Play Activities

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.

(photo by Laurie Wallach-Rhodes)
(photo by Laurie Wallach-Rhodes)

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?

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 like other skills and abilities they get better with practice.

importance of pretend play 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.
importance of pretend play
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.

importance of pretend playKids 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”…?

Kindergarten Readiness: Puzzles Support Early Learning

early learning with puzzlesSince 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 problem. What strategies does your child use to come up with a solution?
  • noticing details: Kids learn to look at the color, size and shape of pieces.
  • spatial skills: As little hands match the pieces to the spaces, brains are learning to do the same thing. (Some adult brains can tell if a sofa fits in a space just by looking.) The ability of children to manipulate shape and space mentally is an important predictor of later skill in this area and playing with puzzles can help build this.
  • memory: Children will do a puzzle over and over and stretch their memories remembering which pieces fit where, what the finished picture looks like, and more.
  • muscle development. The small muscles in the hand and arm are developing and need lots of experiences making small movements.
  • hand-eye coordination: Getting fingers and hands to coordinate with brain instructions can be tricky.
  • attention and concentration: A puzzle is very patient and will still be there as children get distracted but at the same time, eyes and hands remind kids to return to the puzzle.
  • satisfaction and confidence: Kids feel pleased when they finish a puzzle and this boosts confidence in their abilities.

These are only some of the skills that kids practice when they play with puzzles. Are there some puzzles your child can play with today?

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

Kindergarten Readiness ABC’s – W is for Work and Play

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

ABC`s – M is for Making Crafts

While making crafts is a favorite activity for children and supports kindergarten readiness, and early learning and fun, it’s not just for kids. Just a quick glance at Pinterest will prove that there is phenomenal interest in crafts among adults! For many people, the enjoyment of crafts first starts when they are young children. The … Continue reading ABC`s – M is for Making Crafts