Teaching a toddler fundamental skills that are engaging and fun may seem like a difficult challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways that you can help boost your child’s learning to help be ready for kindergarten. Here are some basic learning activities for preschoolers that you can do to help expand your toddler’s mind and encourage developmental growth.
Learning and Identifying Letters
A popular decorating idea for nurseries is displaying the child’s name on the wall spelled out with large wooden letters. While a cute and creative idea, it could also help to serve in teaching your child her letters. By the time children reach the age of 2 they will start recognizing those letters that are in their name. A great way to help your child learn letters with meaning of their sounds is by starting with their name.
You may already have several items around the house that are personalized with their name such as a cup, step stool, go-bag, etc. Alphabet magnets are also helpful. Point out the letters of your child’s name to them along with their sounds. You can even try creating a song with the alphabet to help your child learn what sound each letter makes.
Every day activities can pose a learning activity for your child. Whether while running errands or taking a walk there are numerous opportunities to help your child learn. Point out street signs and letters on items at the grocery store and say them out loud with your child.
A child’s world is full of colors. For babies, contrasting colors such as black and white help them to focus on objects better. For toddlers, however, bright vibrant colors are attractive and draw a child’s attention. You can do this in a number of ways by pointing out the colors of different objects around the house or outdoors. A fun game for kids that teaches colors is playing I-Spy. I would play this with my daughter even before she was really old enough to understand the concept of the game by saying ‘I spy something blue’ then I would ask her to identify all the things that were blue. For items that were different shades of a particular color I would point out if it was light, bright, or dark blue.
Hands-on learning activities for preschoolers such as finger painting are also a great way for kids to learn colors. Don’t want the mess of finger paints? No problem. *A neat idea is to put a few squirts of paint in a Ziploc bag, seal it well, then tape it to the table. This allows them to play in the paint with their fingers while saving clothes and your kitchen from messes. Just be sure that your child’s fingernails are clipped short so they don’t puncture the bag. To teach preschoolers how two different colors can make a new color, set up a few bags with two colors in it that mix for new colors such as red and yellow to make orange, blue and yellow to make green, and so on. *(Idea compliments of Pinterest.)
Teaching Measuring Concepts
You can help your child learn how to measure and understand time-frames with a few simple activities. Generally you think of a ruler as a measuring tool, though for toddlers use stackable objects as measuring units. For instance, use jumbo legos to measure your child’s height by how many legos tall they are. Try mixing it up toys or objects that make easy measuring units to measure how tall, long, or wide something is.
Don’t stop with just unit measurements. You can also teach measurements of time in a way that they understand. Young children and preschoolers can’t grasp the concept of time, so think of ways they’ll understand time frame. For instance, when we leave to go to grandma’s it takes about 20 minutes. Instead of hearing ‘are we there yet’ or ‘much longer ’till we get there?’ I play her favorite children’s songs CD which each song is approximately 3 minutes long, so I’ll tell her we’ll be there in 7 songs. When a new song comes on we count that it’s song #2 (or whatever) then I’ll explain to her how many songs left that will play before we get there. For days, you can try measuring by sleeps. So if you tell your child you’re going some place special in three days, try saying after 3 sleeps or bedtimes.
Identifying Different Sounds
Here is a fun game you can play with your child to help teach them different sounds. Take a few non-transparent plastic containers and place different things in each one such as pennies, beans, cheerios, etc. To add even more developmental skills try using different colored containers if you have them. Cover the containers and give one to your child one at a time to let them shake it and try to guess what’s inside. Afterwards show them what objects are inside to see if they guessed right. Place the containers on a table and mix them up then have your child pick one and try to guess again. If you do have colored containers you can also ask them what color were the items in (which color had the pennies in it? etc.)
Another easy way to teach your preschooler about different tones sounds make while getting a few chores done is by putting away the dishes. Tap a spoon against a glass and explain that clinking sound was high sound. Then tap the spoon on a hard object such as a covered tupperware container and describe it to them as a low sound. Do this with various objects that make high sounds and low sounds describing which it is to your toddler, then have them try to guess if the sound is high or low.
Teaching Form Transformation
One skill that is fascinating for toddlers is discovering how something transforms from one form to another. The kitchen poses vast opportunities of learning activities for preschoolers about different forms. Take for instance how water starts off as a liquid, then when you put it in the freezer it turns to a solid.
An easy and fun way to teach this concept to your child is through bubbles. Put some water in a large mixing bowl (not a lot, maybe 1/3 cup) and place in front of your child. Next add some dish soap and explain to your toddler how the water and the soap are liquid. Give your child a wire whisk and let them stir it up until sudsy bubbles form. It’s a fun way to teach them about different forms and it keeps them occupied for awhile! Plus, if they spill or get a little messy, it’s just soap and water which makes for an easy cleanup.
There are many ways children can learn through everyday playful activities. If you have a favorite activity that the kids love that teaches basic skills please share them with us. Be sure to check back for more hands-on projects and learning activities for preschoolers.