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 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. Only…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?
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 added a few plastic bottle caps to a puddle. Her two children used two nets to play with the caps that floated in the water. They scooped and watched them float, returning them to the water over and over. Just like a puddle where we can only see the surface of the water and not what’s underneath, we only see the surface of the play. We can’t see the thinking that’s happening. For a start, there’s problem solving, how to get the bottle caps in the nets. There’s exploring cause and effect, the nets can also push some of the caps away by making the water move. Holding the nets and moving them just right takes concentration and coordination. Imaginations can create fish, boats, or even alligators. The puddle might be a wide river traveling afar. (Thank you Laurie and girls for the photo.)
These are just some of the learning and fun possibilities with a puddle. Just in case there are no puddles where you are today, would you like a rain-check?
“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 like other skills and abilities they get better with practice.
While pretending and imagining are necessary for fantasy, they are also important in reality. As a parent, have you ever asked your child something like “What might happen if you just run without looking?” We ask the child to imagine what could happen so s/he does not do that again. Also, when we ask kids how they might feel if someone grabs a toy away, kids again need to use their imaginations. Both safety and empathy need imagination and pretending.
Did you know when children pretend, even though the action is only taking part in their brains, that their bodies respond? When children pretend they are going up in an elevator all the way to the sky, their eyes go up. When they pretend they are flying the muscles in the arms move. Meanwhile, back in the brain, new pathways and connections are being formed.
Kids can use all kinds of items for pretend play. Old clothes and empty boxes are favorites, but pretending can even be done without anything. Recycling has a whole new dimension when it comes to using items for pretend play. Plus, it can be done both inside or outside. For kids that can’t sleep, it sometimes works if they just pretend. Pretend play can also help children cope with stress and fears. Sometime today, can you invite your child to “Let’s pretend”…?
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→
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→
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→
The last kindergarten readiness fun and learning thru the alphabet is finished off with the letter Z. Often times, life with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can seem like a zoo, so how about a zoo activity or, at least, something with animals? Kids seem to develop a special closeness to animals, knowing the sounds of … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness ABC’s – Z is for Zoo→
The letter X marks the spot for some kindergarten readiness fun and learning treasures. Kids all love to play pirates and look for treasure. For some treasure fun, give your child a box, such as a shoe box or even tissue box and choose a space to be the pirate den (such as under the … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness ABC’s – X Marks the Spot→
Today’s blog post on kindergarten readiness fun and early learning is brought to you by the letter W. Work starts with the letter w, and for children, play is their work. Play is how children learn and the activity can vary from splashing in the tub, zooming a toy car across the floor, lining up … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness ABC’s – W is for Work and Play→