Get a jumpstart on your preschooler’s learning with these fun activities.
WORDS NURULHUDA SUHAIMI
It is the start of the new year and for some of you, it means the beginning of a new school year for your preschooler. While there are so many learning opportunities abound in the classroom, it does not mean your child’s learning should stop there. There is a myriad of games and activities you can play with your child to complement his learning in preschool. Check out some of our favourites below and get started on a fun learning journey with your child.
This activity will teach your child to learn about qualities of different shapes. The only materials you will need are coloured paper, marker pens, glue and colourful buttons. Simply draw the basic shapes like the square, circle, triangle and rectangle on the coloured papers using the marker pens. Then, have your child stick the buttons along the lines of the shapes so she can familiarise herself with how the different shapes look like. You can also substitute buttons with other materials such as beads or string.
As your child is doing this activity, talk to her about the different shapes and ask her questions like “Which shape is not made up of any straight lines?” or “Which shape has two long sides and two short sides?”. When your child has learned all about basic shapes, have him create the shapes without the template you have provided.
Take a break from the Mathematics exercise book and play this game to get your child practising his numbers. You will need one dice (you can make your own), tin cans, and ice-cream sticks. In this game, all your child has to do is roll the dice, count out loud the number he rolled, and then count the same number of ice-cream sticks and place them into the tin cans. This allows your child to continually practice his counting and reinforce his knowledge of numbers.
If you have an older preschooler, you can let him practice his addition skills too.
You can use two dice instead of one and have your child add the
two numbers he rolled using the ice-cream sticks.
As a kid, I loved mixing different paint colours together and seeing what colours I could create. If your child knows his colours well, you can take his colour knowledge up a notch by teaching him to create new colours by mixing different paint colours together.
If you’re worried about your little one getting paint everywhere, we have a neater alternative to this activity. All you need are some ziplock bags and a variety of paint colours. Add two colours into the opposite corners of each ziplock bag. For example, one bag can contain red and yellow paint, another bag with blue and red paint, and a third bag with blue and green paint. The number of ziplock bags you will need depends on how many colours you want your child to experiment with. Remember to label the bags as well with the two colours they contain so your child knows which colours he started out with before mixing them together.
Once you have done this, let your child have a go at squishing the bag of paint colours together and seeing them form completely new colours.
Your daily errands can be a learning opportunity for your child too. The next time you go grocery shopping, prepare a checklist of the items you need to get from the supermarket. You can then have your child join in the grocery shopping by getting him to firstly read the item on the list, and then let him look for the item. This will help your child improve his reading skills, as well as possibly learn new items from the supermarket he didn’t previously know of.
DIY Musical Instruments
If you have a musically-inclined child, how about helping him create his own instruments he can play with? You can fill recycled water bottles, tin cans or small boxes with various kinds of items such as dried beans, small pebbles, marbles or uncooked pasta. You can experiment as much as you want here. Different items will make different sounds so have a go at creating different musical shakers.
You can also use this activity to test your child’s understanding of colour and size.
Prepare items in a variety of colours and sizes to fill the containers with.
You can then ask your child to fill one container with items of a specific attribute
and see if he can pick out the correct ones.
Play Junior Chef
Your preschooler is never too young to help you whip up something in the kitchen. Choose an easy, kid-friendly recipe your child can get involved in and prepare the ingredients beforehand. Give your child the recipe too so he can refer to it while both of you are cooking. Have him read out each step of the recipe and pick out which ingredients should go in first. Ask him questions about the ingredients as well during the cooking activity like “What colour is this carrot?” or “What shape is this tomato?”.
Of course, after all that cooking, ensure you teach your child to clean up afterwards too. Instilling good kitchen etiquette in your child is important for him as well.
Reading books is a great way for your child to improve his literacy skills, but how about letting him create his very own storybooks? Have your child write his own stories on pieces of paper and then you can just staple or bind them together. Alternatively, you can buy a blank book your child can write in. You can also have your child complement his stories with his own drawings. After the book is done, you can read the story to your child or have him read it to the rest of the family. Creating his own books will not only allow your child to explore his creativity and imagination but will also build his confidence in his literacy skills.