As our children reach the age of 3 and move into early childhood, until the age of 5, their world begins to open to focus more on adults and children outside their immediate home family. They will become more independent and will want to explore and know more about the world around them. These interactions will help shape their personality and the way they think and do things.
With Dubai still having movement restrictions due to COVID-19, and children typically remaining at home, it’s even more important than ever to ensure our children are stimulated and receive enough attention during each day. We know how difficult this can be when one or more parent is working and the children in the home are in different age groups; especially if there’s an older sibling requiring home school support.
That’s why the team at British Mums has put together this blog of fun learning activities for kids to do at home.
Don’t step in the lava!
Remember the game we used to play when we were little where we’d jump from the couch to the table to the chair, pretending the floor was lava? This is such a fun activity to do with your pre-schooler! Instead of jumping on your furniture, why not use coloured paper and tape them to the floor? Your child can help with cutting the paper, sticking the paper with masking tape and then finally jump from the one paper to the next. This activity helps with fine motor development as well as stimulating their imagination! Plus, it burns off a lot of energy, which means they’ll hopefully fall asleep without too much of a fuss. You can also use different types of rugs if your child is on the younger side and not ready to use scissors.
Colour scavenger hunt
Children love scavenger hunts and incorporating colours into the game will help with identifying not only colours but also recognising the spelling of the words. Just get some sticky notes and on each note write the matching colour (so write BLUE on the blue sticky note). Give your child the sticky notes and it’s their job to find items in and around the house that match these colours! Guaranteed to keep them busy for a few hours.
Numbered coloured papers
Stick coloured papers on the floor and number them and let your children jump backwards and forwards and side to side. Number the pages up to the number your child is comfortable with and this is actually really great for siblings because one can call out the numbers or the colours!
Making animals with shapes
Exploring shapes with young children can be such fun when you involve a few animal friends from their favourite stories. You’ll need construction paper in different colours, scissors, glue, googly eyes and a black crayon or marker.
One large circle for head, two medium circles for ears, two small circles for inner ears, one small circle for nose, 6 whiskers.
Cut one large triangle for head, two medium size triangles for ears, four small white triangles for eyes and inner ears, one small black nose, four black whiskers.
Seven green squares, one large green square, nine small yellow squares, orange piece for tongue.
One large oval for body, one medium oval for body, two small ovals for wings, two ovals for eyes, one triangle for beak.
Fingerpaint name writing
Writing our name in new and exciting ways helps keep children motivated to practice writing their names correctly. You can pour some paint in a tray which your child can use to write their names. Writing each letter to mimic the direction that it is written, reinforces the proper way to write, along with the way we read (left to right, top to bottom).
Set up a fun phonics activity for preschoolers and school aged children with this sorting objects into baskets game! This takes no preparation at all and can be played in different ways to suit the age or stage of each child involved.
You need to collect some baskets and write out 4 phonemes that you want your child to practise onto card, then cut them out. You can then collect some small items from around the house that had those phonemes as their initial sound and then mixed them up in a pile in front of the baskets, ready to be sorted. Obviously, you need to base this on your own child’s ability and focus on sounds they may need help with. This is a good way to introduce new phoneme sets in small groups in the classroom too.
Spot the sight words in a magazine
When your child gets to the stage where they can start learning sight words, this is an excellent activity. All you need to do is have your child write down a few of their sight words (make it five). They should practice them first to make sure they recognise them so let them write it out a few times. After writing the words out, have them circle the words in different colours.
Now you can take any magazine, story book or even print out a story and read through the story. Finally, have your child take the magazine and allow them some time to find their sight words and circle them in the different coloured pens.
Lie on your back outside and find pictures in the clouds
Cloud watching is such a favourite – you can’t beat a totally free bonding activity that allows you to slow down and spend time with your children. All you need to do is wait for a day with some clouds in the sky and go outside with your children. Find shapes and pictures “hidden” in the clouds and point them out to each other. You can even make up stories about what you see.
Put on a sock-puppet play
Creating a sock puppet brings hours of fun for children. You can use just about anything around the house or you could raid your craft box to make these sock puppets. Try to keep it simple and not have too many craft options so the kids are more decisive about what they are going to do.
Ideal options would be craft glue, wool, felt, scissors, wiggly eyes, pompoms, patty pans and buttons. The craft glue does wet and soak the sock but not enough to glue it shut and you are unable to put your hand in. Once you’ve created the puppets, use a box that’s ready for recycling to create your stage and viola! You are ready to put on your puppet show. This activity is great for fine motor skills, stimulating their imagination and helping them learn about telling stories.
Explore outdoors with a magnifying glass
With magnifying glasses and note pads, children examine whatever they find—from leaves and soil to pebbles and ants. They then write about or draw pictures of what they see—which gives these children a literacy-skills boost. It seems pretty simple, but this activity can be a real eye-opener for preschoolers. Using magnifying glasses to look at the different parts of a flower or the veins on a butterfly’s wing gives children new things to think and wonder about.
Challenge your child to identify items by smell
Learning about the five senses offers a lot of great opportunities for hands-on exploration. Our sense of smell may be the most undervalued of our five basic senses. Nonetheless, the ability to smell is important, as it is closely linked to our ability to taste. For this activity you can either put together random items and ask your child to identify the items by smell, or create pairs of the same items and let your child match the items which belong together. Make the choices fun, including fruits, yoghurt and baking smells like chocolate and vanilla essence.
With so many choices, which one of these at-home activities will you choose to do first? Share your favourite fun learning activities for preschoolers with us!