Early childhood education in different forms is vital to enhance the quality of learning your child receives and prepare them for their first steps into the real world. Hands-on preschool activities are one of the best ways to do it.
Most activities in preschool focus on developing the social, literary, emotional, and physical skills of a child. They also aim to help the toddlers learn time management skills and emotional intelligence right at the outset. Thus, optimal preschool education lays the foundation for your kid to grow into a stronger, more confident, focused, and well-coordinated individual.
Here are some fun movement-based preschool activities that will keep your little ones engaged while absorbing great learning.
Before we start enlisting, let’s get to know,
What are activities for preschoolers that are DAP?
DAP or developmentally appropriate practices for preschoolers serve a dual purpose- fun and learning. They help stimulate your kid’s motor and sensory skills, create spatial awareness, help them learn math, basic alphabets, understanding of the surrounding, etc that essentially makes them ready for the next phase of their lives- preschool.
Some of the DAPs for preschoolers are:
- Literacy learning
- Sounds and other auditory/phonemic learning
- Spatial awareness
- Sensory activities
- Fine motor skills games
Let’s explore activities in each area!
Preschool Activities – Numbers
Preschool Math Lego
Improve your kid’s measurement and number recognition skills using Lego. Get them this Early Math Cube Activity Set and set up simple sequencing, addition, and subtraction activities. It also includes an activity guide that you can refer to. You can also use these blocks to help you toddler build their own tower!
Count & Bead
Count and bead is a fun preschool activity that will develop your child’s mental math ability and fine motor skills. Buy these beads, a string, and a die. Show your kid how to roll the dice and add those many beads onto the string. You can even use the beads and strings to make different shapes or a DIY bracelet or necklace for your pre-schooler.
Find the Shapes
This simple DIY preschool activity helped our kids to grasp the basics of arithmetic and geometry and understand colors. Tape down a sheet of art paper and draw several geometric shapes like circles, triangles, squares, diamonds, etc. Assign a color to each shape and prompt your kid to shade accordingly – “Color 3 of the squares green”.
Post-It Number Match
Hopefully, this game will grab your kid’s attention and spark an interest in mental math! Tape an art paper to the wall and draw large dots in groups of different amounts. Write the numerals on colored post-its and ask your kid to stick the numbers against respective dot quantities. Who knew count and writing could be fun too!
Roll & Count Tally
Why not make snack time a learning activity too? Get hold of small animal-shaped biscuits or chocolates and fill a small bowl. Give your kid the bowl, an ice cube tray, and a die. Prompt your kid to roll the dice and place many snacks in each tray. You can even add a second die that the kid can roll and add many snacks into the same slot. Then they can count the snacks in that slot to understand basic addition.
Preschool Activities – Science
Color Changing Milk
An interactive and fun way to help your tot understand colors and their combinations is to create magical color-changing milk! All you have to do is pour some milk onto a small, flat dish; show your kid how to add food coloring but do not mix it. Dip a Q-tip into dish soap and give it to them. Let them do it and watch the colors swirl and form mesmerizing patterns.
This unique activity will develop fine motor skills and spark creative thinking in your little one. Give your pre-schooler a paper or styrofoam plate, and draw patterns using some squirt glue. Then show them to add salt over the glue. With a dropper or paintbrush, they can blob colors over the salt to create beautiful 3-D artwork. It’s one of the best ways to stimulate your kids’ imaginations!
What Reacts with Baking Soda?
Kids enjoy everything that spurts and looks bubbly. Give them baking soda, and they can spend hours experimenting! Take a couple of ice cube trays and fill them with things from around the kitchen – lemon juice, salt, vinegar, ketchup, milk, broth, or cinnamon. Add baking soda to each item and watch interesting reactions between acids and bases. Your little scientists will have a gala time watching these reactions!
This is another baking soda activity but with fewer items. Spread baking soda over a large shallow tray, add some vinegar in a few cups, and water in the remaining ones—mix food coloring in the vinegar and water. Equip your pre-schoolers with medicine droppers and prompt them to identify which mixtures have water and vinegar by dropping the colored mix onto the baking soda tray.
Float or Sink
Float or sink is an exciting game for your kids to engage in. Give them a basket and let them gather whatever items they can. Fill a tub or a storage container with water and have them drop each item they gathered into it – to see which of them float and which will sink. Let them guess before they drop the items in and see the results together!
Preschool Activities – English Language
Letter Board Name Search
With the toddlers beginning kindergarten or primary school soon, they will need to know the alphabets and how to spell their names. You can start this preschool activity with the help of magnetic letter boards, move on to spell other names & words, and help develop fine motor skills and attention.
Alphabet Sticky Wall
Kids at the early stages of learning words will love this game! Tape a contact paper (sticky side out) onto cardboard and stick it to a wall. Cut out different shapes from colored cardstock and write letters using a sharpie. Throw in all the letters into a plastic box and pass words to be spelled out on the board – “Spell ‘cat’ using letters from green squares,” etc. Your tiny tots will have fun learning alphabets and color together!
Sounds thrilling, right? You can create your alphabet tunnel at home with just a few simple steps! All you will need are colorful cardstocks, painters’ tape, markers, and small auto toys like cars and trucks. Cut out cardstocks into rectangular strips, write the letters on each strip and tape them to the floor in a tunnel shape. Spell out words or even their names to your kids, and they have to run their Hotwheels cars or monster trucks through the individual letters. Not only will the kids learn to spell words, but they will also get sufficient exercise and movement pushing their toy cars.
Marshmallow & Toothpick
If your kid is yet to learn the alphabet, this would be an excellent preschool activity. Give them a flat plate or tray and another two boxes filled with mini marshmallows and toothpicks. Then guide them in forming letters with toothpicks, using marshmallows as connectors. This is a fun and unique way to spark your kids’ interest in alphabet learning and also reward the with a sweet treat when they form these letters!
Another amusing way to teach your little one how to spell their name is by using Duplo blocks, a marker, and the Duplo base. Write letters on the sides of the Duplo boxes and guide your cherubs to build their names and other words using the blocks. They will enjoy making a Duplo tower with their names on it!
Preschool Activities – Art
This is an exciting outdoor art activity for your pre-schooler bubs to kindle their inner artist. Lay out an art paper on the floor, mix colors and soap solution in cups – you can use food coloring or washable paint. Using the bubble blower or a makeshift blower using straws, prompt the kids to blow out bubbles onto the art paper to create beautiful patterns. You can capture and frame the abstracts created by your little artists for keepsakes!
Mix the Colors
If your pre-schooler loved the color-changing milk activity, here’s a similar activity but with a less mess. Fill a storage box with shredded paper. Then fill a few squirt bottles three-fourths ways with water and mix different colors. Let your kid squirt the colors onto the shredded paper and watch them getting mesmerized looking at the color magic!
Paper Plate Art
If your kids are fans of dot art and have run out of the pages in their dot-art activity book, paper plates can come to the rescue. Just give your little one some paper plates and water-based dot art markers and let their creativity take over. You can also give them traditional paint and coloring equipment which will work just as well!
Splatter painting is an activity for your kid if you are looking for a messy way to play! You will need a sheet of art paper, water paints, some old toothbrushes, and maybe a tablecloth to prevent splatter outside the paper. Mix the watercolors and show your little one how to dip the toothbrushes and pull the bristles to splatter the paint, then leave the kids be and let their imagination go crazy!
Paint the ice
We heard one of our toddlers proclaim during this activity – “Painting the ice is so cool!” We loved the play of words and seeing them have so much fun. Fill three squirt bottles with primary colors and water, dump ice into a large storage box to fill it halfway through. Then let the kids decide what to do next.
Preschool Activities – Sensory Bins
Fish In The Ocean
For a fun and interactive experience, soak some water beads overnight (we recommend ocean colors as they are more apt to the theme) for this activity. Once all the water is absorbed, dump them into a sensory bin. Give your kids various fish toys of different textures using which they can pretend-play Finding Nemo or have fun swimming the fishes in the ocean. You can also go for this readymade tactile ocean sensory kit. Apart from engaging their senses, kids also understand ocean life in this preschool activity.
We remember how our parents created a makeshift star-dazzled night skyin our rooms. you can recreate this experience for your toddlers with this night sky sensory bin. Fill a sensory bin with black-dyed rice. Get hold of glittery bits like foam stars, pony beads, rhinestones, beads, and start arranging them. Start with the rhyme ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ and take them on a little space journey!
Fruits & Vegetables
Send your kids on a mini-treasure hunt with this entertaining preschool activity. Fill a sensory bin with different textures objects like beans, packing peanuts, smooth pebbles, etc. Take a printout or an existing activity sheet with fruits & vegetables. Hide toy fruits and vegetables in the bin and prompt your toddler to retrieve them and place them in the corresponding image on the sheet. Your little explorer will love this, and it is a great bonding activity to do together!
Easter egg hunt
A simple indoor Easter egg hunt in a sensory bin turned out to be a much-loved preschool activity. Fill a sensory bin with anything green – green-dyed rice, crinkle paper, cut-up streamers, water beads, etc. Hide the Easter eggs and let your kids go hunting. To further enhance their fine motor skills, give them “hunting tools” like kids’ tweezers, scooper scissors, 3-prong tongs, etc.
The simplest activities can often become most fun learning experience, and the sensory popcorn bin was one of those! So what do you need to do? Pop some plain popcorn kernels, fill a sensory bin, and throw some scoops. Our tots had fun just scooping the popcorn and letting it fall from a height back into the bin. This helps with their motor skills and teaches them about overfilling and underfilling. This popcorn can also be used for other activities like popcorn counting. You can even get other kids together and feed it to the birds for close learning with nature.
What are the best preschool activities that are DAP?
DAP activities, or Developmentally Appropriate Activities, are interactive and communication-intensive activities that will help optimal learning and development through play and activities suitable for their age. For a pre-schooler, here are some DAP activities that can be included as everyday fun learning sessions–
- Literacy learning
- Sounds and other auditory/phonemic learning
- Spatial awareness
- Sensory activities
- Fine motor skills games
What to do with a 3- and 5-year-old?
Ages 3-5 are crucial for learning and development. If you have kids in this age group, it is vital to concentrate on activities that will help develop their capacities and movement. Here are some more activities you can do–
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Throwing/Catching games
- Matching shapes
- Sensory binsSeason appropriate activities
What is the best activity for pre-schoolers?
Pre-schoolers are growing rapidly and are receptive to absorb maximum learning. They are also used to playing their entire lives thus far. So, the best activity should include these aspects - free play or movement, listening activities, art, reading or writing, and sensory play.