This post was contributed by Leah of Simple. Home. Blessings.
Develop Preschool Listening Skills While You Clean Up Toys!
Feeling overrun by your preschooler’s favorite toys? Do you think you might just throw away the next teddy bear or dinosaur that makes it’s way into the house? It may be time to pare down the toys! But before you get rid of all those toys, try this activity: A Toy Round-Up! This is a creative and fun way to clean up toys while helping your young one develop critical thinking and listening skills, too.
We have done this with a number of toys, but our most recent Round-Up was with horses. We are doing a preschool unit on farm animals and this way to clean up toys tied in perfectly! G put on her farmer hat and set off to find all the horses and put them into their barn for the evening.
To get our Toy Round-Up set, I walked around the house, placing the horses in various places I thought G would know. I took note of their locations (for a larger amount of toys, I made a list!) and then came up with clues for each location.
Then we set up home base for the horses: their barn. I stayed with the horses and the barn and sent G and her dad off to find each horse. I only gave her the directions for one horse at a time. This helped her to develop her critical thinking and listening skills. As soon as she heard the clue, she dashed off to locate the horse in question. She had dad with her to “help” but she only needed him in a couple of instances.
When each horse was found, G brought it back to home base and put it in the barn! We counted the horses as we went along, counting them all each time they were brought back. And we celebrated each time a horse was back in the barn for the night!
This activity is adaptable to any toy your child loves and is perfect for almost any preschool age. You can adjust the instructions and amount of toys based on your child’s development. We did this activity for the first time when G was only 18 months old and we had immediate success with it! Through this activity your child will practice listening skills and clean up toys all while having FUN!
Here are some tips for coming up with hiding places and clues:
Think like your Preschool child – consider your home from his perspective and come up with age and height appropriate hiding places.
Hit the highpoints – does your child have a favorite hiding spot? a favorite place to read? a favorite place to play? Make sure to place one of the toys in each of these spots and come up with a creative way to direct her there.
Stretch their perspective – tell her the next toy is where another family member sleeps or in Daddy’s chair. This gets her thinking about others: what others do, where others hang out. You will be surprised how observant your little one is.
Use prepositional phrases to direct your wee hunter. These words help develop those critical thinking skills – he will not only know the location of the next toy, but where exactly to find it.
Leah is the homemaker and mama behind Simple. Home. Blessings. She loves seeing the spark in her children’s eyes as they discover and explore new things. She is passionate about reading and creates lots of activities based on favorite books. She also writes about other topics related to homemaking.
What a way to have fun while you clean up toys! And to add the element of encouraging important listening skills and critical thinking is brilliant! This would be fun in a Preschool setting or at home, too. Thanks for the great tip, Leah!
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