Preschool Health Activities
Promoting good health in the preschool classroom is important for setting the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits. As an early educator, and parent, you have the opportunity to create an environment that supports healthy choices and teaches children about the importance of taking care of their bodies.
Preschoolers are beginning to learn the importance of taking care of their bodies but also their mental and emotional health, too! Great news is that there are so many wonderful and hands-on learning experiences we can provide preschoolers to promote good health in the preschool classroom and at home.
We’ve complied our favorite ideas, activities, and resources for promoting good health in preschoolers.
Handwashing and Activity Ideas
Teaching preschoolers about the importance of handwashing is an excellent way to instill good hygiene habits early on. Making hand washing a regular part of their routine helps preschoolers to develop a sense of responsibility for their own health and well-being while learning the importance of preventing the spread of germs. There are so many fun activities you can do with your preschoolers to help them make handwashing a part of their everyday routine.
Teaching Proper Techniques
Read Handwashing Books
Have a Handwashing Discussion + Game
During circle time or a classroom discussion ask your preschoolers about the various times they should wash their hands. Make it a game! "Do we wash our hands before we eat" and if the answer is yes, preschoolers will stand up, raise their hand, or do the action that you choose.
Sing a Handwashing Song
Use a song to teach preschoolers about why we wash our hands. Sing this to the tune of Row Row Row Your Boat: "Wash, wash, wash your hands, soap will make them clean. Scrub the germs and dirt away, keep your hands from being mean!" Use a fun video like this Handwashing song from Super Simple Songs.
It's always great to recommend your preschoolers sing a song like the ABC's during handwashing to make sure they wash for long enough to scrub away the germs!
Watch a Video!
Kids love to brush their teeth but...they don't always brush the right away! It can be helpful for preschoolers to watch a video on the correct way to brush their teeth that way they can become independent brushers. We love this how to brush your teeth video from Smile and Learn because it gives a great demonstrate that is engaging for little ones to watch.
Dental Hygiene Egg Experiment
Read a Dental Health Book
Healthy Eating Habits
Early exposure to nutritious foods and education on healthy eating habits is so important for preschoolers to understand the reasoning behind healthy eating. Preschoolers often hear that foods are good or bad for you but providing this education helps them realize it's more than just good vs. bad but also that everything is fine in moderation. It's helping them find the balance and the love for choosing healthy foods.
Fruit and Veggie Scavenger Hunt
Eating Healthy Snacks
Sing Healthy Food Songs
Singing songs about healthy foods with your preschoolers can be an effective way to encourage healthy eating habits.
Grocery Store Dramatic Play
Hygiene and Germs
Understanding what germs are and how they spread is crucial for promoting good hygiene habits, reducing the spread of illness, and empowers little ones to take control of their own health and well-being. Teaching them about germs can help them understand the importance of proper hygiene practices such as washing their hands frequently, covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze, and not sharing personal items.
Glitter Germ Experiment
The glitter germ experiment is a popular activity used to teach children about germs and the importance of hand washing. In this experiment, glitter is used to represent germs. Here are the steps of the experiment:
How Germs Spread
Read Germ Books
Books about germs can help children understand what germs are and how they spread. By seeing pictures and reading about germs, children can visualize what they are learning and make connections to the real world.
Here are a few books we recommend:
Germ Washing Sensory Bin
A germ washing sensory bin is a fun and interactive way to teach children about the importance of hand washing and hygiene. It involves creating a sensory bin filled with materials that resemble germs, such as small plastic bugs, pom-poms, or beads.
As adults we know how important sleep is and how much we love it. But little ones tend to think differently! Through books, songs, and discussions we can teach our preschoolers about all of the great things sleep does for our bodies.
Read a Sleep Book
There a ton of different books to choose from that promote getting a good nights rest. Here are a few of our favorite nighttime books:
Turn on calming music and teach your preschoolers how to meditate, they can learn to relax and quiet their mind before bed, making it easier to fall asleep. This is a great calming meditation video for kids.
Dream Catcher Craft
Help preschoolers make their own dream catchers using craft materials. Explain to them how dream catchers are used to help catch good dreams while they sleep.
Teach preschoolers the concept of counting sheep as a way to fall asleep. You can also have them draw pictures of sheep to hang in their bedroom.
Emotions and Mental Health
Preschoolers are at a critical stage of emotional development. By teaching them about emotions, you can help them learn to identify and express their own emotions, as well as understand and empathize with the emotions of others. When children understand their own emotions and those of others, they are better equipped to navigate social situations and build positive relationships. Understanding and accepting emotions is an important part of maintaining good mental health throughout life.
Emotion Cards and Conversations
If your classroom does a morning meeting or a circle-time you can use this time to have preschoolers do a quick check-in on how they're feeling. Use a checklist or have pictures where students can point to how they're feeling. This is so important for preschoolers to feel validated and acknowledged with their emotions.
Read Books about Emotions
Books are such a great way for preschoolers to make the real-life connection about the way they're feeling. Books promote self-esteem, emotional wellness, and a way to identify feelings. Here are a few that we highly recommend reading with your little learners:
Create a Calm Down Space
Exercise and Physical Movement
Exercise and physical movement are essential for the healthy development of kids. Regular physical activity can help promote physical health, mental well-being, cognitive function, and social development in children, and can set the foundation for a healthy lifestyle that will benefit them for a lifetime. There are so many activities we can do with our preschoolers to get them up and moving!
Play a game of musical exercise, play music and encourage your preschoolers do different exercises until the music stops. Talk to your preschoolers about the benefits exercise has on your body including your heart and brain!
Play a Game of Simon Says
Play a game of Simon Says but with exercise moves. Include gestures like hopping, jumping jacks, push-ups, and other exercises.
An obstacle course can be a fun and engaging way to promote physical activity and gross motor skills development with preschoolers. This is a fun way to get preschoolers running, crawling, and jumping. Include your preschoolers in the set-up for some added STEM learning.
Educating our preschoolers about good health is an important part of their overall development. By promoting healthy habits early on, we can help set the foundation for a healthy lifestyle that will benefit them for a lifetime.
By incorporating fun and engaging activities that promote physical activity, healthy eating habits, and emotional wellness, we can help preschoolers develop important life skills that will help them grow and thrive.
As educators, parents, and caregivers, we play an important role in promoting good health and well-being for the preschoolers in our care, and by working together, we can help ensure a healthy future for our children.
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