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5 Simple Play-based Activities

Hi everybody, and welcome back to Koodle's Blog. I'm Kat, a teacher and a mum of 4. So far, we have touched on a few things about play-based learning and what it's all about. If you haven't check it out here. Today I will be giving you some fantastic ideas of how to go about introducing play-based learning into you daily routine, whether it is for classroom settings, home school settings, or just some bonding time with your children at home. With this method being absorb into your daily life, it will bring many skills set that your children will enjoy and learn through in a healthy and happy environment. Here are 5 simple play-based activities for children between 1 to 3 age group you can try. Let's get into it!

From our previous discussion from The Important of Play-based Learning, we have talked about different category of activities you can try with your young toddlers in the age between 1 and 3.

  • Mystery Box

  • Run and fetch

  • Sensory tubs

  • Music and dance

  • Field trips i.e. miniature farm, planetarium, the park

I will give you a sample of an activity you can try and change to your liking per category. And do let me know how it went in the comments below. I would love to hear from you and your success and/or failures (it happens), and how we can work together to improve our children's education. You know what they say, it takes a village to raise a child!

Mystery Box

We suggested a mystery box type of game, it is a game where the children does not know what is inside the mystery box and you can have multiple things to do with learning. This game will promote curiosity in children and for children who are anxious or insecure this will help them build confidence and courage. Usually focuses on children at the age 1 to 3 range.

One of the games that I do play with the children and might I add greatly entertaining, is called the Pirate Treasure Chest. Get a big tub of objects inside such as seeds, beads, corns, or beans for indoor play and for outdoor you can use sand. Have lots and lots of items embedded within the tub. For learning purposes, you can have cutouts of fun picture templates with numbers, sounds, or colours. And what you do is have the children pick out the things inside the tub and guess what they have picked out. This game is perfect for recognition and recall of learning topics you have already covered i.e. recognizing numbers, recalling sounds, naming colours.

Run and Fetch

This activity is consider to be an activity to enhance the children's gross motor skills. Gross motor skills, also known as the physical skills, are the skills that requires the entire body to move and train large muscles to perform everyday tasks such as standing, walking, running, and jumping. With this skill, the child will not only be mobile with magnificent movement but will also gain independence in everyday self care. For example, dressing oneself takes stability and balance when putting trousers on one leg at a time or when climbing in and out of bed takes immense will power and core strength.

For the Run and Fetch activity, quite simply I call this the flower picking game, usually this game can be used for phonics or mathematics targeting towards children about 2 to 4 years old. First of you must have flower templates taped to Popsicle sticks; you can write numbers, or sounds on to the flowers. Really... you can adjust it however you like. Then you place them around your garden, playground, or temporary pots (for indoor play). To play this game, have the children on one side of your play area, possibly opposite the area where you've placed the flowers. Call out the number or sound and the children will run to the flowers and pick the number or sound you just called out. The kids will really like this game because it can be an outdoor activity, and who doesn't like being outdoors? It's like recess for them!

Sensory Tubs

Sensory game is an amazing activity that can take a lot of prep work, however, if it's done properly it can be super fun for everyone for long duration of time. I definitely suggest getting messy with this one like water play, it will boost the fun a thousand percent. The game that I am referring to is Letter Pebble in Water Beads. It does not have to be only pebbles, you can substitute it for other objects just make sure it has a decent size surface area. The main idea for this activity is to have pebbles with written number or sound of each side and place inside the water beads tub for the kids to fish out one at a time and say the number or sound. The children really enjoy getting to feel and touch the beads. In my one of my occasion, I got a really large tub about ankle high filled them with water beads and pebbles and have the children sit or stand inside the tub of beads. I could see the pure joy on their faces and it was just pure bliss.

However, do be aware that this activity can be a choke hazard for smaller children. So I advice that this activity is best suited for older age group of 3 years old and up. This activity promotes the children sensory skills and fine motor skills because of it's slippery nature and balancing skills. Fine motor skills are the ability to use small muscles to make movement in our fingers, hands, wrists, and feet. With this skill, the kids will be able to do daily tasks in schools like writing, drawing, using scissors as well as help build their gross motor skills.

Music and Dance

Music and dance focus activity, this is awesome for all ages from 1 and above depending on the context on how you play the game. This one we call it the Freeze game; and I love this activity for mathematics. So you have your children out and about dancing to the music, just like the musical statue, you stop the music and call out the number for the children to make a pairing or a group with the number called. This is really good to promote team work, problem solving as a group, gross motor skills activity and a great exercise. I usually use this game as an ice-breaker when introducing a new student into the class because it help everybody to warm up and get comfortable to make new friends.

Field trip

Now, what I mean by the field trip activity is an activity you can do whether you have already gone to a field trip or you are at a field. This is best suited for children from 1 to 3, and is done after you have already taken them to the field trip. This is all about recalling and reviewing the things you've done. I call this the Mini World activity; what you do is bring out objects and resources related to the fields trip for the children to build their own miniature place of what they could remember on the field trip. For example, if you've taken them to a farm you would have miniature farm animals, buildings, and tools for them to pick and choose to build their own and talk about their construction. This promote language, critical thinking, memory skills, and recognition. This activity can also tap into their emotional thinking where they could express their likes and dislikes. I highly recommend this as a mass group activity or project for the class, possibly the end of year as a memorabilia of their classmates.

And that's it guys! 5 simple play-based activities that can be added into your life to enhance many skill sets for young toddlers. Make sure you plan things in advance and know your students well! It is vital to be organised when introducing new things. I do understand that some may not have to time to prep and improvising can occur. So I would stay away from Sensory Activity and Mini World activity when improvising. You want it be as good as it can be, and you can't do that if don't plan ahead. Give these activities a try and let me know how it goes in the comment below. Thanks for reading!

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