The “Why” years can be rather trying at times, but what a clear sign of your child’s expanding knowledge! This is the prime time to make memories through shared activities.
Creativity can be encouraged through art, dance, music and story-telling activities. These activities may be one-on-one with your child or with small groups of preschoolers.
Three to Four Years
At three years of age, you may notice new skills such as matching shapes, colors and patterns or drawing simple faces. Three-year-olds may use a pencil or crayon to print large capital letters or they may cut with scissors and begin to follow simple outlines.
These are some activities you may enjoy trying with your child:
•Making collages using paper, glue, and pictures cut from magazines
•Labeling your child’s artwork using his/her own words and then letting your child “read” it
•Asking your child to choose a favorite storybook character to act out and discussing the character’s feelings and emotions
•Telling stories of grandparents, aunts and uncles when they were children
•Imitating sounds found in nature (wind, rain, hail, thunder)
Four to Five Years
Are you starting to hear “stories” from your child that show imagination and exaggeration? Do these stories involve lots of actions such as running, jumping and hopping?
Here are some other creative activities to try:
•Repeating sequences of three to five simple movements to fit a song or dance
•Making a patchwork quilt with scraps of paper or fabric
•Drawing a character from a favorite book or drawing a self-portrait while looking in a mirror
•Bringing clipboards outside so children can draw trees, flowers, pine cones, and tall grass
•Dramatizing a story together with familiar roles and then reversing roles in the same story.
“I can do this!” Yes, your child will demonstrate many new skills during this year! Physical skills may include jumping rope, playing hopscotch, doing somersaults and cartwheels and riding a bike. Buildings made with cardboard or blocks may become quite elaborate and so will the stories that accompany these adventures.
Encourage your child’s creativity by providing opportunities to try some of the following activities:
•Making scrapbooks of favorite stories or artwork
•Role play a familiar chore and have your child guess the activity, then reverse roles
•Choosing a theme and have children create a mural using sidewalk chalk
•Demonstrating dance movements and then have children take turns leading the dance while the music plays
•Provide a prop box of durable items and choose stories to dramatize
For more information on developmental milestones, check out our NebGuide on Ages and Stages for 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds https://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/g2106.pdf