This is the age when kids really start to develop and enhance their motor skills. Colors become identifiable, as well as letters and numbers. It is evident what a child’s personality is like as he or she begins to develop a true identity. This year is so important, because in no time your kid will be heading into kindergarten.
When kids reach this age, they start to fully realize that they are separate from their parents. In pre-school, they are under the instruction of a new adult and are also surrounded by other children that are not necessarily their own brothers or sisters. This is the time when they constantly ask questions about anything and everything. The best activities are those that stimulate the mind, yet still allow them to be kids.
Before Kindergarten: Keeping Your Preschooler Stimulated
Yes, it may seem like a daunting task, but parents may be surprised by how helpful their little kids are. The number of tasks that they can assist with is endless. The activities range from folding laundry, to setting the table, or even running a hand vacuum! Kids like to act like big people sometimes, so having them assist you in household chores would be a great activity for the both of you.
At this age, kids still need supervision when completing chores. Avoid having them handle objects that pose a safety risk or that are particularly breakable. When having them set the table, for example, consider having them handle the utensils while you or an older child takes care of the plates. That way, nothing gets broken and nobody gets hurt.
Introducing your child to swimming will teach them body coordination. This will also help your child become accustomed to being in water so they don't fear it later on in life. Make sure to put some floaties on your child before bringing them into the pool!
If you don't have a pool to teach your child in, or if you don't feel confident in your ability to teach your child how to swim, no worries! Sign them up for the next swim class that is available at your local pool. They'll be able to learn from experts, while meeting other kids.
Kids at this age can be enrolled in anything, such as gymnastics, soccer, or dance lessons. By enrolling your child in an extracurricular activity, he or she can learn more about body coordination and teamwork. He or she will meet other kids of the same age and will also learn how to take direction from a new teacher or coach. Starting kids in sports from a young age will also help parents determine what their child’s best skills are.
This doesn’t mean “playing dress up”. Dressing up means showing your child how to dress himself or herself. As children start learning different colors, they can pick out their own outfits by going through their drawers and closets and determining which color combinations work best. Kids can learn how to pull on their own jeans, button up their shirts, or tie their shoelaces.
To help get your child excited about dressing themselves, take them to the store to buy a new outfit. Let them pick it out all on their own. It will make them feel big and independent, while practicing outfit coordination. Of course, you can always intervene if they pick something out that's too outlandish!
Your child doesn’t have to have the best voice, but oftentimes lessons are learned when sung. By singing the alphabet or nursery rhymes, children will have a tune that gets stuck in their mind. With a familiar tune, they can identify and remember what they learned in a more creative way. By singing the alphabet instead of saying it, the mastery of the letters will be twice as fun.
This can take place either inside or outside. Set up a scavenger hunt and have your kids explore and find things. This activity gets their mind going and keeps them busy as well. If you're setting up an outdoor scavenger hunt, make sure to check the area for potential hazards before beginning. Any yard equipment should be put away, and the yard should be free from animal holes that your child could twist their ankle in.
Take a Day Trip With Your Preschooler
Day trips can be both fun and educational! Pick a weekend day when the whole family is free, and embark on a fun trip with your preschooler. The place you visit is going to depend on what your family's interests are and what's available to you, but here are a few suggestions.
The zoo is a great place to visit with a preschooler. They'll love seeing all the different animals, big and small. This is a great opportunity for them to start learning how to identify different animals. Plus, you can use a visit to the zoo to teach your child the importance of respecting nature and its inhabitants. A visit to the zoo is a full-day activity that the whole family can enjoy!
A children's museum is a great choice, too. Children's museums combine learning and fun for an experience that your child will look back on fondly as they grow. A visit to a children's museum will help your child work on their fine and gross motor skills while learning about the world around them.
As much as it might not seem like a learning opportunity at first, visiting a water park can actually help your child grow! The different activities at a water park can help your kid develop their gross motor skills. A visit to the lazy river or the shallow end of a wave pool can help build your child's confidence in the water. You can even have them work on their colors by asking them to identify what colors are painted on different rides.
Regardless of what you choose to do with your preschooler, you're sure to make some amazing memories together! This is such a special time in their life, so make sure you cherish every great moment. Before you know it, they'll be off to kindergarten!
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/nilimage .