Tag Archives: pretend play

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Move Like You Feel” Active Movement Game for Preschoolers

I have a family fitness background and I have a son who is a major sensory seeker. Any time we can add movement into a learning activity, we do!

We’re wrapped up a preschool feelings unit this week (watch for that post next week!), and I created this simple movement mimicking activity to accompany our emotions-themed activities this week.

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Move Like You Feel” Movement Game

This activity allowed my son to differentiate his movements to pretend acting out these emotions. My son has multiple special needs, and, though he can distinguish many emotions, he can’t really copy them himself unless he’s actually feeling them.

To help him be able to model different emotions, we used this game to incorporate big motor movements he could associate with each feeling.

How to Play

Just have enough space to move a bit. Classroom teachers can use this activity with a little space in between desks, in a reading around, or outside.

Optional: You can also have a photo-filled feelings book in hand to help, like Lots of Feelings by Shelley Rotner.

The first round, I talked the kids through each emotion and modeled how we can move to act out that emotion. In the second and third rounds, I suggest trying to see if the kids remember each movement when you call out each emotion. Play 3-5 rounds for a total of roughly 10 minutes (just enough to get some wiggles out and get hearts pumping!).

Modification: If you’re using this activity with advanced preschoolers or early elementary ages, you can ask the kids to create their own movements!

Emotion Movements

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Sad” – moving low and slow

Here are the movements and emotions we used:

  • Happy – move bouncy and smiling, with a march
  • Sad – move low and slow
  • Excited – jump!
  • Frustrated – move tight and stomping
  • Tired – crawl on hands and knees
  • Nervous – move on tiptoes very cautiously
  • Silly – silly dancing!
Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Frustrated” – stomping

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Tired” – crawling on hands and knees slowly

We completed each movement for 30-60 seconds. We stopped at just these seven emotions for our first go-round. I hope to add a few more about my son is able to express when he feels these seven emotions with more frequency.

Modification for special needs: We signed each emotion first. I also suggest either showing a picture of each emotion or having a chart of emotions and first asking the kids to point out which emotion you call out. Then complete the movement.

Since playing this game, my son has already expressed “tired” and “happy” (yay!) and my daughter has talked about “nervous.” We might need to play this game once a week or so!

I shared our whole preschool feelings unit here, including the books and activities we used.

Feelings and Emotions Unit for Preschool - including activities, book recommendations, and resources! {undergodsmightyhand.com}

If you’re looking for a song about emotions, we love the “feelings song” from this episode of Signing Time. It’s good for dancing, too!

How do you help your kids learn to express different emotions?

This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share SaturdayFree Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.

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Pretend Play Activities for Spot's Snowy Day at LibraryAdventure.com

Book-based Snowy Day Activity

Need an activity to go along with your favorite snowy day book?  Pretend Play Activities for Spot's Snowy Day at LibraryAdventure.com

Come visit The Library Adventure today! I’m sharing some pretend play ideas we incorporated with Spot’s Snowy Day by Eric Hill.

You can use this same method I share in the post with many of your favorite picture books.

See you at The Library Adventure!

 

This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share SaturdayFree Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.

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8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the picture book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman} - undergodsmightyhand.com

8 Pretend Play Ideas {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}

I’m usually on a search for ways to help my fella with special needs and his sister gain ideas and opportunities for pretend play.

My son is drawn to activities completed in conjunction with books we’re reading.

We’re particularly fond of Ame Dyckman’s picture books. When Boy +Bot came out, we reread it so often, I created a preschool robot unit using it. Boy + Bot is still regularly pulled off the shelf for rereads.

Just a few weeks ago, Ame Dyckman’s second picture book released, Tea Party Rules. It’s just as clever and fun to read as Boy + Bot.

And, it’s full of ideas for pretend play with a friend! So, of course, I had to make a little mini-unit out of it.

Read this post for reasons why pretend play is so important, plus general ideas for pretend play (including tips for special needs).

Continue reading below for more specific ideas for pretend play for preschoolers and early elementary ages.

8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the picture book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman} - undergodsmightyhand.com

8 Pretend Play Ideas for Anytime {but especially for accompanying Tea Party Rules}

  • Bathe stuffed animals and dolls. Often my baby girl wants to grab a wipe and wipe down her baby’s mouth, nose, hands, and feet. If your child needs a little more enticing to pretend play or is a sensory seeker, try giving a doll or stuffed animal a full bath in a small dishpan or tub. (Just use an animal that’s okay to get wet!)
    8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}
  • Dress up animals or dolls. Pretending to dress up a doll practices real-world play and life skills, motor coordination, and controlling strength when taking care to “dress” a toy.
    8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}
  • Dress up self. I’m not sure if most toddlers and preschoolers begin this way, but my kids pretend played with toys first before they began pretending with themselves being a character. I have a bin on a bottom shelf of one bookcase that remains filled with pretend play props. From fireman hats to costumes and old shirts to bags and even a broken iPad case, these props allow for open-ended pretend play.
    8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}
  • Play a simple command game. This was one of the first games my son directed on his own. Begin with a few simple commands (like “march,” “freeze,” “dance,” “jump”) and let your kids decide when to switch and what order to use those commands. While using less “pretending” than other games, it’s a great “first” pretend play game to practice making decisions during game play.
  • Act out a scene from a favorite book or show. This is currently one of my son’s favorite methods of pretend play. He loves to act out scenes from a favorite book (like Bathtime for Biscuit or Tea Party Rules) or a favorite Signing Time episode.
  • Pick a few items or pieces of equipment and create a game! This idea may suit elementary ages better, but preschoolers can play along with older siblings or friends. I explain one way to “create-a-game” in this post at The Homeschool Village, and you can modify it to fit your needs.
  • Let your friend pick his or her favorite game. My daughter will create a game and my son will join in. Other times, my son begins playing, and my daughter joins in, adding her own twist. I love seeing their unique ways of playing and how they take turns coming up with the game.
  • Have a tea party (or any other kind of pretend party)! No reading of Tea Party Rules would be complete without a tea party! Ame sent some awesome {pretend} cookies our way (thanks, Ame!), and we’ve put them to good use.

8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}

8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}

We even invited Cub! He’s really good at sharing.

8 Pretend Play Ideas for preschoolers and early elementary {featuring the book Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman}

If you want more ideas on encouraging creative play in general, check out this post.

How do you encourage pretend play with your preschoolers? Have you read Tea Party Rules yet?

This post was featured at Teaching Mama’s at the Toddler and Preschool Pinning Party!

This post is also linked up with The Homeschool Village’s Ultimate Homeschool Link-UpHomeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share Saturday, and Free Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party.

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5 Ideas to Encourage Open-Ended Creative Play in Preschoolers

5 Ideas to Encourage Open-Ended Creative Play in Preschoolers

Most preschoolers naturally learn to play in creative ways.

But, in some cases in our culture today, preschoolers either have limited creative play time or quickly lose the skill to “create.” I love technology and experience several benefits from it. But, with abundance of technology in our culture today with screens, TV, and regular direction in schools and organized activities, kids have lost some of the ability to play creatively without constant direction.

As a former public school teacher, I hover on giving too much constant direction to my own kids. We were taught to be as specific and frequent in our feedback and guidance as possible.

While I still agree that specific feedback helps, I actually have to make myself stop offering constant guidance in some activities so my kids can just create.

Benefits of Creative Play

Being able to play creatively boosts numerous skills, including:

  • social skills,
  • contextual intelligence,
  • fine motor skills,
  • problem solving,
  • intrinsic motivation, and more.

5 Ideas to Encourage Open-Ended Creative Play in Preschoolers

5 Ideas to Encourage Creative Play

  • Keep crafting and play supplies easily accessible. We’ve talked about encouraging pretend play on this blog before. I consider creative play to be a broader term and “pretend play” to be one type of creative play. Creative play is any open-ended play where the participants are creating rules and changing play without constant guidance from a “teacher” figure. Since I need practice myself, keeping supplies as easily accessible as possible makes it much more likely I can (and will) set up opportunities for the kids to employ creativity. Check out this post on how I keep craft supplies organized and this post on organizing to allow for creative exercise play. Sensory bins also allow for creative play.
  • Felt Activities – Some friends made a felt board for us, and we love it. You can find many felt learning activities online and I have some felt activities on my Home Preschool – Activities and Crafts Pinterest board. Choose felt activities that have more than one way to play. This night sky felt play activity from Fantastic Fun and Learning can be used in specific learning activities and for open-ended play.
  • International Dot Day. I’m super excited about joining this celebration this year. Peter Reynolds writes some of our favorite picture books (Ish is fantastic!) “International Dot Day” celebrates creativity and the truth that all kids (and adults) are creative in their own ways. Joining in is simple: Read The Dot by Peter Reynolds, then allow your kids opportunity to create their own mark! You can use various mediums and the dots can take numerous forms. We practiced this week, and my kids loved making their own dot designs with Do-A-Dot markers.

    Celebrating International Dot Day - 5 Ideas to Encourage Open-Ended Creative Play with Preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

    I gave them materials and asked them to create dots, and let them create as they desired without even so much as “put some dots on this side of the paper, too” from me.

    Celebrating International Dot Day - 5 Ideas to Encourage Open-Ended Creative Play with Preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

    “International Dot Day” is September 15th. Learn more here.

  • Give time. We need structured activities to help promote specific skills, especially for my son with special needs. But, I also aim to give at least 2 hours of free play to my kids everyday. (Usually it’s much more than that.) When they play on their own, they come up with some great mini-games together! A bonus: the abundant amount of giggles and sharing produced by their creative play.
  • Ask questions that require decision-making. With young children, sometimes a few questions requiring response help boost creative play. If your kids begin making up a game, join in. Ask questions that require them to make up the next step, like “So when I get the ball, what do I do next?” The kids are still creating, and you’re just providing more opportunities to create. 

How do you encourage creative play with your preschoolers?

 ——————————————–

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Looking for more resources for preschool learning? You might like this week’s Bundle of the Week!
Bundle #37: Preschool Learning

This week’s bundle is designed for parents of preschoolers! Whether you’re looking for informal learning activities or more structured curricula, this collection includes inspiration for learning activities you can do at home with your preschooler, tons of great printables and an 80-minute audio recording to encourage you during these early years.

Get all five of these ebooks for 80% off this week only:

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This post is also linked up with The Homeschool Village’s Ultimate Homeschool Link-UpHomeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsTender Moments with Toddlers and Preschoolers, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share Saturday, and Free Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party.

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Summer Sensory Box and Activities via Under God's Mighty Hand

Summer Sensory Box and Activities

A few months ago, I posted about our Spring Sensory Box and some reasons why my sensory-seeker needs time for both structured sensory play and pretend play.

Now that we’ve moved into the summer season (in this hemisphere), it’s time for our summer sensory box!

Summer Sensory Box and Activities via Under God's Mighty Hand

Summer Sensory Box

Summer Sensory Box and Activities via Under God's Mighty Hand

What’s in Our Summer Sensory Box:

  • Sand (a great base for sensory play)
  • Toy dump truck (that really dumps! It’s the perfect size for this box. $1.50 on sale at Target)
  • Small shovel (when you wait until halfway through the season, the sand toys go on sale! This one was just $0.84 at Taret.)
  • Small sand rake ($0.84 at Target)
  • Small toy tree (I can’t remember the price, but it was at AC Moore)
  • Set of two funnels (a great last-minute additional – only $1 for the 2-pack at Target!)
  • Small sand bucket ($1 at Target)
  • Small toy duck ($1 at AC Moore)
  • Small toy turtle (this was my splurge item – with a 50% off coupon at AC Moore, it was $2.50) Summer Sensory Box and Activities via Under God's Mighty Hand
  • Large bin (I used a 16-quart one here – these go on sale semi-regularly at Target, too)

*I wanted this box to be more than just a beach box, so I included other items to make it summer-y, whether or not that includes the beach. (Love beach play, but just wanted this one to be more about the season!)

Activities for a Summer Sensory Box

Pretend play:

-Scoop and pour sand into the dump truck, then dump that sand elsewhere in the bin!

Summer Sensory Box and Activities via Under God's Mighty Hand

-Pretend to “plant” the tree in the ground. This was the main reason why I wanted to get a toy tree. This simple pretend play involves digging, fine motor control, and spreading the sand back around the tree base to keep it upright.

Summer Sensory Box and Activities via Under God's Mighty Hand

-Pretend play with the duck and turtle learning to live in this new habitat. (Hah!)
-If you decide to add water, you can build sand castles, too.

Categorizing:

Ask your child to:

  • Find all the tools.
  • Find all the animals.
  • Find anything living (trees and animals).
  • Find something that has a motor (the dump truck).
  • Find the objects that are more square-ish in shape, and the ones that are more circular.

Fine Motor Skills:

-Scoop sand
-Pour sand!  Summer Sensory Box and Activities via Under God's Mighty Hand

-Build with sand
-Dig in the sand
-Learn how the funnel works if you scoop, then keep the funnel positioned vertically.

Summer Sensory Box and Activities via Under God's Mighty Hand

-Scooping and pouring! (a theme in sensory boxes, right?)

Math:

-Count how many scoops it takes to fill up a small sand bucket.
-Count how many dump truck loads it takes to fill up the bucket.
-Count how many scoops of sand it takes to cover the turtle or duck.
-Introduce words like “increase” and “decrease” when filling objects with sand.

Speech:

  • Model and make animal sounds.
  • Practice and label common words and signs (“sand,” “turtle,” “tree”).
  • Introduce new vocabulary, both nouns and verbs (“scoop,” “plant,” “funnel”). 

Other Activities:

-If you have toy cars, they can make a racetrack or town roads in the sand for more pretend play.
-As with our Spring Sensory box, we work on sharing and taking turns when both kids play at the same time.

*Since this box also has small materials, we only use this sensory box when a parent is present to watch over (and play with!) the kids.

Looking for other seasons? Check out my Spring Sensory Box here, and be on the lookout for a Fall box coming in a few months!

What would you add to a Summer sensory box? What kinds of skills do you include in sensory box play? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

This post is also linked up with The Homeschool Village’s Ultimate Homeschool Link-UpHomeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsHearts for Home linkupTender Moments with Toddlers and Preschoolers, and the Weekly Kids Co-op.

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