GFM JUL 2015
Fun activities for bonding summertime fun
Days at home with preschoolers can seem long and tiring, but these ideas are sure to bring a smile to your face:
Water Play: is a wonderful joy for most children. Take out the sprinkler, use a small dish of water, or even a pool outdoors on a summer day. Keep careful watch on the children if they are in water deeper than an inch! They’ll enjoy plastic spoons, pitchers, squeezy toys, sponges, and containers of all sizes. Keep the room warm, and stay near while the little ones splash, squeeze, pour, and enjoy.
What’s Hiding? A plastic reclosable container about the size of a loaf of bread can be a wonderful reusable toy. Fill it with rice, cornmeal, or sand, then bury and hide ten small, child-safe toys or implements in it. Using a timer, give each child a minute to search for the toys. Keep taking turns until all ten items have been recovered, then allow free play with the toys. On another day, add various sizes of plastic spoons, pitchers, a funnel, a strainer, and containers. Lead the children into exploring the best ways to pour from one container to another.
Rolling Wheels: Most children enjoy rolling toys (such as cars, balls, or animals on wheels, etc.). To make it even more fun, lean a board against a step to form a ramp. Your children will spend hours racing toys down the ramp while you water the garden or mow the lawn. Provide empty cans or containers, ribbon spools, and so forth; basically anything that will roll will be fine.
Make sidewalk chalk! You’ll need plaster of Paris, one-cup containers for mixing (one for each color), molds (toilet paper tubes, muffin or drinking cups, or candle molds), and food coloring. Spoon ½ cup of plaster of Paris into each mold. Add water according to instructions on plaster of Paris container. Stir well. Add food color as desired. Stir gently for swirled color or thoroughly for solid color. Allow each to stand until completely dry (overnight or more). Supervise children at play.
Fun with Tracing: Provide a dull pencil and tracing paper (but no crayons) with some basic shapes drawn darkly on white paper. Have them trace these simple shapes at first (circle, square, etc.). Then, have them enhance the circle by turning it into a drawing of a face or turning the square into a house. Finally, let them color their drawing. Once they are successful at drawing the simple shapes, coloring books provide great tracing opportunities. Be sure to praise their efforts, use of colors, good tracing skills, original ideas, etc.
Spelling Game: Glue a small picture (dog, cat, tree, box, book, etc.) to a 4″ x 6″ index card. Use of stickers simplifies this greatly! Use a dark permanent marker to print the word for the picture in lowercase letters beneath it. Have your child use magnetic, block, sponge, stamp, etc. letters to spell the word that you have written.
Matching Words: Use picture cards with words. Print the same word again on an additional card. Have your child match the word card to the picture/word card. With this simple game, he is getting ready to read!
Jump the Rope: Lay a rope on the ground, and have the children take turns jumping over it. Alternately, use two ropes and move them farther and farther apart.
In and Out: Obtain a hula-hoop for each child, and show them how to jump in and out of it. Later use it as a “safe space” for the child to sit in while playing or listening.
Make a Face: Use a safe mirror. Make a sad, happy, scared, surprised, pleased, or angry face and encourage your little ones to put the same feeling on their face. Talk about how the emotions feel.
Dominoes: are wonderful learning tools. Your youngest children can line up dominoes, and watch as they fall in synchronized fashion. Older ones can match them by color or number. School-age children will enjoy adding (or even multiplying) the dots on each side and writing the number sentence (like 2 + 3 = 5) represented by one domino.
Food Preparation: Let the little ones help make lunch by tearing lettuce for salad, spreading peanut butter or jam on a thin half-bagel, and/or slicing a banana with a plastic knife for dessert (sprinkles on top).
What’s Inside? Use one sock or a dozen non-matching ones; any size will do. Put something in the sock, and ask your children to identify it by feel. One by one, let each child reach in and try to identify the piece inside. The person to name it first gets to keep it for creative play after all the hidden items have been identified.
What’s Missing? Show and have the children name two items. Hide one. Ask which one is missing. Build to removing three items from ten.
Estimating: Have your children take turns predicting how many beans, rocks, marbles, etc. will fit in a bottle cap, cup, basket, small box, jar, etc. Then check it out and see who is closest!
First Counting Game: Roll a large die or spin a spinner. Name the number rolled. Count that number of items. Put them in a large container. Cheer a lot, clap, and encourage your child! When the container is full, the game is won!
Dress Up! Fill a trunk or a large cardboard box with scrounged extra clothing. Be sure to have wigs, hats, scarves, purses, bags, shoes, shirts, aprons, and whateverelse you can find. Children will have hours of fun trying things on and making new outfits. They’ll add many props over the years. Keep the camera and camcorder handy!
Who can resist a parade? An impromptu parade is always fun. Line up and march around the house or yard. Use costumes, decorated tricycles or bicycles, or pets on a leash to make it even more fun!
Make Play Dough!
- Play Dough Recipe
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup salt
- 1 T. vegetable oil
- 2 t. cream of tartar
- Food coloring
Stir all ingredients together over medium heat until the mixture pulls away from the pan (or microwave on high for three minutes, stirring every minute, until it is too hard to stir). Knead for a few minutes, and store in an airtight container. Add different scents with lemon, cinnamon, almond, etc., extracts or oils. #
Courtesy of Joyce Herzog, a teacher and author of Scaredy Cat Reading System, Luke’s Lists, Budding Authors series, and more (joyceherzog.com).