10 Preschool Activities to Improve Your Little One’s Development
Keep Learning Going—Even Out of the Classroom!
It seems strange to think of the five first years your little one is on the planet as some of the most important, but it’s true! The first five years are key for creating a positive developmental experience for your little one, and it’s important to do some research into how to provide an enriching early childhood education in your home. What’s more is that no matter which online or in-person learning experience you choose, you will always be one of your little one’s best teachers! We’ve compiled a list of preschool activities that you can ensure that your little one’s development will continue outside the classroom in order to help your little one achieve their full potential.
- Try Out Textures: Little ones love textures, and they love to use their senses to help make sense of the world around them! As such, it’s really useful for you to offer them lots of activities or toys that will allow them to really explore their senses. One of our favorite preschool activities is also a great way for your little one to gain a better understanding of the alphabet and numbers! This may seem intimidating at first, but remember; when it comes to early childhood education, with the right tools, you can be your child’s best teacher! Together, trace out an outline of a letter or number your little one is trying to learn. You can then have them decorate the letter with items of varied textures. Touching and feeling the letter will help your little one understand the way letters are formed (bonus points if the textured item matches the first letter of the word, like “m” decorated with macaroni!). As your little one begins to write, you can work with them to trace their fingers over letters while you say the letter aloud. This is a fantastic activity to complete after a day of online preschool lessons; try it out after practicing handwriting and letter construction on Day One with Playgarden Prep!
Another great activity is a Sand Pre-Writing board, which can really allow your child to explore their senses through writing practice.
Sand Pre-Writing DIY Activity from Playgarden Prep‘s Early Childhood Education Specialists
- Try Measuring Up: While it’s also a good time for your little one to develop associations between the world and numeric measurements, a great way to ease them into this is by using objects they know and are really familiar with to make the process more interesting! You can stack books or wooden blocks and say “You are _____ books tall!” or have them lie down and use things like apples or bottles. Be sure to count as you measure, and your little one will have a new way of measuring in their toolbox!
- Label Your Household: Labels are a great way to start letting your little one know about common ways to write down and identify objects using symbols, letters or numbers! Pick out items in your home, and place a label of sorts on them in a font your little one will have no trouble reading. If they are old enough to recognize letters, ask them what letter labeled items begin with (such as “f” for “fridge”) and encourage them to find other items around the house that begin with that letter.
- Introduce Organization: Now this is a skill we all can use, well into adulthood! Even when it makes chores or activities a bit longer, it’s worth it to set aside extra time to encourage organization around the home. Organizational skills are proven to instill in your little one a sense of responsibility and pride in their home spaces and as members of the family. Point out where items go into their labeled bins, and turn clean up into a guessing game! As they grow more familiar with where items go, play a game where you misplace something and ask your little one to fix it; they will get a kick out of correcting their parents and will feel proud if they remember where something is placed!
- Arrange Scavenger Hunts: As adults, we love to explore the world around us, and your little one is likely no different! It can be great fun for you to make up scavenger hunts or to plan them ahead of time, and encourage your little one to take part. It’s good to create a running theme; if you are grocery shopping, ask them to find three things that are a certain color, like purple or red; if they are playing with toys, ask them to point out three toys that are a certain shape, like circular or triangular. As your little one begins to understand words and labels, you can ask them to find items with labels!
One of our favorite preschool activities is this Nature Color Hunt! Every school year, our students will take a trip to the park to look for items in nature for every color of the rainbow.
Nature Color Hunt DIY Activity from Playgarden Prep‘s Early Childhood Education Classes
- Explore the Outside World: A sense of community is important for everyone to feel, and a great way of establishing your little one in the world around them is to show them around all the places that extend just outside their home! Take your little one for a walk, a ride or a seat in the stroller, and point out places you frequent. (The Nature Color Hunt is great for this reason, too!) Explain what happens there, who works there, and how far it is from home. You can also draw pictures of these places or people and hang them around the house for practice.
Our friend Miss Jen shared this lovely photo of her kiddos having some fun in the sun! Be sure to check out her DIY Muffin Tray Chalk.
- Sing Vocabulary Words: New vocabulary can be tricky for some little ones to learn at first, but music is a fantastic way of building up those terms! Early childhood education studies say that little ones can learn up to nine new words a week, and that they can reach their full potential if other senses are engaged and interested when new words are introduced! Sing in the car, at bath time and all the moments in between. If your little one is enrolled in online preschool or in-person learning, let the teachers know your little one’s favorite tunes and ask them to include them if possible! The melodies will help your child learn letters, numbers, colors, people in their lives and more.
What a throwback! We love this old photo of Miss Sarah during one of her in-person Music Classes at Playgarden Prep UES. Join Playgarden Online today to join Miss Sarah in a Zoom class!
- Number Your Mornings: Learning the days of the week and associating them with how many days are in each month might seem tough, but there are actually many good ways of teaching this to your little one. Our favorite is to set up a calendar grid on a sheet of paper, but to leave off the numbers. Keep the days of the week across the top, and make tiny cards with numbers 1-31 on them. On the first day of the month, you can place the number on the corresponding day, and then on each subsequent day, challenge your little one to find the square on the chart that matches the number! You can sing “days of the week” songs to help with this (PG Online has a very catchy one in their Music Library), and soon, your little one will be able to understand the calendar system.
- Pin Up Pictures: It’s really important for your little one to get well-acquainted and develop positive relationships with the people in their life that are close to them! A good way of doing this is to keep a visual reference wall for your little one in a space close to them, like their room. Create a sort of family/friend tree with pictures of people in a space in their room, and write the names of these individuals on sticky notes next to the pictures. Make sure you include and point out the titles such as “aunt” or “sister” when you discuss these folks, and address the people by their titles when you see them in person, such as “Uncle _______” or “Cousin _______”. You can also read books about family members, and as your little one gets more and more familiar with these people, you can start to take off the stickies!
Our students enjoy making a Family Tree using real images each year—One of our favorite preschool activities!
- Set Up a Weather Windows Wall: Weather windows are wonderful ways of encouraging your little one to learn the seasons and the weather! Each day, you can have your little one draw a picture of what the weather is that day on a sheet of plain 8×11 paper. Then, working together, cut three short strips and three long strips of brown paper, and arrange them on top of the illustration to make it look like a window. Finally, add a descriptor to the “pane”, such as “sunny”, “snowy” or “stormy”, and date the paper. Hang it up on a designated wall each day, and watch with your little one as the weather changes over time!
Remember, these are only a few options for preschool activities amongst many that you can put forth to make sure your little one keeps growing for the better! However, we hope these will be a good jumping off point for both you and your little one to a successful learning and growing experience as they explore preschool online learning or preschool in person. Early childhood education is the foundation for schooling later, so hopefully these preschool activities can help with instilling your child with a love of learning!
Playgarden Prep offers educational videos from real teachers, numerous DIY projects, and so many more preschool activities that support early childhood education and development. Try Our Online Preschool for FREE!
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Hi, I'm Miss Charlotte!
Miss Charlotte is an Education Director by trade, and a mom by heart. All 200+ of our DIY projects were created by Miss Charlotte, with the help of her expert DIY assistant—Her 4 year old daughter! With a MST degree in Early Childhood Education and 15 years of teaching experience, her blogs and DIY projects have been an incredible resource for our Playgarden Prep schools. We hope that your family loves them as much as we do!