Your preschooler has an otherworldly imagination—and the boundless energy to match. Good news: You can keep your tiny hero happily busy with a few simple activities that also boost cognitive, physical, social, and emotional skills.
1) Make your own telescope. Here’s an idea from Karen Cox, a prekindergarten teacher in Leesburg, Georgia: Take an empty paper towel roll, cut a piece of black construction paper, and affix it to one end of the roll with a rubber band. Use a toothpick to poke a few holes through the paper. Hold the telescope up to a light to see “stars” shining in the sky! (Hmm, could Owlette be up there?) Help your preschooler make observations and predictions by asking critical-thinking questions, such as What do you think we'll see when we point our telescope toward a light? What about a dark wall?
2) Blast off like a rocket! Pretend to be rocket ships: Squat on the floor, count backward from ten, then blast off! Encourage your preschooler to show off their super strength like Gekko, and use those little leg muscles to jump as high into the air as possible (check out this episode to see Gekko’s impressive powers: https://bit.ly/2IEyvqX). You’ll love watching your child master gross motor skills as much as you’ll appreciate the gleeful expressions they have as they jump around!
3) Compare day and night. Take a blank piece of paper, and crease it in half in the middle. On one side, have your preschooler draw all the things that would be in the sky during the day time (like the sun, clouds, or butterflies) and on the other side, everything that might be visible at night (such as the moon, stars, or fireflies).
4) Role-play space explorers! Invite a friend over for a stellar playdate: Get a couple of empty boxes and cut out holes for faces and ta-da, your little astronauts have their own space helmets. A big empty box can double as a spaceship or the International Space Station. Have your mini-astronauts embellish it with markers, and help them tape on clear plastic bowls for dome windows and peepholes. Have the kids make “moon rocks” by crumpling aluminum foil into balls. Your preschoolers will be entertained for hours, and—bonus—the give-and-take of playing with a pal will boost their social skills.
5) Moonwalk to bed. Try this on a weekend when there’s extra time for a mini–pajama party. Dim the lights, cue the music, and let your kids show off their dance moves! Try a moonwalk: Take big, slow steps under the moonlight, suggests Cox. While your child gets into a gravity-defying groove, he’ll be improving key physical skills like balance and coordination.
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