Preschooler Inclusive Activities: Making Playtime Fun for All
Preschool is a critical time for preschoolers’ development, and inclusive activities can help support socialisation, cognitive development, and self-esteem. Inclusive activities are important in creating a welcoming and safe environment where preschoolers can learn and play together regardless of their abilities. In this piece, we will explore some inclusive activities that teachers and parents can use to promote inclusion and diversity in the preschool setting.
Creating an Inclusive Environment
Before we dive into specific activities, it’s important to understand what it means to build an inclusive environment. An inclusive setting is one where all preschoolers feel welcome and valued, regardless of their abilities, race, gender, or socioeconomic position. Here are some tips for building an inclusive environment:
Use inclusive language: Teachers and parents should use language that is respectful and welcoming to all preschoolers. Avoid using words that are derogatory or damaging to certain groups of people.
Celebrate diversity: Create a classroom or home setting that celebrates variety. Display books, posters, and art that feature different countries, races, and abilities.
Foster a sense of belonging: Encourage preschoolers to form ties with one another. Provide chances for them to work together on projects, play games, and learn from one another.
Embrace different learning styles: Understand that preschoolers learn in different ways. Some may be visual learners, while others may be hearing learners. Tailor activities to different learning styles to ensure that all preschoolers can join and succeed.
Inclusive Activities for Preschoolers
Sensory play is an excellent way to promote inclusion as it involves all the senses, and preschoolers of all abilities can participate. Sensory play involves discovering different materials and textures, such as water, sand, playdough, and paint. Here are some examples of sense play activities:
Sensory bins: Create a sensory bin with different objects, such as rice, beans, and beads. Preschoolers with special needs can explore and connect with the materials using their senses.
Sensory bottles: Create sensory bottles with different liquids and objects that promote visual and tactile stimulation.
Messy play: Engage preschoolers with special needs in messy play activities, such as finger painting or shaving cream play, that promote physical exploration and sensory processing.
Water play: Fill a shallow tray with water and add various items, such as cups, spoons, and toys. Preschoolers can splash, pour, and discover the different objects in the water.
Playdough: Provide preschoolers with playdough and different tools, such as rollers, cookie cutters, and scissors. Preschoolers can use their hands and tools to make different shapes and textures.
Texture walk: Place different objects on the floor, such as bubble wrap, carpet, and sandpaper. Preschoolers can walk barefoot over the materials and discover the different textures.
Music and Movement
Music and movement activities are excellent for promoting inclusion as they allow preschoolers to express themselves creatively and can be tailored to different abilities. Here are some examples of music and moving activities:
Musical instruments: Provide preschoolers with special needs with a range of musical instruments, such as drums, shakers, and xylophones, that are approachable and easy to use.
Dance and movement: Engage preschoolers with special needs in simple dance routines and movement tasks that promote coordination and body awareness.
Sing-alongs: Use music and singing to promote language growth and socialisation. Encourage preschoolers to join in and sing along with known songs and nursery rhymes.
Dance party: Play different types of music and urge preschoolers to dance and move to the beat. You can also add scarves or ribbons to improve the experience.
Freeze dance: Play music and urge preschoolers to dance. When the music stops, they must freeze in whatever position they are in.
Yoga: Lead preschoolers through a yoga session, focused on different poses and breathing exercises.
Art and Creativity
Art and creativity activities are an excellent way to promote inclusion as they allow toddlers to express themselves creatively and can be tailored to different abilities. Here are some examples of art and creativity activities:
Collage making: Provide preschoolers with a range of materials, such as magazines, paper, glue, and scissors. They can cut and paste to make their own unique collages.
Painting: Provide preschoolers with paint and different tools, such as brushes, sponges, and stamps. They can make their own masterpieces.
Playdough sculptures: Provide preschoolers with playdough and different tools, such as rollers, cookie cutters, and scissors. They can use their hands and tools to make sculptures and figures.
Storytime and Role Play
Storytime and role play activities are excellent for promoting inclusion as they allow preschoolers to explore different views and ideas. Here are some examples of storytime and role play activities:
Dress-up corner: Create a dress-up corner with different costumes, hats, and props. Preschoolers can dress up and role play different situations.
Storytelling: Read stories that feature diverse characters and topics. Encourage preschoolers to talk the stories and ask questions.
Puppet show: Provide toddlers with puppets and a stage or puppet theatre. They can make their own stories and act them out with the puppets.
Outdoor play is an excellent way to promote inclusion as it allows preschoolers to explore and connect with the natural environment. Here are some examples of outdoor play activities:
Nature walks: Take preschoolers on nature walks and encourage them to watch and explore the natural environment.
Sensory gardens: Create a sensory garden with different plants, textures, and smells. Preschoolers can explore and interact with the garden using their senses.
Obstacle course: Create an obstacle course with different challenges, such as jumping over hurdles, crawling under tunnels, and balancing on beams. Preschoolers can work together to finish the course.
Inclusive Activities for Preschoolers with Special Needs
Inclusive activities are important for preschoolers with special needs, as they provide opportunities for socialisation, skill-building, and self-esteem. Here are some inclusive activities that are tailored to preschoolers with special needs:
Technology-based activities can be highly engaging for preschoolers with special needs and provide chances for skill-building and socialisation. Here are some examples of technology-based tasks for preschoolers with special needs:
Augmented reality games: Use augmented reality games and apps to engage preschoolers with special needs in engaging learning and play.
Interactive whiteboards: Use interactive whiteboards to engage preschoolers with special needs in educational games and tasks that promote learning and skill-building.
Assistive technology: Provide preschoolers with special needs with assistive technology, such as communication devices or mobility aids, that support their individual needs and skills.
Inclusive activities are important for promoting the socialisation, skill-building, and self-esteem of preschoolers and preschoolers with special needs. By offering a range of activities that are tailored to different abilities and interests, we can ensure that all preschoolers feel included and valued. It is important to consider accessibility and safety when creating and implementing inclusive activities, and to engage preschoolers and families in the planning process. With the right help and resources, we can build a more inclusive and supportive environment for all preschoolers and preschoolers with special needs.
In conclusion, inclusive activities play a vital part in promoting the development and wellbeing of preschoolers and preschoolers with special needs. By offering a range of activities that are accessible and engaging, we can support their socialisation, skill-building, and self-esteem. It is important to consider accessibility, safety, and individual needs when creating and implementing inclusive activities, and to involve preschoolers and families in the planning process. With the right help and resources, we can build a more inclusive and supportive environment for all preschoolers and preschoolers with special needs.
In addition to the above activities, it is important to remember that inclusive activities can also involve everyday events and interactions. Encouraging positive social interactions and modelling inclusive behaviour can have a significant effect on the socialisation and wellbeing of preschoolers and preschoolers with special needs. Teachers and guardians can also work with families to ensure that preschoolers’ individual needs and interests are considered in the planning and implementation of inclusive activities. By working together, we can build a more inclusive and supportive environment for all preschoolers.