We asked our PRO Club childcare experts and preschool teachers for some of their favorite at-home activities that provide great learning opportunities for children. Join us every week as we share more fun learning activities that will help shake up your cabin fever.
Like last week’s activity, we are taking one activity and showing how it can be done for each age group.
Educational Finger Painting
- 2 cups of corn starch
- 1 cup of cold water
- 4.5 cups of boiling water
- Liquid food coloring
- Cups for the different colored paints
- Cardboard or thick paper
- Masking or Painter’s Tape
Instructions for Mixing the Paints:
Mix the corn starch with the cold water and stir together. Pour in the boiling water and stir between each cup. It goes really strange but keep stirring and it literally seems to “melt” into a wonderful, custard- like consistency. We then separated it into individual jars before adding coloring, but you can do it however you like and this is the stage to add color.
Infants and Toddlers
At this age, children explore the world using their senses. The sensory experience of exploring the paint, and its texture combined with the visuals of the different colored paints provide sensory stimulation for your child. Finger painting, is easier for infants and toddlers because their little fingers are not quite ready to manipulate a paint brush. It is an excellent way to strengthen the fingers and small hand muscles thus honing in on those fine motor skills.
Subject Area/ Skills: Sensory, Fine Motor
Getting Started: After mixing the paints, you may choose to do this project on a piece of paper, the table top, or even in the bath tub. Chose your surface. Then assist your child in touching the paints and creating a painting using them. While the child is painting, discuss the different attributes of the paints. The color, the texture etc. Example: “Oh, look at this blue paint! This blue paint feels squishy on my hands” (while encouraging them to touch or squish the paints).
Bonus: Before painting, use masking tape to create a word, shape or letter on the paper then allow your child to paint over the tape. When finished, remove the tape to reveal the letter, shape or word.
Preschoolers (3-5 years-old)
A large part of educational development for preschoolers is letter and name recognition. Letter recognition for preschoolers is important because it allows them to develop the skills needed to become early readers. Recognizing letters enables them to decipher how printed text is associated to spoken word or language. Letter recognition also allows for an easier transition to learning letter sounds. The process of this activity not only appeals to the sensory stimulation of your child but also assists in teaching letter recognition.
Subject Area/ Skills: Sensory, Fine Motor, Literacy, Language
Getting Started: Using the marker write a letter, number or name on a piece of paper or cardboard. Using the finger paints, allow your child to trace the letter, number or name. You can then review each letter number or name with your child. If you are doing letters, discuss the sounds the letter makes and different words that begin with that letter. For numbers, perhaps paint or find a collection of items to represent that number.
Example: 6 – There are six apples in the fruit basket. Then take them out and count them with your child.
Elementary School Age
This activity is not only stimulating for your child on a sensory level, but it also allows for practicing fine motor skills. By utilizing the verbiage of the lesson, you are exposing your child to new vocabulary as well as different types of art.
Subject Area/ Skills: Sensory, Fine Motor, Language Arts
Getting Started: After you have mixed the paints, encourage your child to create a picture using the masking tape. Next, ask your child to use their fingers as a paint brush and paint on the paper and over the tape. While doing this, discuss with your child about the type of art that they are creating. Resist Art: Resist art is an art technique that uses several layers to expose or define a design in negative space. Resist meaning to repel. The tape is being used as your resist tool as it repels the paint. Once your painting is finished you will pull away the tape to revel the lines of negative space.