(image: The Straits Times)
How do you keep your child busy and happy at home without passing him your phone or tablet?
Boost his or her development with these fun activities for preschoolers, as suggested by Cindy Pat Thomas, curriculum specialist at Kinderland, and Stacey Toh, executive principal at My First Skool at Blk 119 Edgefield Plains.
1. Wind-Powered Painting
Kids will use creative-thinking and problem-solving skills as they experiment with air and paint, using straws to blow balls dipped in paint so that they leave a trail of paint on the paper.
Encourage your little one to blow the balls in different directions, or try to draw lines and shapes with the balls.
You will need mahjong paper, small foam balls or ping pong balls, thinned tempera paint in individual containers and straws for this activity.
Don’t have the supplies on hand? Craft sources like Spotlight and Overjoyed offer online shopping, as do mega e-stores like Shopee, Amazon and Qoo10, which sell many of the same materials for this project and the ones that follow.
2. Letters and Prints
You will need crayons, diluted food colouring, a paint brush and drawing paper. Together with your child, draw and write with white crayon on pieces of drawing block. The drawings or writings will not be seen initially.
Encourage your child to dip a paintbrush in the diluted food colour and paint it over the drawing. Watch as the drawing or writing becomes visible.
Your child learns an art technique called crayon resist and gets to hone her penmanship skills, aesthetic and creative expression as well as fine motor skills in this activity.
3. Dance to the Beat
Select a song together, preferably one with fast and slow (tempo) beats. Some suggestions include Open Shut Them, Hokey Pokey and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Play the song in the background and follow the song lyrics while moving to the rhythm and beat. Listen for specific words such as “we jump up and down” and move according to the words.
You can reiterate these words to build on your child’s understanding. The key is to participate with your kids to show them that you are comfortable with expressing yourself, which in turn encourages them to be confident in their expression. This activity exposes children to elements of music, builds literacy, gross motor skills and social emotional skills.
4. Move in Place
Encourage your child to use only one or two body parts or twist their body while staying on the spot. You will need music and a masking tape to mark a spot on the floor.
This allows preschoolers to explore movement and increase their body awareness while using fine and large motor skills and creative problem-solving as they move to music while keeping their feet on a fixed spot.
5. Make a Freestyle Journal
Create a freestyle journal with your child by using some old magazines. Use a drawing book or paper to create a booklet. This mini project can be done over a period of time.
Guide your kid to identify certain pictures or words in the magazines to create her own stories in the journal. Over time, you will see a compilation of her work and the progress she has made.
This activity hones fine motor skills (through cutting and pasting pictures), literacy skills as well as aesthetics and creative expression.
Want more inspiration? Find dozens of things to do at home as a family – think science experiments, virtual hikes and even learning yo-yo tricks! – here.
Text adapted from Young Parents, April 2020/ Updated by Jashleen Kaur, July 2020
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