8 Fun Day And Night Activities For Preschoolers

Preschoolers are full of curiosity and inquisitiveness. Their age makes them learn a lot by observing and interacting with the people around them. Secondly, the books they read help them quench their thirst for knowledge. 

During preschool, their mind is rapidly developing[1] and is insightful, active, and adept. Children develop basic ideas about various natural phenomena including seasons, timings, and day and night. Inculcating students with insights into these natural phenomena comes through a different teaching methodology called phenomena-based learning. Phenomena-based learning aids children irrespective of the grades they are pursuing. 

Another critical approach to inculcating children about natural phenomena is an activity-based[2] teaching and learning methodology. In this article, we shall use the activity-based approach to help pre-schoolers determine an important natural and scientific phenomenon – day and night. 

What are some day and night activities for preschoolers?

It is challenging to have the attention of preschoolers because having them immobilized and fixated on a task for more than 10-15 minutes is difficult, given their short attention[3] span. To avoid this deviation of attention, the activities must be simple and fun so that they are not distracted or bored. Given below day and night activities have the ‘fun’ factor that helps students understand the phenomena, as mentioned earlier. 

1. The globe and torch activity

The globe and torch activity

The globe and torch activity teaches children how the earth rotates and revolves and the impact of the sun in determining whether it is day or night. 

Things required for this activity:

  • A flashlight
  • A globe

Prerequisites:

While the lights are still on, Ask the children to come up to the globe individually and try to locate their city on the globe. At the same time, identify the town’s name or location on the globe. When one child spots the correct city, switch off all lights.

Here is how to play the activity:

  1. Shine the flashlight directly on the city the child identified.
  2. As the point on the globe becomes flooded with light, slowly revolve the globe so that the identified city gradually moves away from the lighted region.
  3. Continue to move until the opposite location comes in front of the flashlight, and the first city is entirely in the dark.

Takeaways from this activity:

Through this activity, the child can understand that the globe represents the Earth and the flashlight, the Sun. 

2. When do we do what?

When do we do what?

When do we do what is a fun and interactive way that will help preschool children learn about day and night and differentiate them based on their functions. 

How to do this activity:

  1. Divide the children into two groups.
  2. One of these groups will denote the activities humans perform during the daytime.
  3. The other group will represent the activities humans perform during the night.
  4.  For example, if a child from the day group acts like they are going to school as an activity of the day, another child from the night group can act like they are sleeping.

Takeaways from this activity:

Thus, through this activity, children can identify a particular act and determine if it is a day or night-based activity.

 3. Revise my routine

Revise my routine

With the ‘Revise my routine’ activity, you can help students recollect their good habits and also help them understand the difference between day and night. 

Prerequisites:

  • Collect some objects that you think children may use on their day-to-day schedule. 

Here is how to conduct this activity:

  • Gather all the students in a circle, and show them the items you have collected, one by one. 
  • With every item you show to the students, ask them to associate it with a habit they follow. 
  • For example, if you show a toothbrush, the students can say that they brush at least twice in a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed at night. Next, if you show them soap, they can say they use it while bathing in the morning and after coming back from the playground in the evening. The list goes on. 
  • Make sure each and every student gets a chance to speak. Also, ensure that they mention the words ‘morning, and ‘night’ so that they are able to differentiate between the two based on their habits. 

Takeaways from this activity:

  • Through this activity, students will get an insight into the life of their peers. They will know the habits of one another. 
  • More importantly, they can differentiate day and night based on these habits and daily routines. 

4. Poetry, movie time, and storytelling activities.

Poetry, movie time, and storytelling activities.

In addition to these activities, teachers or parents can always teach their children using audio-visual techniques. Many children’s books are on the day and night theme, such as Out of Sight Till Tonight: All about Nocturnal Animals. Reading it in class or at home will help them explore the animal world at night. Teachers can also recite small four to six-line rhymes about day and night and sing them to the children. 

Another interesting activity that you can frequently conduct is showing cartoons and anime to your students that have direct references to day and night. Graphical and pictorial representations may help establish a presence in the minds of young children. 

5. Know your food

Know your food

‘Know your food’ is a simple activity based on the categorization of food items such as fruits and vegetables. 

Prerequisites:

  • You will need artificial fruits and vegetable toys
  • Two baskets or bins.

Here is how it is played:

  • Arrange the artificial fruits and vegetables in the center and place both baskets on either side. Name one of the baskets as‘ breakfast’ and the other as ‘dinner.’
  • Now, call the students one by one and ask them to pick up one fruit or vegetable and drop it in either bin. 
  • The idea here is to ensure that the students are able to differentiate the fruits and/or vegetables that they consume for breakfast and dinner.
  • Once all the students have taken turns, you can list out the names of all the fruits and/or vegetables that one consumes for breakfast and those for dinner.

An alternate to the activity:

Instead of having artificial fruits and vegetables, you can download images of dishes from the internet and paste them on cardboard. You can then ask the students to categorize these dishes into breakfast and dinner.

 Takeaways from this activity:

  • Students can differentiate day and night based on their breakfast and dinner.

6. Doll Convo

Doll Convo

‘Doll Convo’ is a conversational activity between students and their favorite toys. 

Prerequisites:

  • Ask students to bring their soft toys or dolls. 
  • Alternatively, have 3-4 soft toys with you in case any student is unable to bring his/her toy. 

Here is how it is played:

  • Make each student sit in pairs with their favorite soft toy or doll. Ask them to give it a name. 
  • Begin by asking each student what each soft toy or doll does as a routine. For example, if a student names their doll Anna, you can start by asking, ‘What does Anna do before going to bed?’ or ‘When does Anna wake up in the morning?’ or ‘Does Anna like to play with her friends in the evening?’
  • Make sure you include the words day, night, morning, evening, and other words associated with these so that you are able to re-emphasize day and night activities to children. 

Takeaways from this activity

  • Through this activity, you will be able to help children work on their vocabulary and conversational skills. 
  • Students can differentiate day and night based on the routine of their soft toys or dolls. 

7. Pictures say it all!

Pictures say it all

This activity would involve the kids finding pictures of objects used in the day time, and objects used in the nighttime 

Prerequisites:

  • Students would have to collect magazines, books, or old stories books which consist of a lot of pictures
  • Some safety scissors and a glue stick, along with 2 sheets of paper

How to conduct the activity:

  • For this activity, students would have to scroll through the books, magazines, and newspapers and collect pictures of items that are used during the day time, and at night time.
  • On two sheets of paper, write “DAY TIME” and on the second “NIGHT TIME.”
  • Now, search the materials for pictures like tea, coffee, and all the other items that are relatable to the term “DAYTIME.”
  • On the other hand, pictures like nightsuits, beds, dinner, etc, can be associated with nighttime. 
  • Collect all these pictures and stick them on the respective sheets.

Takeaways:

Through this activity, the kid will understand which items are used in the daytime, and which are used at night. Moreover, this activity will also clear the basics for the kids, as they would now be able to associate the objects with the time of the day. 

8. Day-Night Ice-Water

Day-Night Ice-Water

We all played the game Ice-Water as kids. This was the game when the moderator said ice, all the participants needed to freeze in one place. As soon as the moderator said water, the players would start running. The same concept can be used as a day-night activity, with a twist.

Prerequisites: 

This game ideally does not need any item. Just a setting where the kids can perform certain activities, and a moderator. 

How to conduct the activity:

  • This activity can be done with multiple kids or even a single kid.
  • For this activity, the kid needs to be guided that as soon as the moderator says DAY, they need to perform all activities that are performed during the day. For example, dressing up, going to school, having tea, etc.
  • Next, as soon as the moderator says NIGHT, the player needs to switch to the activities of the night. For example, sleeping, eating dinner, etc.
  • The rules can also be switched to when the moderator says NIGHT, the kid needs to stay still, and portray the act of sleeping.

Takeaways:

This activity would not only instill the concept of day and night amongst students, but it would also sharpen the reflexes of the kids, as they would be demanded to act swiftly whenever the moderator says DAY or NIGHT.

What are the benefits of these activities?

The day and night activities for preschoolers are capable of yielding positive results in various aspects such as:

  • The activities enable the children to combine the knowledge acquired from their books with real life. Learning about day and night in books and realizing it makes the learning experience more effective.
  • As the children participate directly in these activities, they feel more involved in learning and motivate to learn more.
  • As several activities involve teams or groups of children working together, they learn to be team members and work with others in a given situation.

Conclusion

The phenomenon of day and night may seem easy to grown-ups as it is a simple case of the Earth moving around its axis while circling the Sun. Little learners like preschoolers require more motivation to understand the cyclical process of day and night. The activities mentioned above can inspire students to learn more and aid in boosting their cognitive and sensory skills. 

Now that basic activity ideas are listed, the teachers or other caregivers at home can make arrangements for such activities and ensure that the learning session is fun, enjoyable, and knowledgeable.

References

  1. Committee on the Science of Children Birth to Age 8: Deepening and Broadening the Foundation for Success; Board on Children, Youth, and Families; Institute of Medicine; National Research Council; Allen LR, Kelly BB, editors. Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015 Jul 23. 4, Child Development and Early Learning. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310550/
  2. Homer, B. D., & Kinzer, C. K. (2015). Foundations of Game-Based Learning. Educational Psychologist, 50(4), 258–283. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2015.1122533
  3. Moyer K. Gilmer B. V. H. (1953). The Concept of Attention Spans in Children.The Elementary School Journal, 54(1), 464–466. 10.1086/458623

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