It seems like just about every day the little man, now almost seven months old, learns something new. He’s babbling all the time now, and of course his favorite word in “da-da”. Of course. Moms do all of the hard work, and dads get all of the credit. He’s sitting up on his own. He’s eating solid food. He’s sleeping through the night. Well, most of the time anyway (fingers crossed).
Babies just change so quickly during that first year, it floors me. There’s always a new millstone that he’s reaching.
The kiddo on the other hand, seems to have slowed down, as he should. As he approaches four years old, he’s of course learning and growing, but the changes are less dramatic. He seems to grow into things so gradually that it sometimes takes me a while to even realize that he’s doing something new. But he is growing and changing constantly, just in smaller ways.
The other day, all of a sudden, he started drawing pictures of people. Not just lines on paper anymore, but heads, eyes, mouth, nose. Arms. Legs. Hair. He’s graduated from scribbling to drawing right before my eyes. I credit preschool for this change, since he’s only developed a love for drawing since starting.
In fact, I think that preschool has given him that little extra push to meet a lot of milestones lately. Social ones. Creative ones. Even slightly naughty ones. I see all sorts of changes in him, especially recently, that can only be the result of his pretty awesome teachers, and being among his peers.
A few months ago we had voluntary conferences with his teacher. It is the “big” conference which is happening next month, but just a short meeting where we could check in to see how he’s doing so far. Since this is the first time the kiddo’s been in school, it was nice to hear that he’s doing well. Better than well actually.
During the meeting we received a handout with activities designed to help preschool-age children improve their hand and finger coordination. You know, those skills they are just beginning to develop, which will help them down the road with activities such as zipping their own jackets, writing and cutting. Skills that help them become more independent as they start to do more of the every day tasks on their own. Skills that let parents breath a sigh of relief as their kids finally don’t rely on them for every single thing.
Not only do the activities help improve coordination, but they are fun. It isn’t work, it’s play for the kids, which means that an afternoon that could have otherwise been long and boring, is suddenly filled with activities that kids enjoy, and also learn from. Even if they don’t know that they are learning. Play-learn I believe it’s called.
Don’t you wish that as adults, we could play-learn too? I do.
Here are a few favorite activities from the list.
- String breakfast cereal, beads, or large pasta onto pieces of string or shoe laces, or string rope through toilet paper tubes. Make an easy to hold “needle” by tying yarn to a bobbie pin, dipping the ends of string in white glue, or wrapping masking tape around one end.
- Give your child items to stack, such as shoe boxes, milk containers, and blocks. Encourage them to line up the items with the side even.
- Let your child help fold items such as napkins, paper, dish towels. Demonstrate first and guide their hands as they learn.
- During the summer encourage sand and water play by giving your child objects to fill, dump, sift and funnel the sand and water.
- Encourage our child to use kitchen tongs to pick up small objects suck as blocks, cotton balls and buttons.
- Draw simple dot-to-dot pictures, such as circles, simple houses, triangles and faces.
- Draw a straight line on a piece of paper and have your child drive a toy car on the line. Once your child ha