Jan 28, 2014

Indoor Preschool Games

In early childhood settings, it is important to have a curriculum that includes physical activities that will foster gross motor development. But, sometimes, there are those days when the weather does not cooperate for the young children to have their allocated outside play time. When those days occur, whether it's due to rainy days, or too cold or hot temperatures, then it is a good idea to have some games and movement activities available for young children to engage in. Following are some game ideas for young children to play inside. These games are helpful in preschool and daycare settings but can also be used at home and for birthday parties.



Who is Under the Blanket?

One child is chosen to leave the group, and is sent away somewhere so that he/she cannot see the rest of the class. The teacher then chooses one child to hide under the blanket. When the selected child returns to the group, he/she must guess who is under the blanket. It is important to tell the children, before the game begins, how everyone must keep the secret and not give the child's name away to the guesser.

Fruit Basket

Every child in a circle receives a picture of a fruit. There are pairs of fruit. A teacher calls out a fruit, such as "apple" and two people will stand up and change seats. This is done several times, and then the teacher says, "fruit basket" and all the children must stand up and move to another seat. This game can have other variations, such as bug dance.

Doggie, Doggie, Where's Your Bone?

One child is selected to be the dog, and sits in a chair with his/her back to the children who are sitting in a circle. The teacher chooses a child from the group to steal the bone which is sitting under the chair. The child makes sure that bone cannot be seen and the group says, "Doggie, doggie, where's your bone? Somebody stole it from your home. Guess who? Maybe you! Maybe the monkeys from the zoo. Wake up doggie, find your bone". This game can have many variations depending on seasons, holidays and themes. For instance, it can be a squirrel and the nut is stolen.

Duck Duck Goose

This is a classic game that requires some room. The children sit in a circle and one child is chosen. He/she moves around the outside of the circle tapping each child's head while saying "duck." But, when the child says, "goose," then that child must stand up and run the opposite direction of the first child in atttempt to get his/her seat back.

The Bunny Hop

Have a number of flashcards with shapes or numbers on them, and one card that has a bunny. The teacher shows the cards to the group and the children can call out the right answer to the picture being shown. Then the teacher shows the bunny card, and all the children can hop up and down while she sings, "hop little bunnies, hop hop hop, hop little bunnies till you stop and drop."



The Shoe Game

Everyone takes off one shoe and puts in the center of the room. Then a child is asked to leave the room. The teacher selects one of the shoes and hides it away. The child returns to the circle and has to guess whose shoe is missing. This is a great visual and memory game.


Number Game

The children dance and/or move around and when the teacher pauses the music she will call out a number. The children will then try and make groups with that number. So, for instance if she calls out three, then the children try and make groups of three.


Obstacle Course for Preschoolers

If the young children inside are very active, an indoor obstacle course can do the trick. Use things around the room to help create the course, such as furniture, cushion and carpets. The children each take a turn. They have to listen to the instructions carefully. The teacher might say, "first I want you to go under this table, then go around this chair, hop up and down twice and then sit back down."
Young children need to move their bodies. When outside time is not available, then it is becomes necessary to find indoor games and activities which allow them to move and have fun.

Jan 12, 2014

Valentine's Day Healthy Snacks

Valentine's Day is typically filled with chocolate, cookies, cupcakes and candy. This article provides some suggestions for healthy snacks for children to make, cooking activities for teachers to provide in the classroom and ideas for parents or guardians who are bringing treats for a Valentine's Day preschool party (all of these suggestions are peanut-free).

Healthy Snack Choices for a Valentine's Day Party

Very often parents or guardians are selected or have volunteered to bring in food for a Valetine's Day party at preschool. There are many regulations and guidelines now about making healthy food choices. There are still ways to make the food look appealing, taste great and have that special treat quality to them. Some ideas are:

  • sliced apples and heart shaped cheese
  • pink flavoured, heart shaped Rice Krispie 'squares'
  • fruit bouquet made with fruit kebobs
  • healthy muffins with cream cheese icing and sprinkles
  • jello jigglers
  • chocolate dipped strawberries
 Valentine's Creamy JIGGLERS® recipe

Valentine's Day Snacks for Preschool Children to Make

It is a good idea for a quality preschool program to include cooking activities to help develop self help and fine motor skills. Here are some suggestions for snacks made by preschool hands:

1. Heart Shaped Jam Sandwiches

The ingredients and material required are:
•individual cutting boards
•two slices of bread (brought in by parents is a good idea)
•a small bowl of jam
•a small bowl of butter, margarine or cream cheese
•a plastic knife or a butter knife
•a large heart shaped cookie cutter (optional)

With this cooking activity, the preschoolers are allowed to make their very own jam sandwich. For some three and four year olds, it may be their first time using a knife for spreading. When the preschooler is finished, the teacher can cut the sandwich with the cookie cutter into a Valentine heart. The child could eat his/her sandwich right away, or it could be held to eat at a group setting.

2. Mini Bagel and Pink Cream Cheese

Similar to the sandwich, allow preschool children to spread strawberry flavored creamcheese onto a mini bagel for a healthy snack choice. Multigrain bagels/breads are always the healthiest choice of all.

3. Fruit Kebobs

Before this cooking activity is set out for the children, the teachers must prep the chosen fruit into small, bite size pieces, and choose kebob sticks that are not too pointy. Some fruit suggestions are: strawberries, bananas, pineapple chunks, and melon balls. This activity is both healthy and fostering fine motor development.

4. Smoothie or Fruit Salad

This activity involves everyone pitching in to receive the final result, and correlates well to a friendship theme, discussing cooperation and togetherness.

5. Heart Shaped Pancakes

This cooking activity involves the teacher's guidance and monitoring. The teacher can place out the pancake mix with water for the children to stir and then using a heart shaped cookie cutter, allow the children to place the mix into the shape for cooking. A great idea to facilitate this step is to use a turkey baster for the pancake mix. The pancake can then be enjoyed with strawberry flavoured syrup, or some yogurt or whip cream with sliced strawberries.

Valentine's Day Treats for the Preschool Teacher to Make

Sometimes one of the best treats for preschool children is being given something special from their teachers. Following are some ideas:

•strawberry yogurt ice-cream with sliced strawberries and sprinkles
•sliced fruit and chocolate fondue
•waffles with whipped cream (or yogurt) and fruit