Why Should I Have Activity Time with my Preschooler?
You are probably asking yourself, “Why should I have an activity time with my preschooler, what is activity time, or what are the benefits of activity time?”
What is Activity Time?
When I say the phrase “activity time” I am referring to activating or stimulating a child’s body and/or brain. This typically means something hands-on where the preschooler is engaged in reading, running, climbing, coloring, cutting, pouring, jumping, cooking, etc. Activity time does not mean watching an educational show or playing an educational game on a device(but we will save that for another time).
Why Should I Do Activity Time?
Did you know that 90% of a child’s brain develops by age 5?! (First Things First) Almost all of a child’s brain is developed before they even reach kindergarten! C-R-A-Z-Y!
I wish Bill Nye the Science Guy would pop up right now and tell you about how a brain works with a cool demonstration, but you’re stuck with me. When a baby is born, they are born with all of the neurons (brain cells) that they will have for the rest of their life. It’s the connections between the neurons that are really crucial in brain development. A baby is born with very few connections. Connections, also called synapses, are formed as a child is exposed to things around them. If the connections are used regularly, then they stay. But if the connections aren’t used, they are pruned and die off. The more stimulation or exposure to experiences a child has, the thicker the connections become. It’s much harder for these connections to be formed later in life.
Loving interactions with parents or caregivers helps prepare a brain for learning. Every time you play cars, read the same book for the 687th time, sing The Wheels on the Bus, cook, fold clothes, garden, build a sand castle, color princess pictures, do an educational activity or simply talk with your child you are building connections in your child’s developing brain. And the more you do these activities the thicker these connections become. However, children learn best when instruction and educational activities are only a small portion of the day.
What are the Benefits of Activity Time?
I asked my son why activity time was important, and he said, “Because we learn.” So simple, but so true.
If you start activity time before your child has a fully developed brain, imagine all of the connections you can form and strengthen by the time they are 5! Not only does having activity time help prepare your child for kindergarten, but it also prepares them for their future school career. Children that have education time prior to kindergarten scored higher on reading tests during subsequent school years. (Education Corner) Children taught at an early age also benefit with enhanced attention spans. I don’t know about you, but that’s a big plus in my mind!
If you have any questions about activity time, or are interested in starting your own activity time please see below for my low-prep activity books to help get you started!