Play Activities

Adventures for Kids – Kids’ Programs, Preschool & Kindergarten Magic #10

Adventures for kids in early programs like playschool, daycare, preschool, and kindergarten is one parent’s wish. She remembers going places herself and wishes her kids could. Although she understands why it’s more complicated now than it was for her, it’s an understandable wish. We all have memories of places we were able to visit and things we got to do as kids. Some of them were once-in-a-lifetime special treats but many of them were ordinary, at least, adults would think so.

adventures for kids

What’s some adventures for kids you remember doing? I remember picking raspberries with my grandmother. I have no idea why this is so vivid but I remember the magic. We would tie buckets around our waists, pull on hats, and off we’d go. The raspberry rows were so long and she would remind me to “Pick the bush clean before you go to the next.” The smile in her voice was underneath her words as we worked together. This memory sits alongside an airplane trip with my grandfather to see the Midnight Sun. But they are both adventures.

connecting to nature picnic

Going out for breakfast can be special to a child, or staying at home and having a big spread for the whole family on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Eating outside is always fun but if you can’t, any meal can be a mini-adventure by putting a blanket on the floor and having a picnic.  Or, a real tea party using the play dishes. Turn an ordinary Friday night into a beach party, movie night, or pizza and popcorn feast.

The picnic in this photo happened on the sidewalk at the side of the house. It was great fun.

empty box pirate play

Adventures for kids can come in all shapes and sizes, including an empty appliance box with its big dimensions and possibilities. Set up inside or outside, the adventure is imaginary but no less magical. Vacations also have almost limitless possibilities for adventures and can be far away or close to home. Hiking is a wonderful adventure of discovery. Days at the beach or in the forest are treasures for kids while nights in a tent are better than ones in castles.

camping for kids

Farms are magical places, especially for kids in the city. Is there one your family or childcare program can visit? The fire station, police station, vet clinic, and local hospital often have available times for field trips or open houses. If the grocery store is quiet one morning and you have some extra time, ask the manager if it’s possible to show your child the giant fridges in the back. Imagine a refrigerator as big as a bedroom, that’s adventures for kids

With pressures on family budgets and, it’s all too easy to say that we can’t afford a holiday or an adventure. But we can make adventures for kids. Have a beach party right in the backyard, camp out in the living room, get groceries at a farmer’s market, invite an elderly neighbor over for tea. What kind of adventure be a play-of-the-day?

Practical Pretend Play for Kids – Magic Wish for Preschool & Kindergarten #8

Practical pretend play and resources for kids is magic wish #8. For this blog series, parents are sharing something they wish could be in early programs. Even if it’s imaginary, pretend play helps kids with the real world.

playing in the kitchen

When kids pretend, they are taking a slice of reality. They juggle this bit all around and stretch it in all directions. This kind of play is children’s way of figuring out how the real world works. If we look at the world from a child’s perspective, they see many different people from the outside. They can only guess what that feels like on the inside. So kids try-on the character of the boss, the bad guy, the rescuer, the leader, the worker, the store clerk, the superhero, the sports player, and others each time they try on a costume.

Many times, kids don’t even need the costumes or props. They can do all this with imagination. But having them is a kind of permission. Having some resources for practical pretend play tells kids they are allowed to try on different roles. While we think kids are testing our patience all the time, they are trying to figure out the boundaries of what’s acceptable and what’s not. This knowledge comes from experience. Plus, when other people see kids in costumes or dress-up clothes, they know what to expect. Would we let kids growl at us and order us around? Not usually, but if a child is wearing a dragon hat or a pirate costume we would.

In addition, props give kids a chance to be hands-on and personal with real items that grownups use. For example, Nicolle suggests having some of the things from a restaurant. These could be order pads, cash registers, tablecloths and napkins, and serving trays. Or, perhaps a gift shop, with an assortment of things to buy. Kids would also love to play with real tools and real musical instruments. This is the practical aspect of practical pretend play.

practical pretend play

Pretend or imaginary play is a vital part of children’s development. Can it be your child’s play-of-the-day?


Magic Wishes for Preschool/Kindergarten #3: Lots of Hands-on Sensory Play Activities

Question for you: what do parents wish for in early learning programs for kids? Mom Nicolle answers, “Lots of hands-on sensory play activities.

This month, we’re pretending that April Fool’s left us with a magic wand or a St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun granted us one wish, but we have to use these for playschools or kindergartens. Parents and caregivers have such great suggestions. Hands-on sensory play activities nourish children’s brains and encourage creativity and problem-solving in addition to other brain connections. In a way, we could say children have brains in their fingers.

These suggestions and inspirations for sensory and hands-on play are from a post earlier this year.

helping children develop creativity

When you look at a picture of the brain, it’s only the outline shape. What are too small to see, are the billions and trillions of brain connections. In a way, these are like tiny fingers stretching out in all directions. For kids, hands and fingers are a powerful connection with the world. Through their sense of touch, children take in information, explore, and interact with the world.

before kindergarten puzzle play

Hands-on play activities don’t need to be complicated. Toys like puzzles, blocks, construction sets, and cars and trucks do not require batteries, but do need hands. Set out some play-dough, paper, paints, or crayons for hands to create all kinds of art.

pi day fun for kids

From the time kids get dressed in the morning, until they cuddle a stuffie at bedtime, hands are busy. Little hands like to mix and stir as kids cook alongside adults. Finger foods combine both eating and touching. A few toys in some water in the sink or bathtub are the only ingredients for another recipe for hands-on fun and learning.

cooking with kids roll-ups

Hands, eyes, and ears coordinate as children interact with a book. Early books for young children often have different textures for fingers to feel or a puppet to animate the story.


Kids do not divide activities into work and play like grownups do. To a child, work can be as much fun as play and this also gives lots more hands-on opportunities. Involve kids in folding and putting away clean, dry laundry or helping in the kitchen. A duster or broom is like an extra-long hand. Hands can unload spoons from the dishwasher and put groceries away.

including kids in chores for learning and fun

Many children’s songs include actions, such as the Itsy Bitsy Spider, Hokey Pokey, and Wheels on the Bus. These start with the hands and get the whole body moving. Hands can clap or drum along or make up a new tune.

Christmas songs music for kids

We see evidence of children’s busy hands and fingers all over the house. But that’s not a surprise at all considering how much happens for them.

Do you remember the movie Apollo 13 where the scientists discover the problem with toxic air? What to they do? They dump all the material on a big table and everybody gets hands-on as they come up with a solution. Even adults need hands-on for thinking. In a way, you can grant a wish today with some hands-on sensory play activities for kids. What might be the play-of-the-day?


P.S. 1 2 3 Kindergarten school has videos with more hands-on and sensory play ideas.

March & Play to a Different Beat: Respect Differences in How Children Play

Kids, like adults, can march to a different beat, and play to a different one too; it’s important to respect differences in how children play. Play is not the same for all children. Parents only need to have two kids to see the tremendous differences there can be from one child to the other. While … Continue reading March & Play to a Different Beat: Respect Differences in How Children Play

How to Steal a March #14: Play with Learning Tools = Advantage

Play with learning tools can give kids a huge advantage in confidence. Using a play-on-words for the month, it helps them “steal a march.” Here are some ideas ideas for fun and play with learning tools from an earlier post: Letting your child play and experiment with these tools is not just fun, it’s also … Continue reading How to Steal a March #14: Play with Learning Tools = Advantage

How to Steal a March #13: Kids Hear a Call for Risky Play

Somehow the world speaks differently to kids that it does to adults; without a doubt, kids hear a call for risky play. Children’s response to this call often gives parents and teachers grey hairs. As their caregivers, we need to help kids manage their answers to risk. Our own example is a powerful model for … Continue reading How to Steal a March #13: Kids Hear a Call for Risky Play

How to Steal a March #10: Helping Young Children Follow Instructions

Helping young children follow instructions can give them an advantage, or to use an old expression, help them to “steal a march.” (This month’s posts are inspired by the play on words of march and March.) As an adult do you ever find following instructions to be a real challenge? For kids, that can happen … Continue reading How to Steal a March #10: Helping Young Children Follow Instructions

How to Steal a March #9: Curiosity Gives A Learning Advantage

Children ask dozens and dozens of questions a day–some estimates are as high as 300 in a single day, but curiosity gives a learning advantage. As parents, teachers, and caregivers we need to encourage it. In the words of Thomas Berger, “The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.”It would … Continue reading How to Steal a March #9: Curiosity Gives A Learning Advantage

February Friendship #9: Kids Can Make Friends with Imagination

Not every child imagines a friend or playmate but all kids can make friends with imagination. It’s a powerful tool for playing and for thinking and feeling. Imaginative play can happen any time and certainly anywhere. While the action is taking place in the mind, there is also action in the body. If you close … Continue reading February Friendship #9: Kids Can Make Friends with Imagination