If you want to learn a new skill, you probably read a book, watch a video or complete a class. For preschoolers, learning looks much different. They don't want to sit down to a lecture followed by worksheets. They want to have fun!
Fortunately, learning and play are harmonious and complement the way young children's minds function. In fact, many experts believe play is the gateway for teaching preschoolers important skills such as problem-solving, mathematics, rationalization, empathy, engineering and more.
These play-based activities serve as great examples of how kids can learn simply by being kids. With the gentle guidance of a teacher or parent, they'll master critical skills while having so much fun, they won't even realize they're learning.
There's not a child who hasn't gravitated toward the blocks in a playroom. Blocks help little ones practice fine-motor skills while learning important STEM concepts. Stacking and balancing are engineering basics and help develop important spatial skills. When blocks don't stand, kids must learn resilience to try to solve the problem. Blocks are also great for learning colors, shapes and patterns. Plus, when kids play blocks together, they learn cooperation skills. Sharing is caring!
Children's imaginations are endless, and dramatic play is the perfect way to stimulate those little minds. It's truly amazing what kids can do with a few costumes and play accessories. You might even ask kids to work in groups to create their own story they can act out. Incorporate directional and sequential language to help build important literacy skills. Then watch the magic unfold! It might be a restaurant, farm, fairy tale kingdom or outer space. No matter what, it's learning made fun.
Kids love to craft, so get out the supplies and get learning. Art teaches more than just colors and patterns. It helps kids learn important skills like writing, too. Encourage kids to use emergent forms of writing, such as scribble writing and random letter strings, by providing pencils and markers during art time. They can make books or simply explain what's on their project. Have them practice writing their name, too! Even if it's not legible, these types of early writing steps are moving their skills forward so they're ready for kindergarten.
The love of music is a fundamental part of the human experience. There's a reason everyone from babies to seniors tap their toes and smile when they hear a jolly tune — it makes them happy! For preschoolers, educational songs can fuel the learning process in a really fun way. From learning the days of the week to the colors in the rainbow, songs help young minds grow. Plus, the rhythm and rhyming help build literacy and mathematical skills. Add in movements and you'll have a fun learning activity that will also get some of the wiggles out.
What other play-based activities do you use at home or in the classroom? Which do you think are the most fun and effective?
Learning can be fun with these play-based activities that are designed to stimulate the minds of preschoolers.