3 Fun Activities to Play and Bond with your Preschoolers this June Holiday

- By Wei Xuan & Yi Yun


The June holidays are finally here! If you didn't manage to sign up for a holiday program with us in time, fret not, for we have compiled a list of fun and simple activities to do with your preschooler. 


Between CCA activities and TV time, these activities are a good way to bond with your kids by having fun and learning together at the same time.


In the true spirit of STEAM education, the following list of activities require minimal materials, including things that can be obtained from your friendly neighborhood stores.


1. Build a Mini Catapult


Ever wanted to play a real-life battleship game with your son? As far as mini-weaponry go, this catapult works just as well (if not better) than any toy you can buy off a Toys'R'us shelf. 


Materials Needed:

7 Ice-cream Sticks

4-5 Elastic Bands

1 Bottle Cap

Tape/Glue

Pompoms (or any soft and light material for ammo)

How to Build:


1. Stack 5 ice-cream sticks and tie them together using an elastic band at each end respectively. This will form our bulk body.


2. Tie 2 ice-cream sticks together at one end using an elastic band and place the bulk body from step 1 in-between the two sticks. The rubber band might fall off at this point, but don't worry, simply try again placing the bulk body further from the bands. 


3. Secure the catapult by tying with an elastic band at the conjunction.


4. Glue or tape the bottle cap on the end without any rubber bands and your catapult is ready!


Tips to Encourage Experimenting and Creativity:

  • Try out different types of ammo and see how far each one shoots

  • Have a competition with your kid to see who can build the catapult that shoots the furthest

  • Go crazy designing the catapult - Paint, stickers, anything goes!

  • Explore different ways of building the catapult - Where can you add another launcher? How about a pocket to hold ammo? Perhaps if you use one more ice cream stick for the launcher...

Learning Points:

  • The catapult is a simple example of energy conversion, from stored energy to kinetic energy. When you release the catapult, energy stored in the elastic band and ice cream stick is being converted to kinetic energy for the ammo to fly.

  • Different materials (size, weight, shape, etc.) can have vastly different flying abilities - too heavy and the ball will fall too quickly (gravity), too thin and the paper will barely fly (air resistance)

  • Fun fact - Catapults that launched heavy boulders were most commonly used as siege breakers in ancient war times because of their destructive capabilities!


2. Build a Clothespin Car


Next time your child asks you to spend money buying him/her a toy car, try suggesting you build one with him/her together instead.


Building this toy car not only saves you money, it also helps your child learn about the way wheels work. With just simple materials, you can build a few cars and have a race together.


Materials Needed:

1 Clothespin

2 Short Pipe Cleaner

1 Straw

4 Big Buttons

Tape


How to Build:


1. Cut the straw and pipe cleaner to the desired length. Slot the pipe cleaner into the straws


2. Secure the pipe cleaners to the buttons. Each pair of wheels should look like dumbbells.


3. Attach the pipe cleaners to the clothespin and the car is ready to go! 


Tips to Encourage Experimenting and Creativity: 

  • Vary different parts about the car - Size of wheels, number of wheels, length of straw etc. - and see whether it affects the speed of the car

  • Allow your child's creativity to run wild and let him/her decorate the car as much as they like

  • Try creating a racing track using everyday items (books, rulers, bowls – anything goes!) to see who's car can go the fastest!

Learning Points:

  • The invention of wheels made it possible to transport heavy objects across long distances - which was crucial in the days where farms were far apart from each other

  • A simple way to think about wheels is to compare between a flat piece of cardboard and a cardboard roll. Both have the same texture and weight, but because of the shape, the cardboard roll can move a lot faster than the flat cardboard when it's pushed.