Time and sequencing activities for preschoolers

Understanding time and sequencing can be challenging for preschoolers, but it’s an essential skill that underpins learning, communication, and daily life. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of sequencing, visual timetables, and various activities to help your child develop these crucial skills.

The Importance of Sequencing

Sequencing is a hidden skill that supports reading, writing, counting, and time management. It’s essential for understanding cause and effect, recounting events, storytelling, and following instructions. Sequencing is the foundation for organizing information in a logical and meaningful way.

Introducing Visual Timetables

A visual timetable is a powerful tool for helping your child understand the passage of time and the structure of their day. Create a series of cards depicting daily activities and arrange them in chronological order with your child’s help. This helps with behaviour, time management, and allows your child to express preferences, giving them a sense of control over their day.

Starting with Printables

Before creating a custom visual timetable, find free printables online to test the concept. If it works well for your family, you can create a more personalized timetable using photos, labels, and magnets or a board.

Increasing the Challenge

To introduce the concept of time, assign an hour to each activity card, focusing on o’clock times for simplicity. Your child can enjoy matching the hour on the timetable to the hour on a clock.

Simple Sequencing Activities

The following activities can help your child develop sequencing skills across various domains:

Sequencing Cards: Purchase or create cards showing simple sequences of events. Increase the challenge by using more cards or arranging them to tell a story.

Recipe Following: Use illustrated recipe cards to follow instructions in order, teaching cause and effect.

Story Recounting: Read a story with your child and ask them to recount the events in order.

Songs and Rhymes: Use songs and rhymes that involve sequences, like “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” or “Old MacDonald.”

Family Photos: Arrange family photos in order of age, providing a meaningful way to practice sequencing.

Calendar Use: Encourage your child to mark important events on a calendar and count down the days or months until they occur.

Photo Journal: Document special days through photographs, creating a visual story of the events.

Maths: Practice pattern-making and seriation (ordering by length or size) using pasta necklaces, nested boxes, or unifix cubes.

Music and Dance: Learn songs and dances that involve pattern-making and sequencing.

Telling Time: Introduce the concept of time using a toy clock and familiarizing your child with different times throughout the day.

The Language of Sequencing

Equip your child with the vocabulary to describe sequencing concepts: first, second, third, before, after, next, previous, now, and later. These words will help them organize their thoughts and better understand their experiences.

Final word

Sequencing is a vital skill that permeates every aspect of learning and daily life. Using visual timetables, printables, and various activities, you can help your preschooler develop their understanding of time and sequencing, setting them up for success in their future learning endeavours.

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