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Learning skills with vehicles and figures

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A great way to spend time with preschool children is playing with them on the floor. If it is difficult to get on the floor and get up again (common), sit at a table or snack bar that is set up for play time. Everyone can sit and be about the same eye level. These areas can stay set up and be out of the way. Studies show that when adults are on the same level instead of towering over them, children interact better and do more talking.

You will need supplies from around the house to make a scene that has mountains, hills, pretend rivers, roads, and a city. You can make a scene on Earth or an imaginary place and act out adventures together.

Preparing for Adventure

Explain to children that you are going to design an imaginary or real scene with geographic features and then create adventures with action figures and small cars, trucks, airplanes and spaceships.

Gather a large smooth blanket or several small rugs that allow little vehicles to move easily. Then find boots, shoes, boxes, or towels and stuff them under the blanket to create mountains, hills, and valleys. If you have blue colored paper you can create some lakes. Blue painter’s tape and masking tape can be rivers, roads, and paths. Mega blocks, Lego blocks or little boxes can be used to build buildings, bridges, playgrounds, castles, and space stations. Small cards can be decorated for signs on buildings or roads. Cotton balls and pillow stuffing are boulders or snow that block roads and must be cleared during rescue missions.

If you are staying on Earth you can make list and build familiar city buildings your children visit with you such as gas stations, grocery stores, other stores, libraries, museums, restaurants, and houses. If children enjoy castles or outer space you can design historic or imaginary worlds.

Acting out Adventure

Have your preschool children seen an adventure movie or listened to story books that they act out? There are dozens of old and new movie releases or cartoons based on favorite stories. There are also library book versions. There is a new interest in mythology through the Percy Jackson and related series. Space adventures and princess stories are also popular. They all have a common thread of a bit of drama, solving problems, heroes, and happy solutions.

Children can also have adventures acting out an ordinary day of economics of buying and selling, providing goods and services, or police, fire fighter, and rescuers   saving others in their hometown.

During this playtime you are teaching vocabulary, geography, cooperation, discussion, and solving problems while having fun together.

Esther Macalady is a retired teacher living in Golden. For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com andwnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons.

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