At Home Activities for Students and Families
Tips to Support Motor Development
Bilateral Coordination Skills
Using both sides of your body together
- Turning pages of a book
- Stringing 1/2 inch to 1 inch beads onto a pipe cleaner or thick string
- Throwing or catching softballs
- Hand clapping games
- Building with Duplos or Legos
- Squeezing bottles such as a ketchup bottle with both hands
- Rolling dough (bread, playdough) with a rolling pin
- Pressing cookie cutters into dough
- Drawing a picture with a simple stencil
- Put rings on a peg board
- Lace cards
- Tear lettuce into pieces for a salad
- Tear construction paper for a collage
- Use both arms to twirl streamers
- Putting together puzzles
- Cut straws into thirds and use to make a necklace
- Cut out circle, triangle, and square shapes from index cards
- Cut out clothes for stick people with craft sticks
- Fold paper
- Thread buttons onto pipe cleaners or thick strings
- Cut out colored lines and make a rainbow
- Complete a cutting activity book
- Use scissors to cut play dough
- Pick up and sort items using tweezers or tongs
- Complete simple connect the dots
- Place stickers on a line and cut from sticker to the next sticker
- Use tongs or tweezers to pick up small objects - cotton balls, cereal pieces, rice, or beans
- Coloring or scribblign with pieces of broken crayons
- Roll play dough and form letters of your name
- Squeeze plastic bottles or turkey baster to transfer water
- Pinch clothes pins and place them on cards or use them to pick up items
- Place froot loops over toothpicks, uncooked spaghetti, or string on pipe cleaners or stiff string
- Form lines or letters with pipe cleaners
- Trace sandpaper letters
- String letter beads on string to form their name
Fine Motor Control
- Use a hole punch to cut out designs
- Button or unbutton large buttons on clothing
- Draw a person
- Lace shoes
- Build with blocks (cans, jello boxes, cereal boxes)
- Peel an orange
- Screw on different sized lids
- Trace around their own hand and make an animal
- Help with simple food preparation (spread jam, measure, stir, cut)
- Finger paint
- Pop bubble wrap
- Play with playdough
- Draw in dirt or sand
- Wash dishes
- Plant flowers
- Draw or trace in rice or lentils
- Play a toy musical instrument (drum, piano, recorder)
- Water play
- Play with cooked spaghetti
Calming No-Cook Play Dough Recipe
- 1 cup of all-purpose white flour
- 1/4 cup fine table salt
- 1 tbsp cream of tartar
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp vegetable glycerin
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1/4 tsp food coloring
- 4 drops of calming essential oils (optional)
- Mix all of the ingredients except for the food coloring and essential oil
- After mixing in a bowl, take the dough out and knead it until it comes together with the consistency you want (smooth and not falling apart)
- Roll it into a log and cut into 3 parts (if you are using 3 different colors) if you are just going to use one color, add the food coloring into the bowl before you knead it. You may want to use a glove to mix and knead the food coloring into the dough so your hands don't get colored.
- Add the 4 drops of essential oils at this time
- Can be stored in a plastic bag or air tight container
Rainbow Soap Foam
- 5-10 drops of food coloring
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp dish soap
- Hand mixer
- Optional: glitter
- In a bowl, add 1/4 cup water, 2 tbsp dish soap and 5-10 drops of food coloring. I also added some glitter with the food coloring
- Mix on high with a hand mixer for about 2 minutes until peaks form
- Put the foam into a shallow bin
- Rinse the bowl and beaters and follow the instructions again using a different color of food coloring. Repeat until the desired number of colors are created, adding each to the bin
Children's Social-Emotional development involves learning how to understand their own and other's feelings, regulate and express their emotions (feelings) appropriately, build relationships with others, and interact in groups.
Social Emotional Preschool Activities for Home
- Ask your child to recognize how they are feeling throughout the day (happy, sad, scared, and angry). Ask them to identify feelings in others including family members, TV characters, story characters, etc.
- And/or, name the emotions/feelings for them. These could be their own emotions or those of others when the opportunity arises - when they are upset, TV characters, story characters etc.
- Set a daily routine and stick to it. Set timers for play time, reading time, physical activities, etc.
- Practice taking turns playing with objects and sharing toys
- Use music for "clean up time"; ask your child to clean up by the end of the song.
- Ask your child to practice putting on and taking off a jacket, gloves, shoes, etc.
- Play music and stop the music at various times. Tell your child to "freeze" and pretend to be a statue when the music stops. Invite your child to be creative with their statues or talk about the type of statue they could create (make a statue that's tall or small; make a statue that looks scared, silly, sad, or angry.
- Use puppets, stuffed animals, or other toys and play together. Pretend the toy is happy, sad, made, and ask your child what they can do to help the toy feel better. Or make up scenarios and ask how the toy might be feeling.
- Think out loud. When you have a problem or frustration talk out loud about how you are feeling and resolving the problem. "Whoops! I spilled water on the floor. Oh well! Guess I'd better get a towel and clean it up!"
- Do chores together. Kids learn a lot from helping out.
- Read bedtime stories, snuggle, and enjoy some downtime together.
- Play games and don't let your child always win. Model good winning and good losing. Help them to learn a "Maybe next time" attitude about not always getting their way.
Children's Physical development includes their gross-motor (large muscle) and fine-motor (small muscle) skills. Gross-motor skills are balancing, coordination, or ways of traveling this includes: pulling, climbing, running, throwing, and jumping. Fine motor skills include cutting, drawing, and writing.
Physical Preschool Activities for Home
- Practice movement and walking at various speeds (slow, medium, fast)
- Practice walking backwards and marching around a room
- Walk up and down stairs alternating feet
- Practice balance activities:
- Squats to pick up low items, tiptoes to reach something high, jumping off low items and landing on two feet.
- Practice gross-motor activities:
- Carry a large ball while walking
- Throw and catch a ball
- Toss a small object into basket/bucket
- Kick a ball by running up to it
- Practice fine-motor activities:
- Points at objects
- Use utensils
- Unbutton large buttons
- Rotate door knobs
- Tear paper
- String beads
- Pour water into different containers
- Cutting on a straight line with scissors
- Use zippers
- Practice holding a pencil and drawing
- Have your child walk across the room in creative ways (skip, twirl, frog jump, bear crawl, roll, etc)
- Turn on the music and dance!
Children's Language development is motivated by their desire to communicate their thoughts, ideas, needs, and feelings with others and involves learning about sounds in speech, vocabulary (meaning of words), grammar (how words are organized in a sentence), and rules of engaging in conversations (e.g. making eye contact, taking turns). Children understand language spoken to them before they can express it out loud.
Language Preschool Activities for Home
- Ask your child to pick up various objects: cup, spoon, paper, pencil, etc.
- Play "Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes".
- Have your child find their favorite picture or illustration in a book.
- Ask your child to place various items in a basket/bucket.
- Ask your child to follow simple directions:
- Get the book and then a pencil.
- Wash your hands.
- Get your jacket and put it on.
- Ask your child to name or point to objects or items in pictures.
- Ask your child to respond to questions using 4-6 word sentences (or as many words as able, gestures, pointing, etc.).
- Ask your child to retell a story or TV episode.
- Your child should be able to pay attention to a speaker during a conversation.
- Play "Simon Says" with your child (Simon says sit, twirl, jump up and down, run in place, pat your legs, etc.). Let your child lead the game and be "Simon." Include comparisons in your direction (Simon says touch something taller than you, something smaller than you, something hard, something fuzzy, or something the same color as the grass).
- Play "I Spy With My Little Eye" with your child. Have them call out the object when they figure out what it is. (Ex. "I spy with my little eye something round that bounces). Take turns and let your child be the leader and have you guess what they are spying.
- Tell your child that they are going to play a guessing game. Put an item in a bag and describe the item to your child. (Ex. "It's red and juicy and it makes a crunchy sound when you bite into it. It grows on trees). Let your child take turns choosing an item and describing it.
- Give your child an empty paper towel roll and invite your child to hold the paper towel roll to their mouth and talk into it. Have them sing songs, recite nursery rhymes, make silly sounds, whisper, etc. Let your child decorate their paper towel roll and pretend they are reporters and ask family members questions.
- Talk with your child about the size, taste, texture, and color of foods. Help them recognize the difference between rough and smooth surface, salty and sweet taste, and the odors of certain foods.
- Talk with your child about different objects around the house. Name the object and describe the use of familiar items (oven, toaster, lamp, couch).
- Talk to and with your child as much as possible about whatever you are doing.
Children's Cognitive development is influenced by their approach to learning, how they remember events, how they use what they know to connect to other experiences, and how they engage in and pretend during play.
Cognitive Preschool Activities for Home
- Ask your child to stack blocks from biggest to smallest.
- Ask your child to use a shovel in different ways to fill a bucket with sand.
- Ask your child to put a puzzle together every day until they can do it quickly.
- Ask your child to take a toy apart and put it back together.
- Ask your child to build a tent using a table, sheets, and other items.
- Show your child a bunch of toys, then take one or two toys away. Ask child to identify which toys are missing.
- Ask your child to sort objects by color, size, or shape.
- Ask your child to sort various items: utensils (fork/spoon), clothes (pants/shirts or mom's/mine)
- Ask your child to act out various scenarios: cooking food, putting out a fire, watering plants, be a bus driver.
- Using various materials around the house, make up new uses for familiar objects. Ask, "What else could this (banana) be?"
- Ask questions that have many answers, rather than questions that have right or wrong answers, such as "Where do you think birds sleep? How do you think a rainbow gets in the sky? Where do you think water goes after it goes down the drain?"
Children's Literacy development includes recognizing letter names and sounds, recognizing the first sound in a word, indicating words that thyme or sound the same at the end of the word, noticing syllables or parts of a word, using books, understanding and responding to books and writing their name or writing/drawing about an idea.
Literacy Preschool Activities for Home
- Have your child write letters of the alphabet in the air or on the carpet.
- Have your child find a toy, object, food item, etc., and clap out the syllables in the word (ball, book, crack-er, pa-per, wa-ter, etc.)
- Say the sound of a letter and have your child find an object or toy that begins with that sound.
- Tell your child you are going to play an "I'm Thinking Of" game. Say, "Listen carefully to the clues I'm going to give you, and try to figure out what I'm thinking." (Ex. I'm thinking of something that starts with the "t" sound. It grows in the yard; it is brown and green; it stands up; it sways in the wind.") Repeat the game with other letter sounds and familiar objects.
- Place sugar, flour, salt, or sand in a cookie sheet. Practice writing your child's name and letters or drawing pictures with their finger.
- Read stories aloud with your child every day! Have your child point to pictures, retell the story, find their favorite part or identify letters.
- Sing songs and tell nursery rhymes such as Humpty Dumpty or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Emphasize the rhyming words.
Children's Mathematical development includes their knowledge of counting, identifying how many of an item, understanding and using position words (beside, between, next to), understanding shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle), comparing items, measuring objects, and understanding simple patterns.
Math Preschool Activities for Home
- Count whle washing hands, going up stairs, during commercials. How high can we count?
- Work on numbers 1-5. Count the apples, bananas, cars, windows, pets, family members etc. and then write how many. This helps identify the numerals relating to the numbers.
- Play board games with dice. Help your child learn the patterns on the dice and recognize them without having to count.
- With your child's favorite toy, play a game of "Where is it?". Hid the child's toy in different places and when they find it, they must tell you with words where it is (i.e. in the basket, on the porch, over the refrigerator, between the chairs). Take turns hiding the toy.
- Go on a shape hunt. Find things shaped like a triangle, a circle or a square. Challenge: Find rectangular shaped items.
- Play, "I see something you don't see and the color (or shape) is..."
- Bake cookies (or something else) together. Practice measuring, pouring, and dumping. Which is more: the sugar or the flour?
- Make movement patterns. Clap, clap, stomp, clap, clap, stomp, clap, clap, stomp, etc. Make up various patterns.
- Ask your child to help set the table and make sure there is one plate, one glass or cup, and any other items needed for each person.
- Let child guess amounts ("Will all these beans fit in the cup or will we need a larger bowl?")