Purposeful activities now take on a new spin-creativity and the arts. This is a great time to introduce art, music, dance, and drama and watch your child grow in all of them. For children who have talent in one or more of these areas, you are likely to notice it. If you do, do whatever you can to help this talent to flourish. Many adults who are accomplished in the arts trace their introduction to the field to this time from 4 to 5 years. Some even had related experiences as early as age 3. Another advance in this last year before kindergarten is the beginning of cooperative play. This is made possible by a greater sense of self-awareness. This self-awareness, combined with a stronger feeling of self-worth, is exactly what gives your child more comfort in spending a little more time with others and a little less time with you. If there were an ideal time to start preschool, this would probably be it.
About the Activity: Producing an artistic product represents self-expression. Demonstrating originality and experimenting are part of the process.
How to Play: Select some materials for an art project. Here are some suggestions:
- Paper plates with crayons
- Construction paper, scissors, paste or glue sticks, and colorful magazines
- Plain paper and play dough
- Plastic containers and markers
- Paper, paint, paint brushes, and water
- Dark construction paper and chalk
- Paper, wallpaper samples, wrapping paper pieces, and paste or glue sticks
Try to make positive comments about aspects of your child's art, and be careful not to set creative limitations.
About the Activity: It is fun to sing songs.
How to Play: Sing any childhood songs you may remember. Well-known and successful ones are: "The Wheels on the Bus," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "The ABC Song," "The Ten Little Fingers," and "If You're Happy and You Know It." There are many, many more. Sing together. Take turns with your child choosing songs to sing. Hap Palmer, Rafi, Mr. AI, Bill Janiak, and Mary Ann Harman (known as Music With Mar) are all available in many specialty educational stores and in some bookstores and libraries.
About the Activity: Moving to music will be great fun for you and your child.
How to Play: Turn on a CD, tape, or the radio for music. Have fun dancing.
About the Activity: You and your child can easily make puppets for this activity. Provided with the right materials, you will both know exactly how to create them and exactly how to use them. You can participate to whatever extent comes naturally.
How to Play: Gather up as many of these materials as possible: wooden spoons, flat wooden sticks, tongue depressors, gloves, mittens, glue sticks, scissors, magazines, construction paper, crayons, yam, fabric store eyes, unsharpened pencils, markers, and more. Then sit back, relax, and create.
About the Activity: Costumes and simulated play areas are great for your child and any friends who might be around.
How to Play: Set up as many creative play areas as you have groups of props. Here are some tried and tested ideas that you can set up easily:
- A restaurant with a table and chairs and items like plastic cups, plates, and silverware, aprons, menus, a sign, tablecloth, place mats, napkins, a play telephone, and any other equipment you find.
- A doctor's office with a bed or cot and items like a large white shirt, gauze, cotton, plastic bandages, a play telephone, and a play doctor's bag.
- A beauty salon with a big easy chair and other items like rollers, washbasin, comb, brush, pretend scissors, apron, towel, empty plastic shampoo and conditioner containers, magazines, a play telephone, and a mirror.
Other play area suggestions are a school, business office, and a theater.
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