3 Great Stations for Preschoolers and Toddlers

Keeping children engaged in tasks for longer than 10 minutes, can seem like an impossible feat especially if the children are aged between 2 and 5 years old. In this latest blog I look at 3 great stations that parents and educators can set up that are inexpensive, quick and do not require a whole lot of thought.

These stations focus on pre literacy and numeracy concepts in a play setting. Children learn new concepts through investigation, trial and error and by just experimenting. I have used all 3 of these stations at my home with my 2 and 4 year old and they continue to love it each time I set it up. What a 2 year old will learn from the station will be different from what the 4 year old will learn. It is a perfect activity that allows a variety of age groups to work at the same task.




Station 1 : Water Pouring Station

imgres-3Children will learn about quantities (half full, empty, full, overflowing), the technique of pouring, how containers hold different amounts of liquids and how we can use tools, like funnels to assist in pouring liquids from one container to the next. As a parent or educator it is important for the child to lead this play. You can assist with asking them questions or guiding them to try different things. It is important for the adult to model great sentences when playing with the child in order for the child to build their own vocabulary and experiment by using these new words in their own sentences. For example - “I filled the container all the way to the top”, “This container holds more water than that container”

What you need for this station: A variety of containers (different shapes and sizes), measuring cups, water (can be coloured), medicine droppers, funnels.

Station 2 : Scooping Station

2cc03f6322933824f08c83451400b725This station continues developing the concept of space by using dry ingredients. Children will learn about the capacity of different containers and the technique of scooping. This station will also develop their sensory skills by incorporating a variety of dry ingredients that have different textures. As with the station above, allow the child to lead, but the adult can point out things to the child or simply play next to them so they can observe what the adult is doing.

What you need for this station: dry ingredients (rice, flour, dried peas/corn kernels, sugar, pasta, cereal, icing sugar, salt etc), variety of containers, different size scoops (washing powder scoop, measuring cup, measuring spoons)




Station 3 : Gardening Station

76af339b0226249c36f87c19f557a706This station is a very messy station but well worth it for a child’s development. You could give the child a variety of gardening tools, soil, seeds, pots, plants and vegetables to experiment with. This is a great time to share the lifecycle of a plant with your child. This station may even develop into a herb or vegetable garden. The possibilities are endless.

I hope these 3 stations have given you some inspiration to set up one in your classroom or home. Next week we will focus on another 3 stations that aim to foster pre literacy and pre numeracy skills. If you found this blog to be helpful please share to spread the word about the exciting things happening at CREATING A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.

Until next time …

Kelly Pisani

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10 Free Boredom Busters for School Holidays

School holidays has come upon us again and there are parents everywhere looking for some inspiration for ideas to keep their children entertained that wont break the budget yet still are engaging. Look no further than the latest blog from CREATING A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.

Welcome to my newest blog “10 Free Boredom Busters for School Holidays”. I draw my inspiration this week from the famous saying “the best things in life are free”. I have collated 10 great inexpensive activities that will keep your children occupied for hours. All have a great educational benefit as well.

Below are two ideas for organising these 10 boredom busters which will be easy to do in any household.

School holidays activity chart

boredom-busters-fridgeHave all the activities written out in categories. Next to the chart have a holiday calendar with all the days written. Get the children to allocate the activities on particular days. Fill in all the day trips that you have organised as well so the children will know ahead of time their schedule for each day. This will prevent your children constantly asking you what will be happening on each day.

Boredom busters jar

imgresWrite all the activities on single pieces of paper and put them in the boredom busters jar. Each day your children can select one activity to complete by closing their eyes and picking a paper from the jar.

 

The 10 Free Boredom Busters for School Holidays

1. Painting Garden rocks - Art 

garden rocksFind garden rocks in your backyard or go for a walk and collect them. Select a variety of paint colours and get creative. This image shows some ideas that you may want to try.

 

2. Flower pressing - Art

flowerpressingCollect a variety of flowers. Lay them on baking paper with paper towel on top. Put another piece of paper towel and then baking paper on top of it. Stack some heavy books (or bricks if you have them) on top of it all. Leave it for 24 hours.

 

3. Library - Literacy

libraryLocal libraries usually put on some free holiday sessions for children. Check out your council’s website for more details. If not, why not sign your children up to become a member and borrow some books, DVDs and toys.

 

4. Animal homes - Science

animal-densGo for a walk in some bushland close to your house. Encourage the children to make animal homes using items that they find in the bush. This could include dens or nests.

 

 

5. Recycling Craft - Art

recyclingcraftCollect all your recyclable goods and put in a large tub. Give the children markers, sticky tape, glue and some other bits and pieces and see what they can create.

 

6. Chalk drawing - Art

chalkdrawingGive the children a box of chalk and send them outside to create. They may draw roads for a bike track or a maze or even some pictures. Chalk can wash off anything so let them go wild.

 

7. Cooking - Food

bakingHave a list of child friendly recipes that you can make with your child. These might include pizza, pasta, cakes or something else. Cooking is a great activity for a rainy day.

 

8. Mason Jar craft - Art

3-mason-jar-aquariumGive children some mason jars and some items that they can use to create some different worlds. The worlds could be under the sea, outer space, in the snow, in the desert or an imaginary world. Fill up with coloured water (filtered water and food colouring work best) and add some glitter.

 

9. Egg Drop - Science

eggdropGet your children to create a container that would keep an egg safe while it is dropped from a height. They may need to modify their design a few times if the egg keeps cracking. Ensure you have a few cartons of eggs for this experiment. Try dropping the egg capsule from differing heights.

 

10. Decorating Cookies - Art

decoratecookiesMake some cookie dough with your children and use a variety of cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Bake them and after they have cooled set up a decorating station with lots of edible items that they can use.

 

 

I hope you have found some inspiration by reading this post. Happy holidays and I hope everyone stays safe during this period.

Until next time…

Kelly Pisani

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