Thursday, May 14, 2009


Doesn't it seem like your preschooler is learning new words, new skills, new ways of interacting every day? Preschool-age children (around ages three to five) are little explorers, eagerly learning about themselves and the world around them. Each day provides new opportunities for learning and growing and embracing that sense of wonder along with our children. Here are some of the skills your preschooler may be working on during these important early years. As always, please consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your child's development.



  • locomotor skills (walking, running, hopping, galloping, marching, climbing)
  • coordination (pedaling, throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing objects)
  • balancing, bending, and rolling, including somersaults
  • going up and down stairs unassisted
  • jumping and hopping on one foot
Try this: Make an obstacle course for your child - crawling under tables, jumping across the lawn, balancing on a chalk-drawn line, tiptoeing around a chair.
hand skill

Hand & Finger Skills

  • self-help skills, like buttoning, zipping and snapping
  • drawing and copying lines, shapes, and letters
  • learning to use scissors
  • stringing large beads, building block towers, doing puzzles
  • using utensils for eating
Try this: Working with soft playdough is great for building hand and finger strength - offer a variety of tools for cutting, rolling, smashing, and poking.


  • increasing independence
  • playing with other children, rather than just side by side
  • imitating adults and playmates; role-playing "mommy" and "daddy"
  • taking turns and negotiating during play
  • demonstrating kindness and empathy; learning about manners
Try this: Encouraging cooperative activities can help ease some of the conflicts that arise during playtime. Try a scavenger hunt, where 2 or more friends work together to find a list of objects.


  • expressing a wide range of emotions
  • using words to express needs, wants, and feelings
  • learning how to regulate emotions
  • beginning to distinguish between fantasy and reality
Try this: Puppets, dolls, or stuffed animals provide a safe way for children to explore different emotions - use this role-playing time to model new vocabulary and problem solving skills.


  • sorting and comparing groups of objects
  • counting to ten or more; counting objects
  • asking questions and making simple predictions
  • retelling stories
  • recognizing and naming basic shapes
  • recognizing and naming colors
  • developing more complex problem solving skills
Try this: Cooking a simple recipe provides opportunities to explore measurement, numbers, making comparisons, predicting what will happen next, and of course, pride in making something yummy!


  • following increasingly complex commands
  • speaking in sentences of 5 words or more
  • saying name and other personal information
  • using pronouns, such as I, you, me, him, her
  • using language to describe positions, such as over, under, in
Try this: Guessing games can be a lot of fun, and they are good vocabulary builders too! You could start with a category like animals or food. Then, either provide your child with clues, or let him/her ask questions.


  • engaging in fantasy play and role playing
  • making decisions about how to explore and use different materials
  • telling stories
Try this: Put out some basic items, such as a hat, a box, a spoon, and a towel. Encourage your child to become an imaginary animal or superhero or fairy princess using those items. The sillier the better!


  • showing interest in books and reading
  • developing book-handling skills
  • recognizing first name in print
  • identifying some letters
  • recognizing some rhyming sounds
  • retelling familiar stories; making predictions during a story
  • learning that sounds are represented by one or more letters
  • identifying environmental print, such as a stop sign or store name
Try this: Children love to make their own books - use paper bags, paper plates, construction paper, anything you have on hand. Your child can dictate the words or story to you, and then do some illustrating. A special bedtime story!


  • feeding self and using utensils
  • choosing clothes and getting dressed
  • using potty
  • brushing teeth
  • washing face and hands
Try this: For some extra practice getting dressed, play "Clothing Store." Lay out clothes that require various skills (zipping, snapping, long sleeves), then let your child "shop" and try on!

No comments:

Post a Comment