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Good ideas for learning through play

Music

Parents instinctively use music -to calm a baby, to help a toddler transition, and to engage with a preschooler. Music is important in the early years. It positively impacts a child’s development. Consider the impact of music related to fine and gross motor skills, memory, emotional regulation, language development, and self-confidence. Quite simply, music brings us joy.

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Gross Motor Skills

Running, crawling, jumping, and throwing a ball are all examples of gross motor skills. These skills involve the large muscles of the body in a coordinated way. Gross motor skills are important for major body movement, and they are important for play, fitness, and sports. But gross motor skills are also connected to academic success and daily living skills.

Weather

Young children are aware of the weather. They experience it every day by splashing in a puddle or bundling up. The weather is easy to relate to. It is observable (and measurable). Your child is naturally curious about the weather. Seek out fun and engaging ways to build upon your child’s curiosity and encourage your child’s interest in the weather.

Comfy Cozy Reading

We all know that reading to children is important. But when you create a cozy reading spot for your child, you have given your child another reason to fall in love with reading and with books. A cozy reading spot can be anywhere in your home. It is the place where storybook characters come to life. It is where curiosity and imagination live within the pages of a book.

Shapes

Young children are born to learn, and play is how children learn. As an older infant manipulates nesting cups, he observes how objects stack and nest. A toddler repeatedly maneuvers a puzzle piece for the perfect fit. Shape learning happens through playful exploration. Model curiosity. Engage with your child and provide ample opportunities for shape learning through play.

Baking

Many adults have a favorite memory of baking in the kitchen with a family member. For children, being in the kitchen is a long-standing favorite activity. Children of all ages love spending time with mom or dad in the kitchen. Baking with your child incorporates many skills for school readiness and life success. Savor this special time together and create lasting memories!

Family & Friends

As a parent, you are your child’s first teacher. Create an environment where your child can learn and succeed. Consider how you are shaping your child’s development and his values. As you talk, sing, and play with your child throughout the day, your child is making connections and building skills.

Block Play

Blocks are the most versatile toy ever and they are known the world over. While blocks appear to be simple, they are anything but. They provide a learning experience that impacts key aspects of development. Building with blocks is represented in stages which include discovery to creating bridges to building with symmetry. Block play has also been connected to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers.

Yummy in my Tummy

Food is an easy conversation topic. But, for young children, food can be tricky. Many parents worry that their child is not eating enough or is not eating a variety of food. Mealtime issues are common for children between the ages of two and five. The good news is that most kids get plenty of nutrition in their diet over the course of a week.

Fall

Fall is finally here and with-it crisp weather, oversized hoodies, and family fun. It is the perfect season for your child and you to explore and discover together. In fact, fall is a great time to make the ordinary extraordinary -make special memories and build new family traditions.

Color

Our world is full of color. It’s your favorite pair of blue jeans or the leaves turning orange, yellow, and red in the fall. It is commonplace to describe objects by color. Recognizing, learning, and naming colors is an important part of a young child’s development. Learning colors is a developmental milestone.

Zoo

There is awe and wonder in a child’s eyes when a giraffe is seen for the first (or third) time. A visit to the zoo offers a fun learning experience for your child and for the entire family. It is a true multi-sensory learning experience. Your child will learn what animals look like, smell like, and even the sound the animal makes. A visit to the zoo is a true family-friendly adventure.

Books and Reading

Storytime at the library is a favorite time of the day. The picture book is carefully chosen along with songs, rhymes, and a movement activity. When a parent or caregiver reads to their child at home, they are building the child’s skills – skills that are essential for literacy and success in life. You are your child’s first teacher.

Farm Animals

Young children love farm animals! Playing with a farm set is full of teachable moments. There are the sounds of farm animals and the popular song Old MacDonald Had a Farm. Children can also learn to role play, problem solve and the importance of caring for others while talking about farm animals.

Summertime Adventures

It’s Summer! A time full of fun and adventure. This summer carve out time for your child and you to make the most of the season – splash in the sprinkler, take a bite of a slice of watermelon, or spy a firefly. Incorporate play and learning throughout your day.

Bath Time

Bath time provides young children a wonderful opportunity to explore, discover and learn. Make the most of this time through engaging conversation (introduce new words) and science or pre-math skills (introduce new ideas).

Gardening

Encourage your child’s discovery and curiosity through gardening.

More fun learning resources

Find recorded Preschool Storytimes and library articles with more tips on early childhood development.

 

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