Play Activities

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 on-off, on-off doesn’t seem to get old for them as quickly as it does for us. Have you played that game? The sink and tub have more possibilities. Float, sink, big, little, full, empty, splash and pour are other games.

Baby-vs-BathwaterOne creative mom with a blog has a once a week bath theme night, or you may want to save some ideas for times when you can play, too.

  • Try some pirate toys, another time a car wash.
  • Empty bottles of all different shapes and sizes are fun for filling up and pouring out. Add a few holes in them and watch the water as it squirts out.
  • Pop some ice cubes into the tub or sink. Watch and “enjoy” how they melt. They don’t get all squishy like soap.
  • How about an ocean night with some plastic crabs and fish?

Because adults have to stay and watch the kids in the tub the whole time, sing a few songs, play in the water too, talk to the towels and ask them to please, please stay off the floor and find a place on the towel bar without squabbling. Who likes to listen to “Move over. No, this is my place. I don’t like when you touch me. I don’t like when you do gymnastics on the bar.” “Towels, you sound very grouchy with each other. Did you know you would be happier if you worked out this problem?” You will need 3 voices for that conversation, 1 for you, 1 for the first towel, and 1 for the second towel. Or more if there are lots of towels that need reminders about how to be friendly towels.

Are ideas just pouring into the creative part of your brain? You will know better than anyone else what will appeal to your your little one and your inner child, too. What other suggestions do you have for bathroom fun and learning and supporting your child to be a powerful learner?

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 disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. Exposure to nature is crucial to healthy early childhood development

The solution to this lack of a connection is very simple: some nature  play. For families in rural and less-developed areas this is much easier than for families in cities. And that’s where most families these days live. Incorporating some nature time is much more doable in the summer than in the winter.

nature-flowerJust going for a walk around the block with your child is a good start. Are there any trees to see? Maybe someone has plants growing in their yard or in pots by the door. Check for rocks. Sometimes turning over a rock can reveal bugs and other crawly critters. There might be some nature sounds like birds, or wind. Can we see the wind? Feel it? Does a tongue just peeking out a little bit taste the wind? What does the sky look like? Look up at the clouds; clouds are always changing. That same walk around the block can be very different in the rain. Mud and puddles seem to have a magnetic attraction to kids. Thank heavens for muddy buddies and rain pants. These make life easier for having fun.Clip 2 paper rolls together to make binoculars to see what things have changed. Kids will notice changes as the weather and the seasons change. That’s been a lot of connecting to nature with simply going for walks outside.
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Don’t forget your own yard. A tub of water or a tub of sand are natural toys. A big bowl of water will keep a young toddler content and there’s no worries with putting clean water in an exploring mouth. Mixed together with spoons and fingers, and plopped and measured into cups, mud can keep children busy for a long time, but remind kids that mud pies are not for eating. Using paper muffin cups, let kids make mud cupcakes and collect bits of nature around the yard to decorate them. Find an old pail for mixing in grass, pine cones, twigs, leaves and rocks to make troll soup. Kids can lie down in the grass to see if there are any bugs or worms.
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Parks and playgrounds are also fun places to explore nature. Check out if all the trees are the same. Trees are fun just to run round and round and can be hideouts, forts, and other special places. Birds and animals might have  homes in the trees. Babies can feel the texture of tree bark with their hands. With grown-ups to watch older kids can go for a walk to find different things to touch. And collect. Sticks, rocks, pinecones and leaves all seem to follow kids home. With these nature treasures, kids might want to make their own fairy houses or nature forts. These same treasures can also be used for sorting, or making potions.

Do you remember the comic strip with Hi and Lois? The baby talked to the sunbeams that came thru the window just like they were a special friend.
Is nature a special friend for you and your child?

Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Living Room

The living room seems to transform once kids arrive from a place to relax at the end of the day, to a sort of floor storage for toys, but it’s still a space for play activities and kindergarten readiness fun and learning.

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Crawlers seem to like to thread themselves thru the legs and later play “see the marks my teeth can leave” on the coffee table.

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Action figures can dive off the edge and do twists and turns like the athletes off the 10 metre board. A blue towel makes a soft landing pool.

The living room couch can be turned into a fort or tent or used to line up all the stuffies and play 10 in the bed and the little one said roll over, roll over. (As you fall asleep at night your head will still be singing that song.)

Pop some fast music on for dancing around, or some soft music for a gentle wind waving and sinking down.

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It sure is tempting to turn on the TV but the brain shifts out of learning and shifts into idle when it’s on. The living room has enough space for constructing with blocks and usually a big, soft chair for sharing storybooks.

What kind of fun and learning play activities happen in the living room at your house?

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