Play Activities

Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Puzzles

Helping your child with kindergarten readiness doesn’t have to be a puzzle. But puzzles can help with developing skills and brain connections.

Usually puzzles are wood or thick paper pieces with an unlimited variety of pictures. As your child puzzles out how the pieces fit together s/he is practicing:DSCN0710

  • sequencing, patterning, visualizing and visual perception,
  • problem-solving, fine motor coordination, comparing, matching, reasoning
  • figure-ground awareness, goal-setting (finishing the puzzle,) perseverance
  • part-to-whole relationships, emotional control and regulation
  • memory, attention and focusing, patience, and language stimulation

This is just a part of the early learning and fun.
Hands aren’t the only things figuring out how things connect, so do brains. Puzzles or very young children start with only a few pieces and some have knobs on major pieces. More challenging puzzles can include dozens or even hundreds of pieces. This puzzle also encourages learning the alphabet. Playing and learning with puzzles is another great hand learning activity; do you agree?

Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Sand Play

Playing in the sandbox for some kindergarten readiness learning and fun certainly uses hands, so it’s another handy idea. Once kids have learned not to eat the sand, they can also explore digging, scooping, filling and dumping. This definitely appeals to kids because they do it over and over.

  • 1168912_boy_playing_in_sandThere are many kindergarten readiness skills that kids can learn and practice in the sandbox:
  • Kids are observing how sand pours. It does not keep the shape of the container, but flows out.
  • They are also discovering about more and less.
  • There’s lots of coordination involved and all that activity helps develop muscles.
  • Imagination gets some exercise too as the sandbox becomes roads, a kitchen or castles.
  • A connection to nature is fostered with sand play.

These are only a few of the ways that sand play promotes children’s development. Do you remember the book All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten? To quote Robert Fulghum: Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile….”  Is it handy for you to include some sand play soon for your child?

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 … Continue reading Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Laundry Room

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 … Continue reading Play & Learn for Kindergarten Readiness: in the Bedroom

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