As teachers and parents, we want the very best for the preschoolers in our care. We want them to thrive in all developmental areas. But have you ever wondered how to plan development activities for preschoolers? Keep reading.
How to Plan Preschool Development Activities
This post was written in collaboration with Reading Eggs, an online, supplemental reading program. Thank you Reading Eggs for partnering with us!
The early years are the time to build a strong foundation in all early childhood domains. Meeting specific milestones in all five domains of development and learning helps preschoolers establish behaviors and skills that will make them successful in both learning and in life.
This is why it’s so important for preschool teachers and parents to choose the right activities so toddlers and preschoolers develop to their fullest potential.
It’s been well-documented that the preschool years are critical for building the foundation for learning. During this integral, foundation-building preschool time, preschoolers begin to engage in more purposeful play. They expand their experiences as they start to form a whole new understanding of the world around them.
Preschoolers are eager to learn how the world works, and the best way for them to learn at this age is through intentionally planned and purposeful play activities.
The 5 Domains of Preschool Development
There are five domains of early childhood development. For children to grow into strong, healthy, and giving adults, their education in the early years should meet specific developmental milestones in each of the five domains.
COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENTAL SKILLS IN PRESCHOOLERS
Cognitive development pertains to skills regarding attributes of learning and thinking. It is not remembering facts and trivia. Cognitive skills include (but are not limited to) asking questions, developing attention span, understanding cause and effect, problem-solving and simple reasoning.
Development activities for preschoolers that support cognitive development can include:
- sequencing events
- visual discrimination
- sorting and classifying
- imaginative and pretend play
PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENTAL SKILLS FOR PRESCHOOLERS
Physical development skills are an important part of any preschool program. They include skills like (but are not limited to): balance and control, body awareness, and self-help skills.
Development activities for preschoolers that support physical development can include:
- fine and gross motor skill development
- crossing the midline activities
- sensory activities
- mirror movement activities (copying)
- spacial awareness activities
SOCIAL / EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT SKILLS FOR PRESCHOOLERS
Social and emotional development for preschoolers covers a wide range of skills, including (but not limited to) regulating behavior and emotions, developing friendships, and building self-esteem and confidence.
Development activities for preschoolers that support social/emotional development can include:
- practice identifying emotions and feelings
- reading books about making friends and about feelings
- communication activities
- character education activities
LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENTAL SKILLS FOR PRESCHOOLERS
We know that children are naturally social, so they need the skills to be able to communicate their ideas and feelings. Language skills for preschoolers include emergent reading and writing activities, comprehension skills while having books read aloud, and speaking and listening skills.
Development activities for preschoolers that support language development can include:
- reading books and asking questions about the story
- engaging in conversation
- playing listening games like Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light
- story baskets
- wordless books that require preschoolers to “read” the pictures
SELF-HELP / ADAPTIVE DEVELOPMENTAL SKILLS FOR PRESCHOOLERS
These are self-help skills needed for daily living. They include things like dressing, brushing teeth, using silverware, opening doors, and so on.
Development activities for preschoolers that support self-help / adaptive development can include:
- scissor cutting practice
- putting on shoes and zipping coats
- scooping and pouring in a sensory bin
- practice turning door knobs
How to Plan Development Activities for Preschoolers
Planning developmental activities for preschoolers doesn’t have to be overwhelming. (Although sometimes it certainly is). Most likely you are already incorporating many, if not all, of the five domains of development into your preschool day.
Preschool teachers and parents are always on the look-out for preschool activities and lesson plans that are developmentally appropriate.
Don’t forget you can try Reading Eggs for free. Keep reading to learn more.
Here is how I plan for children’s developmental activities.
Make a list of student skill needs in your classroom.
If you are a preschool teacher, your classroom probably has a diverse range of skills. Make note of those skills by creating a list of strengths each child has as well as struggles. What domain do those struggles fall under? Do you see any trends among your students?
Take a good look at your preschool lesson plans.
Study your preschool lesson plans and think about how each preschool activities you choose to include targets skills in various domains. Now reflect on which domains tend to be put aside or left on the back burner. Now, which of those domains overlap with the skill needs of your students?
Next, rethink the preschool activities you have already planned and figure out a way to add another domain. For example, maybe you have an activity where you challenge preschoolers to find circles in the classroom. This is a good cognitive development activity. Now, take it one step further and invite preschoolers to figure out ways to make a piece of paper into a circle. They may choose to draw or cute a circle, thus hitting self-help skills. Or, they may try to crumple the paper into a ball. This hits the physical development domain.
Find the right supplies and tools for teaching.
Through the above process, you might discover that your preschoolers are lacking in some developmental skills. Armed with what you have learned about your students and your lesson plans, you can now seek out the right supplies and tools for teaching preschoolers within the five domains of preschool development.
The Right Tools to Plan Development Activities for Preschoolers
One of my favorite teaching tools for including more development activities for preschoolers is Reading Eggs. It makes learning to read interesting and engaging for kids, with great online reading games and activities. And even though it is an online learning tool, it targets multiple developmental domains in early childhood education.
Reading Eggs was created by expert educators with over 30 years of experience. It’s an approach to teaching reading skills is backed by research.
The multi-award winning early learning resource supports your child’s learn to read journey with carefully designed online reading games and activities that are easy to follow, self-paced, and highly engaging for young children.
By incorporating Reading Eggs into your child’s daily routine, you will be helping to prepare them for the same structured learning they will need to succeed and feel confident at school, but all while targeting multiple domains of development. This program is loaded with activities that help child development.
Reading Eggs is based on solid scientific research to give your child the best chance at reading success.
- The lessons use colorful animation, fun characters, songs, and rewards to keep children motivated. Children respond back to the program, developing language skills.
- The program is completely interactive to keep children on task.
- When children start the program, they can complete a placement quiz to ensure they are starting at the correct reading level. They even offer an emergent reading program.
- Parents can access detailed progress reports as well as hundreds of downloadable activity sheets that correspond with the lessons in the program. This makes planning for development activities so much easier!
- The program includes over 2000 online books for kids – This helps in all domains of development!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.