If we go by what Albert Einstein, the renowned physicist, has said, “Play is the highest form of research”…
… then, hands-on activities are a cornerstone for learning in nursery kids.
Many nursery, preschool, or early learning curricula value hands-on engagement as opposed to rote learning!
This is because each child has their manner of learning and exploration allows for practical learning, which in turn nurtures real-world application, long-term retention, and effective reinforcement.
How activities help nursery kids
Give your child some clay and watch them create different things with it. Perhaps, a snake, a rod, irregular shapes, and whatnots!
Now ask them to create shapes and you can see them create circles, triangles, rectangles, squares, and much more!
Unstructured play or structured play, there is an abundance of learning for children, especially for those below the age of 6.
Those formative years become an essential footstep for their future learning and quality of life.
Thus, activities for children in the nursery become a must.
So, let’s make this a hassle-free learning experience for your nursery kids at home with our list of activities.
We have created 20 activities that enable skill-based development and nurture your child’s innate curiosity through structured and unstructured activities!
Are you ready?
20 Must-Try Activities For Nursery Kids
1) Tracing shapes
How about using different household items to draw shapes and creating your canvas? A pencil box for rectangle, a cup for circle, or a stack of sticky notes for square!
Your child and you can choose different household objects to create shapes. Encourage your little one to finger-paint or use a writing tool to trace!
Skills explored: shape recognition, fine motor movements, cognition, imagination
2) Sort & make patterns
Cut out a few shapes of different colours and jumble them together. Encourage your child to first sort by colour and then by shape. Then, create different patterns using the shapes.
Skills explored: sorting, colour and shape recognition, grip, cognition, imagination
3) Squiggle away
Get ready for some colourful family time or children’s playtime! Keep some paints and sheets of paper ready. Here is how it goes: each person, one at a time, dips their finger in paint and draws a squiggle. At the end of it, you will have colourful squiggle art!
Skills explored: cooperative play, sensory, imagination, concentration
4) Scavenger hunt
Hide different things at places comfortable for your child. Call out a list of things they must collect. If your child is old enough to walk around independently, you can add multiple numbers of the same elements (2 apples, 4 biscuits, etc.)
Skills explored: Gross motor movement, cognition, association, memory retention
5) Connect the dots
Let’s give a twist to connect the dots. Make use of crayons or sketch pens of three different colours and make evenly spaced dots. Encourage your child to connect the dots by matching the colours. They can use a writing tool or finger-paint!
Skills explored: colour recognition, pre-writing, coordination, logical reasoning
6) Sort the letters
Let’s go on a rainbow language adventure! On a sheet of paper, draw the rainbow. Then, use the colours of the rainbow and write letters. Ask your child to identify the colours of the rainbow; sort and place the letters by colours! For children, who are yet to identify the letter, help them match by colours.
Skills explored: colour recognition, letter recognition, fine motor, coordination, association
7) Sponge stamping
Create a few number shapes using the sponge. Give your child some paints and sponge numbers. Ask them to stamp the numbers in random order on a sheet of paper. If your child can identify the numbers in order, encourage them to stamp the numerical order.
Skills explored: number recognition, hand-eye coordination, motor movements, concentration
8) Trace along
On a sheet of paper, draw different types of lines — straight, zigzag, wavy, etc. — comfortably spaced. Give your child some yarns of different colours and glue. Encourage them to stick on the lines. You can also try different patterns and shapes depending on your child’s age.
Skills explored: pre-writing, fine motor control, coordination, concentration, pattern recognition
9) Hurdle time
How about creating an obstacle course at home? You can make use of tape and yarn to make an imaginary support beam narrow enough for your child to walk on. Then, draw hopscotch to the course to enable jump, you can allow them to crawl under your table. Phew, it would be a gross motor exercise till the end! If your child is younger you can try out simpler ones like hopping or walking slowly!
Skills explored: gross motor, coordination, logical reasoning, grip control, concentration
10) Hand & feet painting
Sounds like a lot of paint & mess, doesn’t it? Give your child some paints and paper. Allow them to make prints using hands and feet. Once dry, they can create characters out of their prints! How about a hand-printed hen or foot-printed rabbit?
Skills explored: imagination, tactility, creativity, fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, gross motor
11) Hidden letters & numbers
On a chart or sheets of paper, write the letters using a white crayon. Give your child some diluted paint and encourage them to hand-paint or use a paintbrush and watch how the letters are revealed. You can try one letter at a time. If your child can identify the letter and its sounds, prompt them to call out. Then, try with the numbers
Skills explored: Letter recognition, number recognition, coordination, phonological awareness, fine motor
12) Make your music
How about using utensils, claps, box filled with dals to create different sounds? Stamp your feet to add some more music. Encourage your child to choose and play them as they wish. You can add instructions such as soft, loud, stop, etc.
Skills explored: listening, imagination, motor movements, creativity, concentration
13) Collage time
Collect different materials from home that your child can use to create a collage. Eg: Leaves, newspaper cuttings, crayons, pieces of cloth, beads, etc. Settle down with your child and create a collage on a sheet of paper. Glue away! Allow your child to guide you to create a collage, it will be a lot of fun!
Skills explored: Imagination, tactility, creativity, concentration, coordination
14) Freeze play
Play your child’s favourite songs and then suddenly pause it and call out “Freeze!” Would your little one love to try this? Include their friends or other family members and have fun! Vary the tempo!
Skills explored: gross motor movement, listening, coordination, observation
15) Snip time
One of the interesting aspects of using a pair of scissors is that fine motor movement is complex for a child. Based on your little one’s age, you can give them a pair of scissors to snip shapes or patterns. If your child is less than 3.5 years, it is ideal to let them use their fingers to tear and play.
Skills explored: fine motor movement, grip control, concentration, confidence
16) No fire cooking
Salads, sandwiches, and anything easy to make! Your child and you can choose the ingredients and make something yummy! Allow your child to explore the textures of different ingredients! Careful with the chillies and spices!
Skills explored: sensory, logical reasoning, fine motor, coordination
Time to stretch and relax! Pick out simple asanas and do them with your child! Allow them to try at their pace. You can create interesting flash cards along with your little one.
Skills explored: gross motor movement, observation, coordination, association
18) Smell & guess
You can make use of handkerchiefs or small cloth bags. Fill them with different elements separately. You can choose elements based on your child’s age. Encourage them to smell and identify. Allow them to close their eyes and smell each one; help them describe.
Skills explored: sensory, vocabulary, concentration, cognition
19) Fingerprint numbers
Let’s dip the fingers in paint and fill the numbers with colours. Write one number at a time, depending on your child’s age you can include the numbers they are learning to recognise. Write a number in a manner to fill an entire page. Encourage your child to dip their finger in paint and create finger-prints on the number written.
Skills explored: pattern recognition, number identification, coordination, sensory
RELATED: 9 Easy Ways To Enable Early Numeracy [The Complete Guide]
20) Word families
If your child is old enough to explore CVC words then this is a fun activity. Write two sets of consonants and 1 set of vowels on squared chits of paper. Give your child a vowel-consonant ending (rime) and encourage them to form words that rhyme by replacing the beginning letter. Eg: -ot: cot, dot, got, hot, etc. If your child is younger, you help them form letters using chits of paper.
Skills explored: letter recognition, vocabulary, phonological exploration, association
To conclude: Activities for nursery kids are integral
Activity-based learning goes a long way in reinforcing everyday concepts for children.
As they explore multiple times through independent exploration or structured play, they comprehend complex concepts in a simpler manner.
For example, as they stamp using a sponge or finger-print, they gain an understanding of numbers and their patterns.
More importantly, the skill development required for life is learnt through hands-on engagement.
Like many other curricula, Flintoclass@HOME is also based on intense research on early childhood and is hence child-centric.
It is a hybrid preschool curriculum, which has its inspirations from Waldorf, John Dewey, Multiple Intelligence, and Playway methodologies.
Through hands-on engagement and a digitally minimal approach, a child gains the necessary engagement through scaffolded learning and parent-child engagement.
In a sense, a child learns through play! So how about giving it a try?