Activities for Cognitive Development: Four to Five Years (page 3)
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.
About the Activity: Everyone notices different things in a painting or photograph. Talking about what you see enables someone else to see it in greater detail. This is a way of increasing observation skills.
How to Play: Select a painting, scenic photograph, drawing, picture from a book, or view from a window. Take turns pointing out something interesting that you see.
About the Activity: Parents spend a lot of time keeping children away from certain areas of the house. This is an opportunity to introduce your child to interesting parts of your house.
How to Play: Invite your child somewhere specific like to the kitchen, to your bedroom, into your closet, or near a set of shelves. Take turns discovering items. Name what you have found and tell how it is used. If your child does not know what he or she has found, explain it. In the kitchen you might go through utensils like spatulas and scoops. In the bedroom you might identify pillows, blankets, and drawers. Outside you might find all kinds of sticks and stones.
Building a Reading Vocabulary
About the Activity: Having reading as part of a game activity is one way to increase reading skills.
How to Play: Make your own game of directions to follow. For beginning readers, start with one word per card. As your child gets more advanced, increase to two words, then to three, and eventually to four. The table below shows examples that have proven to be successful.
Directions to Follow
|One Word||Two Words||Three Words||Four Words|
|Hop||Stand up||Tie your shoe||Sit in the chair|
|Jump||Sit down||Touch your toes||Turn on the light|
|Clap||Clap hands||Write your name||Pick up the paper|
|Walk||Bend down||Open the door||Color in the picture|
|Sing||Say hi||Close the window||Wrap up the present|
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