New Jammies kids are making a fresh start going back to school, and there are some fun play-time routines, games and puzzles that can refresh their memories and spark creativity.
For younger, preschool-aged children, play itself becomes more physical at that age. So “why just walk when you can hop, jump, or skip?” says the kidshealth.org website.
KidsHealth says smart toys for preschoolers include arts and crafts, and anything that help kids sharpen fine motor skills that are constantly improving.
“Activities like holding a crayon, drawing pictures of family members, and using a pair of safety scissors to cut and paste strengthen coordination, encourage creativity, and foster self-esteem,” kidshealth.org says.
The site’s childhood development experts suggest that blocks and construction sets, including building towers (and figuring out how to stop them from toppling over) encourage problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination.
“Preschoolers will use their imaginations to create buildings, vehicles, animals, and more from simple construction sets,” KidsHealth says.
Jigsaw puzzles, to help with coordination and dexterity that teach about spatial relationships and logical thinking, and pretend play are also key for preschoolers to practice as they embrace school.
Wooden puzzles for kids from Lakeshore, a California-based company that applies real-world classroom experience to every product it develops, inspire little learners by using the power of play to make learning fun. We love the Big Knob First Puzzle Set for infants to pre-k toddlers.
As elementary school-aged kids are accomplished in ways they never were before, KidsHeath suggests activities that cultivate new talents and interests beginning to take hold.
“They’ve grasped an understanding of the world around them and are now moving toward mastering skills that once challenged them, like catching a football or braiding a friend’s hair,” says kidshealth.org. “A 4-year-old who enjoyed story time may grow to love reading; a 5-year-old who listened to music might want to play piano.”
With the refinement of physical abilities, including large and fine motor skills, elementary school is the time when kids learn to ride two-wheel bicycles and glide on skateboards, says KidsHealth. An appreciation of arts and the humanities also sparks.
“Arts and crafts become more intricate, and a child might spend hours weaving friendship bracelets or drawing comic strips, says the children’s-focused resource.”
KidsHealth suggests these smart toys and activities for big kids going back to school:
• Jump rope. By skipping rope with friends, kids learn to take turns and get along with peers. All that jumping, and the coordination it requires, encourages large motor development and problem-solving skills.
• Card and board games. Card games like “war” or “crazy eights” and board games like checkers or chess teach about strategy, turn-taking, negotiating rules, and fair play. Encourage cooperation and help your child learn to manage the emotions that come with winning as well as losing.
• Musical instruments. Learning to play the piano, violin, guitar, or another instrument encourages listening and fine motor skills and helps build attention skills.
Science toys. Chemistry sets, binoculars, telescopes, or other toys that promote discovery and problem-solving help improve math and science skills, and help develop imagination.
KidsHealth also reminds parents and caregivers that students of all ages can learn from scavenger hunts, outdoors or indoors when it’s raining or the weather turns cold, to encourage problem-solving and teamwork. Just gather easily recognizable objects and hide them around the yard or house. Give each child a list of items to look for and clues to help them find the objects. Adults can pair kids up or assign teams to play.
“This game also works well outdoors provided you set some boundaries (the edges of the yard, certain spots in the park) for the kids to work inside,” kidshealth.org says.
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