Play Activities

Kindergarten Readiness: Sensory Play for May #2

Sensory play is one of the strategies that the brain uses for creating connections that will be used in all kinds of learning, including kindergarten readiness. An additional two senses are the sense of the body’s position in space and the sense of movement. Have you ever watched a very young child going round and round in a circle? That child is discovering how the body feels as it moves. Some kids like to pretend that they are falling or tripping over things. Again, they are exploring both movement and the body in space. Hanging over the edge of the bed or the sofa upside down is also sensory play.movement activities for young children

Many kids’ games such as Ring Around The Rosie and others are a form of sensory play. Do your little ones like to play The Bumpy Road where you bounce them on your knees up and down just a little bit over a smooth road, then a bumpy road, a rough road and finally, a hole in the road, where you tip them over and catch them? One child at a time of course, but even the older ones will line up for a turn.

sensory activities for kidsNot all houses have a big space for big body play, but smaller areas like hallways will work. Kids can slither, hop, creep, crawl, swim, and more. Suggest a few animals and have your child show how they move. Another inside activity is trying some yoga poses. Tell your child that he or she is now a creature from outer space called a jumparoo and send the alien off to a spot to jump for a minute–but not on the bed. A couple of dozen jumps will take the frenzy off an energy level and maybe give you a calmer minute or two…occasionally. Kids can move stiffly like robots too or in slow motion. Putting on some music and letting your child dance is another way to explore movement and body position. It’s also fun for grownups.
What are some other ways to encourage movement activities and sensory play?

Kindergarten Readiness: Sensory Play for May #1

Sensory play supports children’s development, learning, and eventually, their kindergarten readiness. Basically, sensory play is an activity that stimulates the senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. In addition to these 5, there are 2 other senses which are the sense of the body’s position in space and the sense of movement. sensory-play

Many play activities will stimulate a few senses at a time and they are often very appealing to young children. Sensory play is sometimes called messy play; quite likely that’s why it’s so much fun for kids. While sensory play is the doing, it’s important to learn the words for the senses, too.

There are dozens of children’s songs, books, and videos about the 5 senses. One of the easiest songs to help kids attach the name of the body part to what it does uses the tune to Mulberry Bush and lots of repetitive words.

This is the way we taste with our tongue, taste with our tongue, taste with our tongue.
This is the way we taste with our tongue, yum, yum, yum.

This is the way we smell with our nose, smell with our nose, smell with our nose.
This is the way we smell with our nose, sniff, sniff, sniff.

This is the way we see with our eyes, see with our eyes, see with our eyes.
This is the way we see with our eyes, look, look, look.

This is the way we touch hear with our ears, hear with our ears, hear with our ears.
This is the way we hear with our ears, listen, listen, listen.

This is the way we touch with our skin, touch with our skin, touch with our skin.
This is the way we touch with our skin, feel, feel, feel.

This simple song uses a familiar tune and related words for each of the 5 senses. The meaning of each verse helps kids match the words. When possible throughout the day, you can sing the relevant verse. For instance, when eating lunch, start the verse about tasting and your child can sing along. When a big truck drives by and makes lots of noise, sing the listening part of the song and your child can join in. Getting a face washed is time for the touch verse. Ask your child what it feels like: is the water warm or cool, is the washcloth soft? Is there a wonderful smell from something, or maybe not so great? There’s always lots to see. Using bits of the song every now and then will help your child build awareness of the senses. Sometimes kids will make the connection on their own and sing independently. After a few times, you can even sing the wrong part; kids love to correct adults. Do you have some other suggestions for sensory fun?

Kindergarten Readiness Magic Potion Recipe: Kids + Play

All month long, plays-of-the-day for early fun and learning and kindergarten readiness have started with the letter p, because April starts with a p. Today’s post is making a magic potion.

developing kindergarten readinessWhat kids use for making a potion determines what containers they will need and where they make it. Potions with sand, mud, and rocks are maybe best concocted outside, where there’s no worry about a mess. Twigs, leaves, pine cones, flower petals that are On the ground not still On the flowers, grass, and weeds make a nature potion for elves and fairies.

If the weather is nice, kids can play with a pail, dishpan, or water table outside. You may have some corks, plastic letters and numbers, play foods, and water bottles with different colors of water for adding a spoonful or drop at a time. A bit of dish soap and a whisk can make wonderful bubbles. For inside play at a kitchen sink or in the bathtub, smaller containers might work better. A quick hunt in the recycling will usually locate a few bottles and containers of different shapes and colors, and maybe a plastic eye dropper.

For kids that are a little older, the pantry may have some items such as a spoon or two of pasta shapes, a shaker of sprinkles, or some outdated spices. Spread newspaper on the counter, table or floors. Turmeric that is years old would probably still stain.

When it comes to kindergarten readiness, the magic potion ingredients are the time and opportunity to play. Kids who explore and discover at home will be eager to do that in the classroom. Kids who can wonder about what they see, hear, smell, touch and taste in their world, will do that at school. Children’s environments will have opportunities to talk, to interact, to count and notice numbers, and more as they play. That’s the magic potion for kindergarten readiness and beyond! What magic is happening at your house?

Kindergarten Readiness: Play with Loose Parts & Other Stuff

Recently, there has been much discussion about play with loose parts and how it contributes to creativity, exploration, imagination, learning, and fun. Of course, all of those in turn support kindergarten readiness. Usually, when we think of children and play we include toys but kids will play with all kinds of stuff. Loose parts are … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Play with Loose Parts & Other Stuff

Kindergarten Readiness: Fun & Learning in the Kitchen

Encouraging your toddler’s early learning or preschooler’s kindergarten readiness can be as easy as opening a drawer in your kitchen. Having a drawer with plastic containers and safe tools gives your child something to play with while you are busy. The crawlers discover how they can take everything out of the drawer. Small containers will … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Fun & Learning in the Kitchen

Kindergarten Readiness: Playdough Play-of-the-Day

What kindergarten readiness learning and fun can be squished, rolled, cut, stretched, smooshed, and patted? Playdough, of course. (Plus it starts with a p since April starts with a p.) Playdough can be played with in other ways, too. It’s a great toy for children at several stages. Once kids have learned that playdough doesn’t … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Playdough Play-of-the-Day

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 is something the brain … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Patterning Plays-of-the-Day

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 … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Fun And Learning with Puppets

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. Plays-of-the-day this month all start with a p–April starts … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Playing 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