Pre-K and Toddler Learning Activities: Games and Activities to Teach Shapes, Colors, and Numbers
Playing with those colorful shape-sorting toys or dancing and singing silly songs creates fun memories with your kiddo, but it goes beyond that. Did you know those activities actually have rich, educational value? In this blog, we’ll walk through some of the best preschool and toddler learning activities to teach and/or reinforce colors, shapes, and numbers.
First and Foremost – Look at the Big Picture
“By the time a child reaches five years old, 90% of their brain has already developed – which means the progression from birth to school is the most important time of their lives.” – TheirWorld.
Toy companies across the globe have worked tirelessly to produce toys and gadgets to help facilitate early childhood education, each with more bells and whistles than the last. While many of these toys can be tremendously helpful in supporting your child’s growth and development, don’t discount your own intuition, abilities, and the supplies you already own at home.
Shapes, colors, and numbers are all around us. You don’t have to look far to find true, authentic examples in your home, neighborhood, or local community. Make it a habit to point out details in your child’s world – the shape of their teddy bear’s eyes, the colors of the leaves outside, the number of rubber duckies in the bathtub. You are your child’s best, most important teacher, and you’re more qualified than you know!
Repetition is key, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Preschool and toddler learning activities come in many forms. Read on to find examples of ways you can incorporate shapes, colors, and numbers into your child’s daily routine.
Read Books Together – And Go Off Script!
Reading with your child has numerous benefits, from language and cognitive development to imagination and creativity – not to mention the endless snuggling opportunities! But you don’t need a Belle-inspired library to enrich your child’s life with books. Instead, utilize the amazing resources available at your local Johnson County Library branch. Visit their website or download their app to unlock an array of online resources: you can search for books by age group, renew books, and request holds – all at the swipe of your finger. This makes pickup easy-peasy. Just walk in and find your books waiting for you on the hold shelf, much like picking up food to-go!
While many books specialize in teaching various content, you can always go rogue and teach off-script. In fact, we highly encourage it. Asking questions based on your child’s age and developmental ability help your child retain information and get more involved in the story. For example:
Reading With Babies and Toddlers
Although your newborn baby won’t initially be able to respond to prompts, there’s still value in asking questions, pausing, and then revealing the answer. Use your hand to point out words and shapes on the page. With time, your little one will get in on the fun and respond back to you.
For toddlers, start with simple questions, such as: “Where is the red ball? Do you see the star?” Initially, they’ll prove their comprehension non-verbally, through pointing at the pictures. And one day they’ll add an adorable “bah!” to indicate “ball”. And yes, that counts! Encourage their responses with verbal praise such as, “Yes, ball! That is the ball!”
As your toddler acquires more language, enhance your questions accordingly. Try questions like this: “How many dogs do you see? Does the girl look happy or sad? Have you seen a stop sign like that? What color is it? How many sides does it have?”
Reading With Preschoolers
For preschoolers and students in pre-K, level-up your asking game through open-ended prompts. If your questions are too simplistic, your child may lose interest.
Get their wheels turning by asking inference questions, such as, “What do you think will happen next?” or “Why do you think the character is doing that?” Put your child’s mind in the shoes of the characters on the pages by asking, “What would you do in this situation?”
Design your questions based around the content you want to teach, reteach, or expand upon. Consider doing a follow-up craft to hone their skills further.
Listen to Music
Music is an excellent tool for teaching children numbers, shapes, and colors in a fun and engaging way. Whether you expose your child to music through your own voice and/or instrument playing, digitally through a playlist, or with the help of visual components (aka YouTube), it can all be helpful, especially with your involvement and encouragement as a parent.
Songs About Shapes and Colors
Songs about shapes and colors work best with visuals. Before diving into semi-structured learning, gather a toy or object to serve as the representative for each color and/or shape. Check out these resources for color songs and shape songs.
Songs About Counting and Numbers
Songs that count from one to ten or even higher can help children to learn number sequencing and memorization. Some popular songs include “Five Little Ducks” and “No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.” For more ideas, check out this list of 15 Preschool Counting Songs, Fingerplays & Rhymes.
Songs About Movement and More
Songs that involve movements or dances, such as “Wheels on the Bus”, “The Hokey Pokey” or “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” can help children learn new words while moving around and having fun.
Even if you’re a screen-free family, you can still enjoy music from YouTube or otherwise, just play the audio only or find the same tunes on your preferred streaming service platform. With that said, we highly recommend the Kiboomers’ Party Freeze Dance Song! This jam will liven up any party in the under-five realm, galvanizing children and parents alike to dance, hop, skip, and twirl – before “freezing” in place between transitions. Ensue the giggles and released endorphins!
Songs for Littles
In this digital age, we have an abundance of streaming options, many of which facilitate early childhood education – or at least they claim to do so. Always be sure to monitor your child’s screentime to ensure they’re watching parent-approved programs. While you, the parent, are your child’s best, most important teacher, sometimes you just need 5-10 minutes to finish prepping dinner or send a work email. We get it. In times like these, Ms. Rachel of Songs for Littles is a great option. She uses techniques recommended by speech therapists and early childhood experts to help children learn important milestones and preschool skills.
Interactive Preschool and Toddler Learning Activities
When you actively look for teachable moments, the learning opportunities are infinite!
Transform monotonous daily tasks – like laundry and dishes – into fun learning opportunities! Instead of just throwing the clothes into the wash and moving on, make it an event. If you’re working on colors, sort the pieces accordingly. Shapes? Challenge each other to make shapes out of clothing on the floor by twisting and turning it. Numbers? Count each item as you toss it into the machine.
Take this mindset and apply it however you see fit, based on your child’s age and your energy level at the time. Feeling worn out? Here are some fun games you can play with your child while you are lying down.
Read on for structured preschool and toddler learning activities:
How to Practice Shapes
Shape Sorter – Using a shape sorter toy, ask your child to match the shapes to the corresponding holes. This activity can help develop their problem-solving skills and fine motor skills. Although most shape sorters are designed for infants and toddlers, preschoolers can use these same toys as a foundation for more enriched creative play – let their imagination run wild!
Shape Tracing – Provide your child with different shaped objects and ask them to trace around them. This activity helps develop fine motor skills and shape recognition skills. This activity can be done indoors or outside with sidewalk chalk. Get wild and trace each other’s bodies, or even your vehicles.
Shape Collage – With your child, go through old magazines and find different shapes and colored items. Cut them out and create a collage. This activity can help develop their creativity and shape recognition skills.
Shape Puzzles – Polish your child’s problem-solving skills through shape puzzles. Save that recent Amazon box and create your own puzzles!
How to Practice Colors
Color Sorting – Set up a color sorting station using different colored objects. Ask your child to sort the objects by color and name the colors as they go along.
Color Hunt – Go on a color hunt around your house or neighborhood. Ask your child to point out things that are a specific color. For example, “Can you find something that is yellow?” This activity improves their color recognition skills and teaches color with more context.
Color Mixing – Mix primary colors together with your child to create secondary colors. This can help them understand color theory and develop their creativity.
Color Bingo – Create a bingo game with different colors on the bingo cards. Call out the colors and ask your child to mark them on their bingo cards. The first one to get a line or a full card wins!
How to Practice Counting and Numbers
Counting Games – Play counting games with your child, such as counting blocks, toys, or snacks. This can help them develop their counting skills and understanding of numbers.
Number Hopscotch – Create a hopscotch board using numbers. Ask your child to jump on the numbers in order, counting aloud as they go.
Schedule a Tour at Kiddi Kollege
As a parent, you play a crucial role in your child’s early education. But remember, pre-K and toddler learning activities shouldn’t be tedious nor boring. Incorporating games and activities into your daily routine can make learning fun and engaging for your child. By creating a stimulating environment, you can help your child develop important skills that will prepare them for their future education.
Are you looking for a high-quality early childhood education center in Johnson County, Kansas? Everything about Kiddi Kollege—from our curriculum to our classrooms—is designed to provide a warm, safe, and nurturing environment where independence is encouraged, and individuality is respected. We offer child care and education for children as young as six weeks all the way through pre-K. And we offer afterschool care for kids up to 12, too. Interested in hearing more? Schedule a tour today.