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3 Easy Early Childhood Learning Activities

January 22, 2015

By Jessica Vician

3 Easy Early Childhood Learning Activities | A young girl holds a budding plant in her hands.

As you know, you are your child’s first teacher, which means that learning doesn’t start in the preschool or kindergarten classroom. It starts from the moment your baby is born and continues for the rest of your lives. As your child grows from an infant into a toddler, and perhaps before he or she is ready for preschool or Early Head Start, there are easy activities that you can do to jumpstart his or her early childhood education at home.

Plant seeds and watch them grow. Teach your child how plant life begins.

Buy a packet of seeds—try an herb that you cook with frequently (basil, mint, and cilantro grow quickly with minimal human effort)—and some soil. Follow the directions on the seed packet and they’ll be growing in no time.

This activity teaches your child that plants need food to grow just like kids do. The seeds need soil and water to nourish them, like kids need water and healthy foods to nourish them.

Get excited with your child when the first sprouts break through the soil—it’s a big accomplishment for both the plant and your child!

Spend a week talking about the weather.

The weather affects much more than we actively think about. It affects how we dress, how our bodies behave, how we get our physical activity, and how we live. From frizzy hair in humidity to arthritis in rainy weather, open windows to high heating bills, adults know the effects weather has on our lives.

Over a week, talk to your child about the weather and what it means. Here are some sample questions and answers.

  • What happens when it’s sunny outside? We feel warmer. It’s not cloudy or raining or snowing. Plants grow better when there’s sun.
  • What happens when it’s cloudy outside? Sometimes it’s colder and we have to wear jackets. Sometimes the clouds bring rain or snow. The clouds block the sun from shining on us. The sun is still out there—we just can’t see it because the clouds are hiding it.
  • What happens when it rains or snows? The clouds hold water and when they hold too much water, it rains. When it’s cold outside and the clouds have too much water, it snows.

Teach your child about his or her senses.

When a child understands what his or her senses do, he or she can express feelings and needs better. Ask questions during regular activities that engage those senses to help your child learn each sense, and teach which body part he or she uses for each sense. Here are some examples of how to talk about senses with your child.

  • Taste
    What are you eating? What sense are you using? Taste. What body part do you use to taste? My tongue.
  • Sight
    What do you see over there? What sense are you using? Sight. What body part do you use to see it? My eyes.
  • Sound
    Do you like this music? What sense are you using? Sound. What body part helps you hear? My ears.
  • Smell
    Do you like how these flowers smell? What sense do you use when you smell something? Smell. What body part helps you smell? My nose.
  • Touch
    What does that blanket feel like? What sense do you use to feel this blanket? Touch. What body part helps you feel touch? My hands and my skin.

These are just three easy activities that you can do with your child to support his or her math, science, and thinking skills before starting preschool or Early Head Start. After you try these, think of other ways you can teach your child about the world around us—it will surprise you how much and how quickly toddlers can learn!


2 responses to '3 Easy Early Childhood Learning Activities'
This is awesome. I do this all the time with Seth. Now he always identifies if its "wet" or "windy" outside. He also is able to tell me if he is cold or hot! We started doing senses and he loves "smelling" things now lol. He usually says "hmmmmm" after every smell haha.
That's great! Even though he's not at preschool age yet, you're helping him develop his thinking skills and knowledge, so he'll learn faster, easier, and better once he starts a formal education.

I'm picturing Seth smelling pizza, associating the smell with pizza, then saying, "Hmmm, pizza." And that's really cute.

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