Every preschool teacher is constantly on the lookout for fresh ways to engage the children in their class. Good activities for kids of this age group combine the fun with the educational. The best ones add a little physical activity into the equation.
Children learn through all their senses. That’s why they sniff the things we don’t want them to sniff and try to eat caterpillars at recess. Human beings need to taste, touch, smell, hear and see to develop, so combining as many of these as possible can really boost development. But how you teach and reinforce the alphabet in a way that actively has the kids scrambling to answer? Why not trust your class to a carpet?
Oval-shaped A to Z carpets offer a fantastic opportunity to actively engage children in a controlled setting. The concept is simple – the letters of the alphabet are around the outside of the carpet meaning that there is plenty of space in the middle for children to stand or sit. This gives you the chance to collect the kids in a group and let them work on their learning together.
Here are three activities you can try to make the carpet work brilliantly for your preschoolers:
Activity One – Pronunciation Playtime
It’s no secret that some children struggle to pronounce the alphabet effectively, and that hinders their overall learning. In a static learning environment with children behind desks there’s every chance that a struggling child will feel far too self-conscious to attempt to say sounds they’re uncomfortable with or to put them into words. Making the learning into a carpet activity can take the pressure off.
- Assign the children to a letter of the alphabet. If you have less than 26, that’s fine. If you have more than 26 in your class, you can keep some of them in the middle to help shout out the letters.
- The child on ‘A’ pronounces the sound – “A is for . . .” Then the child on “B” and so on.
- When you’ve gone around once, have the children step forward one place. This time, just have them say the sound at quick-speed and then move round again until the alphabet has been shouted out 26 times or more. The idea is for every child to have said every sound by the end in a way that has been both fun and educational.
Activity Two – Spinning
What kid doesn’t enjoy spinning around? If you put that in the context of learning then both the teacher and the children win.
So, help them learn without them thinking they can with this:
- Put the children in the center of the carpet. Ask a couple to be on your team and keep them on the side lines.
- Call out a letter (or sound) and have the children spin and point to it. The last one to do so (judged by your panel of kids) leaves the carpet and joins the panel. This carries on until there is only one child remaining and he or she is pronounced ‘Alphabet Ninja’ for the day.
Activity Three – Jump To It
Tell a child to jump and what does it do? Well, apart from keeping them engaged in what they’re doing, it also helps their motor skills. If you can mix this up with education, then you’re definitely on the right track to helping your preschoolers enjoy learning.
Hit all the right targets with this activity:
- Ensure that every child is stood beside a letter.
- Call out a letter. When the child hears their letter, they should jump on the tile with both feet in between (or outside) the lines.
- Carry on the game by calling for children to jump onto their letters, but occasionally mix it up by having children already on their letters jump off again. This keeps all children engaged until the end of the activity.