The Mentormom sent a brilliant [tag]play[/tag] [tag]activity[/tag] this week. Thanks Jill.
It’s hard to believe that summer is nearly over! If you are looking for an activity to give your [tag]preschooler[/tag] or [tag]kindergartner[/tag] an ‘extra edge’ before school starts, have I got an activity for you.
It’s a learning wheel.
I learned of this activity from one of the preschool teachers with whom I work. She regularly puts this activity out during the free choice time and the kids just love it.
Here’s what you will need:
- A heavy duty paper plate.
- Clothes pins (the kind that you have to pinch to open).
- Permanent markers in a variety of colors.
You can make a variety of different learning wheels which I will discuss in a moment. But letâ€™s start with a simple number learning wheel:
- Write the [tag]numbers[/tag] 1-10 around the perimeter of the paper plate
- Write the numbers 1-10 on the end of the clothes pins
- Have your child match the clothes pin numbers to the corresponding number on the plate
- To do colors, you need only color the tips of the clothes pin a variety of different colors and do likewise on the paper plate scribbling in colors in a circle shape.
For older kids like those about to enter kindergarten, you can also do this activity with letters of the alphabet.
You may want to start with the first half of the [tag]alphabet[/tag] and when they have mastered that do a wheel for the remaining letters.
For younger children, you could start with the letters of their name. Start with their first name and then when they have that down, add their last.
Here are some other ways to modify this activity:
- Print out some clip art of farm animals, different vehicles, shapes, etc. Be sure to print two of each.
- Cut them out
- Paste one copy on the paper plate and glue the other cut out onto the end of the clothes pin (Be sure the clip art isn’t too big. You may want to have the cutouts that you paste on the clothes pins laminated so they are more durable.)
There are a number of developmental benefits to this activity:
- The squeezing of the clothes pins is great for fine motor development which they will need to strengthen for writing and using scissors.
- It encourages one to one matching which helps with math and reading.
- It encourages problem solving.
- It encourages letter, number, and color recognition.
- It encourages visual perceptual development.
- Young children learn best from hands on activities!
Who needs flash cards when you can make this simple and inexpensive activity! Of course with this being a sit down kind of activity, you’ll want to get the kids up and moving before introducing it so that their attention and concentration are enhanced!
The most important part of making this a fun and educational activity is your role as teacher. Here are some tips:
- Model how to do the activity.
- Be patient. Some kids will need more time and more practice.
- Follow your child’s lead. If your child isn’t interested in the activity when you present it or moves on to something else shortly after it is introduced, you need to move on with him or her.
- Keep it fun! If you are having fun, chances are your child will too!
Jill Urbane, aka, The Mentor Mom is a social worker, parent coach and early childhood educator. She lives in the midwest with her two active kids, fantastic husband and menagerie of pets. To learn more about her or to subscribe to her blog feed, go to www.thementormom.com.