Everyday Activities to Help Educate Your Preschool Child

kids-drawing

There is no one more enthusiastic about life than a preschool child. If you are the parent of one of these precious little ones, you are blessed. Helping children this age is a true joy because they are very eager to learn… probably some of the best students you will find anywhere. Here are some activities that you can incorporate into daily life that will allow your preschooler to excel in their education.

chalk board

Writing Skills

All children are ready for school at a different age and you want them to learn at their own pace, but some basic skills will help them when the time comes for them to print and write. Mazes are an excellent tool that helps them learn to make marks that are both curvy and straight. Encourage your child to draw a lot and show them how to trace large letters. This will prepare them for when they use a pencil for smaller characters, as they will already have some practice following proper writing directions and strengthening their fine motor skills.

A few things you can use are pen and paper or markers. You can use a chalkboard or even an etch-a-sketch pad. Let them practice one letter at a time and then begin to practice their name or short words like “cat” or “dog.” My oldest grandson has an etch-a-sketch type pad and loves to write things on it just to see it get erased. This can make it fun for them too.

Math Skills

Use everyday situations to give your preschooler a head-start in math. When you are at the grocery store, ask your little one to pick out six apples or two bananas for you. Once they have mastered their basic numbers, you can make it more complex.

Your child can use tiny pieces of food such as gummy bears for addition and subtraction. Ask them to separate the gummy bears into different colors. Talk about how many of each there are, and what the total number is. Ask them to subtract one pile from the rest. These kinds of activities help them to understand the concrete principles of math.

 

xylophone

Music Skills

Every child thrives when exposed to music. Buy a few simple instruments for your children, such as tambourines and a recorder. Encourage them to use the instruments and make a tune or shake the instrument to the beat of a song you play. This will help as they pursue any musical ambitions in the future and will also help them with coordination. To further their math skills, you can also have them count their beats as they drum on something.

Our oldest grandson has several musical instruments, that we have helped to contribute too. He loves to play his small piano and his drum set. He is quite the percussionist as a three-year-old and now teaching his younger brother.

Baking Skills

Your preschooler will be a baker like no other. Most children have a love for cooking and enjoy experimenting. Use this time to work in concepts such as math when you measure, art when you combine colors for frosting, and letter recognition when you make letter-shaped cookies and other goodies.

As they grow older, they can help measure out the ingredients and stir. Letting them help measure ingredients helps with their math skills as well.


crats

Craft Skills

Young children love crafts and there are many age-appropriate activities for them to participate in. Preschoolers especially love using messy supplies such as glue, glitter, stickers, markers, and anything bright and catchy. Whether you are pasting shapes on construction paper or creating a unique ornament, your preschooler will be thrilled with any effort you put into the project. Keep it simple as it doesn’t take much to impress them.

As they grow older, they can play with play dough and make things. You can make dough with a simple flour-water mixture and bake their items and let them paint with non-toxic paints and hang them. Preschoolers are proud of the things they make, and they especially love to see mom and dad display those items.


scooter

Outdoor Activities

In a world where electronics dominate, it is important to keep your preschoolers active. This helps them with their gross motor skills, as well as bringing your child many health benefits. Your child’s physical, mental and emotional health will all be positively impacted as they run and jump. Try activities such as hopscotch, bicycling, skipping rope, and playing at the park.

Your little one is growing up. Now is the time to prepare them for what lies ahead. With all these ideas for preschool activities, there are sure to be at least a few winners. Contribute to your child’s preschool success with some of these fun activities.

Train Your Child to Have Good Listening Skills

One of the best things you can teach your children is to have good listening skills. Good listening skills are important and it’s something they will use for the rest of their lives.

Your children will need good listening skills at home. They will need good listening skills at school when learning the many subjects, they will be enrolled in.

Your children will need good listening skills while talking attentively with their friends or receiving instructions from other adults.

As your children grow older, good listening skills will be useful in college and when they start their first job, or even when they start dating.

There are many ways those listening skills will be useful.

Here are a few ways to help train your child to have good listening skills:

  • Reading and asking questions
  • Read and Repeat
  • Conversation
  • Make Eye-to-eye contact
  • Practice following instructions

Reading and Asking Questions

A good way to help your child have good listening skills is to read to them. Read a page or two from a story, or book your child is interested in. After those two pages stop and ask them questions. If they have been listening attentively, they will be able to answer questions. If they were not paying attention, as kids so often do, you’ll know their mind was somewhere else.

Read the same thing to them and ask them to listen and that you are going to ask them a question afterwards. This allows them to see what you are doing if they did not understand the “game” before.

Reading and asking questions are good practices to get into to make sure they are paying attention to the story or book you are reading. It is a good practice so that when they are in school, they will pay attention to the teacher or other adults speaking to them.

Children need to be trained to listen.

They need to practice listening.

The better they listen, the better they will do in school and do well with friends or other things they may endeavor in life. This practice begins when they are young.

 

Read and Repeat

Another way to train your child to listen is by reading something and then have them repeat what you read. Again, this is a good way of knowing if they are paying attention. If they are paying attention, they will be able to repeat most if not all of what you read. Of course, you will not be able to read as much in one setting to do this.

Start with a simple story. Read a line or two and have them repeat it. Read again and repeat.

One of the best times I had with my oldest grandson recently was to have him pick out a book to read. I began reading the story and he stopped me and began to tell me the story.

It will absolutely blow your mind sometimes when a child can just about recite the whole book to you.

Do you think that child has been paying attention? Absolutely!

Reading is a fun thing to do with your child or children anyway, but for them to begin reciting the book to you after you’ve read something to them shows you how much they are paying attention and loving the book. And how much they soak in.

The child who pays attention and can evenly recite a book will be so much far ahead of his or her peers in school because they have practiced their listening skills without even knowing it and you helped.

 

Conversation

How many parents just sit and have a conversation with their children? Well, I hope you all do.

I feel like this is a lost art for so many people now with the advent of computer or video games, iPhones, iPads and other electronics that have taken so much of our time and our children’s attention. It is quite amazing to just sit and have a conversation with your child.

Find out what they are thinking.

Find out what may be bothering them.

Find out something they’d like to do or somewhere they’d like to go.

As your children get older, find out who their friends are at school or in the neighborhood.

When you take the time to sit and have a conversation with your child or children, you’ll be amazed at some of the things you can learn about them. You are helping them have good listening skills when you speak to them and ask them questions.

Having a conversation with your children is going to help draw you closer to them as well. It’s a win-win situation.

 

Make Eye-to-Eye Contact

Make eye contact when you are having a conversation.

Teach your child to look at you when you are talking to them and when they are talking to you. This is also a lost art, it seems.

So many of us have cell phones and are constantly on them, talking, texting or emailing. Put the phone down. Make eye contact with your children.

Teach them that it is important to give the person they are speaking to their undivided attention. The only way you can do that is if you practice what you preach.

Many times, when you are not looking at the person who is speaking to you, you are not really listening to them. You may hear them talking, but you are not really listening.

Teach your children how important it is to look at the person they are having a conversation with.

Teach them to make eye contact.

If you begin teaching them this skill while they are young, they will grow to have more confidence and practice this skill into adulthood.

 

Practice Following Instructions

Most parents give their children chores to do around the house.

A good practice to get into with your child or children is to give them instructions and have them follow those instructions.

Did they do what you told them to do?

Did they do it the way you instructed them to do it?

This may take some practice, especially if you are starting them young. As they grow and develop those skills of listening to what you are telling them to do, those skills will get better.

As your children go to school and listen to other adults or their teachers give instructions, as they take instructions in college and finally when they are older and working, those who have practiced following instructions at home will be that much more ahead of their peers.

Those children who have practiced good listening skills will be much smarter, more intuitive, and make fewer mistakes.

Putting these few things into practice…reading and asking questions, read and repeat, having conversations and making eye contact and practicing following instructions is going to go along way in your child’s development.

When your children have good listening skills, they are going to learn better, learn faster, and go further than those kids who did not develop good listening skills and they are going to make better grades.

They are ultimately going to have better jobs because they listen and follow the instructions they are given.

Heck, they may be the boss one day!

They may be the one giving instructions!

Start putting these few things into practice today, and your children will reap the rewards tomorrow.

 

 

Happy Reading,

 

Pamela

Why Should We Read to a Child from Birth?

Cultivating a love of reading is one of the most valuable things we can do for our children. The skill of reading will bring benefits that last a lifetime. Reading to your child is something you can do from birth, and many people read to their babies while the babies are still in the womb. How does this benefit your child, when they are yet too young to read or even speak?

There are several good reasons to start reading to and with your child as they grow:

 

Promotes a Love for It

Reading from birth may be one of the most enjoyable times you spend with your child. When you make time to read to your child, they will look forward to it, and the moments they spend imagining all the stories they hear. Reading on a regular basis will develop a love for reading that will always be with them.

 

Makes Memories

When someone looks back on their childhood, it is not always the big vacations and expensive gifts they remember most. It is quite often the little memories that mean a lot to them, such as time spent with you, their parent. When you spend time each day reading to your child, you can rest assured that this will likely be one of their fondest memories after they are grown.

 

Builds a Strong Parent-Child Bond

Spending quality time together as a family is one of the greatest ways to build a strong and lasting bond together. When your child thinks about reading, it will remind him (or her) of all the good times shared with you and he or she will want to relive that experience. A strong parent-child bond will grow out of your time spent reading together.

 

Makes Room for a Habit to Grow

The longer you do something, the more likely it is to become a habit. When you make time for reading on a daily basis, a habit will grow. Reading will become a normal activity for your child, and they will begin to seek the opportunity to read more often.

 

Fosters Their Creativity

Reading is one of the best ways to stretch an individual’s creativity. If you want your child to be someone who loves to invent and create, then read to him. Choose books that are imaginative and exciting and see how quickly it fosters his or her creative streak.

Facilitates Learning

One of the greatest advantages to reading to your child young is it facilitates learning, often a love for learning.  One of the most exciting things to happen while you are ready to your child is for them to repeat the words they hear, or to point to the colors or animals they see, this shows they are learning and retaining the things they hear and see as you are reading to them.  It’s also exciting when they get old enough to start repeating the story back to you.  This shows you that they are tuned into that time you spend reading with them.  They will learn while reading and love it.

 

Expands Their Language Skills

A child who is read to more often will develop better language skills. His vocabulary will expand to include more words, and longer words. His grammar will also improve as he hears correct sentence formation over and over. A child can learn to speak well simply through the enjoyable activity of reading.

Studies have shown that the more sounds an infant is exposed to, the wider a variety of sounds they will be able to make when learning their own language, as well as foreign languages. To give reading an even greater impact, ask your child questions throughout the story, and after you are finished. This will improve your child’s critical thinking skills in addition to all the other great benefits.

Reading is an activity that helps children grow and mature in every way. Reading to children from birth is a great way to bond and to expand your child’s world all at the same time. Grab a book and see how beneficial reading can be to your child, all the way from birth.

 

 

Reading from Birth to Age Six

We know that reading is a beneficial activity for all children. From birth, children are designed to enjoy hearing the human language and to try it out themselves. Reading is one of the best ways we can pass language and ideas on to our children. It is also one of the greatest ways a parent can bond with their little one. How is reading different at birth, two years, four years, and six years of age? Here are some facts to help you maximize the time you spend reading with your little one at any age.

 

From Birth to Toddler Hood

Reading aloud to your newborn is not just a great way to pass the time but is a highly beneficial activity that will assist your child throughout their entire life. It is difficult to imagine that a newborn can benefit from the simple act of hearing mom or dad read to him (or her), but indeed he/she does.

Reading to a newborn can expose them to a greater variety of words and sounds. Studies have shown that in fact, this allows a child to keep a greater variety of sounds available as they learn and develop their own language, as well as foreign languages that they may choose to learn throughout life. The more words and languages they hear at birth, the easier it will be for them to pronounce each of them correctly later. Holding your child and reading to them is a bonding time that can never be replaced.

 

At Age Two

The age of two is a fun time for reading. Your child will enjoy hearing you read and point out colors and pictures.  They will be drawn to books with lots of silly words and sounds. When you read to your child, use a great deal of voice inflection as this helps your child to learn the appropriate ways of speaking for each moment and situation. They will especially love reading books with lots of action and emotion.  From age two to four your child will be soaking in hundreds of words and learning every day.  Their vocabulary will grow tremendously over this time period.

 

At Age Four

Your four-year-old will enjoy books with adventure and plots that they can relate to their own lives. Continue to look for books with bright photos that draw them in. They will likely want to try reading with you, so choose books that have easy words that you can sound out for them. When you read to your four-year-old, it is a great time to seize the teachable moments and see what you can pass to them. Their vocabulary continues to grow during this period.

 

At Age Six

Six-year-olds are learning more about the world around them and how it relates to them as individuals. Use books that help foster empathy in children, and that talk in an age-appropriate way about being responsible members of society. Six-year-olds often feel older than they actually are and love challenges. They will also learn a great deal from the way you read to them, and the emotion they detect in your voice. This is the time when your child will begin to read more to you as you continue to teach them and they learn at school.  It is an exciting time for them and for you.

 

Reading is a great choice of activity at any age. When you read to your child, you are investing in his or her future. Know in advance what some of the great age-specific benefits are given to your child through reading to them, and they will benefit from it throughout life.