Activities for Cognitive Development: Four to Five Years
The jump here is to the "Why?" and "How?" stage. During this last year of developmental learning, your inquisitive child will seek information from you daily. Whenever possible, be there to explain what is going on, how things work, and the reasons for many different rules and regulations. During this transition time, have fun as you expose your child to as many concepts as possible including colors, letters, numbers, shapes, and reading. Introduce them all through play, repetition, and explanation. Be careful to avoid anything that resembles drill and practice. Facilitate what we call emergent literacy and emergent numeracy, a major part of the gradual process of school readiness.
About the Activity: Now that your child is asking you questions, you can ask yours as well. Yours will serve to tune your child's already inquisitive mind.
How to Play: Here are some wonderful sample questions:
- Who is in your family, in your neighborhood?
- Who are your friends?
- What can walk, talk, eat, sleep, breathe, fly, sit, stand, hear, think, drive?
- Where do you live and go to school?
- When do you eat, sleep, play, work, and travel?
- Why do you become happy, sad, tired, angry, or scared?
- Which one is the biggest, smallest, softest, hardest, cutest, happiest, and funniest?
About the Activity: An important skill connected with being a good reader is the ability to visualize. Visualizing when being read to out loud provides excellent practice.
How to Play: Look through different children's books until you find one with many descriptive paragraphs. Read to your child one paragraph at a time, and after each, ask your child to draw the picture it brings to mind. If ability appropriate, ask your child to read a paragraph for you to draw. Take turns reading aloud and drawing the pictures as long as you are both enjoying the activity. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is a good example of a book that can be used for this purpose. Another example is The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper.
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