I love doing crafts with my preschool-aged daughter. Crafting is great for preschoolers and toddlers because while they're having fun, it also helps them with fine motor skills, creativity, and concrete learning.
Here are three of our favorite crafts for preschoolers, which help them learn, too! Plus, they use supplies you probably already have on hand. But if not, you can get creative and use something similar you do have available.
Basic materials needed:
- Construction paper and/or finger paint paper
- Finger paint in fall colors
- Pom-poms or other craft materials like tissue paper, pipe cleaners, etc.
- Googly eyes
- Glue stick or bottle of glue
Pumpkin finger painting
This is a super simple setup. Just draw a pumpkin or any other fall object or scene on paper. Don't worry, your child won't critique your artistic skills. Put a small amount of finger paint on a little plate and let your child dab their finger(s) in the paint and dot in the picture.
Skills they're learning: This type of craft activity helps your child to develop and strengthen fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Pom-pom leaf painting
Use brown construction paper and trace your child's hand and forearm. My daughter loves to see the outline of her hand! Cut it out and have your child use a glue stick to paste the cutout to a piece of white construction paper. Put a small amount of several fall leaf colors of paint on a plate. Using small pom-poms as a tool, have your child dab the paint onto the tree to look like autumn leaves. (My daughter used an orange pom-pom in the orange paint and a green pom-pom for green paint, etc.)
My nieces, who are elementary-aged, did this craft too and added tissue paper and other materials they found to make a whole scene (pictured at the top of this article).
As a parent, this will be a tree you'll fall in love with since your child's hand is all over it!
Skills they're learning: This type of craft activity helps with color identification and matching, fine motor skills, and using fingers cooperatively. As you pick the colors, you can ask or tell your child what each one is. Using pom-poms for painting and a glue stick for pasting requires fingers to work cooperatively on a task. Pasting and painting also reinforce fine motor skill development.
This is more of a learning activity and less of a craft, depending on your setup. We did this one two ways.
In one version, I drew pumpkins and put a number on each, then my daughter put fall-themed stickers on each pumpkin to match the number.
In the second version I drew candy corn figures and the numbers in each, and my daughter counted out how many googly eyes matched the number. Using glue drops or a glue stick, I had her paste the eyes on herself.
To turn this into a craft, you can have your child finger paint/finger dab instead of attaching stickers and googly eyes. If your child doesn't do all of these in one sitting, it's okay!
Skills they're learning: I love this activity as a tactile way of learning numbers and counting. I used this to reinforce numbers 1-5. Once I know she has mastered this, I will add more objects or use numbers 6-10.
Stickers are such a powerful and simple way of helping your child develop fine motor skills. A lot of effort goes into peeling off stickers and this activity is a fun way to learn numbers and counting.
Michelle Holly is the publisher of Macaroni KID Winter Garden-Ocoee, Fla.