Am embarking a journey in the Early Childhood field thus collating and sharing activities for caregivers to do with their children.
My teacher has shared a very interesting article on art with children for parents and caregivers.
There are some very important pointers and tips there. Especially getting organized and labeling everything! It promotes order, competence and autonomy. Who knew such small things would promote so much in children?
Order, competence and autonomy are just 3 dimensions of the 10 dimensions of the physical environment for children.
Pattern blocks are wonderful manipulatives to enhance your child’s growth. They train the use of fine motor skills and can be used to teach many mathematics concepts. They can also be used for creative play and imaginative play.
Pattern blocks can be inexpensive and made by yourself! I made mine using foam sheets bought from local bookstores. Instructions on making the math manipulatives can be found on
Download and print or draw out templates from http://prekinders.com/pattern-blocks/ . Get your child to form the shape in the template. To make it harder for your child, do draw it out personally without the lines for each shape, leaving the centres blank thus it allows your child to challenge himself and think which block should fit where.
This activity can also be done based on themes, of either Shapes, insects or animals.
This is the pattern blocks I’ve made and drawn myself.
Pattern blocks can also be used for patterning activities, which could be through task cards or verbally telling your child. You could have task cards with different difficulties, from level 1 to 5. Start level 1 with simple patterns such as AB patterning. Guide your child through the activity if it’s his first time. (Similar to the beading activity)
To do so, first get the child to imitate you. Start by letting them know what kind of patterning you are doing. In this case I’ll be doing AB patterning. Say that you’ll take a Triangle block (You can choose any colour), and ask the child to do the same. Then take a Square block. Ask your child to do the same. Then ask your child, if you want to continue (extend) on this pattern, what should you do? (it is important to scaffold and ask the child questions instead of giving them the answer). Continue the pattern.
An example of a task card from http://www.abcand123learning.com/2010/07/play-to-learn-shapes.html
~ Jean Piaget
An Early Childhood Theorist
Beads are really fun experiences for children as most children play with their parent’s iPad or iPhone nowadays, which is not good for early exposure. Beads help the children develop their fine motor skills (using their fingers to hold scissors, holding spoon, pencil, or a chopsticks) which is important for their development. Also, there are many interesting activities which you could do with your children from buying a few packets of beads. (Cheap but good!)
I will be introducing some math activities that you can use with beads for the children to play with and learn mathematical concepts at the same time, as well as an art activity.
You can always teach patterning using beads and threads (all available from the same seller). To do so, first get the child to imitate you. Start by letting them know what kind of patterning you are doing. In this case I’ll be doing AB patterning. Say that you’ll take a Green bead (You can choose any colour), and ask the child to do the same. String it through the thread. It is better to get bigger sized beads for the younger your child is. Only get small-sized ones for 6year olds and above.
Then take another colour and tell your child to do the same. Now, ask your child how are you going to extend (continue) this pattern? Your child should take the first colour and continue the pattern.
Some examples of patterning by 6 year-olds.
Sorting is another mathematical concept you can teach your children through beads. There are many ways you can sort, through colour or size. Have all the beads in a container and have several other fewer containers.
If you are sorting by colour, cut out circular papers with the different colours available and paste it at the bottom of the containers. This allows children to compare the beads with the colour and sort it accordingly. Start with less colours for younger children and older children can do up to 5 or 6 colours at a time.
If you are sorting by size, have containers of different sizes. Use the smallest bead and the biggest bead available for young children for them to differentiate easily. For 5-year-olds and 6-year-olds you can start to use 3 different sizes.
You could always make a windchime from the excess beads and thread that you have and decorate your house. You can also use the patterns(see above) that your child has done to make the wind-chime.
An example of a beaded windchime. You can use almost any material as the top; Styrofoam cups, Cup noodle bowls, plastic containers. If you find it unappealing, just paint it together with your child! (Don’t forget to buy some bells!)
Idea was adapted from: http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Nature/Beaded_Wind_Chimes/Beaded_Wind_Chimes.html
Another adaptation of a windchime is hanging it across your room on a piece of string. Just tie a string across your room and hang the windchimes up!
Bells are available at craft shops. I bought mine at Beauty World Centre, Basement 1 at the art store. There are many sizes and colours of bells available there. Just ask the owner where it is placed at. :)
You can always meetup with the beads-seller at Red Hill MRT by contacting her through her email listed on the site.