What Children Learn When They...

From "The Daycare Resource Connection" at www.daycareresource.com

It is important that parents and teachers allow children to develop at their own pace.
Through play, they will begin to develop new skills while still having fun!

 "Hands-on learning:" what does it mean?  Children learn in a variety of ways, which is a concept that some do not understand.  Children learn by exploring, touching, feeling and experimenting.  Through play, they will begin to develop all the skills and concepts they need before entering kindergarten.   

  • principles of music and rhythm.

  • vocabulary.

  • memory skills and sequencing.

  • to be conscious of others.

  • enjoyment of different melodies.

  • various concepts emphasized in songs.

When children sing songs, they learn...


  • balance and coordination.

  • to be conscious of the moods and rhythm of music.

  • to express themselves physically.

When children dance, they learn...


When children look at books, they learn...


  • that books are important and enjoyable.

  • that print is written-down words.

  • to express their own thoughts, feelings and ideas.

  • to make up their own stories.

  • that pictures tell a story just like words.

  • to recognize certain words.

  • to use more complex language patterns in their own speech.

When children participate in circle time, they learn...


  • to organize their own thoughts.

  • to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end.

  • to make up their own stories.

  • letter and number recognition

  • calendar skills

  • that their ideas have meaning.

When children sing songs, they learn...


When children play with pegboards, they learn...


  • one to one correspondence, one peg for one hole (a math skill). 

  • possible left to right progression.

  • concepts of addition as they add one more peg.

  • symmetry, shapes, order and design.

  • to make and repeat patterns.

  • hand-eye coordination

  • hand-eye coordination.

  • number concepts like more/less and longer/shorter

  • to create and reproduce patterns.

  • concepts of color, shape and location.

  • use of number words; first, second, etc.

  • to notice differences and to form categories. 

  • left and right progression (a reading skill).

  • one-to-one correspondence & patterning skills.

When children play with puzzles, beads, lace cards

and math manipulatives, they learn...


When children play letter games, they learn...


  • to recognize and name upper and lower case letters.

  • to associate letters with the sounds they represent.

  • that a letter is part of words they say.

  • to recognize their name and other words.

When children play with instruments, they learn...


  • to be conscious of rhythms in music.

  • concepts of fast/slow and loud/soft.

  • to express themselves in different ways.

  • auditory discrimination (recognizing different sounds).

  • to interpret and understand signals and cues.

  • concepts of size, length and location.

  • to count, sort and classify (a math skill)

  • to cooperate with others.

  • to solve problems.

  • fine motor skills.

  • about the properties of wood, foam, plastic, etc.

  • to see themselves from a different perspective.

When children play with blocks, they learn...


  • to exercise their imagination and creativity.

  • about how colors mix and make new colors.

  • concepts of shape, size and location.

  • an acceptable way to make a mess and have fun sharing ideas with others. 

When children finger paint, they learn...


  • to develop their imagination and creativity. 

  • to develop hand-eye coordination.

  • to distinguish and purposely create shapes.

  • to express their feelings and ideas.

  • that their ideas have values. 

  • relationships of space and size.

  • concepts of symmetry, balance and design.

When children easel paint, they learn...


  • to see the shape against the background of the table
    (a pre-reading skill). 

  • concepts of shapes, sizes, length and height.

  • to see negative space when a cookie cutter shape is taken away. 

  • to express feelings by squeezing and pounding.

  • to express their imagination and creativity.

  • that the quantity of something remains the same even when the shape changes.

When children play with playdough, they learn...


  • to control the small muscles in their hand.

  • concepts of shape, size and location.

  • to exercise their imagination and creativity.

  • about different textures.

  • how to create patterns and designs (a math skill).

  • concepts of shape, size, location and design, which are relevant to reading.

  • to distinguish patterns from backgrounds (a reading skill).

When children cut, glue and collage, they learn...


  • how to hold a pencil and to control the pressure

  • hand-eye coordination

  • to exercise their creativity and imagination

  • that their ideas have value.

  • concepts of color, shape, size and location.

  • to express themselves with words. 

When children scribble and draw, they learn...


  • to be flexible in their thinking.

  • to express themselves with their words.

  • to try out different adults roles.

  • to solve problems through negotiation.

  • to sort and organize play things.

  • to make decisions.

  • to improvise and use things in a symbolic way.

  • to carry out their ideas with the help of others (cooperation).

  • to lace, tie, button, zip and snap.

  • to dress themselves (independence).

When children play in dramatic play areas, they learn...


  • to express their ideas with words.

  • to take on the role of someone else.

  • to use their voice tones as well as words.

  • to use their imagination. 

  • to learn how it feels to be someone else. 

When children play with puppets, they learn...


  • new vocabulary.

  • concepts of texture, color, weight and size.

  • to group objects into categories. 

  • to observe likeness and differences. 

  • to appreciate nature and develop a sense of wonder. 

When children use items in the science center, they learn...


  • how to use tools.

  • to solve problems.

  • concepts of warm/cool, wet/damp/dry and heavy/light.

  • how to play socially with others.

  • to observe changes (a science skill). 

  • to create systems for classifying, sorting and arranging (math skills). 

  • concepts of full/empty and shape volume. 

When children play with sand & water tables, they learn...


  • about nutrition, taste and food groups.

  • how heat and cold can change things. 

  • whole-part relationships and concepts of volume and measurement.

  • vocabulary.

  • awareness of other cultures.

When children do cooking projects, they learn...


  • physical strength, coordination and balance.

  • to cooperate with others in group games. 

  • to solve problems.

  • self-confidence as they develop new skills.

When children play on climbing equipment, they learn...


702 Liberty Street, Franklin, PA 16323

(814) 670-0838 | (888) 779-7763 Fax 


©2019 by Child Development Centers, Inc. 

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