Pre-school activities at home
Part of our role as parents is to help our little humans prepare for the daunting and exciting time of commencing school.
Many parents have made the decision to stay at home with their children until they’re school-aged, whereas others have returned to work and have close family or friends care for their children, or have them attend day care. We all have times when we’re strapped for ideas on activities we can do with our children at home. What can we do to keep the little ones entertained, as well as empowering them with new skills and abilities that will prepare them for school?
While it is easy to compare your multiples, they are little individuals as well, even identicals! Each will have strengths in different areas and as they grow, it is important that we teach them just that and it’s okay to be different.
These are only a few things that can be done at home by any carer. It’s important to remember all children, including multiples, develop at different rates. And they can only focus on one area at a time. That is, if they are developing their gross motor skills they may not be as interested in sitting still to do fine motor activities. There are so many activities parents can do at home that are low cost.
Here are some ideas.
Activity #1 Fine motor skills
Make a necklace or bracelet by threading uncooked penne pasta onto some string will help with their hand-eye coordination. Make some playdough. Manipulating playdough is a great way for children to strengthen their hand muscles, which will help them develop the control needed to learn to write.
Playdough recipe• 2 tbs cooking oil
• 4 tbs cream of tartar
• 2 cups plain flour
• 1 cup salt
• Food colouring
• 2 cups water
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture congeals.
Notes: If you don’t want to cook it, use hot water instead. Put the food colouring and oil in the hot water before you mix in the dry ingredients.
Activity #2 Young children explore and learn by touch
Sensory play is important for development so provide them with a variety of tastes, textures and smells. Exploring like this makes them more receptive to new experiences as they get older. Different foods – warmed, cold, blended, hard, soft, sweet, salty [in moderation], bitter – can stimulate all five senses: sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing. Next time you put some milk in rice bubbles, let your children listen to the snap, crackle and pop! Other sensory activities can include scented playdough, messy tray play (shaving cream, slime, ice cubes, jelly), ripping up paper for papier mâché, scrunching cellophane for a collage, or using items found on a nature walk to create a picture.
Activity #3 Get children moving
As part of developing gross motor skills, try to get your children to learn to hop, skip (step hop, step hop) and jump. Make it fun. Put the peg basket at one end of the yard and while hanging out the washing, ask your children to grab a red / blue / green peg. Or change the locomotion, hop over to get a peg, walk backwards, jump like a kangaroo. Use words like over, under, through, around, into and next to, which help with spatial concepts. Use balls or bean bags to throw, catch, roll between legs, hit a chalk target on a wall.
Activity #4 Count. All the time.
Count forwards and backwards. Don’t just stop at 10. Eleven to 20 and beyond are important too. See that fruit in the basket? Can you please get me three oranges? We need to share this packet of biscuits between you and your brother. Can you make two equal groups? Make a pattern or sequence and see if your children can copy it, or predict what comes next.