Written by Sahana Charan and published on 29 April 2021.
Do your children often refuse to play with their toys and complain that they are bored? These creative games and activities will encourage the little ones to be active
Even in this age of malls, televisions and tablets, your little one can learn a lot through games and activities. Research studies over the years have proved beyond doubt that playing simple games not only promotes good health but also helps children learn several life skills.
"Nowadays it is rare to see children playing simple games that we used to play when we were young, such as hide-and-seek, hop-scotch and so on. I encourage my child to go out and play games with his friends and also in school during recess because I know it is good for him both physically and mentally," says Akshata S, mother of a five-year-old.
But what if there is no scope for your child to go out and play? That's no longer an issue with these evergreen games and activities for preschoolers.
Here are some evergreen games that your little one will love to play
1. Four Corners: Remember playing this game when you were a child? Apart from being a lot of fun, this indoor game introduces your preschooler to teamwork and quick thinking. All you need is a room with four corners. Four players stand in each corner and one person in the middle. Players standing opposite each other try to switch places without the knowledge of the one in the center, who is supposed to prevent it. If the player in the middle spots the switch and occupies one of the corners, the child who loses the corner gets out. She must now stand in the center.
2. Obstacle course: Create obstacles with items like cushions and baby chairs in varied positions to make an obstacle course. To make it more exciting, open up both sides of a cardboard box to make it resemble a tunnel as part of the course. This will make your preschooler quite excited and expand his thinking and problem-solving skills.
3. Hot or cold: This game is similar to a treasure hunt and would surely fascinate your little ones. First, decide on the space where your children will play it could be one of the rooms in the house. Then, one child (the hunter) can go out while the other(s) takes a particular object such as a small toy or a ball and hides it somewhere in the room. The hunter searches for the object, while the other(s) prompt saying 'Hot' (implying he's close to the object) or 'Cold' (meaning he's far from the object). Each player can take turns to hide the object.
4. Freeze dance: This game can be played either indoors or outdoors. Your little ones will enjoy this game as it allows them to get creative with their dance moves. The only things you need are some music and a few enthusiastic children. Play the music and ask the kids to start dancing. Encourage them to keep changing their moves. When the music stops, everyone has to freeze. The ones who don't, are out of the game.
5. Musical chairs: This is an evergreen game, which all of us would have played as kids. Introduce your child to this fun indoor activity for preschoolers. Place a few chairs in a straight line facing opposite sides. Make sure that the number of chairs is one less than the number of participants. When the music starts, all the children start circling the chairs and as soon as it stops, they run quickly to find a chair and sit on it. The child left without a chair gets out. The game continues till only one player is remaining, and he is declared the winner.
Patience is a quality that most children lack. But, board games can help develop this quality in them. Board games for 3 to 5-year olds would also help your child develop hand-eye coordination, learn to count and more. Here are a few board games that you can play with your preschooler:
1. Shopping list: The objective of the game is to fill the basket with the items mentioned on the list.
2. Snakes and ladders: One of the oldest board games, it's perfect to help your child learn numbers, addition and subtraction.
Measuring sizes, understanding shapes, and working with numbers are not only math skills but also life skills. So, initiate your child into the world of numbers and encourage her interest in math to boost her all-around development. And, there is no better way of doing it than through number activities for preschoolers. Here are a few math activities that you and your child would surely enjoy doing together:
1. Learning numbers: To familiarize your child with numbers, engage with your child in number activities for preschoolers. Here is a simple number activity using paper cups and colorful balls made of playdough. Write numbers 1 to 10 at the bottom of each paper cup. Now, sit with your child, show him each number and ask him to put one playdough ball into the cup numbered 1, two balls into the cup numbered 2 and so on.
2. Exploring measurement: Several times you must have seen your child looking curiously at your sewing kit. So, why not use an item from that kit. Yes, you guessed it right, the measuring tape. To get your child involved, you can begin by measuring his height. Then hand him a notebook and a pencil and ask him to measure the length of the various objects like the height of the dining table. You can take this further by introducing your child to your kitchen weighing scales and measuring cups.
Which child doesn't love drawing and coloring? Get your child a set of crayons, color pencils or some paint and brushes, and watch her unleash her creativity and imagination. Here are a few drawing and coloring activities for preschoolers that your child can engage in and have fun.
Preschool drawing activities
1. Draw lines of various types – straight, zig-zag, wavy and so on – a sheet of paper. Let your child look at what you have drawn and copy it.
2. Draw different shapes like circles, squares and so on. Get your child to copy them. It doesn't matter if she doesn't get them perfectly well.
3. Draw dotted lines of different letters of the alphabet. Your little one can connect the dots.
4. Create outlines of animal faces using dots and ask your child to join the dots.
5. Draw outlines of faces. Get your child to draw the eyes and lips like smileys.
Coloring and painting can help improve your child's hand-eye coordination. Here are a few activities that your child will enjoy:
1. Blow painting: Put a few drops of paint or watercolor on a sheet of paper and ask your child to blow using a straw. Watching the shapes of the colorful blotches will be fun for the child.
2. Painting with feathers: Apply some paint on craft feathers and ask your child to paint using the colorful feathers.
3. Pebble painting: Collect a few pebbles of different shapes and sizes from your backyard, wash and dry them. Ask your child to paint them in different colors. You can also encourage him to try his painting skills on paper cups/plates.
The world around us is filled with objects of different shapes. So, familiarizing your child with various shapes would help her understand how things connect and organize them. It would also boost her creativity, and critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Here are a few shape activities for preschoolers that you should do with your child:
1. Draw shapes: Let your little one get creative using crayons or colored pencils. While this can be a free-hand activity, you can also gather a few objects around the house such as a bottle cap, a rectangular lid of a small box, and so on. As you hold the object firmly pressed on a sheet of paper, your child can outline the shape.
2. Make a shape collage: Stick the cut-outs of shapes you and your child made in the previous activity on a piece of chart paper to make a shape collage. To get your child's creative juices flowing, you can also challenge her to arrange the shapes to resemble a human or an object.
Recognition and discrimination of letters of the alphabet introduce your child to the world of education. So, why not begin your child's education even before you put her in school! Here are a few easy alphabet activities for preschoolers.
1. Alphabet rhymes: Nothing would make your child happier than to sing the alphabet rhymes along with you.
2. Finger-paint the letters: Experts can't stop extolling the virtues of messy play. So, why not encourage your tiny tot to indulge in some messy play by finger-painting the letters? She can dip her forefinger into some paint and write out the letters.
Successfully creating a piece of artwork gives children a sense of satisfaction and achievement. It also helps boost their creativity and imagination. Here are a few art activities for preschoolers that you and your child can do together.
1. Leaf printing: Ask your child to pluck a few leaves from various plants in your garden. Now take a sheet of paper and show him how to do a leaf print. Apply some paint on one side of the leaf and then transfer the print to paper. He can apply different colors to different leaves and create a pattern.
2. Collage garden: Visit a park or go out to your backyard and ask your child to collect some leaves, flowers, twigs, grass and pebbles. Wash and clean them thoroughly. Now ask your child to apply some glue to a sheet of paper and stick what she has collected to make it resemble a garden.
Engaging your child in language activities can help develop her communication skills. Here are a few language activities to engage your preschooler.
1. Emotion wheel: On a sheet of paper, draw a circle. Now divide the circle into eight parts. In each part, draw a face showing different emotions. Show them to your child and ask her to name the emotions.
2. Read a story: Every child loves to listen to stories. Reading a story to your child can be a good bonding activity for both of you. It can also help develop her language skills.
Our busy lives make it hard to devote a lot of time to our children. However, engaging with them through these simple activities would only require a few minutes. It would not only be fun and help your child learn several skills but also bring the two of you closer.