Do you love to make messes? I don’t, but my preschoolers do. I should have started my preschooler series with this post, but I got a little carried away last week with all my flash card excitement.
One of the hardest lessons I have learned as a mom of preschoolers is that really fun preschool activities can be really, really messy. I have this dream that my house will always be neat and presentable just in case someone stops in our house. For many years this kept me from allowing my preschoolers to do certain crafts and activities because I didn’t want to deal with the mess, and everyone knows that preschoolers don’t clean to the standard of a 30 year old. So before I go on with my preschoolers series, I want all moms of preschoolers to accept a little mess now and again. It is okay, and it can be cleaned up.
Here are some fun and sort of messy activities for preschoolers.
Play-Do- My kids love this stuff. One way to contain the mess is to purchase plastic tablecloths on clearance (after Christmas is a great time to stock up). I put the cloth under the table where they are playing. When they are finished, gather up the tablecloth and shake it into the garbage. The mess will be contained.
You can also use play-do to help with number and letter recognition. Shape the play-do into numbers and letters (lower case) and help your kids identify them. You can also have your kids try and create the numbers and letters themselves. You can also do this with shapes for your younger children. For older kids see if they can spell their name in play do letters.
Inflatable kiddie pool – These pools are small and sell for a dollar at Walmart. Purchase several now so they will last you throughout the year. I then purchased several bags of puffed rice and set up the pool filled with rice in my kitchen. I gave my kids measuring cups, spoons and bowls to play with in the puffed rice. Discovery toys makes a stacking cup set that works well in the rice too. You can help your children measure and figure out how many smaller cups equal a larger cup. They can also just play in the rice. I have also filled the pool up with a small amount of water and let them build ships either out of cardboard, toothpicks, and paper to sail across our lake.
Name practice – Instead of writing their name with crayons or pencils get creative. Take shredded bits of colorful paper and help them write their name with Elmer’s glue. Then have your child put the paper over the glue to spell out their name. Have your child write their name in shaving cream, or put some shaving cream in front of them and have them use their finger to write their name. You can also have them practice in salt, or sugar.
Sugar Cookie Shapes- Use homemade or store bought dough to make cookies in basic shapes. Your preschooler can help you cut out the shapes. When they are done they can help decorate the cookies with colored frosting. Make sure you are repeating the name of the shape as well as the color as they are doing this activity. When you are done take a plate over to a neighbor. Your preschooler will learn about giving as well as their shapes and colors.
Remember, you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for a high priced curriculum for your preschooler. There are many great activities you can do that use items you already have in your home. Next week I will be talking about great preschool books and toys. If you have a favorite book or toy let me know and I will share it in my next post.