Preschool Activities and Objectives


Equipment Objectives Encouraged Use
Climbing gym, slide, A-frames Large muscle growth,


Dramatic play

Climbing, crawling, taking turns, pretending
Blocks Concept development, dramatic play, construction skills Hauling, building, jumping, stacking, dismantling
Sand or Sensory Concept development, sensory experiences, dramatic play Digging, sifting, pouring, smoothing, pretending
Play dough Sensory awareness, release of tension, social experience Rolling, pounding, squeezing, cutting; process not product
Easel paint Creative expression, colors, mixing, manipulative skill Individual technique need not be recognizable
Dramatic area Dramatic and social play, pretend play of family, other roles Cooking, serving, creating, caring for baby, phone talking
Creative Sensory awarenessundefinedtexture, color, shape.  Creative expression, manipulation of materials, coordination Pasting paper, other materials, making shapes, coloring, cutting across paper
Table toys (trains, cars) Small muscle development, coordination, visual discrimination Using on table, returning to bins, manipulating
Large wheeled toys Large muscle development, dramatic play, social skills Riding, pushing, pulling, helping, taking turns
Water table Concept development, sensory experience, tension release Pouring, filling, emptying, blowing bubbles

Enhancing Children’s Play

  1. Give children a five-minute warning before the end of each segment of play to remind and help them prepare for the change in activity.
  2. Talk to children about their play.  If at a loss for words, describe what they are doing.  “John is putting the train together.”
  3. Extend children’s attention and play by adding information that may give them a new idea of how to use the materials.  “Would you like to try a smaller brush?” “Let’s look for some more cars to use.”  “Shall we put some water in the sand?”
  4. Try to say something positive to each child in your area.  Be specific and honest with your comments.  Use the child’s name.  “I like the picture you painted, John.”  “Sally, I’m glad you’re at school today.”
  5. Ask children questions that will get them to think about the materials in a new way.  “What do you think that animal wants to eat?”  “Where will it sleep?”  “What do you think he is thinking about?”

Dramatic Area

  1. This is a great place for language and imagination interaction between parents and children and child to child.
  2. Children commonly see cooking in their homes.  They want to replicate it and sometimes just a “Will you please make me a bowl of cereal and some fruit?” will be all they need to begin their imaginative journey.  Other great interactive language can sound something like this:  “Can you find any apples in this shopping cart?”  “Is this a mushroom or an avocado?”  “Should we bake cookies for our friends in class?”
  3. Each month the theme will also have a new focus for the children.  It’s very helpful for parents to sit down with them and help them get the doctor’s or post carrier’s uniforms on.  We are there to help and follow their lead.
  4. The babies in the dramatic area are a wonderful way to work with feeling issues.  Does this baby look happy?  Do you think this baby wants to go to the store?

Sand Table

  1. Sand is very important for young children.  It gives them experiences with form, matter and sensory exploration.
  2. Encourage sifting, pouring, funneling and manipulating the sand.  If there are too many toys, remove them.
  3. Change the texture by adding water to the sand.  Children love to see how water changes the sand.
  4. Be clear about the sand table rules:
    • No throwing sand
    • Sand must be kept in table
    • No one is allowed to crawl in the table
  5. To clean up area, sweep around the table and cover sand table with sheet.  Swept sand should be thrown in the garbage.  If you have time, sift out non-sand materials and throw them away.

Sensory Table

  1. Each month children will be able to explore something new in the sensory table—new materials or different items.  During warm weather, water table will be open outside for exploration.
  2. The sensory table allows children to explore different materials and their properties.  Appropriate questions include:  “How does it feel?”  “Does it make a sound when poured?”  “What color is it?”  “Can it fill a container?”
  3. Be clear about the rules:
    • Material must be kept inside table
    • No throwing
    • Everyone must share
    • No climbing into the table
  4. To clean up area, sweep area and replace lid.  All materials swept from the floor should be thrown in the garbage.


  1. Each week there will be a new activity—collage work, gluing, finger-painting, mixing, stamping, drawing, etc–that coordinates with the curriculum.  Many times the children will be content to simply manipulate the materials.  Use of art materials for young children are primarily for exploration rather than production of an end product.  THE PROCESS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PRODUCT.
  2. They may not do it the way you would.  What matters is their experimentation and decision-making.  You might ask a child “How does that feel?” or say “What beautiful colors” rather than “What is it?”
  3. It is requested that parents do not make samples for children to copy or improve their work.  Do not suggest to a child “You can do better,” or “I know you can do it.”  Do not make the child tell you what he/she is making.
  4. Respect what the child has created.  Do not deflate a child with comments such as, “But that doesn’t look like a cat.”
  5. Aprons are in the paint area if children need to protect their clothing.
  6. Table must be cleared for snack.  Save the child’s work if he/she wants to keep it.  Spray and wipe table with cleaning solution provided.
  7. Extra materials can be placed on cabinet in center of the classroom.  If your child didn’t make a project during class but wants to do it at home, parents are welcome to take home the materials.

Play Dough

  1. Please help keep dough in designated area.
  2. Encourage imaginary play and conversation.  Let children take the lead.  You can add information to extend play or take it to a different or higher cognitive level.
  3. When finished, make sure all play dough is returned to container and lid is on tight.  Put away other dough tools as well.


  1. Assist children with aprons.  Show them how to put them on so they can do it themselves.
  2. Paint containers should be in tray on easel.  If not, find them near sink along with brushes.
  3. Paper is kept in box under changing table.
  4. Label painting with child’s name on the back.  Include initial of last name if multiple children with same name.
  5. Many children are simply manipulating materials so their art won’t likely be representational.  Therefore, it usually isn’t meaningful to ask children what they are painting.
  6. To clean up, cap paint pots, wash brushes and return them to container near sink.

Large Motor

  1. Assigned parent must supervise play on the climber.  If there are many children in this area, do not hesitate to ask another parent for help.  Help children until they show confidence and ability to be on their own.
  2. Talk to each child in this area.  Describe what they are doing, ask a question or give them a positive statement.  This is also a good area to promote taking turns and sharing.


  1. Encourage children to work puzzles or other manipulative toys in this area.  Encourage child to put toy away before taking out another.
  2. Children may need help getting started, but then let them do it themselves.
  3. All puzzles/toys should be returned to proper shelves.


  1. Extend children’s play by offering additional materials or ideas.
  2. Let children take the lead.  Describe what they are doing.  “You put the red block beside the green block.”
  3. Encourage children to help put away blocks, other items.


Comments are closed.