Art for kids is all about exploration. Getting their hands on materials, learning how to use tools, experimenting with textures and colors. When art (which is different than crafts) is presented to kids, the process is far more important than the product! While they are involved in the process they are expanding their creativity, learning to be confident in their work, and practicing patience with learning a new skill.
Math is about so much more than numbers. Of course numbers are important, but there are many math concepts you can teach your little ones. Recognizing numbers, counting, size, balance, sorting, order (first, second, third), patterns, etc. When kids are exposed to these concepts through play they have a better understanding of what each number actually means.
Science is a very important part of our world, and of our learning process. It is not as hard to include science as you might think. Cooking, predicting the weather, gardening, and experimenting with materials are all science. With science kids learn how to think about an outcome before entering into a process, they learn how to record and organize information they receive. All of those skill are useful everywhere in life!
Language activities give kids the opportunity to expand their vocabulary. In the first years of their lives kids are soaking up everything they hear, mimicking the sounds and words that are being used around them. What is the best way to help develop this important skill? TALK! Talk about everything. The color of the cars around you, the way the sun feels on your face, the noise you hear in the distance. The more words that are introduced to your kids…. the more words they will know =).
Movement activities (gross motor in the Early Childhood world) get those bodies moving. Helping those muscles learn to move, turn, twist, lift and bend. The best part about movement activities is that they also burn off a little energy!
Fine Motor activities help kids develop the muscles in their fingers. Fine Motor activities such as working with play dough, cutting, coloring, sorting small objects, practicing buttons and snaps are easy ways to let kids strengthen these muscles while having fun! Strong fine motor skills will make learning to write so much easier and I think we can all agree that is important!
Pretend Play activities give kids the opportunity to stretch their imaginations. They can work out fears or questions they have in a safe place with no judgment. Pretend play is a really great way to encourage other skills as well. They may be working on language, fine motor and even math while they are involved in pretending to be an entirely different person.
Music activities range from listening to music played from a CD to sing song books. Music has a lot of benefits. It can be a fun way to introduce a new idea or help your kids remember something important. (Plus music is just plain fun!)
Reading is one thing that incorporates all of these skills. Every time you pick up a book you are exploring language, art and pretend. When you offer your kids a wide selection of books you will find it easy to add science, math and music just by turning a page.