Pretend play allows preschoolers to experiment and express their creativity. Children will have fun acting out day and night, and using pretend play will also let you teach children about concepts such as hygiene and safety. Turn half of your classroom into a daytime zone and the other half into a nighttime zone; let children go back and forth between the two. Teachers stationed in each zone can help children act out appropriate behaviors. In the day section, children can pretend to eat, play and do chores. In the night zone, they can pretend to brush their teeth and sleep.
Preschoolers may know that darkness means night and sunshine means day, but examining these two concepts further helps children learn about comparisons and the rhythms of nature. Talking about the differences between daytime and nighttime also encourages preschoolers to be aware and make observations about the world around them. Use this subject not just to talk about times of day but to teach children language skills that will help them when they reach kindergarten.
Art projects help preschoolers build motor skills, and once you have a variety of art projects, you can display them throughout the classroom to serve as reminders for students. Ask each child to draw pictures of what she does during the day and what she does at night. Dioramas take a bit longer to make, but children will love the results. Ask each child to pick either the day or night and complete a diorama to match. Students can paint the insides of shoe boxes and form people and other objects out of clay to position inside.
Many of your preschoolers may be visual learners, so using visual aids is a simple way to illustrate concepts about day and night. Hang large sheets of paper at the front of the room and use them to make charts. Divide one piece of paper in half and label one side "Day" and the other "Night." Ask students to suggest different activities that they do during day and night and write their suggestions in the appropriate columns. Including animals in your discussion will interest many preschoolers. List a variety of animals on the chart paper and ask children to describe what each animal does during the day and night.
Any opportunity to use books in the classroom reinforces lessons about literacy and language. Visit your local library to borrow a collection of books about day and night. Check for books that show what children around the world do at different times of day. Read a few books with students and discuss them, then encourage children to make their own books. Give each child several pieces of paper labeled "Morning," "Afternoon," "Evening" and "Night." Ask children what they do during each time and write their answers down, then ask them to illustrate the pages. Staple each child's pages into a book.
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