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If you are teaching preschool children, taking care of children in your day care, or taking care of your own children at home, planning your days and your preschool activities take lots of time and imagination.
You want the time to be fun and to provide opportunities to learn about their environment, and the world. You are a partner in setting up the preschool activities for them and then letting them explore, add their imaginations and learn.
Active participation is critical and the kids learn best by doing. Try these two ideas as starting points for the children in your care.
For this activity, bring in lots of stuffed animals, preferably animals that are generally thought of as pets, such as dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, fish, or frogs. If you cannot find enough domestic animals to bring in, add whatever other stuffed animals you find and ask your class to pretend they are pets. They may even like this better because it is unusual and exotic. Once everyone has a stuffed animal, ask your students to give it a name and come up with a story about their animal. Encourage students to think of their animal’s family, their likes and dislikes, or whatever else might make an interesting story. Each student gets a few minutes to think of a story to introduce their animal to the class.
When everyone has had time to think of a story, have them line up as if they are going to be in a parade. They can sit on the floor in their line so they can walk their animals in front of everyone. Put on your best announcer voice and introduce each student, inviting them to walk their animal down the parade line. While the students show their animals, they can tell their short story about the animal. NOTE: with younger children you can modify this and just have them tell a name for their animal.
I haven't met a child who hasn't loved playing in the sand table. Here is an idea that they enjoy and you can use it to teach numbers, counting, color, spatial relations, etc.
Use your sand table for this activity. You will need many plastic or artificial flowers (the $1 store has many or you can make your own with paper and attach them to popsicle sticks). Have containers the children can use to plant their garden (it might even be a good idea to try making pots as described in our easy preschool crafts section). Use a die and have each child roll the die to see how many flowers they need to plant in their container. They can do this over and over to see if they know their numbers and then to count out what they need.
** The die can be made in many ways with the sides having different colors, the number symbol or dots, etc. Make the die with a square box. Have each side a different color as well as add the numbers so that they will have to match the color as well as the number.
These preschool activities can as simple or advanced as you need them to be depending on the ages and abilities of your students.
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