8 Music and Movement Ideas for Preschoolers

 

music and music preschool

Children naturally love music, and musical experiences help to create strong neural connections between the cells in their brains.  And they make the strongest connections when they are actively involved in their musical experiences. That’s why combining music with movement is so important.

In fact, music and movement instruction has been shown to improve children’s cognitive development, memory, and learning skills. It also helps children develop their ability to express themselves.

And regular exposure to active involvement in music even helps your child do better in reading and math, focus better, have greater control over her body, increase self-esteem, and play better with others.

The Benefits of Music for Your Preschooler

music and movement preschool

When a child is introduced to music at a young age, they learn to develop concentration, memory, and listening skills. Think about it: music draws us in and keeps us focused. And as we hear melodies and rhythms, they become familiar to the ear. Your child will build a strong memory as melodies are repeated.

And just as reading introduces new vocabulary to your child, music with lyrics will expose your child to new words, phrasing, rhymes, and more.

Try This: Sing familiar songs with your child while incorporating simple dance moves that match the music. For example, if the song is about a bird waking up, you can flap your arms to indicate the bird and open your eyes wide to indicate waking up. Combining the actions or dance moves with the words will help your child recall the words.

Try This: Keep a steady beat with musical instruments while you listen to a song. All you need is bells or sticks. Even a pot lid and mixing spoon will do the job!

Try This: Sing! Sing throughout the day. Sing familiar songs as your child takes a bath, make up silly songs as you eat lunch together, and sing a song before bedtime.

Try This: Listen to music. It’s the simplest thing you can do, so make sure it’s happening. Play music while you drive to preschool and at home as you get ready for bed.

Try This: Attend musical concerts together. Many libraries, schools, museums, and cities offer free musical concerts throughout the year. Get on their mailing lists and keep your eyes open for opportunities. After a concert, ask your child what she liked and what she didn’t like, what instruments she noticed, how she felt during the music, and more.

The Benefits of Movement for Your Preschooler

music and movement preschool

Movement combined with music introduces math concepts, builds motor skills, stimulates brain development, and improves communication skills.

As your child hears beats and repeats them, she is easily identifying patterns. Pattern identification is an important math skill that will come up again and again.

Moving with music gives your child a sense of where his body is in space, what his body can do, and more. This helps him develop his motor skills and form a more solid connection between his body and brain.

Adding hand motions, facial gestures, dramatic body movements and more to music allows your child to express herself in a variety of ways. This builds on her communication skills.

Try This: Clap, tap, or stomp to a beat and have your child copy you. Turn it around, and ask your child to make up his own beat for you to copy.

Try This: Use scarves to teach your child to listen more closely to the music. Raise the scarves up when the pitches go up, and lower the scarves to the floor as the pitches go down. Encourage your child to come up with other body movements that match the music — perhaps stomping during loud music or hopping during bouncy music.

Try This: Copy each other. Put a few simple dance movements together (whatever comes to your mind) as you listen to your child’s favorite song. As you ask your child to watch and then copy, you’ll be providing a chance for your child to build his memory and motor skills. Let him do the same for you.

Come and see how we incorporate movement and music into our curriculum every single day at UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah. Give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online for a tour.

Pretend Away! Why Your Child Needs Pretend Play

pretend play preschool

Look in a preschool classroom, and you’ll practically see the imagination floating through the air. Even while doing ordinary things, children are imagining themselves as superheros and animals. Their daily tools (toothbrushes, crayons, plates, socks) become airplanes, dragons, swimming pools and more with no effort at all.

Children are naturally good at imagining, which is a good thing — because they learn their best by imagining and doing.

When your child’s preschool incorporates play-based learning into the curriculum, your child reaps countless benefits. Here are five:

Imagination and Creativity

We may not always think of it this way, but creativity is a necessary skill for survival. When the dishwasher breaks and starts flooding the basement, you have to quickly find a creative solution for capturing the water before it ruins your carpet. When your boss expects you to meet a tough deadline, you have to be creative in your time allocation. And when your preschooler asks you to be a dog with him, you have to get down on your hands and knees and bark if you want to keep seeing that adorable smile on your child’s face.

So if creativity is such an important life skill, it stands to reason that your child needs to learn to develop it as soon as possible. And pretend play is the perfect way for that to happen. When your child gets absorbed in pretend play, her imagination takes over.  She can be anything, go anywhere, and have any sort of power she wants. This lets children think for themselves, keep their brains active and engaged, and build up that creativity they’ll need for their whole life.

Social Development

The world is big and scary. It’s confusing, and its rules are not immediately obvious to the under-4-foot crowd. Engaging in pretend play allows children to work out the social rules of the world in a safe space. They learn who they are and what they love, and they learn who other people are. As they pretend to be someone else (a chef, a doctor, a parent, an animal), they get the opportunity to think like someone else. What would it be like to walk in that person’s shoes? This aspect of pretend play helps preschoolers develop empathy for others.

As children engage with each other in pretend play, they learn to respect other people’s wishes and to notice when someone is having a good time or having a really awful time. They have to agree on the topic of play and negotiate throughout play as roles and rules change.

Language Skills

Did you know that pretend play is building the foundation for your child to learn to read? That’s right. Through pretend play, preschoolers learn the power of language, how to retell and reenact stories, and they build their vocabulary.

As they pretend they’re at the doctor’s office, they develop language appropriate to that location. And because they’re uninhibited through play, they try out words they may otherwise be too self-conscious to try.

Not only that, they need to ensure their meaning is understood as they act out situations. This requires sophisticated language skills that continue to develop through pretend play.

pretend play preschool

Problem Solving Skills

First, your child has to decide what to play. In that process, there will be some back-and-forth with the other children who are involved. Opinions will have to be considered, and solutions found.

Then, everyone has to decide the rules, roles, and materials for the game. And there is always some problem to figure out — a bad guy who is locking up the ponies, a tornado that is going to wipe out the town, a robber who is stealing the fruit at the grocery store. How will the children solve the problem? Sit back and watch their creative problem-solving skills whir into hilarious and ingenious action.

All of this is practice for real life, when cooperation and problem-solving skills need to be relied on each day.

Physical Development

Pretend play often turns into physical play. Children have to chase after the bad guy, climb to escape the hot lava, jump over the swamp of alligators, and more. All of this works to build their strength, while increasing their gross motor development.

Even when the pretend play doesn’t involve jumping, hopping, and running, physical skills are being developed. It takes strong fine motor skills to dress dolls, string beads, or gather items to “buy” at the store.

Bottom line: Pretend play encourages movement in all the ways your child needs for proper growth and development.

pretend play preschool

Pretend Play “Tools”

In pretend play, children don’t always use objects for their intended purpose. Sometimes, puzzle pieces become coins and toy cars become hidden treasure. Keeping a variety of items around your home will encourage your child to tap into her creativity and use them in imaginative and playful ways.

Some toys and objects to keep on hand:

  • blocks
  • old clothes
  • old purses
  • old magazines or phone books
  • stuffed animals
  • old sheets (good for costumes, forts, picnics, pretend meals, etc.)
  • toy dishes or old dishes or utensils
  • notepads and pencils
  • dolls
  • animal figurines
  • a doll house
  • cardboard boxes or tubes
  • wrapping paper

Look at the world through your child’s eyes and see how everyday items can be transformed. Come see how we encourage and incorporate pretend play into our curriculum at UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah. Give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online to schedule a tour.

What Should Preschoolers Learn?

what should preschoolers learn

ABC. 123.

That’s what matters most in preschool, right? You want your child to be able to read, write, and do math so she’ll be ahead once she starts kindergarten.

Right?

Well, that’s only a small part of it.

While literacy and math are extremely important parts of your preschooler’s academic development, they don’t tell the whole story. Preschool is actually a critical time for your child to develop their whole self. A high-quality preschool will work on developing the whole child in the following ways:

How to Learn

We spend our whole lives learning, and preschool is where your child’s foundation begins. This is where your child develops their attitude towards school, where they determine if they are good learners or not, and where they learn if they have what it takes to figure out problems. Spoiler alert! Every child is a good learner and has what it takes to overcome challenges. The trick is to help your child keep their zest for learning.

A high-quality preschool knows how to keep learning active, engaging, fun, and age-appropriate. Play is a critical component of your child’s development and education, and preschool gives your child the chance to learn through play.

Character Development

What do we do when we want a turn? What do we do if we’re upset with someone? How do we divide and share resources? How do we solve a problem? How do we tell the truth? Take responsibility? Show compassion for others?

Preschool gives children plenty of opportunities to practice, make mistakes, fix mistakes, and get it right. It’s the perfect setting for children to really begin to build the foundation for a strong character.

Creative Arts

what should preschoolers learn

“Children engaged in creating art express their feelings constructively, not destructively,” says Sydney Gurewitz Clemens, consultant for childhood education, teacher, and organizer of San Francisco Classroom Teachers’ Association.

Children thrive when they can express themselves through art. Open-ended art materials and a supportive environment at preschool allows your child to explore their feelings in safe and healthy ways.

Plus, art helps children develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and increases creativity and imagination.

Language and Literacy

The ability to read and write allows children to communicate more clearly, and builds a confidence and thirst for knowledge. In preschool, your child gets to develop a love for reading and take charge of their own interests. Plus, children have opportunities all day to build their vocabulary and communication skills through talking, playing, listening, and interacting.

Math

Numbers. Shapes. Measurements. Patterns. Sorting. None of us are born hating math, but many of us develop a distaste for the subject. When a preschool integrates math throughout their teaching, it gives your child an early confidence, interest, and understanding in math.

Science and Engineering

what should preschoolers learn

Why? How?

These questions are always on your preschooler’s mind, and science and engineering answer them.

Science and engineering are everywhere, and at this time of life when your preschooler is fascinated by everything, it’s a great time for your child to learn how the world works by watching caterpillars emerge from chrysalises,  see a seed grow into a pumpkin, use ramps to change the speed of cars, and so much more.

Social Studies

Preschoolers learn to appreciate people and their differences, to understand their place in the world, how to resolve conflicts, and more. Supportive teachers help children to see how to think of others and how to appreciate different traditions and ideas.

 

Physical Development

what should preschoolers learn

Creative movement opportunities let your child build their physical strength while also building memory, increasing concentration, and more. Coordination, large motor skills, rhythm, expression, emotion, and balance are all improved when a preschool includes physical development in its curriculum.

Music

The world is so much better because music is in it. And your child benefits in countless ways when music is a part of his preschool curriculum. Language skills, social skills, academic retention, listening skills, discipline, concentration, and so much more are developed through a music education. Plus, many preschools use music to teach concepts, like the days of the week, the life cycle of insects, and much more.

At UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah, we spend time in all of these areas each and every day. We know that preschool is a critical time to help your child develop her whole self, and we feel honored to be a part of that journey. If you’d like to learn more about what we do, give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online for a tour.

 

Why Does Your Preschooler Need to Learn Independence Anyway?

Preschooler independence“I wanna do it myself!”

Sigh.

Are there any words that are more grating to a parent’s ear in the midst of trying to get out the door, eat dinner in a hurry, or tidy up a room before bedtime?

Perhaps not. But hang in there, moms and dads. Allowing your child to develop independence as a preschooler is one of the best gifts you can give to your child’s future.

Building independence is critical to your child’s development. Independence helps your child build social skills, allows them to feel they have control over their life, and leaves them feeling confident and secure. They feel they have something to contribute, and feel they belong. Read on for why it’s so important for you to teach independence, and some simple steps you can take to nurture this quality.

Trial and Error Is a Great Teacher

Think about the big mistakes in your life. Maybe you made a bad investment, dated someone who wasn’t right for you, or chose the wrong major in college. Chances are, you learned quite a bit from those mistakes. Maybe you became more careful with your money, your heart, and your career decisions.

But have you ever stopped to think about your little mistakes and what you’ve learned from them? Maybe you burned dinner. Well, now you know not to try and catch up on Instagram while you’re cooking. Maybe you picked up your child late from school. Now you know you need to set a timer for five minutes earlier than you thought. Each mistake — and each victory — gets you one step closer to managing your life they way you want to.

Your children deserve to learn the same lessons — but on a mini level. When your preschooler fumbles with the zipper on his hoodie, he’s learning patience, along with hand-eye coordination and small motor skills. It may take him months to finally do it on his own, but as you stand back and let him first try, he’ll learn valuable lessons.

When your preschooler writes her name without help, it’s cause for celebration — and no doubt she learned it from many trials and errors.

Self-Esteem Comes from Accomplishment

preschooler independence

When your preschooler tries something — and succeeds — her confidence soars through the roof. She jumps, she smiles, she claps… she’s proud. And she should be! Working hard at something gives your child confidence and self-esteem, especially when she finally succeeds. When adults step in and interrupt the process of trying, it communicates to the child that they don’t necessarily believe she can do whatever it is she’s trying to do. When we step back, we’re showing we have confidence.

Stress Is Part of Life

Failure and stress are just a part of life. When your preschooler has a chance to work through stressful situations, he learns how to handle that stress without falling apart (over time, of course).  Many of the things preschoolers need to learn to do independently — like writing their name, using the potty, washing their hands, doing small chores, walking into preschool without Mom and Dad — can be stressful. But each time your child conquers that stress, he becomes more independent and better equipped to handle the next stage of his life.

There is no need to come up with stressful situations for your child to overcome. Much of being a small child is already stressful. Your child needs you to gently guide her to independence at her level through the stressful moments of her life.

Independence Breeds a Desire to Help

Independence allows a child to feel confident in their social circles. And this gives them the ability to be aware of others and their needs. And because they feel confident, they also feel they can reach out and help a peer or another person who is struggling.

When your child can rely on himself to accomplish age-appropriate tasks, he has the freedom — and the desire — to look around him and find others to help.

Things You Can Work on to Encourage Independence

Don’t turn any of this into a fight, and don’t worry if you aren’t teaching your child each of these items. Just keep independence in mind, and gently work on it. Remember — a 2-year-old’s level of independence will be nowhere near that of a 4-year-old’s.

  • Let your child choose his own outfits
  • Teach your child to dress herself (For a 2-year-old, this may mean just getting the shirt to sit on top of her head, while a 4-year-old can eventually do the whole process himself)
  • Give your child age-appropriate chores
  • Write a simple grocery list to accompany your grocery list (draw pictures for pre-readers) and ask your child to be on the lookout for those items
  • Let your child participate in meal prep — measuring, pouring, stirring
  • Let your child pay for small items with cash
  • Let them make their own decisions on non-critical things (Safety is never negotiable, but foregoing a hoodie on a slightly chilly day is fine.)
  • If your child can do it herself, let her
  • Praise your child when he shows independence or solves a problem on his own

[Read more tips for helping your preschooler learn independence]

If you’d like to see how we teach independence at UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah, give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or request a tour.

How to Keep Your Preschooler Engaged on a Hike

It’s hiking season, and there’s nothing better than getting up into the mountains with your family. Studies have shown that spending time in nature builds confidence, promotes creativity, teaches responsibility, improves attention, reduces stress, and so much more. And with more and more screens filling our homes (and our cars and purses and diaper bags), there has never been a more critical time for you to take your preschooler on a hike.

But hiking can be hard. And hot. Not to mention… the bugs.

So how can you keep your preschooler interested and engaged long enough to make it to your hiking destination? Read on for tips on keeping your preschooler engaged on a hike.

Get a Walking Stick

If your preschooler’s hands are occupied, that gives him less reason to beg to be carried. Plus, a walking stick is just cool. Your preschooler will feel powerful as he uses his walking stick to guide the way. And don’t be surprised if imagination is sparked — does the walking stick make your preschooler a wizard? An explorer? A witch? Whatever it is, if your child is busy imagining, it will be easier to put one foot in front of the other.

Give Jobs

Preschoolers love to feel important, and you can keep your child focused and engaged by giving her a role to fill while on the trail. Appoint her as the leader, the bird watcher, the photographer, or the animal poop spotter. Change roles as you go, especially if you have multiple children.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Preschoolers love a good scavenger hunt. Ask your child to find things that are different shapes, different colors, something wet, something dry, something alive, something sticky, something icky… you get the idea.

You can also have him find specific items, like a squirrel, a log, a waterfall, a rock bigger than his hand, etc. This can be done on the fly, with you suggesting each item out loud one by one. Or you can write up a scavenger hunt ahead of time and have your child check off each item as he goes. Don’t be surprised if he wants to make his own suggestions!

Engage the Senses

Experiencing environments through the senses is powerful. In fact, that’s why we take a multisensory learning approach at UDA Creative Arts Preschool. We know that the more senses involved, the more effective the learning will be. You can tap into this power on your hike.

Stop and listen to the rushing water of a nearby river, or challenge each other to count how many birds can be heard in a minute. Try and find every color of the rainbow on your hike. Feel the different textures of rocks, sticks, leaves, and trees. Inhale deeply to smell the forest and pause to take whiffs of wildflowers.

 Be a Nature Artist

Let your child capture the experience through art. Bring a notebook and some coloring utensils, and pause somewhere out of the way to let your preschooler draw or paint what she sees. Bring a notebook for yourself too. Creating art is therapeutic, and will give you both a unique perspective to take home and remember your hike together.

Letter Play

How many things in nature can your preschooler find that start with the first letter of her name? If your preschooler can spell her whole name, go through each letter. If interest is still sticking around once you complete the name, start at the beginning of the alphabet or choose another family member’s name.

Pack Smart

Nobody can keep their spirits up when they’re hangry or dehydrated. Avoid the struggle and pack healthy, filling snacks like trail mix, granola bars, fruit leathers, and apples to keep everyone’s tummies satisfied. Bring enough water for everyone, and make sure everyone is taking sips throughout the hike.

Don’t forget insect repellent and sunscreen. If you’ll be on the trail for several hours, be sure to reapply. Bring a handkerchief that can be soaked in water and worn around the neck, and have everyone wear a hat.

Adjust Expectations

Be flexible and ready to adjust your expectations. Your preschooler may not have the same stamina as you, and you may not make it to the waterfall or the summit. That’s okay. Begin your hike with a flexible mindset, committing to enjoy the journey, and everyone will count the outing as a success.

At UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we believe strongly in letting children explore their world to make their own connections. If you’d like to see how your child can benefit from our preschool program, give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online for a tour.

11 Fun Water Play Activities for Preschoolers

water play activities for preschoolers

Heat can turn even the sweetest preschooler into a sweaty mess of anger and tantrums. If you’re frantically searching for ways to beat the heat this summer, use these 11 fun water play activities for preschoolers that help build developmental skills.

Before jumping into water fun, make sure you review water safety rules with your preschooler.

  • Never swim alone.
  • Never go to a swimming area (lake, pool, river) alone.
  • Always ask permission before playing in or with water.

Mom and Dad, remember it only takes a moment for your child to slip into a body of water. Be vigilant and watchful around all standing water — even kiddie pools.

1. Small-World Sensory Tubs

water play activities for preschoolers

Water beads are fun sensory experiences for preschoolers who are past the stage of putting things in their mouths. They’re soothing and fun to handle, which keeps kids at the bin longer, allowing their imaginations to take off. Get a bin and set up small worlds by adding themed toys: ocean animals for an ocean theme, pirate ships and figures for a pirate theme, etc.

You can also make a sensory world with water and toys. This fun sensory tub from Danya Banya shows how to make a watery ocean world.

2. Kiddie Pool Add-ins

Preschoolers love jumping in and out of the kiddie pool, dunking their hair, and splashing around. Give them some add-ins, and they’ll stay in the kiddie pool even longer, having a great sensory, imaginative experience. Some fun ideas:

  • Water balloons
  • Pool noodles
  • Water balls
  • A kickboard
  • Plastic toy animals
  • Measuring cups, strainers, spoons, and small buckets
  • Colored ice cubes

3. Wash the Lawn Furniture or Yard Toys

Grab some sponges and a bucket of soapy water, and direct your preschooler to wash the lawn furniture or yard toys. It’s slippery and wet, which makes the process a fun sensory activity. Plus, preschoolers hone their scientific observation skills as they see what happens when they squeeze the soapy sponge. If the lawn furniture actually gets clean in the process? Bonus!

4. Splash Pad Play

Head to your local splash pad for some cool gross motor development. Running, skipping, jumping, and crawling through the spray structures helps your preschooler learn where her body is in space and gives her confidence in what her body can do. Plus, it’s incredibly refreshing on a hot day!

5. Ice Play

water play activities for preschoolers

This science-based activity is so fun, and it helps to improve fine motor skills while learning cause and effect. Fill a plastic container with water and add small objects, like buttons and small toys. Place the container in the freezer.

When ready, take the ice block out and put it in a bin (or on the lawn if it’s a hot day!). Give your preschooler some tools that will help in freeing the toys:

  • A spoon
  • Salt shakers
  • Driveway salt (you can use food coloring to dye the salt for a fun effect)
  • A bowl of water
  • Syringes

Then sit back as you watch your preschooler work with determination to find a way to free the toys. If this can be done with a friend or sibling, it’s even better because the preschoolers learn cooperation as they problem solve together.

6. Water Potions

water play activities for preschoolers

Let your child be a scientist for the day with this water activity for preschoolers. Gather a variety of utensils and containers from your home:

  • Spray bottles
  • Empty hand soap bottles
  • Ice cube trays
  • Dishes and bowls
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Whisks

Add a few drops of liquid watercolor to water in different containers, and then let your preschooler experiment with the water and utensils. They’ll get hands-on experience with how different colors change when mixed together, and they’ll also be fully immersed in fine motor development — scooping, carrying, squeezing, transferring, controlling how much they pour… it all combines for a colorful, wet, fun learning experience.

7. Toy Car Wash

Gather your plastic cars (make sure you don’t grab any with batteries) and set up a car wash in your backyard. Use buckets, bowls, tubs, cups, spray bottles — whatever you have on hand — for the wash. Fill some containers with soapy water and some with clear water. Give your preschooler some wash rags, a toothbrush, and/or sponge, and let her imagination finish the job.

8. Go Fishing… in Your Backyard… with Balloons

This fun idea from The Empowered Educator builds fine motor skills, gives you an opportunity to practice color recognition, build hand-eye coordination, and more. Add small balloons to a tub filled with water. Give your preschooler a strainer, cup, bowl, and/or spoon and challenge him to “fish” for the balloons.

9. Water Relay Race

If you have a few kids at your house one day, cool them off with some fun water relay race games.

  • The children can build balance as they walk with a bowl of water on their heads and empty it into a bucket at the end of the relay.
  • Increase hand-eye coordination as they carry a small water balloon on a serving spoon, trying not to let it drop and break.
  • Poke a few holes in the bottom of a disposable cup. At one end of your relay, have the children fill the cup with water from a full bucket. Challenge them to pass it overhead from person to person until it gets to a bucket at the end where the last person dumps the remaining water. This builds gross motor skills (and is refreshingly cool!).
  • Set up an obstacle course and give each relay runner two buckets full of water. Have the children run the obstacle course with the buckets, trying not to spill. Whoever has the most water at the end wins.

water play activities for preschoolers

10. Water Limbo

Create a limbo “bar” with your water hose. Use your thumb to make the water shoot in a line. Have your preschooler try to go under the line (the traditional limbo move is fun, but you can also have them crawl, hop like a frog, go backwards, run under the line while spinning, etc.). Keep lowering the line for more fun. This builds gross motor skills and coordination.

11. Pool Noodle Race — A Pool Game

Your preschooler can play this game even if he needs to wear a Puddle Jumper or life vest in the pool. Have each player straddle a pool noodle and race from one point in the pool to another. This builds muscles, coordination, and gross motor skills, while also encouraging sportsmanship.

These fun water play activities for preschoolers will keep your child busy — and cool — all summer long!

At UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah, we believe children learn through play. Scientific observations are more meaningful, fine- and gross-motor skill activities are more impactful, and cause-and-effect hits home far stronger when children are having fun. Give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online for a tour of the preschool.

How to Take Your Preschooler to a Museum

Sure, you don’t have any reservations about taking your preschooler to a children’s museum. Those places are designed with kids in mind; every display screams “TOUCH ME! TOUCH ME WITH ALL OF YOUR BODY!”

But what about an art museum? Have you braved the quiet, still, cavernous rooms filled with priceless works of art, or are you telling yourself you’ll try an art museum visit when your kids are older?

You don’t need to wait until your child reaches a certain age or milestone to visit an art museum. In fact, your preschooler will get heaps of education and experience from the visual stimulation, interactions with you, and lessons in appropriate behavior in a museum right now.

Don’t put it off. Use these tips to make the experience at an art museum with your preschooler an enjoyable (and manner-filled) one for both of you.

Ahead of Time

A museum trip for anybody is made better by doing a little prep work, and when preschoolers are involved, the more you do ahead of time, the better your trip is likely to go.

Study up

Before you head to the museum, spend some time on its website so you can become familiar with the current exhibitions. This will help you know the highlights, and you’ll also see some pieces of art that might be of particular interest to your child.

Most importantly, you’ll know something about what you’re going to see. This will help you to point out interesting facts or images that relate to your child, keeping her engaged while at the museum.

Show Your Child

Show your child a little bit of what you’ve learned on the museum’s website. Print out a few images you know you’ll see and point out the shapes, colors, or other big ideas about the artwork. When your child sees the actual artwork in person, he’ll be thrilled he knows something about it.

Talk About Manners

The last thing you want is for your preschooler to run screaming through the museum, touching everything in her path. Have a brief conversation about museum manners. You can compare it to a library or church.

“When we go to the museum, we need to use our library voices and our quiet walking feet. This helps everyone to enjoy the art.”

At the Museum

So you’ve prepared. You know a thing or two about what you’re going to see, you’ve told your child about what to expect, and your child knows how to behave. How can you make sure all this works out to an enjoyable museum trip? You are attending the museum with an unpredictable preschooler, after all.

Play I Spy

Most children won’t give the paintings more than a cursory glance, unless someone shows them how to do it. Playing fun, interactive games with the paintings gets kids involved — and keeps them that way.

I Spy is a simple-enough way to get started. “I spy a yellow hat. I spy a gray animal.” Your child can point or quietly move to the painting once he spots the spied item. When he tells you what he spies, he’ll be examining the paintings even closer.

Copy the Poses

We can’t wait to try this great idea from My Kids’ Adventures. Have your child try to imitate a pose they see in a painting or sculpture. This not only helps kids wiggle in a place that is quite still, it keeps the kids looking at the paintings longer than they otherwise would. And they may notice quite a bit more than you expected.

Draw or Photograph the Art

If photography is allowed in the museum, your preschooler will be thrilled to take photos of her favorite pieces. You can even send her on a photo hunt, giving her specific items to look for in the paintings (an animal, a baby, something blue, something silly, someone sad, someone happy…)

If photography is not allowed, give your child a small sketchbook and a pencil. Ask him to sit on a bench in every other room and copy his favorite painting or sculpture.

Bring Something to Touch

how to take a preschooler to a museum

You know your preschooler may have trouble with the strict no-touch rule in the museum. Why not bring something your child can touch? If you’re going to an exhibition of ballerina paintings, bring some ballet shoes to hold. If you’re going to an exhibition of landscapes, perhaps a fake flower would be soothing to hold.

Time It Right

Head to the museum before the meltdowns of nap time and the hangry pangs of lunchtime. If you can get to the museum early, you’ll likely encounter fewer people, your child will be well-rested, and nobody will be screaming for a snack (yet). Plan on two hours as your maximum.

Be Flexible

Don’t expect to see everything. A preschooler’s attention won’t last all day. If you have a favorite painting you want to see, go there first. Be willing to take breaks when needed. Bring snacks (but head to the cafeteria or outside to eat them). It’s okay if you only see one exhibition or one floor. You don’t want to tire out and bore your child. You want to see just enough to keep your child interested and involved.

 

Bring It Home

how to take a preschooler to a museum

Keep talking about what you saw at the museum. If you were solo parenting at the museum, encourage your child to tell the other parent about her favorite painting, the silliest thing she saw, or the happiest or saddest thing she saw.

Do an art project that relates to something you saw.

Check out children’s books about museums from the library and look through them together.

Don’t be surprised if your preschooler remembers very little. It’s hard for him at this stage to articulate everything he experienced.

And don’t worry if your preschooler had a meltdown, didn’t love the museum, or tired out sooner than you thought she would. Not everyone is destined to love museums, but everyone can find something to enjoy. As you continue to keep art in your life, and continue to visit museums, your child’s enjoyment will grow.

At UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we know that art is a valuable tool for your child’s emotional well-being. It also refines visual perception and fine motor skills, increases creativity and imagination, and helps your child develop an appreciation of his surroundings. That’s why our students engage in art projects every single day, along with our seven other areas of focus. Call us for more information about our preschool program at (801) 523-5930.

These Sensory Activities for Preschoolers Help Your Child Develop in Countless Ways

Our senses are bombarded each and every day. Different sounds, sights, tastes, smells, and textures are everywhere. Most adults have learned how to handle this bombardment by tuning out the senses that aren’t necessary to what we’re doing. (But even still, we can experience sensory overload from time to time.)

Children, on the other hand, are still getting a handle on all the senses and experiences of their world. Remember how your preschooler put everything in her mouth as a baby? She no longer needs to explore every object in that way, but she’s still making sense (pun intended) of her world — and she’s using her senses to do that.

That’s why sensory play is so vital for a child’s development. Children need to have all senses engaged in play so they can come to understand how things work.

The Seven (Yes, Really!) Senses

You know about the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. But there are two more senses that a child needs to use and develop:

  • Body awareness (or proprioception), which refers to how we sense where our bodies are in space, and
  • Balance

When children engage in activities that put many of these seven senses to work, they are building on their problem-solving skills, social skills, language skills, and cognitive skills and growth.

What Is Sensory Play?

Sensory play is simply defined: It is an activity that stimulates some or all of the seven senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, body awareness, and balance.

But sensory play does so much more than just give your child the chance to experience the senses. As children stimulate their senses, they become familiar and comfortable with those senses. This helps them become more adaptable. For example, a small child may not be able to build with blocks while the window is open and cars are driving by. Over time, as the child engages in sensory play, he will learn to block out the noise so he can concentrate on his task.

Sensory play also helps children feel comfortable with things that may cause them anxiety. For example, a child may struggle with the feeling of a toothbrush inside her mouth. But as she plays with objects that have bristles, she can come to feel more comfortable with the texture of a toothbrush, and brushing teeth can become less scary over time.

The Many Benefits of Sensory Play

Sensory play benefits your child in a variety of ways, including:

  • The ability to complete complex learning tasks
  • Language development
  • Cognitive growth
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Fine motor development
  • Gross motor development
  • Social skills
  • Memory enhancement
  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Self-soothing skills

Sensory play is not just about touching play-dough and playing in rice bins (although, sensory play certainly is that!). It’s more than touch; it’s about involving all the senses.

Try these sensory activities for preschoolers at home.

Body Awareness Sensory Activity for Preschoolers

Body awareness helps us to do our every-day activities: feed ourselves, shower, get dressed, give somebody a hug. It helps us to avoid standing too closely to strangers, to be able to maneuver around obstacles in our path, and to do things like apply sunscreen on our face without applying too much pressure.

Give your child opportunities to move, move, move! Scooters, tricycles, balance bikes, roller skates, and more help your preschooler understand his body and where it is in space.

Some common household chores, like making the bed, carrying in groceries, and vacuuming, are perfect for building body awareness.

Fun body awareness sensory activities for preschoolers are:

  • hopscotch
  • jumping on the trampoline
  • making a snowman
  • pulling a wagon
  • playing clapping games
  • bouncing a ball against a wall
  • balloon volleyball
  • rolling down a hill

Think of ways you can add unique movement into ordinary activities. For example, you could have your child climb under the table for story time or to practice letters.

Balance Sensory Activities for Preschoolers

Surprisingly, balance is actually connected to your child’s learning process. If your child struggles to control his balance, things like sitting at the rug or in a chair become difficult. This makes focus more difficult to achieve, and learning becomes harder.

Give your child fun activities to learn balance:

  • Play leap frog
  • Do twist jumps and jumping jacks
  • Use chalk to draw shapes, and have your child jump from shape to shape
  • Hop or stand on one foot
  • Play Simon says
  • Walk on a “tight rope” (lay string or tape on the floor)
  • Play freeze tag

Sight Sensory Activities for Preschoolers

 

Teach your child to notice what she sees around her.

  • Put in ear plugs and go on a walk. After the walk, talk about what your child saw.
  • Make “binoculars” or a “spyglass” out of paper towel rolls, cups, and toilet paper rolls. Have your child act as a detective who is investigating or as a pirate who is searching for land. Talk about what your child sees through their devices.
  • Use a magnifying glass to get a closer look at insects, plants, and favorite toys.

Hearing Sensory Activities for Preschoolers

Help your child get a greater sense of hearing with these activities.

  • Blindfold your child (an old tie works great) and guide her across the room with your voice.
  • Similarly, blindfold your child and make noises around the room. Ask him to point to where you are. If you want to get really challenging, ask him to tell you what is making the noise. (Some ideas: open and close a door, play a piano key, zip and unzip a coat.)
  • Fill plastic eggs or solid jars (not see-through) with different items like marbles, rice, coins, or jelly beans. Let your preschooler shake the eggs or jars and guess what is inside. Talk about why the rice made a lighter sound than the marbles; why the coins sounded metallic, etc.

Taste Sensory Activities for Preschoolers

There is so much fun to be had when working on the sense of taste!

  • Serve foods from a different culture.
  • Serve meals your child can “build” himself. A taco bar, baked potato bar, build-your-own pizza, and more gives your child the chance to make his own taste choices. Ambitious children can taste new combinations while cautious children can choose foods that are comfortable to them.
  • Teach the four main tastes with taste bottles.
  • Conduct fun taste tests.
  • Let your child help with cooking (and sampling as you go).

Smell Sensory Activities for Preschoolers

Smell is a crucial sense to develop. It can help your child smell danger (like smoke) or determine if something is too spoiled to eat. It can help with the sense of taste, and it can bring happiness — smell is closely connected to many of our memories.

Touch Sensory Activities for Preschoolers

Children don’t really need an invitation to touch; they want to touch everything! These activities will give your child new textures to experience.

  • Use shaving cream or whipped cream for letter and name practice.

Create a sensory bin filled with beans, rice, sand, fake grass, or beads. Add small toys to be played with.

Visit a farm or a friend with a pet, and teach your child to gently touch the animals .

Read touch-and-feel books.

 

Plant a garden. Let your child get her hands dirty.

Play with slime or play-dough.

      

Snuggle with a favorite stuffed animal

  • . 

    No surprise here: cook or bake (again).

    sensory activities for preschoolers

 

 

 

 

 

Every day, you can find ways for your child to build awareness of her senses in the way she plays. At UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah, we believe in developing the whole child, and we know that sensory activities give your child a chance to develop in countless ways. That’s why we build sensory activities into everything we do. Give your child the gift of an enriching preschool education. Give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online for a tour of the preschool.

7 Ways to Teach Your Preschooler to Be Respectful

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me!” Respect does not come naturally to most children. As Aretha says, they have to find out what it means.

But for harmony to exist, it’s critical that we all know, understand, and use respect. Your preschooler is in the process of learning about respect for herself, for friends, for teachers, for parents, for possessions, for property, for other opinions, and so much more. Use these seven tips to teach respect to your preschooler.

Model Respect

teach respect

You tell your child he can have only one cookie because it’s important to not eat too much sugar. You then proceed to eat four cookies right in front of him, while he angrily counts each cookie that passes past your lips.

This isn’t fair, right? (And if you really did this, you wouldn’t be teaching a correct principle about sugar, either.) It’s the same with teaching respect. If you want your child to be respectful towards you, family members, pets, possessions, other people, and more, you also have to be respectful to your child and to those same people, animals, and possessions.

Make sure you use polite language when speaking to and about other people. Use polite language when speaking to your child. Take care of your possessions, and be gentle with your pets. And while it’s not reasonable to point out each respectful move you make, you can occasionally describe why you chose to use the words “please” and “thank you” at the store. Or why, even though you were in a hurry, you chose to let an elderly customer go ahead of you.

Expect Respect

Preschoolers are capable of being respectful, and when you expect it, they will learn to live up to that expectation. This doesn’t mean they’ll get it perfectly every time, and it doesn’t mean you should be unyielding in your expectations. It may take years for them to remember rules like saying “thank you” at a restaurant. Be patient, and keep expecting. Your gentle encouragement and praise (“I’m so impressed you remembered to say ‘please’ on your own!”) will help them learn to be respectful over time.

Identify

Is your child truly being disrespectful, or is she distracted? You may have asked her to tidy up the playroom, but she was busy trying to get batteries back into her favorite light-up toy as you gave your request. She didn’t hear you, so she continued fumbling with the batteries. To you, it may look like disrespectful ignoring. But before you get upset, look at her and identify why she isn’t being respectful to you.

It’s also possible that your child didn’t understand your instructions. When you asked him to go to his room, get his shoes and coat, and bring them back to you so you could help him put them on, he may not have understood the entire set of instructions. That’s a lot for a little one to retain. Make sure you’re giving simple, easy-to-follow instructions that aren’t hard to mess up.

Name Your Child’s Emotions

teach respect

Small children don’t always know what to do with their big feelings, so those feelings come out in hurtful words or actions. They might scream that they hate you, or they might hit a sibling or the cat. This is, of course, disrespectful, but keep in mind that these are huge opportunities for you to teach respect.

Instead of reacting in anger, name your child’s emotions. When you name your child’s emotions, they feel understood and secure. They also understand themselves better. They are then in a better position to hear gentle corrections.

For example, if your child throws a toy across the room when you ask her to wash her hands for dinner, you could say, “You’re upset because you were enjoying playing with your toys, and you don’t want to be interrupted.”

Once she hears that you understand — and she understands her own reaction — you can say, “Throwing toys is not the correct way to show that we’re upset, though. The toy could break, or it could break something else in the room.”

Your calm reaction will demonstrate to your child that it’s possible to be respectful even when we’re angry. It will also help your child to come down from her big emotions.

Role Play

teach respect

We all struggle with selfish feelings, and preschoolers are so new to the world that they definitely don’t have a handle on those feelings yet. That’s where role play comes in when you’re trying to teach respect. When you act out scenarios that require manners (not interrupting, saying “thank you,” being gentle with a friend’s toy), your child learns what it looks and feels like to be respectful. This makes it easier for her to rely on those learned skills when the time comes for her to be respectful “in the wild.”

Teach About Differences

A lot of the disrespect that exists in our world today stems from people who can’t handle different opinions, races, religions, and more. Start young, and teach your child about these differences. Teach respect by helping them see it’s okay to have differences, that everyone is special in their own way. Teach them to look for the similarities among the differences. This will help your child to avoid feeling threatened or angry about people who are different from her.

Be Kind When They Mess up

Everyone makes mistakes. As adults and parents, we all know that better than anyone else. Remember that your child is going to mess up — sometimes in big ways. If you fly off the handle, put your child down, or criticize him for being stupid, he will not learn from his mistakes; he’ll only learn to fear you. He also won’t learn respect.

If you can be understanding and speak respectfully to your child when they mess up, they will feel your love and will feel capable of doing better the next time. They’ll also feel respected, and will want to return that respect to others.

A note: Be kind to yourself when you mess up. You won’t do everything perfectly. Apologize to your child when you make mistakes, accept your child’s forgiveness, and forgive yourself.

You’re working hard to teach your child respect, and your efforts will pay off. At UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we support our parents’ tireless efforts by teaching the children to respect themselves, their friends, the items at preschool, people who are different, and so much more. For a tour of the preschool, give us a call at (801) 523-5930, or contact us online.

4 Ways We’re Teaching Preschoolers Responsibility & 4 Ways You Can Teach it at Home

teaching responsibility

Sometimes teaching responsibility can feel a little overwhelming because it’s such a, well, responsible thing to do.  Having a responsible child is a worthy pursuit and it doesn’t have to be hard. Here are four ways we’re teaching preschoolers responsibility at UDA Creative Arts Preschool, as well as some ideas to bring the lesson home.

1- Teaching Responsibility with Seeds

Gardeners and farmers are not the only ones who wonder at the magic of a seed.  How incredible–you can just put that little guy into the the black soil, and with some water and sunshine, voila!

teaching responsibilityBut these little plants are not the only things growing here!  Our preschoolers are not only loving their turns to water the seeds, they are learning how to nurture and be responsible for the growth of their little baby seedlings, as well as protecting our natural resources by not overwatering.

teaching responsibility

As you can see by our successful sprouts, our preschoolers have enjoyed their watering responsibilities.

Parents Can:

Plant a garden!  Bring this lesson home by providing plant seeds at home and helping your preschooler cultivate a vegetable or flower garden.

teaching responsibilityIf that’s too much, just give your child a pot and a seed and let them grow their plant in the house or on the back porch.  Giving your child the responsibility of watering (with your guidance, of course) will give your child a sense of pride as they watch the fruit of their labors blossom or become tonight’s salad.

2-Teaching Responsibility through Recycling

During Earth Week, we spent some time learning about our beautiful earth and how is is our responsibility to take care of it.  We sang about how we can reduce, reuse and recycle.

teaching responsibilityWhile reusing magazines and wood chips, we created our own paper and used it for our art projects the following week.

teaching responsibilityOne of our preschoolers was so excited he exclaimed, “Now that I know how to make paper, I can make it all the time!”

Parents Can:

Reduce, reuse and recycle starts at home.  Have your child collect all those loud crinkly grocery sacks after shopping into a special bag or box and your “Royal Recycle Regent” can officially deposit the bags in your local grocery store bag drop.  Don’t forget the fanfare!

teaching responsibility

Take it a step further and purchase reusable bags and let your preschooler help fold them and put them away after shopping, explaining how they are helping save the earth by reusing bags.

3-Teaching Responsibility with Animals

teaching responsibility

It took a lot of self control, but our kiddos mastered some responsibility by not touching our 4-day-old baby chicks because they were too little to be loved.

teaching responsibility

As the chicks got older, they cared for the chicks by making sure they had enough food and water and warmth from the heat lamp (and some gentle touches).  We discussed how all babies need someone to be responsible for them.  What would they do without a mommy or daddy to protect and provide for them?

teaching responsibility

We ventured further into the animal kingdom during zoo week.  Zoo keepers need to be very responsible.  What would happen to all those animals without a responsible zoo keeper?

Parents Can:

Not ready to teach life lessons with a dog?  As wonderful as pets are for teaching responsibility, not everyone is ready for that step.  That’s okay!  Your child can learn some life lessons in responsibility by taking on a pet insect.

teaching responsibility

A clear plastic cup and some dirt can be a great habitat for some worms, pill bugs, ants, or even a spider.  Help your child think of what your “pet” needs to survive and create a mini-habitat for them.  But remember, part of being responsible means allowing wild animals to live in the wild, so the responsible thing is to keep this pet temporarily.  (Bonus!)

4-Teaching Responsibility with Safety

teaching responsibility

Besides making conscious efforts to push in our chairs and clean up after ourselves to keep our classrooms safe for others, we trained and became certified cape-wearing “Super Safety Kids”!

teaching responsibility

We also discussed the importance of our community helpers who are responsible to keep our neighborhoods safe.

teaching responsibilityFor little preschool bodies, the excitement was hard to contain as the firefighters drove up in their trucks to show us their gear and teach us about the importance of fire safety.

teaching responsibility

teaching responsibility

Seeing the real firetruck made our role-play fire fighting activities come to life.

teaching responsibility

We recognize fire safety is not all fun and games, and we hope preschool parents will do their part to prevent fires and teach safety.   Be sure to see some of the tips below.

teaching responsibility

Police officers have gadgets too!  We loved peeking into our officer’s car and learning about how we can be responsible for our own safety.

teaching responsibility

Role playing is such an important activity to help preschoolers learn empathy and caring.   Our dramatic play station in full-swing caring and helping our fellow citizens.

teaching responsibility

Whether police officers, firefighters, first responders, or whomever the community helpers may be, we are grateful for so many wonderful people willing to assume the responsibility to keep our community a safe and happy place to be!  What would our world be like without them?

Parents Can:

We all pray it won’t happen to us, but just in case, the American Red Cross offers this checklist to educate your child and prevent fires.   Safety.com offers a few more ideas in this article. Take time to talk to your child about being responsible to prevent fires, and what to do in case one happens.  Practice a fire drill so your child knows what the fire alarms sound like in your home.

teaching responsibility

Keeping our children safe is a responsibility we all share.  This website offers some sound advice for caregivers teaching children safety.  Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for some additional resources on what to do to prepare for an emergency or a missing child situation.  A few of their tips include:

  • Teach children their full name, parent’s names, and phone number. Have this information written somewhere in case of a panic situation.
  • Even a preschooler can learn how to dial 911.  Teach your child how to use a phone and when it is appropriate to use it.
  • Have a trusted adult your child can call in an emergency.  Have your child memorize the number and have it available for babysitters.
  • Choose babysitters wisely and follow-up carefully after they’ve been with your child.
  • Set boundaries in your neighborhood with visible landmarks for your child.
  • Get to know your neighbors and make sure your child is informed on whom they may and may not visit.
  • Help your child understand that adults should not approach children, and if they do, to be careful because it could be a trick.
  • Never leave your child alone in a car.

 

Reading Suggestions for Teaching Responsibility:

As always, there are fabulous books out there to start the conversation about responsibility with your preschooler.  Here are a few we read with our classes:

  • Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
  • Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss
  • What if Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick
  • Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Chores by Jan & Mike Berenstain

Sometimes that lesson at home in responsibility takes a specific lesson on safety or practicing learning a phone number, but we hope that usually it’s just the extra little thing and the conversation that helps our preschoolers become responsible.  We sure love teaching preschoolers responsibility as these important life lessons really come to life.

Looking for a preschool?  Or even if you want to check out what our next learning adventures are, come visit us at an open house or schedule a tour of UDA Creative Arts Preschool by calling (801) 523-5930.

Written By: Elsje Denison