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Activities for 3-5 Year Olds

Updated July 20, 2017

Appropriate activities for children between the ages of 3 and 5 should be engaging and fun. Parents and educators should strive to provide activities that develop the cognitive dimension of learning for these young children, according to Joann Montes and Robert B. McDonald's study on a science curriculum for 3 and 4 year olds. These activities should be developmentally appropriate and help children establish a positive attitude toward learning through the use of hands-on activities, Crystal Allen wrote in 2007 at Marygrove College.

Sponge Paintings

Young children enjoy using paint. Cover the work space with an old tablecloth or newspaper to protect it from paint spills. Give each child a sturdy file folder to use as the canvas. Provide several sponges. Work with the children as they paint. Make a palette for the children by placing the paint on various paper plates. Show children how to dip the sponge in the paint. Show them how to transfer the paint by pressing and holding the sponge against the folder. Help students mix a couple of primary colours to make secondary colours. This activity provides students with a basic understanding of the colour wheel.

Transportation Time

Discuss various modes of transportation with the children. Show them pictures of trains, cars, boats and planes. Explain to the children that they'll transform a cardboard box into one of these items. Let each child choose which mode of transportation to create. Guide students as they decorate a large cardboard box. Encourage each child to use his imagination as he builds the model. Leave the finished project out for a week or two to reinforce the idea of transportation and to give him a new source of fun during playtime.

Build a Shelter

Talk to children about various forms of shelter. If possible, show the kids several examples of homes. Discuss with them how people live in homes made of bricks, cloth or even mud in some countries. Explain to the students that they will be creating a shelter. Tell the kids that they should include the basic needs, such as food, clothing and a place to live. Guide the children as they use their imaginations to build a shelter indoors. This type of activity will give children a sense of appreciation for what they have.

Bead Jewelry

Boys and girls can benefit from the use of beads. Encourage children to create jewellery using beads. Tell them that they can make a necklace or bracelet for a friend or family member. With this project, preschool children can begin to understand the concept of patterns. Show the children how you can repeat colours to make an eye-pleasing craft. Young children will practice picking up small items and putting them on a string to create a beautiful item.

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About the Author

Hilary Florence's first articles were published in 2003 for her college newspaper. She is an elementary teacher, cheerleading coach and gymnastics instructor. Florence graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Education degree from Lipscomb University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies from Carson Newman.