This post is written by renowned Kindergarten teacher, Melissa Sloan. She, along with her partner Sumara Shabbir, is highly respected and their program has been evaluated as exemplary (I can say all this, because I'm her sister and proud as heck)! Luckily for us, she shared with us some pictures and info from her classroom, of activities we can all do at home with things laying around the house, to keep our children engaged and learning through play!
Go outside and collect some rocks. Have your child sort the rocks based on an attribute of their choosing (colour, size, shape). Count the rocks and try stacking them one on top of the other. You can even challenge each other to see who can build the tallest tower! Use the rocks to create pictures on a mat, or grab some paint and paint the rocks with different designs!
Use nature to spark curiosity and inspiration for your child's art. A beautiful bouquet of flowers can be displayed as a still-life art experience! Talk about the colours and shapes your child sees and have him or her create a visual representation using paint or other drawing tools. Help your child to observe the patterns in the flowers. Flowers also make wonderful painting tools - dip them in paint and notice the prints they make on the paper. You can even add flowers to a batch of homemade play dough to extend this sensory experience!
Dinosaurs or other animals can be paired with any blocks and loose parts to provide a small-world play experience. Children can use their imaginations to transform the materials into homes for the animals and employ their role-playing skills. This type of symbolic play challenges children to think about ways to use materials for different purposes.
Children can also use science and mathematical principles as they learn to build structures that are strong and stable. They will begin to add elements of symmetry into their structures. They will employ problem solving strategies as they face challenges throughout the building process and will learn through trial and error.
A water bin is a sensory experience and children can explore cause and effect. It offers opportunities for measurement as they fill up and pour containers, and social opportunities as children take turns using the materials. They use oral language as they talk about what they see and make predictions about what might happen next. They also learn about capacity as they figure out which size and shaped containers hold more, and they use their numeracy skills as they count how many scoops it takes to fill a container. Additionally, water play is calming for many children.
Remember to have fun and try to enjoy this time with your children!