Promote Learning with Simple Everyday Activities
Summer is a wonderful time of year when families can enjoy more time together at a more relaxed pace. In Buckeye, Arizona we also realize it’s a time when kids spend a lot of time inside due to the extreme heat.
With so much time indoors it’s the perfect time to engage in some hands-on learning fun with your preschooler. Of course, if you’re up for getting a little wet there are also several activities that promote learning while having some fun in the warmer outdoors!
Water fun in the Desert!
The simplest concept to build from in the summer is the weather. It’s significantly warmer this time of year and that impacts what kind of play children enjoy. Many fun activities revolve around water which makes it a great learning tool. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
–Water balloon games! Sort balloons by color, discuss what happens when the balloon is filled with water. Offer questions such as, why is the balloon getting bigger? What happens to the color of the balloon as it stretches? This simple balloon activity can be turned into a science lesson with minimal effort.
–Water table fun! Give your child watercolors and allow them to mix the colors in their water table. Talk about colors and color mixing. Observe what happens when all the colors mix together and discuss your findings. If you don’t have a water table a simple, shallow plastic storage bin works as well. You can support this activity with the book, Mouse Paint.
–Water bottles offer an infinite number of opportunities to learn! A simple straight spray water bottle can be used for so many learning games. One game you can try is, “Quick-Spray”. Take some chalk and write numbers on the concrete and challenge your little one to a game of finding numbers! Call out numbers and have your child spray the number as soon as they recognize it, start small with 0-5 and build as you see their confidence grow. In this Arizona heat, it’s always fun to take a brain break and spray each other in-between rounds!
Whenever water is added to learning it increases the fun factor. Preschoolers generally enjoy sensory based activities and to them it will simply feel like a game. Summer offers the gift of time for kids and learning beyond a worksheet or flashcard. Look for ways to add some learning elements to your time outdoors and remember to keep talking! Preschoolers are absorbing every word you say, use detailed sentences and the correct terms for concepts. Language or vocabulary development is part of the learning process.
Simple daily errands can be valuable learning time for a preschooler. While the summer is a magical time of fun and vacations, families still need to buy groceries, clean the house, and cook dinner. Here are a few easy ways to bring learning into those everyday activities:
–Listening to books! When you’re on the go it’s difficult to imagine finding time to stop and read a book to your child. Audiobooks make story time on the go a wonderful compromise between electronics and books. Your local library offers hundreds of electronic books that you can download to your device and listen to while you’re in the car, the store, or while you’re making dinner. For some children, adult-paced environments such as a grocery store, can be too loud or chaotic and simply overstimulates them. An audiobook with headphones is a positive solution for that situation. For more information on audiobooks speak to your local librarian who can usually offer a step-by-step instruction sheet to get you started on this free, fun, and educational activity.
–Grocery Store Math! Shopping is full of opportunities for your preschooler to learn about size, sequence, and more! When you’re picking out apples you can discuss which one is the smallest or biggest. You can explain how food is first grown, then, delivered to the store, and finally, you purchase it and take it home. Standing in the checkout line is the perfect time to talk about who is in front of you and who is behind you in line. Introducing your child to ordinal numbers (first, second, third) is important for early math development and will also help them with school concepts such as lining up to go to the playground. Taking the time to explain these concepts will plant the seeds for early math literacy.
–Fine Motor Skills Fun! Finally, another fun area to engage in over the summer involves strengthening your preschoolers fine motor skills. Many parents are hesitant or afraid to place scissors in their three or four-year old’s hands but another solution would be to allow them to tear paper. Tearing paper into tiny pieces can be difficult for preschool children but it builds strength in their hands that will help them when they’re working on writing. Have fun with this activity! Grab all that junk mail and let your child tear it apart.
Summer Fun Year-round
If you are looking for more ideas check out these websites and remember these are activities that help fill our long summer days but are also useful all year long. Happy Summer!