Developing Art Skills in Preschoolers

Making art is a joyful process for kids but it goes beyond that to develop a range of skills. Art serves as the gateway to writing as it prepares kids to hold pencils, recognize shapes and symbols, and recreate them using controlled movements.

This apart, art develops creativity and imagination in young children and allows them to relate to the environment through their senses and observation. Better fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination are other benefits. They also learn about cause and effect.

By the time your little ones get to preschool and prepare to step up to kindergarten, they must be familiar with a variety of art materials.

Colors!

Preschoolers should be able to recognize primary colors. You can teach this with the help of preschool games online and picture storybooks that use bright colors and simple shapes that appeal to young kids. Kids can be asked to name the color that you point at.

ArtArt!” by Angie Garrett is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Tools of the Trade

Children should be given crayons, thick chalk pieces and markers that will allow them to practice their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. They can have free rein with their coloring tools as they learn to use them. You can tape plain sheets on a table or large brown paper on the walls so that it is easy for kids to express their artistic voices with ease as they turn into graffiti artists. The chalk pieces can be used to scrawl on sidewalks or the driveway. Play dough is another way in which they can exercise their fine motor skills and create fun stuff.

Kids can graduate to using pencils and paint brushes. They are also ready to use child-safe scissors and glue. This can be turned into a combined activity. Kids can draw and paint on a sheet of paper, snip it into smaller pieces and glue them on to another sheet to create a piece of art!

Chalkartchalkart2” by nugent is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Scribble Scribble

By the time kids get to preschool, they will move beyond illegible scribbles. While one of the first shapes they will learn is a circle before they move on to creating lines. Preschoolers will also start creating symbolic drawings like people and will be able to express what it is that they are drawing. This indicates that their thinking skills are developing. This is also the time when they begin practicing letters.

 Art Day

art day” by jlib is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sensory Art

Preschoolers will enjoy working with different kinds of art and mixing up different material. Finger painting, using cut vegetables dipped in paint to make prints, and drawing on textured surfaces can all be exciting for a preschooler. Again, this kind of experimentation will expand their imagination. They learn what happens when they mix colors or try to color the surface of a coin with a crayon.

Watercolours

WP_20140214_11_18_03_Pro” by Gina Lee Kim is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By practicing art as a process and as play, preschoolers can reap its benefits!

3 Fun Kids Online Games that Comply with COPPA

Your child probably spends a significant chunk of his time playing online games – do you know anything about them? Are they suitable for kids? Do they have any educational content? How do they rate for violent or sexually explicit content? Do they safeguard their young players’ privacy? Most parents have legitimate concerns about all of the above issues – that’s why we put together a list of kids’ online games that comply with COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.)

This federal law regulates the online collection of personal information of children aged 13 or below; spells out what websites must include in their privacy policy; details the safety and privacy responsibilities of website operators and specifies instances where parental or guardian consent is mandatory for allowing children 13 and below to use the site.

Here’s a list of COPPA-compliant kids online games your child will love!

Kids with LaptopKids heart OLPC (no matter what the critics say)” by Tim and Selena Middleton, licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

JumpStart

Developed by – Knowledge Adventure

Price – Free, but subscriptions / memberships available

Let your little one embark on a great interactive learning adventure with award-winning games that combine fun and education in equal measure! The site is designed for kids aged 3 – 12 and offers a safe and controlled environment where kids can learn the alphabet, polish their math skills and master science concepts in addition to many other school subjects. Players get an online avatar (known as a Jumpee) that can be completely customized and that accompanies them on their online adventures. Your Jumpee not only plays games, it can also interact with other online players, though this is entirely optional.

NASA Kids’ Club

Developed by – NASA Education

Price – Free

Now, kids can explore the mysteries of outer space from the comfort of their own room. They can also get real info about current space missions, look at NASA photographs, name asteroids, play games in a clubhouse and move into the final space frontier with Angry Birds. All the pages on the site are user-friendly and easily navigable – your child can quickly find what he’s looking for, from the easiest games (level 1) to the most difficult ones (level 5.)

Club Penguin

Developed by: Club Penguin Entertainment

Price: Free, but subscriptions / memberships available

This is a popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) where kids can pick a cartoon penguin avatar and explore a virtual world set in a winter wonderland. Players can choose from the wide range of mini-games to earn coins and use them to buy stuff from the Club Penguin virtual store. With a free membership you can play a limited version of the game or purchase a subscription to get unlimited access.

If you’ve stumbled upon other great COPPA-compliant kids’ online games, I’d love to hear from you!

Things to keep in mind while teaching a preschooler

There are some unspoken rules that come with the territory of being a preschool teacher. During your teacher training, you are given advice on how to deal with students but it’s not until you get to the actual teaching that you learn how to use these tricks. While each class is different and each bunch of students presents a different challenge, here are something’s you need to keep in mind while dealing with a preschooler.

  1. Keep it simple – The shorter your instructions, the better it will be retained. Don’t use complicated words; don’t even think of tackling complicated techniques without breaking them down to ‘baby steps’.
  2. Make yourself the most interesting thing in the room. A toddler’s attention is always wavering and goes to one of most interest to them at that time. If you, as a teacher, can’t keep their attention, you’re doomed!
  3. Plan your class in a way in which you have short bursts of activity in between lessons. Children have boundless energy and if not given the right channel of expression, they will get distracted and we all know how distraction spreads. If you have no hands on activity related to your lesson, just do a quick energizer like ‘Simon Says’
  4. Include lots and lots of action songs and stories in your teaching technique. You can’t go wrong there. You will be surprised how easily they remember song lyrics or plot lines and how much they struggle to recall what you think is a simple concept.
  5. Give them chores and responsibilities. Have a day leader and watch how carefully they play that role – be it handing out lunch boxes or distributing crayons.