From writing their name for the first time, to learning how to ride a bike, a child of preschool age has many reasons to approach each day with a sense of wonder. For them, the world offers excitement and adventure. They live to learn, and they have so much energy to do so, that they wear out even the fittest parent by bedtime. Although each child is certainly unique, there are commonalities among all preschoolers, including a love for imaginative play, a love for words, and a love for physical activity. Here’s a list of activities that take advantage of what children this age like to do.
Somewhere between the ages of two and four, children begin to express themselves in imaginative play. In fact, as stated by the Mayo Clinic, by the age of five, children use their imagination to tell intricate stories. A parent can stimulate a preschooler’s imagination by playing dress up. It’s easy to do. Gather fun items, such as Halloween costumes, boas, masks, capes, and magic wands, then let the child (or children) pick what they want to wear. This activity does not have to be structured, as a child’s imagination will soon take them on an incredible journey. An added bonus of encouraging imaginative play is that it fosters out of the box thinking — a precursor to problem solving.
Words to Live By
Two year-old children can speak and understand approximately 50 words, and as they progress to the age of five, their vocabulary literally explodes. It is then they begin speaking in complete sentences. It’s an awesome experience to witness this transition in a child. At first, a parent’s heart bursts with joy at the utterance of “ma ma” or “da da,”and the fun continues as the child begins to form unique thoughts expressed in sentences. Because children this age also love the repetition of sounds, especially in nursery rhymes, invest in a good quality nursery rhyme book. Read these catchy rhymes to your preschooler, and he or she will soon memorize the words. This exercise will not only help build vocabulary, it will help a child with memorization skills.
Fun with Fitness
As with words, a preschooler’s physical capabilities increase dramatically from the age of two to the age of five. A two-year-old can be difficult to keep up with, but a five-year-old is even more rambunctious. It’s almost as if the child becomes a whirlwind of activity — climbing trees, doing somersaults, jumping on one leg, dancing … Capitalize on developing motor skills by playing games that encourage movement. One easy game involves simple household items, such as couch cushions, boxes, and even hula hoops. In an open space in the home, construct an obstacle course to challenge a preschooler to utilize all of his or her developing muscles. (Think safety, and don’t place the obstacles near windows or stairwells!) This activity encourages the development of movement skills, and it also helps to burn off the endless supply of energy.