Learning through playful adventures
A great way to spend time with preschool children is playing with them on the floor. If it is difficult to get on the floor and get up again (common), sit at a table or snack bar that is set up for play time. Everyone can sit and be about the same eye level. These areas can stay set up and be out of the way. Studies show that when adults are on the same level instead of towering over them, children interact better and do more talking.
You will need supplies from around the house to make a scene that has mountains, hills, pretend rivers, roads, and a city. You can make a scene on Earth or an imaginary place and act out adventures together.
Preparing for Adventure
Explain to children that you are going to design an imaginary or real scene with all kinds of geographic features and then create your own adventures with action figures and many small cars, trucks, airplanes and spaceships.
Gather a large smooth blanket or several small rugs that allow little vehicles to move easily. Then find boots, shoes, boxes, or towels and stuff them under the blanket to create mountains, hills, and valleys. If you have blue-colored paper you can create some lakes. Blue painter’s tape and masking tape can be rivers, roads, and paths. Mega Bloks, Lego blocks. or little boxes can be used to build human-made features like buildings, businesses, bridges, playgrounds, castles, and space stations. Small cards can be decorated for signs on buildings or roads. Cotton balls and pillow stuffing are boulders or snow that block roads and must be cleared during rescue missions.
If you are staying on Earth, you can, make list and build familiar city buildings your children visit with you every day like gas stations, grocery stores, other stores, libraries, museums, restaurants, and houses. If children enjoy castles or outer space, you can design historic or imaginary worlds.
Acting out Adventure
Have your preschool children seen an adventure movie or listened to story books that they act out? There are dozens of old and new movie releases or cartoons based on favorite stories. There are also library book versions. There is a new interest in mythology through the “Percy Jackson & The Olympians” books and related series. Space adventures and princess stories are also popular. They all have a common thread of a bit of drama, solving problems, heroes, and happy solutions.
Children can also have adventures acting out an ordinary day of economics of buying and selling, providing goods and services, or police, fire fighter, and rescuers saving others in their hometown.
During this playtime you are teaching vocabulary, geography, cooperation, discussion, and solving problems while having fun together. For more, see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com and wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons.
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Grandparents Teach, Too is written by a group of teachers and former teachers who contribute ideas and resources to help educate children and grandchildren. For more GTT articles and resources, visit them online at http://grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com.