- How to Create a Cozy Corner for Preschoolers
- Activities to Go With the Nursery Rhyme "Jack & Jill"
- Abe Lincoln Activities for Preschoolers
- Activities for Preschoolers on Bulldozers
- Activities for Preschoolers in Louisville, Kentucky
- Christian Manners & Etiquette for Preschoolers
- How to Make a Small Child Laugh
- Preschool Activities That Encourage Creativity
Children might be able to sit on a hard floor more comfortably than their parents can, but that doesn't mean they want to. Encourage your preschooler to spend time in his cozy space by providing comfortable seating. This might be a beanbag chair, soft play mats, large floor cushions or an armchair that he can share with you for story time.
A cozy corner requires cozy accessories. Many preschoolers have blankets or stuffed animals that they insist on keeping, even if they're starting to fall apart. Designate a special basket for these items to live in, safe and snug, waiting for your child to visit them in her special nook. Stock the space with warm quilts and pillows for chilly days; maybe you'll get lucky and your child will even take a nap.
Choose a soothing palette on the walls and in the furnishings to maintain a peaceful atmosphere. Vibrant and stimulating tones invite energy and rough-housing, while cool pastels and warm earth tones promote calm behavior. Narrow down the choices to a few mom-approved hues, then let your preschooler choose the final colors. If you paint the walls, use a kid-friendly finish, such as semi-gloss, to ease cleanup. Provide good lighting for playing and reading. Consider adding a dimmer switch or table lamps for naps.
Fill your cozy corner with quiet activities to keep your child happily occupied. Board books and favorite picture books look inviting on a low shelf, especially if displayed with the front covers showing. Add a selection of toys that invite creative and imaginary play, such as building blocks, dolls or a toy kitchen. Provide sketchpads, coloring books and crayons, but avoid messy art supplies such as finger paints and watercolors; a beloved blanket covered with paint is almost a guaranteed trigger for a meltdown.
Break this classic nursery rhyme up into picture cards and encourage your preschooler to put them in the right order. Print your picture cards from the Internet, draw them yourself or help your preschooler draw them. The cards could show Jack and Jill climbing up the hill, then holding a pail of water, then Jack falling down, Jack with a bandage on his head and then Jill falling down. Ask her: "What happens next?"
Words and Pictures
Use the nursery rhyme to introduce your preschooler to some words and letters. Draw or print out pictures of Jack and Jill and write their names beside them. Talk about how the two names start with the same sound and show that they start with the same letter when written. Trace his finger in the shape of a letter J and draw a big J for him to trace over with a crayon. Tell him: "Jill and hill are two words that rhyme because they sound the same at the end." Help him think of a word that rhymes with his name.
Ask your toddler what she thinks happened to the water when Jack fell down: "Did it stay in the pail?" Try this yourselves in the garden with a cup or toy bucket of water -- but be prepared to get wet! Work out where the water goes when it comes out: "Does it stay in one piece?" You can do a smaller version of this experiment indoors with a cup of water over a bowl. Talk about why Jack fell down: "Was the water heavy?" Give your preschooler an empty cup or bucket and then one filled with water and talk about which one is heavier.
Act It Out
Take on the roles of Jack and Jill and act out the rhyme as you chant it together -- although it might be wise to use an empty bucket indoors! Do a marching action to pretend you are walking up the hill and then roll along the floor like a pencil to fall down. These actions are all helpful for developing a variety of gross motor skills -- your child's ability to control her limbs and muscles. Your preschooler may also enjoy having her head bandaged up with some toilet paper as if she has broken her crown like Jack.
Abe Lincoln Story Time
A children's book on Lincoln is one of the best ways to introduce him to your preschooler. One preschool-aged book to check out is "The Story of Abraham Lincoln," by Patricia A. Pingry, which highlights the major events in Lincoln's life. Another good book for preschoolers is "My First Biography: Abraham Lincoln," by Marion Duane Bauer, which focuses on Lincoln's views against slavery and fighting for what is right.
Abraham Lincoln Crafts
Help your preschooler make Abraham Lincoln's famous tall hat. First, paint a paper plate completely black and let it dry overnight. Next, staple two black sheets of construction paper together horizontally so it fits inside the plate, with just the rim showing. Glue the stapled construction paper to the paper plate and let it dry completely. Turn the hat over, poke a hole in it and cut out the paper plate large enough to fit your child's head. Another craft project you can do with your preschooler is to build a simple Lincoln's log cabin using craft sticks. Have your child glue about 10 craft sticks to construction paper to form the cabin wall. Add a roof, window and door out of construction paper to complete the cabin.
Abe Lincoln Songs
Preschoolers learn effectively through songs. Teach your preschooler songs about President Lincoln using familiar tunes your kid would know. For instance, "Lincoln is on the Penny," to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb." The first verse might be, "Who's the president on the penny? On the penny, on the penny, who's the president on the penny, his name is Abe Lincoln." Come up with more verses about Abe Lincoln or use other tunes your preschooler loves.
Abe Lincoln-themed Snack
You can use snack time to reinforce learning about President Lincoln. Help your preschooler build a pretzel stick log cabin with a gingerbread roof and door before enjoying as a snack. For an extra special treat, dip a marshmallow in chocolate and place it in the middle of a chocolate cookie to resemble Lincoln's hat. Another idea is to create a mini paper plate Lincoln hat and fill it with your child's favorite snacks.
If you don't have the time, or the artistic hand, to come up with a full-on bulldozer craft project, print out a free template from the Internet for your preschooler to color or paint. Visit a printable or kids' activity site, and choose a bulldozer page. Download the template to your computer and print it out on white paper. Give your preschooler her choice of crayons, washable markers or colored pencils to decorate her construction vehicle in any imaginative way that she wants.
Preschoolers, according to the child development pros at the PBS Parents website, enjoy exploring the outside world through the magic of dramatic play. Encourage your child to put his imagination hat on and design a construction-centered bulldozer scene. Give your child toy bulldozers to pretend with or help him transform a large cardboard box into his very own machine. Add in dress-up clothes such as a construction hat or vest, and have him spend the afternoon coming up with his own bulldozer scenarios. Throw in a few soft blocks or make mock rocks by stuffing brown paper lunch sacks with newspaper for him to doze.
Cool Colorful Collage
Help your preschooler learn her shapes and colors with a creative collage. Get crafty and cut out yellow -- bulldozer-colored -- construction paper squares and rectangles in different sizes. Give her a base piece of paper onto which she can glue the yellow shapes, helping her construct her own bulldozer. She can use craft foam circles to make wheels and yellow craft foam triangles to make a bucket for the front of the vehicle.
Instead of leaving the books in the quiet of the library, bring on an interactive bulldozer book reading activity. Choose a few different construction themed books, such as "B is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC" by June Sobel, "Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site" by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld or "Bulldozers" by Amanda Askew. Read the book with your child, pointing out the pictures and asking open-ended questions such as, "What do you think that dozer does?" or, "How do you think that vehicle moves those rocks?"
Sign up your budding Picasso for an art class at Young Rembrandts. Weekly classes provide guided drawing instruction to help your preschooler understand and draw basic shapes, gain fine motor and handwriting skills and develop his image vocabulary. Keep your preschooler moving by registering him up for a class at Louisville's All About Kids Sports Center, where he can train in gymnastics, cheerleading, swimming, dance or Taekwondo. During the open gym times, kids age 10 and under can burn off some energy playing on the trampolines, pits, slides, trapeze and tree houses.
For a Rainy Day
For a little indoor fun, take your preschooler to see a production at Stage One, Louisville's local family theater. Shows in the children's series are often based on familiar children's stories and characters. Additional rainy day fun can include some time at Paint Spot where your preschooler can enjoy painting a pottery piece that the staff will glaze and fire for her, creating a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Your preschooler might also enjoy a visit to the Kentucky Science Center where she can tour interactive exhibits like The World Around Us, which brings natural and earth sciences to life. You can also stop by the center's IMAX theater to view an educational film.
Take your preschooler for a walk through the grounds of Yew Dell Botanical Gardens. This nationally recognized center of gardening and sustainable horticulture hosts many family friendly events. Pick up a Book N Blanket Basket at the visitor center, which contains a comfy blanket and a selection of garden-themed children's books that you can enjoy reading together on the garden grounds. Your preschooler can also get scavenger hunt cards at the visitor center, or attend the Children in the Dell program on Saturday mornings, where he can participate in a variety of nature-inspired activities. Visit the Louisville Zoo with your preschooler where you can view the 1,700 animals that reside on the zoo's 134 acres. In addition to the vast collection of animal exhibits, the zoo has additional attractions including a carousel, train and 4-D theater.
The 570-acre E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park offers plenty of activities to entertain your preschooler. With three sheltered picnic areas, scenic walking trails, an Olympic-sized outdoor pool and two large playgrounds, you'll likely have to visit more than once to enjoy all that the park has to offer. Louisville Waterfront Park contains a large expanse of grassy area where your preschooler can run around, a wharf, a river promenade and multiple walking paths. The park hosts many family-friendly festivals and events throughout the year.
Begin With Love
The Galatians and 1 Corinthians scriptures begin their focus with love. Passages from 1 Corinthians 13 define characteristics that demonstrate loving behavior. Tell your preschooler, "Acting with love means that you play nice, speak kind words and touch gently. If someone has what you want to play with, you wait until that child is finished with it. You share and work things out when you disagree. You can be happy with something nice happens to another person." Sum this up with Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:12 when you say, “Treat others the way you want them to treat you.”
Goodness and Friendliness
In accordance with Galatians 5:22-23, your preschooler can look for ways to demonstrate goodness by offering to help others with they ask for help. In class, she can share the art supplies or toys with another child or help the teacher pass out supplies. She can make friends with the child who has no friends, introduce the new friend to others and include the new child in games the children play together.
The most difficult part of the Galatians list of behaviors is self-control. It’s difficult to be nice to someone when he isn’t nice to you, so your preschooler might be tempted to act in kind. You can stress, “Fighting or being mean when someone makes you mad doesn’t solve the problem. If you can’t get along, walk away and find someone else to play with.” Role play this so your little one learns how to do this without having to try to figure it out when he is angry at another child.
A trait missing from the Galatians and 1 Corinthians passages is thankfulness. Your little one can demonstrate good manners by saying “please” and “thank you” when appropriate. Model this by thanking her when she helps you, and begin your requests with “please.” Tell her, “We say 'please' and 'thank you' because it's polite when you want something or someone gives you something. When we pray, we use the same words to ask God for help or when he blesses us.”
Surprise your child by making a goofy face. Crossing your eyes, sticking out your tongue, blowing up your cheeks or pulling your eyes, nose or mouth into a strange contortion is often good for a giggle.
Make a silly and unexpected noise toward your child. If you can accompany it with a funny face, all the better. Don’t plan it, though, just let loose with a string of nonsense noise to illicit a laugh from your child.
Try an entertaining little game to get a laugh. Try peekaboo, follow the leader or the old stand-by “look at me, I’m so weird” usually go over well with the little guys, according to the KidsHealth website.
Blow raspberries on the little one’s tummy or tickle his neck or his feet. Once you get a giggle, tone it down a bit to ensure that you don’t overwhelm the child, however. Because tickling can illicit an uncontrollable response -- laughing -- it might make a child feel powerless or vulnerable, warns psychologist Laura Markham with the Aha! Parenting website. Keep tickling short and sweet to ensure it stays positive.
Sing a silly song or change the words of a standard song to make the song goofy. You might even personalize a song to make the words fit your child for extra entertainment. Even something as simple as “Row, row row your giraffe, gently down the street” might tickle your child’s funny bone.
Head outside and play an active game in the yard or at the park to get your child giggling. You might just let your child chase you around on the grass, pretending that you can’t quite get away and finally letting him tackle you down. A little one might find this uproariously funny.
Laughter can actually exercise the body, according to information published on the Neuroscience for Kids website, with the University of Washington. A good laugh can increase the heart rate and force muscles to work in coordination. Laughter may even give the immune system a positive boost. (ref 3)
Gluing together pre-cut shapes to form bumblebees and monster faces may build on fine motor skills and produce a fun little craft, but these activities don't allow preschool children to make their own creations. Open-ended art activities always start with a blank canvas and involve a variety of media. These projects don't always result in concrete pictures, but they will portray the emotions and imagination of your budding artist.
Preschool children learn through play. Though building with blocks isn't rocket science, children not only gain math, science and language skills while making block structures, but also enhance their creativity. Next time your little one wants build a block castle, get down on the floor so the two of you can create together. As she puts blocks together, ask questions about what the structures represent. With active imaginations, you might end up in castles, forts, space ships or even a time machine.
By role playing, preschoolers take on real life roles, helping them make sense of the world. Though her impression of you expressing road rage at the driver who refuses to go faster than a snail's pace isn't particularly flattering, your little mimic gains social development through this creative outlet. To foster dramatic play, you can provide costumes and puppets that encourage her to imagine fun scenarios to act out and characters to play.
The monster in the closet does more than help your preschooler scam her way into your bed each night, it also represents her budding imagination and makes for a great story starter. Ask your little one what the monster looks like, where he came from, what foods he eats and what games he plays to inspire a fun and creative story from an otherwise fearful experience. By the end of the story, your preschooler will have expressed her creativity and will most likely want to grab an ice cream with her new monster friend rather than run from him.