You Can't Make Me!
As preschoolers become more independent, they can also be less
cooperative. Kids this age take pride in making some of their
decisions, such as which friend to play with, what clothes to wear,
and-a bit defiantly-which limits to stretch. Help preschoolers
explore their independence while maintaining a productive learning
environment with these tips.
• Maintain a routine. Preschoolers may be
exploring independence, but they still find comfort in
predictability. Keep a regular schedule, such as free play,
singing, story, craft, snack, and cleanup. Within scheduled
activities, offer kids choices such as which songs to sing or area
to tidy up.
• Keep it simple. Don't overwhelm kids with too
many instructions. Provide simple rules and guidelines that are
easy for preschoolers to understand and live by. Preschoolers can
become frustrated and stubborn when their newfound independence is
inundated with instructions, choices, or rules.
• Make good choices. Preschoolers need guidance
when learning to make decisions. Teach kids to use the principles
they're learning from the Bible as a guide for choices in every
aspect of life, from play to attitude.
Thank You, God
Use this stand-up action-play prayer with preschoolers before snack
Thank you, God, for birds with wings, (Flap
For worms and snakes and squirmy things.
For puppy dogs and waggy tails, (Move hand
side to side like a windshield wiper)
For tiny fish and great big whales. (Measure
little fish with fingers, extend arms wide for whales)
For the family that we love, (Place hands over
For earth and sea and sky above. (Cup hands to
make a globe, then waves, then point to the sky)
For clothes and shoes upon our feet, (Point to
And for the food we soon will eat. (Pretend to
The Humongous Book of Preschool Ideas
The book is packed with Bible lessons, games, crafts, finger plays,
songs, prayers, and snacks-specifically geared for preschoolers.
Customize a lesson, add an extra, or find quick ideas to fill
leftover time. $14.95; Group; www.group.com
Kids can make this huggable gift for a valentine.
You'll need yarn, white construction paper, red paint, sponge
brushes, scissors, tape, glue sticks, envelopes, and copies of the
Paint preschoolers' hands with washable red paint, and have them
leave a left and right handprint on the paper. Cut out the prints
and attach each to one end of a 30-inch piece of yarn. Tuck the
"hug" into an envelope with the poem glued to the front.
I made this great big hug just for you,
To share my love, it's true.
Wrap it around you, all snug and tight,
Hold it with all your might!
For Valentine's Day and all the year,
God loves you-that's reason to cheer!
A study of three different preschool models-play-based, academic,
and middle-of-the-road (not following any specific
philosophy)-found that children in a play-based preschool had
stronger academic performance in all subject areas and were more
enthusiastic and creative.
Source: University of North Florida
Preschoolers love to be inspired, and January is a great time to do
just that. Not only is it the start of the new year, but it's also
the month we honor Martin Luther King Jr. And like King,
preschoolers have big hopes and dreams.
• Talk with preschoolers about their dreams.
Preschoolers are very concrete about their wishes. They wish for
toys, treats, and things to do.
• Talk about Jesus' dreams and wishes, too. When
preschoolers discover that Jesus had wishes, their eyes light
up-they're curious about what Jesus wished and hoped for.
Preschoolers may know a bit about Jesus' wishes, but they need to
I tell preschoolers that Jesus wishes for everyone to love God with
all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love their
neighbor, too (Mark 12:28-31). We talk about Matthew 5:44, where
Jesus wishes people will love their enemies. I tell kids how Jesus
was kind to people others didn't like, such as the poor, sick, and
hurting. Jesus wishes others will follow his example.
When I finish sharing Jesus' wishes, I give kids paper and crayons
and ask them to draw a big cloud on the paper. Then I tell kids to
draw one big wish they think Jesus has for us inside the cloud. I'm
always surprised by what preschoolers draw. There are always clouds
filled with hearts and smiles. But I've also seen clouds filled
with people helping the sick or helping those who are hurt. I've
seen clouds filled with disturbing items such as guns and knives,
with a big red X drawn over them to show their wish for things to
change. One preschooler drew two hands and told me that Jesus gave
us two hands so we could help lots of people.
Preschoolers have big dreams. They have big wishes.
When we talk about these important things, preschoolers begin to
help and love each other more-a great wish for the new year.
Jolene Roehlkepartain is the author of 25 books including
Parenting Preschoolers with a Purpose (Search Institute). She's
active in children's ministry in St. Louis Park,