Top 10 Playtime Tips for Preschoolers
By Laura Sussely-Pope
Preschoolers are a lot of fun to play with – finally, true interaction! They are wide-eyed and enthusiastic about almost any new activity and eager to learn. When it comes to playing, any parent would agree that if playtime entertains and teaches at the same time, that’s ideal. While electronic toys are great, they can also be isolating and don’t necessarily encourage imagination and discovery. How can you help your preschooler get more out of playing?
1. Blow bubbles! Keep a tub of bubble solution handy or buy it in bulk. You can also buy different sized and shaped wands to make unusual shapes. Your preschooler will delight in chasing after the bubbles and you will encourage interaction and language development as your child tells you where they want the bubbles to go, and you encourage him. It’s also great exercise!
2. Crafts! You can shop with your little one at a crafts store and come up with tee-shirts to dye, necklaces to thread, frames to decorate or any number of creative projects! This will spark their imagination and creativity. It’s also a great rainy day activity!
3. Water, water and more water! Whether you fill the sink or a kiddy pool with water and let them play with pans, buckets, cups, they will have a ball! But of course, pay careful attention as it doesn’t take much water for a small child to drown.
4. Play dress-up! Provide items for playing dress-up. Let them dress up as princesses, princes, doctors, and mechanics, anything you and they can come up with. This is one of the most creative ways they can express themselves. Preschoolers’ imaginations know no bounds so you can then follow their lead or encourage them to play “school”, “chef” or anything else that sparks their interest.
5. Speaking of creativity, art, art, messy art. As hard as it can be to watch the mess, thankfully, your preschooler is big enough to help you clean it up! Your little one has not outgrown playdoh, finger paints, crayons, watercolor paints, and chalk. Create an art corner or box – this, too, works as a great rainy day activity!
6. Music. There are musical instruments of every shape and size which would suit your preschooler perfectly.
7. Board games. Your preschooler is now at an age where she can enjoy playing board games like “Candyland” and “Chutes and Ladders”. Not only is it fun, but learning to take turns and especially to win and lose gracefully is important to learn – these are great skills to learn to make friends!
8. Take long walks with your child. It’s a lovely way to spend one on one time, but there is much to talk about and learn as you literally “stop and smell the roses” together.
9. Ride a bike! If you each have a bike, go for some bike rides together! It is great exercise, of course, and your child will enjoy leading the way. Pack your lunch and have a picnic before heading back home!
10. Books. Read books together. Go the bookstore and/or library and let your little one pick out books. Establish a routine for book time, preferably a few times daily. Be sure to ask questions about the books you read. “What do you think about the bear?” “What would you do if you were Alice?” “Which kitten was your favorite?”
Above all, remember that you are your child’s favorite playmate and that your time is the best toy. Enjoy it! It won’t be long before they start asking for the car keys.
How do you play with your child?