Play Activities

Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Block Play

Block play is definitely a hands-on kindergarten readiness learning and fun activity. In this video below, you can see some of the ways that a child is learning in just a few seconds of play. Besides figuring out how blocks fit together and take apart, here are a few other skills that kids learn:

    • lifting, pushing, pulling, weighing, carrying, balancing, manipulating, stacking, problem-solving
    • organizing, planning, fine and gross-motor coordination, perseverance, achievement
    • visualizing, shapes, counting, spatial orientation, cooperating, imagining and pretending

There are even more brain connections that kids make when playing with blocks as well as science concepts such as balance and gravity.

Blocks come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. For very young toddlers, there are sponge blocks that don’t hurt when they fall over. For older kids there are many different kinds of  plastic or wooden ones. For future engineers there are geometric shape blocks that triangle together. Blocks are also gender neutral and appeal to girls as well as boys. (If you ever want to know how attached kids get to blocks, ask a teenager if you can sell a few bags at a garage sale or even just borrow some for school.) Scrap wood can be used to make a set of wooden blocks for generations of block play.

Little hands love to create, explore and build with blocks. Will some block play fit into the plans for your child today?

Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Laundry Room

With longer to-do lists than than you have time in a day, supporting children to develop brain connections and kindergarten readiness needs to combine play and learning with other things–even doing the laundry. With a little creativity, the laundry can be fun. Here is how:
To play the mountain game, take the clothes out of the hamper and sort them into mountains. Explain to your child,  “All the light clothes go over here and pile into a mountain up to the ceiling and all the dark clothes go into a different mountain.” Oh no, there’s a problem, “Hey there black socks, you are in the wrong mountain. Walk over to the other side and get in the dark mountain. This mountain is only for the light colors.” After you supplying the voice that talks to the laundry, let your child talk to the dirty clothes.

The color game goes like this: “I spy with my little eye, something that is red. Can you see that red something? No, that t-shirt isn’t red. That’s blue. Red like a strawberry. Is the blanket red? No. Are those pants red? Yes, Yeah! you found something red! Your eyes found red. You did it eyes.”

For some moving and shaking, listen to the washing machine gurgling and swishing. Pick up your child and give gurgle and swish hugs. Shaaaake all over. When it’s time to take the clean clothes back where they go and put them away, walk like a robot, hop like a bunny or tiptoe without making any noise so you don’t wake up the alligators. You and your child can do this together because your day needs to balance work and play, too.

This makes doing the laundry a time for fun, plus supports your children as they play and learn. Can you add some fun with your next basket of laundry?

Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Bedroom

Healthy bodies and healthy brains grow as children play, developing kindergarten readiness. Every room in your house has learning and play opportunities. This post explores some of these in your child’s own bedroom.

The bedroom can start the day with play and end it the same way. Depending on schedules, if there is no time at the end of the day for telling stories and sharing books, you might be able to fit in some wake up ones. Hang on to your socks or slippers for this. Kids who have been read to have built a foundation of 5000 books by the time they get to school. Instead of the water torture that drips into brains, the language, vocabulary, rhythm and stories have dripped into the mind, word by word by word. Connections flow all over the brain as a result of books. As you read to your child, check out the pictures, ask your child what he sees. Mix in a few silly words and see if she giggles and corrects you. Make guesses about what might happen next.

block-playChildren will think of their own ways to play with their toys in their bedrooms or playrooms. Are there some books, puzzles, blocks and stuffies? Other great toys are cars and trucks, dolls, and dress up clothes. But there are things like socks that can make great toys. On my blog, I once posted a whole month of learning and fun with socks. Socks are fun to throw and catch, but watch where they land. (A single parent mom smelled smoke in her son’s bedroom one night. She couldn’t see anything burning or feel any heat, but she definitely smelled a strong smoke odor. As she looked around it got stronger so she phone the fire dept and asked them please not to come blaring down the street, but would they mind checking. Sirens blazing they pulled up to her door and rushed in. Even tho they confirmed the smell, they couldn’t see anything either but they checked thoroughly. Somehow a sock had gotten into the light fixture and was burning under the light bulb. The firefighters roared away, but this time it was with laughter. The morale of that story is count the socks after playing sock ball.)

Imaginative play is another fun opportunity. The bedroom can be a forest, a boat, a castle, a store, or anywhere else. Small blankets can be magic spots or swamps and toys can transform into whatever is needed.  Social skills like sharing and taking turns also come into play. Would you agree their bedrooms are like children’s offices for the work of PLAY?

Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Bathroom

Even the bathroom can be a space for play that supports all kinds of fun, learning, kindergarten readiness, and brain development. With kids, there seems to be a fair amount of time spent in the bathroom anyway. Adults rarely get a minute in there by themselves. Standing at the light switch while a baby plays … Continue reading Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Bathroom

Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: Nature Play

Learn and play everyday, for brain connections, kindergarten readiness and healthy development. Are you familiar with the book called Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv? Louv talks about nature-deficit disorder and the huge impact this is having on kids today.  He links the lack of a connection to nature to some of the pretty … Continue reading Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: Nature Play

Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Kitchen

As children play, they are creating brain connections, learning many important skills and developing kindergarten readiness. Did you know that every room in your house has special opportunities for play? Here’s some ways that your child can learn and play in the kitchen: A low drawer dedicated to unbreakable plastic containers can be used by a kneeling … Continue reading Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Kitchen