In our house, preschool and kindergarten feel a lot more like structured play time than educational lessons. Sure, my 5-year-old does a few pages of her phonics and math workbooks and my 3-year-old traces her letters, but anyone who has kids knows their attention spans aren’t long. I try to mix up our school activities so learning is fun! Here are a few ways my kids learn through play.
This post is sponsored by brands featured in our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide including Magic Sketch, TINSELTOT, and Play-Doh.
Color Mixing & Painting
Mixing colors is so much fun! Kids can learn about the primary colors and secondary colors, and then practice mixing colors. My kids are amazed that they can make new colors from red, blue, and yellow! My girls then want to know why they can’t make yellow and I get to explain what primary colors are. Before I know it, the girls are having so much fun creating colors and designs that they don’t even realize they are doing school!
Preschool Tracing & Drawing
Kids love tracing letters and it’s great practice to learn how to write their own letters. I have stacks of worksheets and scribbled-on papers sitting around, which is why Magic Sketch is such a handy tool! Kids can use Magic Sketch to practice writing their name or drawing doodles. Kids can also slip in a variety of stencil cards into the Magic Sketch Boogie Board to create a “coloring guide” behind the screen.
The MagicSketch insertable stencil cards have preschool activities, connect-the-dots, letter writing, and fun coloring page designs. Kids can also use these durable stencil cards over and over and clear their work off the Boogie Board screen with the press of a button. The stamps and different stylus tools are fun to make colorful patterns. The board itself has a gradient-like colorful liquid crystal design within the screen so as you write the colors fade into each other.
Magic Sketch is fun for school and independent play. This reusable liquid crystal doodle pad is also a great gift idea!
- Magic Sketch deluxe kit includes a Magic Sketch pad, protective case, 4 styluses, 60 stencils, 1 roller & 3 stamps.
- Transparent screen makes it fun for tracing. Study math, practice letters and doodle.
- Perfect for kids to enjoy on road trips, in church, at restaurants, and during doctor’s office visits.
- Durable protective case and liquid crystal screen easy to write on and erase with the touch of a button.
Tea Party Manners & Etiquette
A tea party is a fun way to learn manners through play. Kids can practice serving tea, sharing snacks, and saying please and thank you. My two little girls love having tea parties on their TINSELTOT tea party mat, so I often reward them with a tea party snack time after a successful morning of preschool.
Related Post: Teach Kids Manners & Etiquette with a Tea Party »
Creative Design with Play-Doh
Molding Play-Doh is a great way for kids to strengthen their hands, fine-tune motor skills, and use their imaginations to create custom designs! Play-Doh makes lots of themed sets for sensory play time. This Play-Doh Disney Royal Princess Salon Playset comes with glitter Play-Doh and accessories to style Rapunzel’s hair.
My girls love giving their favorite Disney princess braids and creating flowers for her hair. The tools are designed to be easy for kids to use by themselves. The Pascal roller can make a long braid by simply rolling it along a length of yellow Play-Doh. Kids can press sparkly white and purple play dough into the flower and jewel molds to decorate Rapunzel’s hair style.
Other play sets are more educational such as this Play-Doh Letters and Language Set! Kids can practice letter recognition, create their name, sound out simple words, and write words using the stampers, playmats, and the classic Play-Doh compound. This fun educational set includes 26 letter stampers, stylus, roller, two double-sided mats, and six cans of Play-Doh compound.
If your kids love to create like mine do, these Play-Doh sets are a perfect gift idea that will inspire hours of creative play time!
Counting with Pom Poms
Colorful pom poms are another fun tool kids can use for counting, sorting and arranging into patterns.
Sort pom poms by size or color. Ask kids to identify a bright color vs. a soft color. How about which color might be hot? Which color might be cold? Arrange pom poms by smallest to largest.
Count pom poms until your child has mastered counting from 1-20. Teach your child about number groupings of 10. Practice basic addition and subtraction by adding pom poms and taking some away.
Create a colorful design with pom poms!
Related Post: Teach Kids New Skills with Pom Poms »
School doesn’t have to be boring! I find my kids learn faster when they are having fun and doing activities they enjoy! Which ideas have you found successful for teaching kids new things?
Hi, I’m Katie! I live with my husband and 3 kids in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I love Jesus, coffee, creative projects, taking photos and traveling. I’ve previously worked as a web designer, journalist and barista. I hope you enjoy our creative projects and family adventures!
We love play doh! And I am thinking of getting into more painting crafts with my oldest, who is 3.5 yr old!