Hi Little Adventures Await readers!
This is Signe, the local blogger behind Say-n-Play Columbus. A lot of the activities that I blog about are inspired by my six-month-old daughter and are appropriate for the newborn to 12-month-old age group. So, I was excited when the opportunity arose to partner with Stacie and switch things up to write about activities for an older age group. Here are ten of my favorite activities for the preschool crowd. With winter upon us, hopefully these activities can help your family shake off some of the cabin fever, while promoting language skills in your child.
1. Books: There is no better way to build your child’s language skills than through books. Read to your child and also have your child “read” to you by having your child describe the pictures in the story. This is a great pre-literacy activity that uses your child’s creativity to foster a love of books. The Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems are a hit right now with the three-to-five-year-old group and have lots of great illustrations and simple dialogue to fuel the imagination.
2. Cooking: Find a simple recipe that your child can help you make in the kitchen. Smoothies, personal pizzas, or avocado toast are just a few! Review the recipe, collect the ingredients and begin cooking with your little sous chef. A cooking activity is a great way to address vocabulary, math skills, and sequencing.
3. Make a Personalized Adventure Book: Take pictures of your child during one of your outings. Print the photos and put them together, in chronological order, in a small photo book. You can then add text to the pictures or have your child describe what they are doing in each picture. Your child will love having a personalized story of their adventure! This activity is a great way to address recall skills (remembering the outing), sequencing (ordering the day), and spontaneous language (describing the pictures).
4. Flashlight Hunt: Flashlights are always a hit! For this activity, find a flashlight and cuddle up with your child in the middle of her bedroom with the lights out. Take turns with your little one shining the flashlight on objects around the room. Whoever doesn’t have the flashlight during each round will label the object lit up by the person with the flashlight. This activity is a great way to have fun while building your child’s vocabulary.
5. Play Dough: Children LOVE playing with play dough! It is such a simple activity, but when paired with a child’s imagination, the opportunities are endless! Play with your child using the play dough to address a variety of different skills: turn taking (take turns using a tool or stacking jars of play dough); action words (roll/smash/cut/push the play dough describing each activity); and relative size words (cut the play dough into long/short/big/little pieces).
6. Indoor Scavenger Hunt: Put together a list of items for your child to find around the house. You can create your list based on a variety of concepts: colors (find something red, blue, etc.); tactile (find something rough, soft, etc.); or object description (find something you eat with, something you wear on your feet, etc.).
7. Touch and Feel Box: Cut a hole on the side of a box big enough for your child’s hand and then hide an object in the box. Have your child reach inside and feel the object. Talk about how the object feels using descriptive language (smooth, rough, round, flat, etc.). Ask leading questions or give hints to help your child guess what the object is before pulling it out of the box.
8. Magazine Category Collages: If you are like me, you have piles of magazine lying around your house! Put these magazines to good use by creating beautiful collages. Take a large piece of paper and divide it into several sections. Talk about different categories of items that can be found in the magazines (things that are hot/cold, different colors, clothing items, types of food, etc.) and the items you will be searching for in the magazines that fit into the categories. Once you have found the items, cut them out and help your child sort them into the correct categories on your paper. To finish your child’s collage, help her glue the pictures down on the paper.
9. Make an Alphabet Book: Go on an alphabet scavenger hunt at home. Help your child look for objects in the house that begin with each letter of the alphabet. If you have a camera on hand, take a picture of each object, print the pictures of them, and put together your own alphabet book. Vocabulary and sequencing will be addressed when your child reads her alphabet book and describes the objects she has found.
10. Story Telling Bag: I love the simplicity, yet excitement this activity elicits. Fill a bag with 8 to 10 objects from around your house. As you pull out each item, label and talk about the object. After you have identified the objects, begin your story telling. You can begin with “Once Upon a Time there was…” and build your story sentence by sentence. Your child should begin to catch on pretty quickly and have fun as her imagination leads the way.
Thanks for having me! I had so much fun sharing ways to increase your preschooler’s speech and language skills at home. Join me at Say-n-Play Columbus to see Stacie’s guest post on story time around Columbus and to read my previous posts about other ways to build language skills at home and while exploring Columbus.