For Children From Age 3 To 4

What should you expect of children from 3 to 4 years old?

Children this age...
● Start to play with other children, instead of next to them.
● Are more likely to take turns and share.
● Are friendly and giving.
● Begin to understand that other people have feelings and rights.
● Like silly humor, riddles, and practical jokes.
● Like to please and to conform.
● Generally become more cooperative and enjoy new experiences.
● Are increasingly self-reliant and probably can dress without help (except for buttons and shoelaces).
● May develop fears (Mommy, there's a monster under my bed.) and have imaginary companions.
● Are more graceful physically than 2-year-olds and love to run, skip, jump with both feet, catch a ball, climb downstairs, and dance to music.
● Are great talkers, speak in sentences, and continue to add more words to their vocabularies.
● Have greater control over hand and arm muscles, which is reflected in their drawings and scribblings.

What do 3 and 4 years old children need?

Children this age require opportunities to...
● Develop their blooming language abilities through books, games, songs, science, and art activities.
● Develop more self-help skills--for example, to dress and undress themselves.
● Draw with crayons, work puzzles, build things, and pretend.
● Play with other children so they can learn to listen, take turns, and share.
● Develop more physical coordination--for example, by hopping on both feet.

Scribble, Paint, and Paste

Young children are natural artists. Here are some activities that introduce preschoolers to scribbling, painting, and pasting.

What you'll need are...

For scribbling: crayons, water-soluble felt-tipped markers, different kinds of paper (including construction paper, butcher paper), and tape.

For fingerpainting: store-bought fingerpaint or homemade fingerpaint made with soap flakes, water, food coloring or powdered tempera; an eggbeater or fork; a bowl; a spoon; an apron or smock; newspapers or a large piece of plastic to cover the floor or table; butcher paper; and tape.

For collages: paper, paste, blunt-tipped scissors, fabric scraps or objects that can be glued to paper (string, cottonballs, sticks, yarn).

Now, here's what to do!

Scribbling. Give your child different kinds of paper and different writing materials to scribble with. Coloring books are not needed. Fat crayons are good to begin with. Water-soluble felt-tipped marking pens are fun because your child doesn't have to use much pressure to get a bright color. Tape a large piece of butcher paper onto a table top and let your preschooler scribble to her heart's content!

Fingerpainting. Use store-bought fingerpaint, or make your own by mixing soap flakes (not detergent) in a bowl with a small amount of water. Beat the mixture with a fork or eggbeater. Add powdered tempera paint or food coloring. Spread out newspapers or a large piece of plastic over a table or on the floor and tape a big piece of construction paper or butcher paper on top. Cover your child with a large smock or apron, and let her fingerpaint.

Collages. Have your child paste fabric scraps or other objects such as yarn, string, or cottonballs to the paper (in any pattern). Let her feel the different textures and tell you about them.

Here are a few tips about introducing your preschoolers to art:

● Supervise carefully. Some children would rather color your walls than the paper. Some also like to chew on crayons and markers or try to drink the paint.
● Don't tell them what to draw or paint.
● Don't fix up their pictures. It will take lots of practice before you can recognize their pictures--and that often doesn't happen until after they are in kindergarten.
● Give them lots of different materials to work with. Parents can demonstrate new types of art materials.
● Find an art activity that's at the right level for your child, then let him do as much of the project as possible.
● Ask your preschooler to talk about his picture.
● Display your child's art prominently in your home.

Art projects can spark young imaginations and help children to express themselves. These projects also help children to develop the eye and hand coordination they will later need to learn to write.

Kitchen Cut-Ups

Here are some recipes popular with preschoolers. Things always seem to taste better when you make them yourself!

What you'll need are...
● Knife
● For applewiches: 1 apple, cheese slices
● For funny-face sandwich: 1 piece of bread; peanut butter, cream cheese, or egg salad; green pepper, celery, radishes, carrot curls; olives; nuts; hard-boiled egg slices; tiny shapes of cheese; apples and raisins
● For fruit Popsicles: fruit juice (any kind), an ice cube tray or small paper cups, yogurt, mashed or crushed fruit, Popsicle sticks
● For bumps on a log: celery, peanut butter, raisins

And here's what to do!
● Choose a safe spot to cook where you won't have to worry about making a mess.
● Tell your child what the ingredients are. Talk about what you are doing as you go along. Ask and answer questions.
● Let him smell, taste, and touch as you go. Let him (with your help) pour, stir, measure, and help clean up.

Applewiches. Core an apple. Cut the apple crosswise into thick slices. Put cheese slices between the slices. Cheddar cheese is particularly good. Eat like a sandwich.

Funny-face sandwich. Cut the bread into a circle. Spread with cream cheese, peanut butter, or egg salad. Decorate using green pepper, celery, radishes, carrot curls, olives, nuts, hard-boiled egg slices, tiny shapes of cheese, apples, or raisins for eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.

Fruit Popsicles . Pour the fruit juice into small paper cups or an ice cube tray. Place a Popsicle stick in each cup or compartment before the juice is completely frozen. Return to the freezer until frozen solid. For variations, mix yogurt with the juice before freezing for a creamier Popsicle, or add mashed or crushed fruit such as strawberries, pineapple, or banana.

Bumps on a log. Spread peanut butter on the celery stalks. Decorate with raisins. Great snacks!

Cooking helps children learn new words, measuring and number skills, what foods are healthy and what ones aren't, and the importance of completing what they begin. It also teaches about how things change, and it can teach children to reason better. (If I want a cold fruit juice Popsicle, then I'll have to put it in the freezer.)

Any household task can become a good learning game and can be fun. What you need are some jobs that need to get done around the home, such as:

Doing the laundry.
Washing and drying dishes.
Carrying out the garbage.
Setting the dinner table.

Here is what you should do!
● Tell your child about the job you will do together. Explain why the family needs the job done. Describe how you will do it and how your child can help.
● Teach your child new words that belong to each job. Let's put the placemats on the table, along with the napkins.
● Doing laundry together provides many opportunities to learn. Ask your child to help you remember all the clothes that need to be washed. See how many things he can name. Socks? T-shirts? Pajamas? Have him help you gather all the dirty clothes. Have your child help you make piles of light and dark colors.
● Show your child how to measure out the soap, and have him pour the soap into the machine. Let him put the items into the machine, naming them. Keep out one sock. When the washer is filled with water, take out a sock. Let your child hold the wet sock and the one you kept out. Ask him which one feels heavier and which one feels lighter. After the wash is done, have your child sort his own things into piles that are the same (for example, T-shirts, socks).

Home chores can help children learn new words, how to listen and follow directions, how to count, and how to sort. Chores can also help children improve their physical coordination and learn responsibility.

Article Source - U.S. Department of Education.

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