Play Activities

Kindergarten Readiness: Patterning Plays-of-the-Day

Patterning activities are the plays-of-the-day for basic learning and some kindergarten readiness fun. As children grow and develop their brains have to cope with enormous quantities of information. One of the strategies that helps is that of patterning. A pattern shrinks the amount of information into a much smaller chunk.
patterning activities for early learning
Patterning is something the brain does naturally. As babies learn to crawl, they use a left-right, left-right pattern. Every language has a pattern of sounds and rhythm. Music also has an underlying pattern. So does nature, day in and day out, not to mention seasons, and years. Besides natural patterns, people create patterns.

patterning activities for early learningA few patterning activities for young children are singing, marching, books, stories, and playing with toys. Kids can look around for patterns; often there is a pattern on tee-shirts or sweaters. Dishes sometimes have a pattern. Children can create patterns with toys such as car–block, car–block and so on. Big wooden beads can go on a shoelace in a pattern. Lots of crafts have patterns. Try some body patterns: walk, walk, walk, hop; walk, walk, walk, hop.

Older children are able to make more complex patterns and will point them out to adults! What kind of patterning activity might your child like today?

Kindergarten Readiness: Fun And Learning with Puppets

Puppets are a perfect kindergarten readiness play-of-the-day, for fun and learning, that starts with a p just like April starts with a p. They can be made out of a variety of materials: socks, take-home containers, popsicle sticks, paper bags, bits of fabric, and even fingers. Of course, there are wonderful puppets in the store that sometimes just follow you home.
fun and learning with puppets
Children play with puppets in various ways. Usually, they talk to the puppet and the puppet talks back. This stimulates conversation and can encourage children who are reluctant to talk. Language is made of patterns and children may use ones they are familiar with or explore new ones with puppets. Kids also try out different voices, characters, actions, and outcomes.
playing with puppets
Puppets can help children with the social skill of empathy as they try and understand the puppets feelings and its point of view. They are great for pretending and imagining. After all, puppets can go anywhere and be anybody. Interacting with a puppet is similar to playing with peers, except that a puppet is often safer so children can express things  that they may not with others.

Hands, arms, and sometimes whole bodies get exercise when playing with puppets. As children experiment with ways to move themselves and puppets they are also practicing problem-solving and planning. Are there some puppets your child likes to play with?

Kindergarten Readiness: Playing with Paper

Have you ever had a terrific activity planned (with lots of kindergarten readiness fun and learning) and thought it would turn out one way only to have the kidlets do something quite different? That’s one of the possible outcomes when play is child-led instead of adult-led.

sensory play with paper

Plays-of-the-day this month all start with a p–April starts with a p, and today’s is playing with paper. Instead of the usual drawing, gluing, coloring, and cutting, the plan was to rip, crinkle, tear holes, make into balls for tossing, use as parking spaces for toy cars, fold, bend, and create, to really explore lots of different ways to play with paper. That way the kids could be problem-solving, creating, discovering cause and effect, using lots of language and communicating, interacting, sharing, negotiating, organizing, planning, and more. Paper is great for sensory play. For all of this, it was easy to gather up paper from the recycling, pull some out from various cupboards and create a box of paper. sensory play with paperOnly…one piece of tissue paper was orange like fire. Plus, there were some yellow and blue pieces. The tissue paper became a campfire and campfires are for roasting marshmallows. Which the little one did. The playing with paper activity sparked lots of imaginative and pretend play. It was most definitely child-led. What kinds of fun and learning and other adventures can your child have with paper?

Kindergarten Readiness Plays in the Puddles

Today’s play-of-the-day that starts with the letter p is Puddles because a puddle can be full of lots of kindergarten readiness fun and learning. To children, puddles are an invitation to connect with nature. Just stepping in a puddle is fun; splashing in one is even more exciting. In this puddle activity, mom Laurie Wallach-Rhodes … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Plays in the Puddles

Kindergarten Readiness: Children and Pretend Play

“Let’s pretend” is an invitation to learning and fun that goes far beyond kindergarten readiness; it’s a complex and powerful tool for thinking and creativity. It’s also today’s play-of-the day that starts with a p because A pril starts with a p. Pretending and imagining do not end with childhood, that’s where they begin! Just … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Children and Pretend Play

Kindergarten Readiness: Puzzles Support Early Learning

Since April starts with a p, kindergarten readiness learning and fun activities will also start with a p. Today’s play-of-the-day is Puzzles. Puzzles are more than a toy, they are also a learning tool. As kids play with puzzles they are developing many skills, such as: problem-solving: Finding where each piece fits is a mini … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Puzzles Support Early Learning

Kindergarten Readiness: Before Spring Cleaning Play in Mud

Getting clean and getting dirty are both great activities for kindergarten readiness and fun, but it’s better to get dirty first. A favorite spring activity–for the kids–is playing in mud. When kids play with mud they are having fun and practicing many learning skills like creating, measuring, planning, problem-solving, discovering and more. The small muscles … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Before Spring Cleaning Play in Mud

Kindergarten Readiness – Conversations with Guest Experts #3

For each radio show on Learn and Play with Mrs A, I take notes because I’m learning so much about kids and kindergarten readiness from fascinating guests who are experts in a variety of areas. Each of them is passionate about kids and loves the work, or maybe that’s play? Here’s a play-of-the-day suggested from … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Conversations with Guest Experts #3