By Myranda Morgan
1. New Word of the Day
Introduce your preschooler to a new word each morning at breakfast and define it for him. Keep it simple by using synonyms for words he already knows. Example: vehicle can be another word for car, truck, van, etc. Make a game of using the word as many times as possible each day. This is a fun way to build your child's vocabulary.
2. Create a Reading Hide-Away
A large cardboard box can become anything your child wants it to be. Spend a fun-filled afternoon fashioning a reading hide-away with your child. A miniature house, a castle, or a cave are just a few possibilities. It need not be fancy to catch your preschoolers fancy! Large pieces of construction paper can be taped to the outside to represent stone or siding. Place a rug, some pillows or child-sized furniture and a few age-appropriate books inside. Be sure to design a skylight into the top of the box. Your child will spend many hours "reading" or playing in their special spot.
3. Her Very Own Scrapbook
Scrapbooking is a fun way for children to develop their fine motor and categorizing skills while creating neatly organized memories that parents can cherish for years to come. Scrapbooking supplies are readily available at specialty stores and craft shops. Let your child choose a topic for her scrapbook. If she needs ideas, suggest a birthday, a holiday or other special family event. Allow her to choose her own stickers, colors and accessories while explaining that certain symbols represent certain events. If she really insists upon using a cake with blazing candles in a Halloween scrapbook, let her! This is supposed to be fun, remember? Sort through your family photos together and help her choose ones that fit her theme.
4. Community Map
Show your child a map of your state or the U.S. Using a large piece of poster board, draw a map of your community and help your child mark your home, school, grocery store, and relative's and friend's houses. Children enjoy using colorful stickers to represent familiar landmarks. Help him create a simple key for your map. New landmarks can be added as your child further explores the community.
5. Personal Telephone Book
Buy or help your preschooler make a telephone book of her own. She can list emergency numbers, such as 911, and also the numbers of her friends and grandparents. Provide a toy telephone with realistic buttons so that she can practice dialing and proper phone etiquette. Her reading hide-away would make a nice quiet spot in which to do this.
6. Roleplay Bedtime Stories
Preschoolers feel secure with routines, and as a result parents often find themselves reading the same bedtime story night after night. Another result is that children often know the stories by heart, even if they can't yet read. Break up the monotony by having your child take over the speaking part of his favorite characters. This gives them early practice in dramatic interpretation and makes bedtime a little more fun!
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