What activities develop gross and fine motor skills? Stacking blocks to make a tower, playing with puzzles, cutting out simple objects with child-size safety scissors, and playing with Play-Doh (rolling and squeezing it helps develop the muscles for handwriting) are very helpful. Parents can also teach a child to hold a pencil or crayon properly and to write his or her name.
Children’s language skills are developed by being read to (and answering questions during reading), drawing for fun, and being given two- and three-step sets of directions with encouragement to follow through. A parent can also teach a child to recognize the entire alphabet (both upper and lowercase letters) and know basic sounds associated with them.
How about social and emotional development? Playtime with peers develops these skills (as does playing board games in which the child learns to take turns and to lose graciously) as well as learning to clean up his or her toys after playing with them. In addition, allowing the child to be out of sight with a trusted adult for a few hours at a time, such as in Sunday school, helps develop these skills. Additionally, parents can encourage a child to calmly ask for help when he or she can’t find a solution to a problem.
Finally, activities such as the following enhance a child’s cognitive development: counting objects at home or on the road; finding various shapes and colors around him or her; sorting based on color, size, or shape; and creating coloring patterns such as blue/green/blue/green. Children can also learn to count to 20 and to recognize the numbers one through ten.
All of these activities through which children learn should take place in a stress-free and pleasurable way.
If you know of a family with a child this age, we would love to give them a tour of the Primary Center and provide more information about our half-day and whole-day programs. We are looking forward to meeting many new students during readiness screenings over the next few months!