How Do I Start Activity Time?
Last week we discussed what activity time is, why it is important to your child’s brain development, and the benefits to their future. If you missed last week’s newsletter, you can check it out here (CLICK HERE).
You understand that having an activity time is important for your preschooler, but now you need to know how to get started with activity time. Let me help guide you.
Steps to Start Activity Time:
1. Pick a theme or topic that interests your child. Your preschooler is going be able to concentrate on an activity longer the more interested they are in the theme. (Scholastic) For instance, my boys have been very interested in all things spies, so I created a whole week of spy training activities that they woke up asking to do each day! (I’ll share my spy training week activities soon)
2. Pick activities that are at your child’s learning level. The activities can be a little challenging to help push your child to master a new skill, but if the activity is too challenging then your child will lose interest in the activity and also feel defeated. You know your child best, so you know what would be too easy or what would be too difficult for them to do.
3. To go along with Number 2, you also want to make sure you pick activities to do with your preschooler that are not too time consuming. We all know that young children do not have long attention spans. The Summit Medical Group states, “a normal attention span is 3 to 5 minutes per year of a child’s age.” (Summit Medical Group) So, a 3 year old should be able to concentrate on an activity for at least 9 minutes.
4. It’s best to have activity time at the same time of day each day. This will help your preschooler to have something to look forward to, train their brain to concentrate at this particular time, and mentally prepare themselves to be ready to learn in a fun way. I do understand that life throws curve balls, and activity time can’t be at 9:30am sharp, every single weekday. I’m suggesting that you look at your schedule and pick a time of day that you could do consistently each day, ours is mid-morning. Not a specific time, just mid-morning. For others, the best time for you might be after dinner, after nap, while siblings are doing homework—just find the best time for you and your preschooler. And if your schedule gets a little thrown off one day, then schedule your activity time at a different time that day.
5. Speaking from experience, it’s best to have all materials ready to begin the activity when you ask your preschooler to do an activity with you or it’s very possible you will lose their interest while you are gathering materials.
6. Always ask your preschooler if they want to do a fun activity. Never make activity time a chore for you or your preschooler. You want them to enjoy the learning experience, so if they simply say, “No they don’t want to do the activity,” then that is fine. But chances are they will say yes especially if you are excited about it too! My kids have had a couple of days when they are just not in the mood for an activity or will ask if they can do it after they play a little while, and I have no problem with that. We just save it for a different time or different day.
7. ALWAYS have FUN! This is the most important step because if you are having fun, then your preschooler will have fun! They take their cue from you.
My goal by sharing these tips is to help you see that you can have a successful activity time with your child. It’s not about having the fanciest technology or the most elaborate activity; it’s about taking the time to engage with your preschooler and their interests. These above tips are tricks I have learned through my years as a teacher and mom that have helped our activity time thrive, and I want the same for you!