Being the domesticated mother that you are, you are about to cook a batch of cookies in the oven when your preschooler begins pitching a fit. She's not whining that you cheated and bought the store-ready made cookies -- don't worry, we won't tell. Her reason of frustration? Why can't she eat the cookies now? She doesn't want to wait on them to bake. Instead of responding with a frustrated, "Because I said so," this is an opportune time to teach her about sequencing. Teaching about sequencing will help your preschooler understand that most elements in life must follow a particular order, even when we don't want them to.
Your preschooler might be too young for multiplication flash cards, but she is the perfect age for sequencing cards. These cards have simple pictures on them that your child can arrange in the correct order. Buy them at the store, print online, or if you are feeling crafty, create your own. Remember that the events are relevant to tasks your child understands. Sequencing cards for "how to apply make-up," might benefit you, but not your little one.
Following a Recipe
More than likely, your preschooler knows the sequence of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Expand his sequencing skills by following a more complex recipe. Bring your little Emeril into the kitchen and bake a cake together. Discuss the steps as you complete them by talking about why the ingredients have to be mixed before they are baked. The best part of this activity? The tasty treat at the end!
Channel your preschooler's artistic side and ask him to illustrate a specific sequence of events. Choose an event he is familiar with such as his bedtime or morning routine. Divide a blank piece of paper into four squares and allow him to draw each step -- in the correct order, of course. If you find yourself realizing your child thinks breakfast happens before he wakes up, you might want to spend some time discussing the correct order of events.
You might tire of reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" night after night, but in doing so you are teaching your preschooler sequencing. While reading, focus on using sequencing vocabulary words such as first, next and last and have your little one retell the story to you. When you begin to feel like you can't look at that caterpillar one more time? Visit the library and gather some new reading material for the both of you.