Looking for educational activities for toddlers, preschoolers and kids in lower primary school? Helen Marjan, former CEO of Lorna Whiston enrichment schools, offers these fun and engaging suggestions.
Toddlers learn very much through their senses. Ice cubes, flour and jelly are examples of materials you can use.
Let your kid explore a variety of clean, safe materials with their fingers, nose, mouth – how do they feel? What do they taste like? These sensory experiences are wonderful ways to learn, and the mess is part of the fun.
Get more ideas for sensory play here.
Lay out a large piece of construction paper and spread on some wet glue. Let your toddler rip up coloured tissue paper and stick it on the glue.
They’ll love ripping it apart. Let them sprinkle on some glitter. Again, don’t worry about the mess.
(Also read: 20 playgroups where your tot can play and learn)
Try this science and art activity all rolled into one. Help your little one add four tablespoons of baking soda and four tablespoons of water to a bowl. Mix them together.
Dip a cotton swab into the mixture and paint a picture. Once the mixture has dried on the paper, have Junior wash over it with a light watercolour paint. Your child’s magic art will be revealed.
What’s that sound?
This next activity actually uses technology for learning, but it certainly won’t have her glued to a screen.
Have your child think of as many different kinds of sounds that she can: nature sounds, animal sounds, happy or scary sounds, loud or soft sounds.
Now, show her how to use the sound recorder on a cellphone and let her practise recording a few sounds. Once she’s familiar with the recording device, go on a sound hunt.
After she has found as many sounds as she can, have her play them back to you and, together, guess what they are.
Revisit the recording a week later and see if she can still remember the various sounds she recorded.
For big kids
Using an inkpad, let her print a number of fingerprints on a piece of plain paper.
She can use a fine black pen to add features – hair, eyes, nose, mouth, legs, and background features – to create her very own fingerprint characters and scenes.
You can extend this activity by making a simple cartoon strip from fingerprint characters, and adding speech bubbles. It’s a whole lot of fun and a great way to practise writing and language skills, too.
Ask your kid to think of different things a recycled box – such as a cereal box – could be made into. Could it be a mask? A musical instrument? A flying machine?
After brainstorming, give her materials such as tape, aluminium foil, coloured paper and paints, and let her imagination run wild.
Doing such projects alongside your child – and not for her – is a great way to encourage bonding and is a wonderful opportunity for conversation, too.