Jena Paulo on March 3, 2018
Think back to the days of your childhood. What are you reminded of? Are you reflecting on times of messy play and skinned knees? These are important memories and developmental activities. So how does a Nanny or Babysitter help create engaging early childhood experiences that leave a lasting impression? These five steps will help you plan successful preschool activities:
1. Learn the child’s interests
In order for an activity to be successful, the child must be interested and engaged. Consider the child’s interests. Does the child enjoy dramatic play? Have you observed the child engaged in manipulative play such as puzzles or sorting games? Does the child engage in building with blocks or other items? Is the child always asking you to read to them? Do messy art activities keep them engaged? Is the child always asking questions about the way things work? Does the child enjoy playing with items with lots of texture or things that can be manipulated?
By understanding the child’s likes and dislikes, an activity can be created that engages their interests and incorporates areas of development or improvement specific to the individual child’s needs.
2. Consider areas of development
The areas of development include social and emotional development, physical development, language development, and cognitive development. In order to create an effective preschool activity, a child’s individual development needs to be nurtured. Where is the child at developmentally? What skills need to be practiced? This will help to determine your activity.
3. Decide if child-directed or adult-directed
A child-directed or child-centered activity is led by the child where the child engages in play with the materials or others in any way the child wishes. Alternatively, an adult-directed activity is when the adult has the say-so in the direction of the activity or how the materials for the activity will be used.
There are benefits to both child-directed and adult-directed activities. Child-directed activities enhance self-control, strengthen self-regulation skills, increase self-confidence, and improve attention span to name a few. Adult-directed activities emphasize academic concepts, specify objectives and have clear goals and expectations.
4. Get supplies needed
Does the activity require specific supplies or materials? If you do not have the exact supplies needed, can those materials be substituted for something that is readily available? Keep in mind that an activity can be planned around the materials you have readily available to you.
5. Have fun
As you set up the activity, be excited so your positive energy can be inviting to the child. If adult-directed, remember to explain and demonstrate the activity so the child knows how to play.
There are a lot of preschool activities to choose from and here are a few ideas. For children who enjoy crafts, cut out small circles and squares in a variety of colors using construction paper. Then, have the child place the circles and squares in patterns using the letters of the alphabet. This will teach the child about colors, shapes, patterns, and create a foundational understanding of letters. You can alternate between adult and child-directed so the child does one letter, and then does a design of their own.
For children who enjoy throwing balls, you can create an indoor snowball game. Using white paper, have the child crinkle the paper into ‘snowballs’. Then, set up baskets throughout the room and practice getting points by throwing the snowball into the baskets. You can make the game more challenging with a blindfold or by standing on one leg. This game will help with gross motor skills, coordination, and balance.
For children interested in discovering new things, you can create a mystery bag. From the toy chest or the dollar store, get about 20 items and place them in a paper bag or tote bag. Have the child pull out a toy, name it and then sort it by color, size, or shape. This game will be fun as they ‘discover’ the toys while learning colors, sorting, and practice speaking.
To learn more, a PreSchool course is available with enrollment in the Intermediate Childcare program at AmsleeInstitute.com.
About the Author. Jena Paulo has a Master of Science in Education from California State University and a Bachelor of Art in Human Development from California State University. Jena is a Head Preschool teacher, Preschool Director, Online and an adjunct faculty member of Amslee Institute.
The US Nanny Institute provides online childcare classes with certification programs based on a curriculum specifically designed to advance the skills of Nannies and Sitters. The Nanny Institute has over 30 college faculty with a passion for education and childcare, bringing them together to help childcare providers gain practical skills and qualifications that benefit their careers and the children in their care.
Popular Resource Articles
3 Ways to Help Children Adjust to Daylight Savings Time
Spring Forward and Fall Back for Daylight Savings Time.
8 Ways to Celebrate Your Nanny Family on Boss’s Day
Boss’s Day provides an opportunity for nannies and sitters to show appreciation to their nanny families.
Babysitter, Nanny, Family Assistant: What Do I Need?
You have young children and need time to work. Childcare is a must, so where do you start?
10 Ways to Celebrate Your Nanny During National Nanny Recognition Week (September)
National Nanny Recognition Week has been celebrated since 1998 so families, agencies, and communities can champion the work of nannies and childcare providers.
Recent Resource Articles
5 Summer Science Experiments
As the school year ends, kids begin to look forward to the
Why is that baby wearing a helmet?
You may be walking in a mall or visiting a local park
What is Overparenting?
There is an overwhelming amount of information and advice on parenting. Each
What Should Nannies Know About Formula?
A big decision new moms must make for their little one’s nutrition