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Preschool Activities

From an early age, it is important to help students recognize that learning is an enjoyable activity. The preschool activities provided below range from number matching games to rice art, but they all have one thing in common: they inspire children to learn. Engaging preschool activities encourage young learners to learn new skills while having a great time.

 

Create Line Design Prints

Line designs can be straight, curvy, zigzagged, or wavy. Teach your child how to create lots and lots of line designs by wrapping string around wooden blocks, and using them to create line-filled prints. Your young child can press the wrapped blocks onto plates filled with various colors of tempera paints. Challenge him to fill an entire paper with lines

Grade         Preschool

Subject      Arts & Crafts
 
                    Painting & Drawing

What You Need:

  • Small boxes or wooden or plastic shapes
  • String
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Tempera paint
  • Paper plates
  • White paper
 

What You Do:

  1. Look around your house for different types of lines with your child. Lots of things are made up of lines! Check out patterns on your furniture, designs on the curtains, and the siding of your house. Encourage him to think of words to describe all the different kinds of lines you find.
  2. Next, help him find several blocks or small boxes around the house to use for creating his piece of art.
  3. Provide him with lengths of string to use for wrapping the blocks. Tape one end to the block and then allow him to wrap the shape—a great way to boost those fine motor skills. Once the string has been used up, tape the other end to secure it in place.
  4. Now, place a small amount of tempera paint in paper plates. Position a paper next to your child along with the wrapped shapes.
  5. Invite him to press the string-wrapped shapes in the tempera paint, and then stamp them onto his paper to create a line design.
  6. Use the finished line design artwork as wrapping paper, or for decorating the front of a handmade card!

 

Spring Collage

On a sunny spring day, chances are your kid would rather be outside than in. But if she’s got a hankering for an art project that’s perfect for the season (or needs an easy cure for winter blues), this spring collage is just right. Collages are great for impromptu art sessions because you can use virtually any material you’ve got on hand, from preschool staples like construction paper and felt to old magazines or cereal boxes. And don’t forget to sneak in a little lesson on weather and the seasons while you’re at it!

What You Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Collage materials (you can use recycled items such as newspapers, magazines, fabric, or cereal boxes or head to the craft store for materials such as craft foam, felt, and tissue paper)
 

What You Do:

  1. Have your child choose materials that reflect the colors of spring in full bloom. Think blue skies, green leafy trees, a bright yellow sun. Encourage her to get creative with colors and textures, such as using a bit of white felt for clouds or shiny metallic paper for the sun.
  2. Cut or tear the collage materials into smaller pieces.
  3. Using the glue, help her assemble her collage by gluing the pieces onto a larger sheet of paper. Don’t be afraid to overlap the pieces.

If the weather’s a bit gloomier outside, try a rainy day collage instead. Any weather or season is fair game here.

 

Create a Color Collage

Have you ever watched your child sort objects into groups without being asked or prompted? Has he divvied up his candy on Halloween night, or put his Matchbox cars in groups according to color? Preschool kids find sorting and classifying objects fun, because it brings about a sense of organization and accomplishment. And the best news is, all this sorting helps with kindergarten math and science success. Before sorting, kids make conscious and unconscious guesses about what group might have more or less, and sorting allows them to qualify or disqualify their assumptions.

Kids can sort objects by shape, size, color, or any other quality. But for beginning students, sorting by color is a good place to start. This hands-on art activity will help your child work on her sorting skills, and make a beautiful addition to the refrigerator gallery, too!

What You Need:

  • Collage materials in mixed colors, such as sequins, stickers, beads, pom-poms, buttons, feathers, macaroni, and foam shapes
  • White glue
  • Heavy construction paper, divided into four parts with lines or folds
  • Markers 
 

What You Do:

  1. Spread the collage materials out on a table or other work area. Make sure the materials are mixed up, so that the sorting isn’t already done!
  2. Give your child a piece of heavy construction paper that has been divided into four boxes with lines or folds.
  3. Ask her to pick a color for each box, then write the color with an appropriate pen or marker. For example, use a red marker to write “red.”
  4. Help your child glue a few of the collage items into the correct boxes. For example, red sequins go into the “red” box, as do red pompoms… When you think she’s got the hang of things, let her go at it on her own. (Keep in mind that even though she may have the sorting part down, she may still need some help with the glue!)
  5. Challenge your child’s ability to articulate the process she’s using. Ask her to tell you why she’s gluing the items where she’s gluing them. And once she’s got color sorting down, consider throwing her a curve ball by asking her how else she might sort her items. For example, she might put all the buttons together, or all the things that are soft (feathers, pompoms, etc.) As she works on her collage, talk about what makes the items the same and what makes them different.

When there are enough sparkles and glue to satisfy your young artist, and the macaroni is just barely hanging on to the edge of the page, the masterpiece is complete. Congratulations. You’ve helped sharpen your child’s sorting, color recognition, and fine motor skills, and thrown in a bit of artistic expression as well. All that’s left to do is to make some room on the refrigerator!

 

Make a Marble Run!

If you’re like most families with preschoolers, you probably have a lot of marbles around your house. With a few simple household items you can use marbles to teach your child about simple science concepts like gravity, speed, weight, and balance. Kids will love building their own marble run and experimenting with different designs and configurations. As an added bonus, they’ll be practicing essential fine motor skills!

What You Need:

  • 4 empty cardboard paper towel rolls
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Stickers, markers or crayons (optional)
  • Tape (duct, packing or masking works best)
  • Marbles
  • Small toys that do not roll
  • Blocks
 

What You Do:

  1. Prepare to connect your paper towel tubes by cutting out a small section on the end of three of the tube. Measure a 1½ inch by 1½ inch square. Show your child how to use the ruler and talk to her about how to measure.
  2. Cut out the square on the paper towel roll and recycle the scrap of cardboard.The empty space in the tube will allow a marble to pass through.
  3. Have your child decorate the paper towel rolls with stickers, markers or crayons. Using a glue stick to wrap colorful tissue paper around the tubes is another quick way to decorate them.
  4. When your child is finished decorating the tubes, show her how to put them together to make a simple marble run. Lay one paper towel roll in front of you with the cut out end on the right. Turn the tube so that the cut out square is on the top. Take another tube and place the end that doesn’t have the cut out in the first tube. The tubes should overlap and form a 90 degree angle.
  5. Take the third tube and place the end without the cutout into the end of the second tube with the cutout square. Make a 90 degree angle with the tubes. You can either have the tubes make a backwards S or a U shape. You may need to turn the tube to get the cut out are on the correct side.
  6. Tape the tubes together so that the marbles will not escape from the tubes. Try to leave a little bit of slack in the tube so that the child can adjust the angle of the tubes.
  7. Ready to roll? Lay the tubes flat on the ground and put a marble in an open tube. Ask her if the marble moves and why she thinks that it stay still. Tell her that you are going to make a marble run so that the marble will move through the tubes.
  8. Have your child stack a tower of three blocks on the floor. It works best if she lays the blocks flat for stability. Show her how to put one end of the marble run on the top of the blocks. At the first joint in the marble run, have her place 2 blocks underneath and put the tube on the blocks. At the second joint in the marble run, have her place one block to support the tube on the blocks.
  9. Time to get rolling! Show her how to put a marble in the first tube and watch how it moves through the marble run.You and your child may have to experiment with the angle of the joints and the height of the blocks to get the marble to roll through successfully. Ask her why she thinks that the marble moved through the run that was on the blocks but the marble in the in flat tube did not move.
  10. Have her put a small square shaped toy (such as a Lego) in the first run and observe what happens. Ask he why she thinks that the toy did not move through the run like the marble did?
  11. Let your child experiment with different arrangements of blocks and types of toys. Have her place small toys in the tube and then try to run a marble through it. What happens? Why?

When you are done with the activity, put the marble run in a safe place. Bring it out another day for you and your child to play with again. You can also add more tubes to the run for a more extensive project.

 

Make Four Season Trees!

Preschoolers love learning about the seasons and watching how the leave on trees change throughout the year. This activity provides a hands-on way for your child to illustrate how trees look during each season of the year. After you’re finished, you and your child will have learned about the four seasons, and you’ll have four beautiful pieces of artwork to hang on the wall!

What You Need:

  • 4 toilet paper rolls (or 2 paper towel rolls cut in half)
  • Brown paint
  • 4 sheets of card stock or heavy cardboard (light blue works best)
  • Construction paper in green, yellow, orange and red
  • Handful of popped popcorn
  • Brown yarn
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • 4 pieces of string or twine, about 8 inches long
 

What You Do:

  1. Tape both ends of a piece of string or twine to the back of each piece of paper. Although we placed the paper vertically, we’ll left the orientation of your artwork up to you. Be sure to leave enough slack in the string so that you can hang the picture.
  2. Have your child paint the toilet paper rolls brown.
  3. Show your child how to glue a toilet paper roll to each of the four pieces of paper. Be sure to glue the side of the roll on the paper instead of the end of the roll. Help your child write the name of a season on each piece of paper under the roll, or “trunk,” of each “tree.” 
  4. Go outside with your child and look at the trees in your yard or neighborhood. Talk about what season it is and have your child describe the colors of the leaves on the trees. Discuss any other things you see on the tree, such as flowers, berries or empty branches. Look for any animals that make their homes in the trees, such as birds or squirrels.
  5. After your nature walk, give your child the piece of paper for the current season. Show him how to decorate the tree to illustrate that season, and then help him decorate the other three seasons:
    • Winter: Show him how to glue the brown yarn onto the paper above the paper roll “trunk” to create bare branches.
    • Spring: Have him use light green construction paper to make leaves for the spring tree. Let him glue the popcorn on to make flowers.
    • Summer: Have him use dark green construction paper to make leaves for the spring tree. He can also draw fruit on the tree or glue colorful buttons or circular scraps of red or orange paper.
    • Fall: Use the yellow, orange and red construction paper to make autumn- colored leaves for the fall tree.
  6. Hang the pictures up in your house so you can enjoy all of the seasons no matter the time of year!

At select intervals during the year, point out the tree pictures and talk about how the trees look outside.

 

Make Your Very Own Moon!

Space exploration is a common interest among kids eager to expand their world. Your preschooler can make and “discover” her very own moon and feel like a real astronaut, with this quick and easy craft. Help your child create her own crater-filled moon using a foam ball, some dried beans, glue and aluminum foil. Who knows, she might make it to the real moon someday!

What You Need:

  • Styrofoam ball (a tennis ball will do in a pinch)
  • Paper
  • Dried beans
  • Glue
  • Flat tipped push pins
  • Toothpick
 

What You Do:

  1. Let your child rip up some newspaper or regular paper (this is a perfect use for some scrap paper) into pieces of varying size. 
  2. Using those developing fine motor skills, have her now crumple the paper and roll it into spheres of varying sizes, but make sure they’re not too big (more like a peanut, and less like a walnut). 
  3. This step is for adults only: holding the foam ball in one hand, push a pin through the paper into the ball. Continue doing this all over the ball. These will become the craters, so cover the ball evenly, all around.
  4. If you’re using a tennis ball, have your child glue some dried beans all over the ball. Be sure to clump some together so you get some real depth to the craters. Dried beans will also work on a foam ball, so feel free to use them as well as the paper.
  5. When it looks as if your child is happy with the amount of craters on her moon, go ahead and help her wrap the entire ball tightly in aluminum foil. The craters should really pop out. Be careful not to press too hard so as not to rip the foil.
  6. For a final added touch, (if you’re using a foam ball) have your child make a flag to place on top, just as the real astronauts did on the moon.
  7. Let your child decorate a small piece of folded over white paper (about one inch high and two inches wide) however she would like. She can make the American flag or you can encourage her to come up with her own idea for a flag, perhaps something that represents her interests or reflects her personality.
  8. Place some glue in the crease of the paper and wrap it around the top of a toothpick. Let her place it in the moon.
  9. This moon has now been officially discovered!

Did You Know?

There are many moons in our Milky Way Galaxy other than our very own moon that orbits Earth. Saturn has 46 known moons, the largest of which is Titan. It’s bigger than Mercury or Pluto! Share these fun space facts with your child when you’re doing this project with her. She can even name the moon (or moons, if you make more than one!) when she has “discovered” it, just as the real astronomers do!

 

Fingerpaint Christmas Cards

It’s fun to receive photos of friends and family at the holidays, but it’s even more fun to receive a card that someone actually made. These homemade thumbprint cards are as personalized as it gets, and your child will love using his prints to make holiday magic!

What You Need:

  • Plain white cards with matching envelopes (or white paper folded in half)
  • Non-toxic ink pads (in blue, green and brown colors, if possible)
  • Colored markers
 

What You Do:

  1. To make snowmen: have your child dip his thumb in the ink, then press it to the front of the card. Repeat with his pointer finger, pressing directly above the thumbprint. Finish with the pink, pressing directly above the pointer finger. Use the magic markers to draw in a red scarf, a small hat, and arms. Write holiday message beneath.
  2. To make reindeer: have your child dip her thumb in brown ink and make a thumbprint on the page. Draw two brown antlers above it, two dark eyes and a red nose.
  3. To make a Christmas tree: have him dip his pointed finger in green ink and make prints on the paper in a triangle shape. Dip his whole thumb in brown ink, then press the whole thumb directly below the triangle. Decorate with different colored dots to look like ornaments, a star at the top, and presents beneath.

Not only will these handmade cards make the holidays brighter for friends and relatives, your preschooler will also be practicing fine-motor skills and coordination, which form the foundation for writing!

 

Tin Can Phone

Even in the era of the cordless and the mobile, there’s a lot to be said for the old-fashioned tin-can phone. There’s nothing flashy about this model, and you can’t send email through the wire – er, string. But it offers something more modern versions don’t – a fun project to make with a friend, and a dramatic illustration of vibration and sound waves.

What You Need:

  • Two tin cans, tops removed
  • Duct tape
  • A nail
  • A hammer
  • String
  • Markers, paint, glitter, felt, or other decorations
 

What You Do:

  1. If the can opener left rough edges when you removed the tops, tape over them so your child won’t scratch a finger. Give her the decorating materials and let her loose! She can personalize her “phones” however she’d like.
  2. Turn both cans upside down and hammer a nail through the bottom of each can to make a hole in the center. Remove nail and set aside.
  3. Cut a long length of string – up to 10 feet.
  4. Poke one end through the bottom of one can, knotting on the inside. Repeat with the other end of string in the other can.
  5. Instruct two kids to each take a can and move apart until the string is taut.
  6. One child should put a can to his ear while the other talks directly into the other can. The sound will travel over the “wire.”

What happened? When you speak, your voice makes vibrations. Once the string is stretched tight enough, these vibrations travel down the string and vibrate the bottom of the can on the other end which, in turn, vibrates the air and those vibrations travel through the air to the other person’s ear.