Playing is the main activity of preschool children and an important part of the learning process. Sensory skills, fine motor skills as well as logical thinking develop when a child is playing, therefore, a teacher's work with a child should be playful, dynamic, emotionally pleasant, tireless and diverse. This pushed me to search for new gaming techniques and tools in working with children.
First, I wanted to diversify my Circle Time activity and decided to try using felt toys. I personally like to surprise my little students and felt toys can attract the attention of a child, surprise and give joy during a game. Felt is a safe, durable, warm and pleasant to the touch material, which is very convenient to use. For me personally felt board activities are one of the best ways to teach children.
My first interactive learning activity was about colors and counting. I found a lot of examples online and also made my own. It was “Little Mouse, Little Mouse, what house are you in?” flannel board game. I made a felt board (or flannel board) first. Then I made 10 houses out of felts of different colors and one little felt mouse. The rule of this game was to find a little mouse who hid behind one of the houses. This game gives the children the opportunity to learn colors and practice their counting skills, practice taking turns and be alert. Right now I have about 20 different kinds of felt board games which I sorted into different categories such as shape story, book-based story, Five little something, Games, Conversations, Stories, Rhymes, Songs. The children in my group love the felt board games I created for them!
Using the felt toys made it possible for children to continue developing such important cognitive functions during a game as perception, memory, attention as well as speech and fine motor skills.
I found that felt activities are the perfect solution for independent and quiet play as well as for group activities and role play.
One of my favorites is Rug-Puzzle which I made out of felt (idea for which I found online). This game is an incredible contribution to the expansion of children's knowledge, fine motor skills, dimensional imagination, and attention.
It is not a secret that one of the most favorite play activities of preschoolers is “do as adults do”. So I created a felt game called “Fishing”. When children play that game they learn about fishing, develop the corresponding vocabulary and form elementary social skills. You will able to see more games which I play with the children in the video below. If you are not a crafty person you can find felt games in stores.
One of the interesting felt games I bought at Target was “Making felt pizza”. Children love to use those materials for different role plays, such as “Shop”,” House”,” Restaurant”. Seeing the children enjoying the game I have decided to make even more grocery products out of felt for my little ones.
Even though educational methods will always change we can say for sure that one thing will remain constant - the joy of a child playing. For me creating new felt activities for the children began as a lesson plan preparation brought me a lot of joy and became a hobby. I am looking forward to future teaching experiences and new discoveries!
Head Teacher at Prospect Academy of Westchester