It is amazing to see the world though a child’s eyes. Everything is new, fresh and exciting. Sometimes simple trumps complex when it comes to our little cuties. Creating activities with every day items that adults often take for granted can be a stimulating and learning experience for your preschooler. There are several activities to demonstrate the use of wheels and axles that will give him important hands on experience with a simple machine.
Preschoolers love water, so what better way to start a wheels and axles activity than with an interactive play station? You can purchase one from your local toy store. You can do this activity with your kid outside, in the sink, or on a large backing tray at the table. Pour water over the wheel or run the faucet over it. Let your tot observe how the wheel spins on the axle, and discuss each part of the wheel and the functions. Don’t be afraid to let your tot get wet, because a little mess can have a huge pay off!
Make A Car
This fun activity is sure to be a hit. Most kids are obsessed with cars and trucks, so use this everyday machine as a “teachable moment.” There are a few toys available that offer wheels and axles sets. Use a kit to build a car, while explaining that the wheels and axles will allow the car to move and transport things. You can do this by placing an object on top of the car and pushing it. Help your tot gain an understanding of the wheel-and-axle construction and by talking it through, explaining its uses and answering any of his questions. And remember, girls love these just as much as boys!
Lifting The Bucket
If you are looking for a simpler activity, lifting a bucket using common household items is pretty straightforward, and it demonstrates how wheels and axles work. Take two chairs and face them back-to-back, about a foot apart. Place a broom on top of the chairs and tie a rope around the broom and also to a small bucket. Place items such as marbles, toy cars or anything your child chooses. Take care not to allow her to stand on the chairs. Instead, she will stand next to the chair and reach up to turn the broom. Avoid using water or any other liquid to prevent slipping. Once you are ready, turn the broom to lift the bucket in the air, and back the other way to let it back down. Tape a ruler straight up and down the broom handle near one end. The ruler acts as a wheel in this case. Bend down and tell your tot that when you turn the broom the pail lifts as a result. You can say, "See how much fun this is?" Tell her that the use of the broom and rope make lifting the pail much easier. You can even hand her the bucket to demonstrate how much harder it is to lift without it. Be sure to supervise a child closely when working with any water activity.
Play a game similar to “I Spy.” Look for wheels and axles that are used in your everyday life. Search through magazines for examples. When you see a good, common example of a wheel or axle, you can say, "See this big wheel? It helps a big, heavy dump truck roll over piles of dirt without slipping!" You can stroll through the garden department at the local hardware store for hands on examples. Search for wagons, wheelbarrows, windmills and talk about how they help make everyday life easier. You could demonstrate by saying ,"Remember the big dump truck in the magazine? These wheels on the wagon also make it easier to roll heavy things along that it would without them."