Your preschooler probably comes home and says she didn’t learn anything that day. What? She spent hours at school and didn’t learn a thing? Preschoolers learn by playing, so she’s gathering new information each day, but she doesn’t realize it. Reinforcing what she learns at school is a fun way to build on her knowledge, and to find out what she already knows. Acorns abound in the fall, so they’re great for lots of fun activities. Collect them with her, if you can, or purchase them from a garden supply store, if you can’t find any in your area. For an afternoon of fun, invite some preschool friends over or even suggest some of these activities to your child’s preschool teacher.
Preschoolers love to look at nature, but they don’t always get the chance to look for long as you rush to finish one more thing on your list. How well you know! Gather acorns on a slow, lazy afternoon and place them in a container. Give your child a small magnifying glass and have her inspect each acorn. Ask her about the similarities and differences. Ask her if she knows which animals love to store acorns for the winter. (Hint: birds and squirrels are two such animals.) Ask her to group small acorns in one pile and large acorns in another.
Preschool-age children love tiny toys and objects because they’re easy to collect and carry around in little hands. This makes acorns ideal toys for your little ones, and they look like they’re wearing tiny hats. Acorns are tiny, but they’re just big enough so that you can give your preschooler a small paintbrush and craft paint and let him color the acorn. Then, he can use a fine tip marker to add faces. Turn these tiny acorns into family members and display them as fall decorations around the house. Call them monsters or aliens if they look more like ghouls than people.
If your child loves to make a mess (and who doesn’t?), then let her make a painting of acorns. Encourage the next abstract art movement and squeeze several colors of craft paint onto a paper plate. Give your child several acorns. Have her dip the acorn in the paint and let her roll it around on a large piece of paper. Or, show her how to dip the different parts of the acorn into paint and then stamp the acorn onto the paper. Call it acorn painting or abstract art to make it sound more fun.
Do you spend a good part of your day guessing secrets from your preschooler? And does she laugh with glee when you’re wrong? Foster the fun by playing guessing games with your collection of acorns. Put them in a jar and let your child guess how many there are. Fudge the numbers, if you have to, or this game might stop being fun — and fast. Ask your child how many acorns she can hold in her hand, how many she can jump over or how many she can toss into a bowl. If you make a guess too, it will be fun for her — especially if you pretend that she’s right and you’re wrong.