Getting your child ready for preschool is a huge task. While they will learn many vital skills once they’re enrolled, there are many skills they’ll need beforehand if they’re going to succeed. While your children are young, playtime is one of the most effective tools you can use to teach your child important skills.
At ExploraToy, we strive to equip parents with information to help their children make the most of playtime. The following list includes our five favorite tips to help you prepare your child for preschool through play.
- Use puzzles and coloring activities to teach them their shapes, colors, letters, and numbers.
Although your child will certainly learn these things in preschool, you can give them a head start by teaching them these basic things from home. ExploraToy’s Wooden Knob Puzzle with Numbers and Letters is a great way to teach your child their numbers and letters.
You can teach your child their colors and shapes through other daily playtime activities. For example, if you’re playing with building blocks, you can point to blocks and quiz your child about what color they are. When your child colors, point out each color and shape on the page and tell them what color it is. Over time, they’ll be able to identify their colors and shapes, a skill they’ll need for preschool.
- Teach your child how to fill in objects on coloring pages.
Fine motor skills are an important part of your child’s preschool education. While their hands are still developing, it’s important to teach them how to hold and use crayons. As you prepare your child for preschool, teach them how to fill in coloring pages (instead of merely scribbling color across the page).
Start with smaller objects on the page and have your child practice filling in the space with one color. It may help to have a coloring page of your own to show your child how to fill in the page’s sections with different colors. Over time, your child will grow adept at filling in the spaces on the page.
- Practice using scissors.
Come up with fun activities to engage your child while they learn how to use scissors correctly. It’s important to show them how to correctly hold scissors, since this is not a skill that comes intuitively. Once your child knows how to hold their scissors, you can start showing them how to use the tool to cut pieces of paper.
For most children, it may be easier to use the scissors to cut pieces apart than to cut along a straight line. Start by having your child cut through an index card or cut straws into tiny pieces. Since there is no aim beside making small pieces, your child will be able to get comfortable with the scissors without worrying about the end result.
Once your child is comfortable using scissors, you can work on cutting along lines, although this skill may not be mastered until after their preschool years.
- Show your child how to sit down and finish an activity before moving on to another.
Before your child goes to preschool, they must be able to sit down for five minutes or longer to complete an activity. Coloring pages, activity books, and puzzles are all great ways to help your child sit in their seat and finish a project before moving on to another.
If you aren’t sure where to start, puzzles offer a structured activity that requires your child to sit still and complete a task. ExploraToy’s Animals and Vehicles Wooden Knob Puzzles are great starter puzzles for your child. They’re easy to build, yet they’ll teach your child how to sit and complete an activity.
- Teach your child how to connect dots and trace dotted lines.
Many preschool activities rely on your child’s ability to connect dots and trace dotted lines. Start by drawing two dots on a page and instructing your child to draw a line between the two dots. This helps your child develop skills they’ll not only need for written activities, but visual tracking skills they’ll need before they learn how to read.
Once your child can connect dots, work on tracing dotted lines. Start with straight lines, then graduate to curvy lines. This is a great way to introduce your child to their letters and numbers, since they can learn these symbols while working on their fine motor skills.
While it’s your child’s preschool teacher’s job to teach them the skills they’ll need for elementary school, it’s important to remember that most of your child’s early learning will occur at home. Use your child’s playtime to help teach and reinforce important skills they’ll need for classroom learning.
To help give your child’s education a boost, ExploraToy has created a wide variety of high-quality wooden toys. Our puzzles and activities are just what your child needs to develop skills that will equip them for success in the classroom. You can check out our entire selection of great toys here.