40+ Preschool Learning Activities that Engage and Empower Your Child

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I. Early reading activities for preschoolers that are not boring, but actually FUN

We can’t overstate the importance of reading in developing a young child’s growing brain.

However, what will you do when your child is just not into reading? They roll around. They look away. They throw the book under the bed.

We have experienced all of these with our own children so when we wrote our M.E.S.S.Y. Learning stories, we tried to include young readers as part of the reading process.  We asked them lots of questions and made our illustrations as colorful as we could. We also put lots of emphasis on the characters feelings and emotions, so young readers will connect with the characters. Try our courses for just $1! 

You can use similar strategies when you are not using our curriculum: 

1.      Go to the library with your child, goof around, do some coloring or drawing, and then pick out a few storybooks with your child’s favorite topics or characters. If he likes superheroes, then borrow a Batman story. We love animals, Santa Claus, and muffins, so we wrote several stories on these topics (check out here).

2.     Watch videos first and then read. This is when technology can be a great help for promoting screen independent learning. For example, our children love Magic School Bus  and Mrs. Frizzle, so they would watch the videos and then we would borrow some of the books. They often asked for books that they had not watched, which is great! For the same reason, we have produced M.E.S.S.Y. Learning read-to-me videos and stories for all our story books. Your child can watch these videos first and then read the stories.

3.      During story time, don’t just read it through in a dry or rushed manner. Stop from time to time and ask your child questions about the story. Let your child be part of the reading. This will help build their self-confidence, comprehension, and higher order cognitive skills. You can ask your child engaging questions such as:

                                   i.            Does the character look sad or happy?

                                 ii.            What will happen next?

                               iii.            Did she see this bird in a previous page?

 

4.      After you read the story, play memory recall games with your child and see what she remembers.  Ask her if she can re-tell or re-create this story in her own words (of course, if she wants to and don’t force it). You can do this on the next day as well.

                                   i.            What happens first, next and last – learn about numerical orders and sequence

                                 ii.            What animal(s) did your child see in the story?

                               iii.            Who is the main character?

                               iv.            Ask your child to make changes in the story. What would she do instead?

                                 v.            Ask your child what happened and what did NOT happen in the story

 

 These kind of reading experiences will help promote young children’s imagination and critical thinking skills as well as grow compassion. Your child will pleasantly surprise you.

 We understand it is time consuming to be mindful, so we have included many of these in our storybooks. Try our courses for just $1! 

II. Fun Activities that focus on problem solving & math activities for preschoolers:

Math is not just about numbers and counting. There are many fun math activities that your preschoolers will enjoy:

5. Sequencing and numerical order games
6. Maze games
7. Find Matching Pairs – match things based on color, shapes, weight . . .
8. Sorting Games – sort food, toys, shapes, blocks, etc.
9. Fun shadow game and dot-to-dot games that teach geometry, shapes, numbers, etc
10. Pattern games – this is one of our favorites because pattern recognition will help with reading and logical thinking skills. Creating or designing a pattern also promotes creativity and imagination.

How to get started:

You can find many of these free math games online with a simple search or you can create your own games as you go – in the kitchen, play room, or super market.

The  benefit of using our M.E.S.S.Y. learning curriculum is that it can save you time from searching and downloading, and more importantly, your child receives more integrated learning.

So, what do we do differently? Our goal is to teach your child how to integrate knowledge, not just memorize] a specific shape or number. In our M.E.S.S.Y. Learning curriculum, we try to integrate preschool math learning with their reading and science education.

For example, our sequence and numerical order games are often part of the story. Our matching games also teach biology and nature, while our maze games teach letters and shapes at the same time. Now you can subscribe to our curriculum with a 30-days money-back guarantee. Give it a try and see if your child will learn more effectively.

III. Activities that focus on inspiring creativity, imagination while also help fine motor skills development:

Allowing young children to get messy is crucial for their development. There are many activities that can fit in this category. Below are just a few examples:

11.  Drawing, Coloring, and Simple Painting on art paper or canvas using crayons, paintbrushes, pencils, or even vegetables.  Be creative!

12.  Creating a colorful postcard or thank you card to share

13.  Painting on a rock or sea shell with child-safe paint

14.  Finger painting

15.  Paper crafts using scissors, glue stick, crayons, pom-pom, googly eyes, etc.

16.  Making 2D objects using simple shapes (For example, in our Mommy Baby Course, your child will learn to make an adorable panda lovey using only two kinds of basic shapes.) 

17.  Building with playdough or moon sand

18.  Building 3D structures using blocks

19.  Creating a sun catcher craft

20.  Helping make yummy cookies and gingerbread men using cookie cutters – the best part, you can eat it!

 

We love creative projects, so each M.E.S.S.Y. Learning course contains multiple creative projects.

IV. Activities that help develop visual tracking development while promote your child’s natural curiosity:

21.  Sensory play in your kitchen sink, bathtub, or classroom and let your child explore things around them such as soapy water, bubble soap, rice, veggies, food dye . . .

22.  Play Little Detective and Find hidden object game

23.  I spy differences games (show your child two similar pictures or objects and let them find differences)

24.  Play Treasure Hunting Game and learn to draw or read a map or clue – This is one of our favorite games. Let your child hide one of his toys and ask him to draw the map that will lead you to the “treasure”. Or you can hide it and give him or her clues and directions.

 

 

Again, you can do these games in your kitchen, living room, or garden. Or you can find these games in our storybooks and workbooks.

V. Activities that encourage creativity , physical fitness, and gross motor development include:

21.  Playing pretend games or dress-up games

22.  Dancing

23.  Stretching- yoga

28.  Jumping/Hopping/Skipping

29.  Stacking boxes

30.  Playing with a ball

31.  Swimming 

VI. STEM activities that encourage learning about science, nature, and the world (adult supervision required):

32.  Visit a farm and learn about farm animals and where our food comes from – learn to appreciate and not to waste food.

33.  Visit the zoo and learn about animal biology – We have several stories about dogs, alligators, elephants, and even a skunk !

34.  Visit an aquarium and learn about marine biology.

35.  Collect leaves and learn about shapes, color, and plant biology. We have a story that helps young children learn how trees survive in harsh winter.

36.  Talk about fruits and vegetables at grocery stores.

37.  Look at the night sky and learn about the stars, planets, and more . . .

38.  Watch the weather report and learn about weather.

39.  Go apple picking or strawberry picking and learn about the life cycle of plants. 

40.  Help with gardening and learn about ladybugs, earthworms, and plant biology. Let your child dig and get messy.

41.  Play with magnets and learn about the basic physics

42.  Learn about Earth and its history:

                                      i.            Read a dinosaur book and talk about which parts of the world the dinosaur lived. This is a great activity to help your child not only learn about dinosaurs, but also learn about habitats and geography .

                                    ii.            When you read a book about animals, talk about where they live. Penguins live in Antarctica while polar bears live in the Arctic region, then ask your child will they ever be neighbors in nature?

                                  iii.            Order a LED illuminated World Globe for your child and talk about Earth before bedtime. This is a wonderful birthday or holiday gift as well. 

Fun and Simple Science Experiments in Your Kithchen 

43.  Mixing vinegar with baking soda in a large bowl and watch what happens. Learn about basic chemistry. (Note: once the bubbles are gone, you can pour a little more vinegar to the bowl, stir, and watch. You can repeat this step several times. You can ask your child something like, “why do we only need to pour more vinegar, not adding baking soda?” Answer: the vinegar got used up much faster than the baking soda, so the amount of vinegar is limiting the reaction.)

44.  Experiment with paper towels and learn about plant biology and basic physics. Take two identical wet paper towels, lay one flat on the table and roll the other one into a ball. Leave them to air dry for 1 hour or longer, then check which paper towel dries faster. You can ask your child to make a prediction. You can also ask them where does the water go? This is a great experiment to teach them surface area and evaporation.

45.  After you have done the above experiment, you can then go for a nature walk with your child and try to collect leaves from a regular tree such as a peach tree as well as some pine tree needles. Compare these two kinds of leaves and ask your child which shape of leaves will dry faster and turn brown.

46.  Heat absorption experiment: Completely wrap one cup of water with a piece of black paper or cloth and wrap a second cup of water with a piece of white paper or cloth. Then leave them under the sun for 2 hours or longer. Ask your child to predict if they will be the same temperature or different? Learn about temperature, color, heat absorption, and basic physics.

47.  Make colorful “marbles” in oil:  Mix cooking oil, water-based food dye, and water in a bottle, put on cap, shake hard and watch what happens. Then let the mixture sit and watch the oil slowly go to the top. You can repeat this many times. Learn about density and basic chemistry. (Oil is less dense than water and oil cannot be dissolved in water, so oil will float on top of the water. Because the food dye is water-soluble, the water will be colored but oil will remain clear).

48.  Water and buoyancy experiment. Float or Not Float? You can try ice cubes, a toy key, crayons, playdough, quarters, even a small  pumpkin!

49.  Make Colorful slime with water, Elmer’s glue, contact lens solution, baking soda, and food dye. We tried salt instead of contact lens solution but it did not work. No Borax added! Check step-by-step instructions at livescience.com.  If you get Elmer’s glow-in-the-dark glue, you and your child can make slime that glows in the dark! Here is the link at amazon. 

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