Ssshhh Listen

We all live in such a busy society that we have very little time to just stop, look and listen. Yet it’s in these quiet moments that a child is able to ponder, which is so important for their overall physical, emotional, and spiritual development.

Often we think we need to create special moments for this to take place but instead we need to just grab moments when they arise. A lovely time to slip this “stopping” into our day is in the early evening, just as the sun is about to set. Take five minutes to crouch down, ask your child to close their eyes and whisper to your child to “Shhhh listen.” Then slowly whisper “what can you hear?” In a town they may hear the traffic heading home, boats hooting or someone yelling. Away from the city it maybe birds singing or leaves rustling. What they hear doesn’t matter – just that they hear it! This 5 minute activity stimulates all sorts of auditory skills in your child’s life. It helps develop their auditory discrimination, figure ground discrimination, constancy skills and analysis and synthesis skills. Our world is so full of visual stimulation that we often forget to just stop and listen. 

Gloop Galore

This last week as part of our pre-school fun we made Gloop. A fantastic preschool (and big brother, teenage sister and mommy activity too)

Now gloop is an interesting substance and activity in that it can be used as a science activity or to explain concepts or it can be made just for fun!

To make gloop you mix cornflour / cornsatrch / mazina together then add some water to it. Now there is no exact amount to add but you want it to become like a dense milkshake. It basically seems runny on top but as you scoop it it thickens. We wanted to add colour to our and we found that the best way was to first add the colour to the water rather than to the cornflour itself.

We then gave each child their own bowl of gloop and some “tools” such as plastic knives, spoons, teaset cups and bowls.

I must say that I think this is the first time, ever, that our 3 little people have sat around a table together and not said a word for about 3 minutes! They tipped, scooped, dug, prodded, squeezed and explored.

Yes, it does make a mess but w efound that if we left it to dry completely most of it could be scraped up like chalk and stored for another day and what was left behind wiped off quite well.

 

Besides keeping everyone busy for a while, gloop is great for fine muscle development, colour mixing, science concepts, and great for building vocabulary.

So happy glooping!

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Shoulder Girdle Game

Developing the shoulder girdle is vital for a child’s preschool development. Children with weak shoulder girdles will battle with a number of activities including handwriting. This is initially strengthened through crawling – so if your child walked early try play crawling games with them a few times a week to help strengthen this – otherwise drawing on upright chalkboards will help with this. If you don’t have a chalk board simply stick some paper on the wall and let them draw on that!

 

Nature’s Natural Lessons

Take a few minutes today to take some time to really look at an object today. It may be a flower, a shell, a garment of clothing or a toy.

Take time to look at it, feel it and smell it. Afterwards talk about it. Tell each other what you like best about how it looks such as its colour or shape. Talk about what you think it smelt like and how it felt and what this texture reminded you of. This shouldn’t be school type discussion or a sit down activity but just something you draw into your day when you notice something you think looks interesting. It may be as you are carrying the groceries in that you see a weed pushing its way through the drive, “Wow – look how strong this little flower is. Have you seen a flower like this before? Look at those petals what do they remind you of…..”

It’s at times like these that make children form a relationship with and an interest in the world around them.

 

Teaching Counting

Once a child can count to 10 and recognise all the number symbols you can begin to play with bigger numbers. Download and print a Hundred Square chart. Then point to the numbers and count. You can correspond this with counting on an abacus too. Then get your hands on or make some Flard cards. Then take tunes pointing to numbers on the Hundred Square and count them on the abacus and then build it with the flard cards. Make this a fun game and stop if they get tired. Although they won’t learn to count overnight they will gain a deep number concept and understanding of how numbers are made up. That is that 25 is 20 and 5 not 2 and 5. Have Fun!!!

Shadow Shapes

Take time today to observe your shadows.

Watch them jump and move with you. Look at how they grow and shrink. Take some paper outside and put it down near a friend or a plant and trace the shadows.

Believe it or not shadows teach a child so much about their position in space, it increase their vocabulary, draws their attention to comparisons, they learn about the sun, light, movement as well as how special and individual they are.

Hint: don’t talk too much. Just make a few observations and let them connect dots, ask questions and explore this exciting extension of their body. (Or even add a few bodies together to make some strange shapes!)


 

Counting Counters

It’s amazing how easy it is to include numeracy development into your daily life but it is also fun to sometimes do an activity – focusing on one specific concept. Here’s an easy to do and fun way to develop number concept.

Begin by writing out the numbers  1 to 5 on pieces of paper and the same number of squares under each number. Then give your child counters or whatever you choose to use – and they must count the number of squares and place that many counters on the blocks

You can then point to the written number and reinforce that that has the same meaning as the number of blocks – but don’t force this as at this point you are focusing on developing their number concept and learning to recognise the number symbol is incidental at this point. Let this remain a game and not a lesson and let your child lead in that they may add another dimension to it or choose to pack it away before you are but be encouraged learning is taking place all the time!

Kids Climbing

I will be the first to admit that play grounds are not my favourite places! As much as I love my children and love being Mom I’ve just never managed to get excited about sitting and watching children climb. On a recent picnic I did however see once again just how good climbing structures are for children!

These climbing apparatus not only develop the obvious gross motor skills but a host of other skills as well. A few of these skills are social ones as they need to learn to take turns and not push each other off!


As they watch others go higher and slide faster they are challenged to move out of their comfort zones and will climb to heights they may not have before.

They also learn about their limitations and what they personally are capable of. Imaginative games emerge and hours of fun are created on and under these huge structures.

It was then that I realised that although I’m less than enthusiastic, if I find a calm play park, take a picnic basket and a good book maybe climbing structures could not only provide my children with hours of fun and development but maybe I could read a page or two of my book as well!!

Puzzle Mania

Most children love to do puzzles! Interestingly though it’s not always the number of pieces that determines how hard a puzzle is but also the picture on it!

“I think I Can”

I remember knight#1 being a star at puzzles, then he was given one with many less pieces than her was used to, but it had a picture of a cheetah on it hiding in a tree and he couldn’t do it!

So be aware of this when buying puzzles for little people. Another puzzle hint is that it is often harder for children to build the border first but easier to build the actual picture. We usually start with the eyes and build from the face out. Puzzles not only help develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills but also visual discriminationfigure ground concept and memory skillsamongst others.

Puzzles are one activity that children seem to enjoy doing over and over and they love the challenge of getting better every time and they are so good for their preschool development!

“I Did It!”

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