Support your Preschool Child’s Development

Here are some preschool activities for children 2 and a half to 3 and a half years old.
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Child development takes place in several domains simultaneously.

Physical Skills

Physical milestones such as walking, running, jumping, climbing steps up and down independently, riding a tricycle are some of the skills that child routinely practices and masters.

To develop these skills, take the child to the park, to play in the playground, play ball, and allow them to be independent and explore within the limits of safety and security. Some falls and bruises are common. But do not over protect them and keep them indoors all the time, which will hinder the development of skills. By exercising their muscles they become more skilled physically. Swimming is another good exercise.

Fine Motor Skills

This involves using hands and fingers in good coordination to use two hands together and coordination with the hands and eye. Not only do they develop hand to hand and hand to eye coordination, it also develops concentration, attention span, focus and task completion. Good fine motor skills help children to develop a normal pencil grip and helps in writing.

Play with play dough, cutting with play dough with pizza cutter, make holes in the dough with fingers, pinching small portions off the dough, making it into small balls, making different shapes, decorating with stickers, painting, coloring,

Peg boards, opening and closing containers of different sizes and shapes, threading beads, pasting, sticking, using toy tools, fitting together objects, making simple models with blocks are some activities that children enjoy.

Language, Speech and Vocabulary

This is perhaps the most important area for preschool children to adapt well in school. Good language comprehension and speech helps in understanding the school routine, taking instructions from the teacher, interacting and playing with other children, communicating and expressing feelings, needs and dealing with different situations appropriately. Some children who are speech delayed may get very frustrated when they are unable to communicate well and may become aggressive or withdrawn.

  • Speak to your child more.
  • Improve vocabulary. Introduce new words; use them often.
  • Listen attentively when the child tries to communicate.
  • Read books together. Increase sentence length.
  • Play nursery rhymes. Play rhyming word games.
  • Play word guessing games such as ‘I have four legs, I say bow bow’ who am I”
  • Narrating simple stories, sequencing stories in pictures.
  • Talk about pictures and family photographs birthday party photos, recent holiday trips and vacations are good examples to use, as children like to talk about familiar events.
  • Using pictures and photographs help their understanding and comprehension.

Self Help Skills

When a child reaches the age for preschool, some self help skills help child to adjust better.

Feeding self, to eat small snacks, drink from a cup, put away belongings, tidying up, going to toilet, washing and drying hands, removing shoes, sweater or coat are some skills that can be practiced at home.

Some children will be able to do these fast. Others may take a longer time to learn. In any case busy working parents may find it easier to do everything for the child to save time. But it will not be best for the child as it delays skill development.

Cognitive Skills

These are thinking skills that involve memory, attention span, problem solving, general understanding, and reasoning. Simple concepts develop into more complex ideas this begins at birth and continues throughout childhood.

Some activities for cognitive development:

  • Matching objects, shapes, pictures, identifying and knowing the functions of objects, sorting, (all red colors in this box, all cars in that box, all balls together).
  • Size concept of big and small, shapes concepts.
  • Simple quantity (more, less), counting up to 3 to 5.
  • One to one correspondence, (one cup for one saucer, one banana for each person at home, one plate and one spoon, one hole in the peg board and one peg) arrange by size, (small, smaller, smallest), simple patterns (one orange, one banana, one orange, one banana,——-red, green, red, green, red———-)
  • Simple puzzles three to five piece puzzles and more.

This enables child to sit for longer periods, pay attention, complete activity and stay focused.

Preschool children progress from parallel play to cooperative play and group play gradually.

Social Skills

Good social skills help in playing with peers, interacting appropriately with others, adults and teachers. Parents can support this at home by having a loving responsive environment at home as emotional security at home helps children to negotiate situations outside home with more confidence.

  • Set up good routines and structure at home.
  • Have simple home rules and follow them.
  • Do not have harsh punishments.
  • Teach child to wait, to take turns. Practice it in parks and other places.
  • Provide social exposure by taking the child out to visit relatives, friends, children’s groups etc.

Preschool age is a good time to establish good habits and routines.