacts on a child’s physical skills, developing fine motor skills through the coordination of small muscles. Through grasping pieces and matching jigsaw pieces together, children also improve their spatial awareness and hand-eye coordination.
Learn Phonics Basics
Teaching your preschooler to read is one of the most important foundational skills you could teach them. Learning the basics of phonics (that is, the idea that letters make certain sounds), prepares kids for spelling and reading readiness.1
Teaching your child phonics does not need to be boring and feel like learning. You don’t need to endlessly repeat letter sounds. Keep it easy and fun. Remember the aim of phonics is to get your child reading as quickly and easily as possible so that they are free to read whatever they like! It’s meant to be fun – and no one wants reading to turn into a chore.
- Keep phonics sessions short and focused. Aim to stop before your child gets bored! Ten minutes is often long enough.
- Make it as fun as possible – Try activities that make learning phonics an adventure instead of a tedious lesson. Kids can play games (look for things that start with certain sounds), hunt for letters, make alphabet books.
- Pick a time when your child’s not too tired, and find a quiet place where they won’t be distracted by screens (or by noisy brothers or sisters!).
- Even when your child is becoming a good independent reader, keep on reading to them! Stories and high-quality non-fiction are important – and so is the cuddly quiet time you spend together.
Writing is a skill your kids need and will use throughout their life. Teach them to write with methods that are fun and go beyond pencil to paper. Get messy and finger paint letters. Trace letters and cut them out. Use Play-Doh to shape letters or draw letters on baked goods with cake icing. They’ll be entertained and better prepared for school.
Make Story Time Learning Time
Your daily reading sessions are great opportunities to actively build early literacy and vocabulary skills. Watch for words you think your child may not know and briefly define and talk about them. When you reread a book, ask your child if they remember what the word means, and try to use the new words at other times of the day to reinforce the meaning of the words. Point to letters as you name them to build letter recognition skills. Turn to random pages in the book and see if children can name and point to the letters themselves. You can also have your child make their own ABC book by finding or drawing pictures for each letter.
As a parent math is an easy subject to teach, because it’s all around us. Add the number of people standing in the queue at the checkout counter. Divide the number of basketball players on the court by the number of water bottles on the bench to see how many people don’t have anything to drink.
Look for digits when you play” I spy” with your preschooler.
Give mealtime a math infusion. Meal prep is the perfect time to get children counting, measuring, estimating, comparing, and recognizing shapes. Ask your child to measure and count cups of ingredients, count how many plates and utensils are needed for the whole family, and figure out who has more or less ice cream for dessert. During cleanup, you can have your child name the shapes of the dishes and sponges, count the number of plates and cups that were washed.
Most of us have everything needed in our pantry to make cookies or brownies. Toddlers love to stir, and you can let them pour things like flour and count out loud with them. This works his fine motor skills. Also, if a recipe asks for a full cup, use a quarter instead. Have your child practice counting to make up a full cup.
Play Washing Dishes
The kids work on dexterity and learning to do chores.
Also, the housework is done and you and your child had fun doing it.
Plant a Garden
If you’re starting work on a garden, this is a perfect opportunity to teach math and science concepts while your kids get some much-needed fresh air. There’s more to planting a garden than sticking a seed in the ground and waiting for something to grow. Gardens are lessons in science, nutrition, and patience.
A garden teaches preschoolers how plants come to life. It’s also an easy way to teach him about nutrition and get him excited about eating the vegetables he’s grown. Have him measure water into a watering can, count seeds, start tallying days on a calendar to keep track of plant growth, and record observations. He can measure soil into small pots, count and plant seeds, predict which seeds will sprout first, and make observations.)
If you don’t have space in your yard, try a planter box, window boxes in your kid’s playhouse, or anywhere where you can create a tiny bit of space.
Also, the two of you can go and check on your garden every day, and water it if needed, so you’ve created a daily activity of something your child has to care for.
Travel Around the World- Without Leaving Home
Sit with your kid on a rug, chair or couch and pretend you’re leaving for a big adventure on a magic carpet, boat, or school bus. Encourage him to share ideas about where he wants to go and take turns in creating elaborate stories about your adventure. Vividly describe the sights you see and ask him questions that invite his creative participation: “Look, there’s a farm! Can you see the horses? What are they doing?” “Do you see that crocodile in the water? What do crocodiles eat?” This is a great way to strengthen communication skills while having fun with kids.
Collaborate with your child on a short play using a few puppets. She can be creative with her own story or adapt a familiar fairy tale. After the play, talk with her about the story and characters, and ask her questions about how she developed the play.
A word of caution: Even though your preschooler seems like he is growing up fast, compared to the baby he once was, he still has not developed common sense. So any activity still has to be closely supervised. This is especially true for activities or projects that involve small pieces, which may present choking hazard. But with you guiding him through, he will love these educational activities for preschoolers, and will forget all about those electronic and battery operated toys in the toy bin.