All preschoolers have had experience with temperature in one form or another, whether it involves noticing changing weather or having their temperatures taken when they are sick. Temperature activities for your preschooler draw on her personal experience while making her more aware of appropriate responses to different temperatures and weather patterns, as well as how a thermometer helps tell mommy and daddy when she is sick and in need of medicine and a little TLC. Making temperature activities into short daily routines and games lets your preschooler combine play time and learning time in a natural way that holds her limited attention span.
Whenever you can put something to music, you stimulate your child's motor involvement to help with memory. Try a song with a familiar tune such as BINGO, "There was a time when we were hot and sunny was the weather. S-u-n-n-y, s-u-n-n-y, s-u-n-n-y and sunny was the weather." Repeat with rainy, windy and snowy. Make up motions to act out typical activities during hot and cold temperatures.
Create a weather dial out of a paper plate illustrating the different types of weather common in the seasons for your area. Cut pictures of different types of clothes out of old magazines and help your child match them up with each type of weather and glue to the dial. Every morning, ask him to check the weather for you, set the dial for the day and help pick out the right clothes for the temperature conditions. Some children may enjoy keeping a picture graph of the daily weather each month and looking for patterns. A tactile scavenger hunt for different temperatures, avoiding hot objects that would burn little hands, of course, can be an entertaining way to familiarize your preschooler with temperatures in her environment. Encourage her to touch plastic, stone, metal, wood and glass objects around the house and describe whether they are hot, warm, cool or cold.
Older preschoolers may enjoy imitating a weather reporter while giving a temperature prediction for tomorrow during family time in the evening. He can practice reading the thermometer and if he has tracked the weather pattern for several days, he can explain the trend he sees and tell why he thinks it will continue or change. Get him a toy thermometer and use his teddy bear as a patient to role-play how to take temperatures and care for a sick person.
Talk with your preschooler about which colors remind you of different temperatures. For instance, yellow, red and orange are like the heat of the sun while blue, purple and white might make you think of an overcast, rainy day with cooler temperatures. Sort crayons, colored pencils and construction paper scraps into hot and cold colors to express the day's temperature with art. Draw a picture using colors that match the weather. Ask your child to describe whether his body feels warm or cool and create a collage of torn colored scrap paper in colors that match his temperature perception.