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The A to Z of play for pre-schoolers

Tracey Walker
It might look like your pre-schooler is just having fun, but they’re actually learning a lot through play.

In this article we will look at:


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A – Alphabet song. Pre-schoolers can learn to recognise letter shapes and the names associated with them through fun, catchy songs. 

BBuilding blocks are not just for boys: they teach a number of problem-solving skills. 

CCrafts are fantastic for imagination and fine motor skills.

D – Dress-up. Dramatic play is good for imagination and self-expression. 

E – Exercises. A few minutes of structured physical exercises can help the bookworms keep active. 

F – Finger puppets teach fine motor skills and imaginative play at the same time. 

G – Gross motor development involves the large muscles. 

H – Hand-eye co-ordination is part of the development of fine motor skills used for writing, drawing and cutting, amongst others. 

I – Imagination is one of the most important skills to develop at this age. 

J – Jumping on a trampoline for a few minutes can help calm an over-active pre-schooler. 

K – Kicking a ball to one another teaches team play, patience and co-ordination. 

L – Language develops at a different pace for each child. 

M – Mommy and Daddy. “Playing house” helps pre-schoolers make sense of everyday events. 

N – Neatness. Tidying can be made fun (it’s true!)

O – Opposites teach children conceptual thinking and increase vocabulary.

PPuzzles develop fine motor skills as well as problem-solving skills. 

Q – Quiet play is important to wind down before a nap. 

RReading. Developing a love of reading will benefit your child right through to adulthood. 

S – Scavenger hunt. A list of pictures of easy things to find in the garden can keep kids occupied and engaged while they play outside.

T – Tidy up time. Even pre-schoolers can learn to put away their toys when they are finished. 

U – Understanding how the world works through play.

V – Vocabulary. 

W – Water and sand are great for tactile play. 

X - Xylophone. Playing musical instruments and listening to music can greatly benefit every aspect of a child’s development. 

Y – Yellow, red, green and blue. Mixing primary colours to create new colours is an exciting way to start a painting project.

Z – Zips, buttons and shoelaces are good for developing fine motor skills and empowering your child to dress themselves.

Research has proven that play forms the basis of all learning and knowledge in children, and even a few basic toys or household items can teach valuable lessons.   What games does your pre-schooler love playing?  
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