At around the third year a child spends most of his time drawing. A game is serious work for preschoolers. It’s a path of personal development, a lifestyle and learning how to spend free time. If you also manage to make up a creative game, it will make the child use his brain, his hands and his nervous system. This will be beneficial when your child starts his first grade at school.
A 35-year old Sarah is a mother with a capital M. She has three beautiful, talented children that don’t hurt other children; they are nice, smart and attentive to others. They win competitions in drawing and reading. How did Sarah achieve this? Why are her children so talented and calm that it leaves us speechless? The answer is simple: „Since they were little, I would make up creative games and I initiated these games naturally, without force“, Sarah explains and adds: „I include them in everything me and my husband do. My daughters always helped me with cooking or baking, I let them clean or hang up the laundry and the boy helps his dad with hammering nails or assembling a new cabinet.
Basically, we never try to drive them away from these activities; instead we let them help us. The reward is children that know how to help and even enjoy it.” The preschool age is an important time for acquiring basic skills, knowledge, habits and experience. At this point in development, lifestyles and leisure time behaviors are also shaped. Therefore it’s very important to lead your child towards creativity. And games will serve you the best. A creative entertainment helps with mental, motoric and imagination development and strengthens the nervous system. Build blocks, paint, cook!
You probably noticed that your preschooler is no longer just interested in things and their function, but also in their parts, what they look like on the inside and how they do what they do. Your child first analyzes the toy and then plays with it. Typical toys for this age are puzzles or anything a child can put together. Are you thinking that there’s nothing creative about these games? On the contrary – a child learns a lot by building or putting together things. It’s a great exercise of analyzing a whole into parts and putting together parts into a whole – which is what your child will need once he starts learning to read in first grade. Even simple drawing has a significant influence on a positive child development. You don’t have to be a super-talented observer to see how your children’s drawings change over time.
At around the third year, children tend to draw people as a head with legs coming down from it. The face usually has eyes, while hair, mouth and nose come later. At around the fourth year a child starts drawing arms, hands and even fingers. Finally, clothing comes – at first the legs and hands can be seen under the shirt and pants, but that improves in time. Psychologists say that when a child draws a complete clothed person he is ready for school. „In preschool, we paint a lot and on anything that can be painted on.
Recently, children painted on their shirts and each shirt told a different story. The children enjoyed it and they’ll have it forever“ says children’s teacher Petra Sattlerova.
Unleash your imagination and let your children paint on – for example – raw pasta, eggs (even if it’s not Easter) or on windows.
The kitchen – a place to play
Let your children in the kitchen. The happiness and joy of your preschoolers are worth the mess. „Every year, we bake Christmas cookies. We start in September, because my daughters love it. This year, our little David joined us. I prepare the batter, give the kids cookie cutters and let them do what they want. It’s great fun even for us parents,“ says mom Sarah. Kids enjoy kitchen activities, because they love anything they can get messy with, anything with a sticky, crumbly or liquid consistency. Take advantage of this and get them involved in cooking.
Make a batter that won’t stick (mix flour with water and two tablespoons of oil) and make balls, little rolls or any other shapes that your children like. Decorate all of these creations with your children using for example cumin, poppy seeds or nuts. Such activities are very beneficial for children. Even at a preschool age a child still needs to perfect his fine motor skills and decorating cookies or gingerbread is ideal for this. A child also learns patience during activates like these. Just remember how mad you get during decorating cookies when it’s not going so well.
Back to the living room
„Everything a child learns at a preschool age effects his success in the first grade.“ Therefore it’s good if, for example, he knows how to properly hold a pencil,“ a children’s teacher explains. That’s why you should always correct your child while he’s drawing or coloring and sooner or later you’ll see that he will pick up a pencil the right way and it will stay with him.
A great game that will teach your child the analysis and synthesis of words (which his teachers will surely appreciate) is „word decomposition“. „I tell the children that we will play aliens, and that I will try to see if they’ll understand me…I spell out a word, for example t-o-y, and someone says it’s a toy,“ mom Sarah describes another creative game. She adds: „Thanks to this game, my older daughter didn’t have any problems with reading in the first grade.“ Everything a child does and what looks like a game is in fact a thoughtful exercise and development. Don’t be afraid to sing songs with your children, play the flute or thread beads. Your reward will be a preschooler that is curious, smart, and gets excited for any creativity that you parents think of. „In school, we see significant differences between children. We can immediately tell if parents play with their children, or if they just let them sit in front of the computer,“ Petra Sattler (a children’s teacher) explains.
How to entertain your child for 5 minutes:
a) Sit you child near a window and tell him to first count all the red cars he sees, then all the blue cars, green, etc. A child exercises not only counting, but also colors.
b) Play a word game (they are great for expanding a child’s vocabulary)
c) Let your child help you hang up the laundry or empty the dishwasher (he will feel important doing „adult“ things)
d) Make your child a gardener. Plant beans, watercress or parsley; basically anything that can be planted at home, behind a window. Your little gardener will enthusiastically watch the plants grow every day.
How to entertain your child for 10 minutes:
a) Ask your child to draw your a picture of what happened at kindergarten that day. He can also describe the picture to you in detail.
b) Play the game „Guess who I am” – somebody thinks of a fairy tale character or an animal and the others ask closed-ended questions (YES/NO) to figure out what he is thinking of.
c) Buy a few bags of gummy bears and thread them together to make a necklace. A child can then give this necklace to somebody (his grandmother or his father) and they can eat it together.
d) Take a medium-sized ball. Think of a category in which you will be competing (like animals, food, plants…). Throw or roll the ball to each other. Whoever sends the ball off must also say a word that belongs in the category. Whoever doesn’t catch the ball or can’t think of a word has to do a „dare“ (he has to jump, sing, etc.)
How to entertain your child for an hour:
a) Decorate apples: put different kinds of cut fruit on a skewer and then stick these skewers in an apple. Leave the apple on the table, so that your child can eat it. He will enjoy it and also eat some vitamins.
b) Bake a desert with your child, he can put ingredients in a bowl, mix them and you can pour the batter into a form. You’ll see, how patiently he will be waiting near the oven and looking forward to tasting his creation.
c) Use clay and play creatively! Animals, people, houses, lakes, anything that you can think of. The joy in a child’s heart will warm your heart.
d) Take a large bowl or a pot and put in various small items that you find at home (make sure they are safe). Make your child close his eyes (or tie a scarf over his eyes). The object of the game is for you child to tell what the items are and what they are used for by touch.