Preschoolers like to spend a lot of time outdoors. And if they have company, that makes it all the more exciting. There are a lot of advantages to playing in groups, especially for kids. It teaches them to be a team player and helps boost their confidence too. So while your kids are outdoors, here are a few things you can plan for them.
1. Build an Alphabet Garden
This is a great way to keep a group of preschoolers engaged while teaching them a thing or two. If you’ve dealt with kids this age, you know that teaching them the alphabet isn’t always an easy task. And it can be taxing and confusing for them. So, you need to add an element of fun to it. How?
Get an empty shoebox (or any small-ish box really). Get some construction paper and cut out the lid of the box with a pair of scissors. Now, cut through the construction paper with a ruler and make lines on it. These are supposed to be guiding lines because you will be cutting holes on the top side of the box.
Take another piece of construction paper and glue it to the top of the box along the lines that are facing you (that is upwards of the box).
Use a marker or a pen to write the letters of the alphabet on each stick. You can also get these stickers anywhere in the market. Then take a knife and cut 26 slots on the box.
Place each of the sticks with the letters on the holes in a way that they stand upright with the letters facing the kids. Make sure the holes in the box are neither big nor small so that the sticks don’t fall into the box or don’t fit into them at all.
You can also do this with two boxes to teach them uppercase and lowercase letters. Or just make two sets of sticks and use the same box. Get the kids to watch you while you are doing this exercise to keep them engaged. Get them to help you if needed, and get started with the teaching.
2. Measuring Activities
Measurement activities are also great fun to get them started on numbers. There are many different hands-on ways to do this.
For example, you can get a box of cubes (available in the market) to get them started. Let the kids measure anything in the house or class, wherever you are placed, using these cubes.
The same can be done with erasers. It’s not an item you don’t have and they are inexpensive too if you want to buy them. Plus, this does not take a lot of setting up. Use the eraser to measure small objects like cards and books.
If you want to be more formal about it, you can buy paper rulers or just print them, cut and laminate the final product on bright coloured paper. It gives the mathematical exercise some much-needed zing.
3. Clothesline Name Activity
This is a fun one and a great way to teach the kids how to use their knowledge of letters. Let each kid write their name on a strip of paper with a marker pen. Make sure the letters are well spaced because you will need to separate each letter by cutting with a pair of scissors. After the name is written and the letters are cut, you hang them in an arrangement similar to a clothesline.
So, if the name is Robert, you get them to write ‘R O B E R T’ and cut each letter out separately. Then make a clothesline. For that, you will need two small, empty containers.
Fill the containers with sand or pebbles for weight. Then get two sticks of the same height. Make a hole on top of the containers and slide the sticks into the containers.
Next, place both the containers apart from each other and get any household string. Tie the ends to both of the sticks which are now poles of the clothesline. Get a few clips and let the kids hang the letters in the right order. Your name clothesline is ready.
It’s a great idea to colour code the names if you are doing multiple clotheslines simultaneously on one set of poles.
You can do a similar thing by creating name puzzles. Get the kids to write multiple names with enough spacing between the letters. You cut the letters out and place them in an envelope.
Give it to them later and let them arrange the names in the order of the letters. Let them spell out each letter as they arrange it. For this exercise, colour coding the names is helpful while they are still learning.
If the kids seem a little advanced, use the same colour for all names and get them to arrange the names. You can also write their names on the envelope and give it to them to take it home.
Eventually, this trick can be used to make sentences without much hassle. Learning becomes fun and slightly easier.
4. Playing with Patterns
Pattern block mats are all over the market and for good reason. They are a very engaging game for preschoolers.
Take the cow pattern mats, for example. Get a pattern block made of plastic or wood (but with soft edges). Get a printable pattern mat with a theme like the holidays or seasons. Get some bright paper or cardstock. If you can, get a laminator and a laminating film too. Keep a pair of scissors handy and get started.
Print out the pattern block, laminate it and begin the game. You will find these blocks in black and white and colour varieties. So, make a choice depending on the available printer ink. Next, you give each of these mats to all the kids. Place the wooden or plastic blocks in a container and ask them to start matching the shape or colour with what they see on the mat.
In time, you could get something like a sandcastle mat and ask the kids to arrange the blocks on a table while using the mat only as a reference.
If you are working off of black and white mats, you will be limited to shapes only (not colour). So, you might want to get something like an owl pattern that plays to the strength of your monochromatic blocks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What Activities Can I Do with Preschoolers?
A: If the above-mentioned activities are too basic to keep your preschoolers engaged, there are many more for you to try. Get started with activities like bubble or marble painting activities. You might even try building a simple obstacle course if you want to tire them out.
Q: What Are Some Social Skills Activities for Preschoolers?
A: Some of the above-mentioned activities are pretty great to test and teach your kids’ social and emotional skills. They learn to communicate by saying please and thank you and also listen while they are being spoken to. They also learn to share their toys if you’re not going for individual kits. It also teaches them patience as they wait.
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