Holistic development is crucial during the early childhood years. Here are some holistic development examples and simple activity ideas for parents and teachers.
What is Holistic Development of a Child?
What is holistic development? Holistic development in children is about supporting and growing the whole child, in all their areas of development.
There are five aspects of holistic development – physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.
The Role of the Teacher or Parent in the Holistic Development of a Child
Holistic development is important, and children need an environment and learning atmosphere that supports it.
The main role of parents and teachers is to ensure the holistic development of a child through free play and guided play activities.
They need to give children opportunities to learn, an engaging learning environment, exposure to educational toys, and freedom to explore and discover.
Good holistic activities often build skills in more than one area. They are play based, hands-on, creative, interactive and allow children to move.
Activities that are restrictive or sedentary are unlikely to have much impact on a child’s overall growth.
A child watching a screen will learn far less than a child interacting with his environment (although small amounts of screen time are not harmful and can be a much-needed break for caregivers).
33 Holistic Development Examples and Activities
Here are some examples of holistic activities for kids.
They are great for preschoolers and also primary/elementary school children, who still learn a great deal through play. Many are also suitable for toddlers.
2. Water Play
3. Playing Dress Up
During all kinds of pretend play children develop language skills, learn new concepts and get to practise tackling moral dilemmas, facing their fears and showing their values – such as when helping a sick patient, disciplining a child or chasing the “baddies”.
4. Singing Songs and Rhymes
7. Play with Puppets
8. Painting and Drawing
Therapists use children’s drawings to get clarity on their emotional states as kids express themselves through their drawings.
9. Art Activities
All art activities build creativity and fine motor skills. A few examples are:
- Cutting and pasting activities
- Paper tearing activities
- Collaging with various materials
- Finger painting
- Chalk activities
10. Music Games
11. Carpet Games
12. Construction Play
13. Outdoor Games
14. Scavenger Hunt
Treasure and scavenger hunts are great for teaching kids to think and decipher clues, while moving their bodies at the same time.
15. Sensory Stations
16. Playing Shop
17. Spending Time in Nature
Exploring nature is good for the soul and for overall health. It also encourages physical movement.
18. Movement Activities
Regular movement activities of all kinds are super important for building gross motor skills and multiple other skills.
19. Listening to Stories
Children also learn the value of books and how to take care of them.
Gardening teaches kids to be creative, to care for things as they grow, to appreciate nature and to relieve stress in a healthy way.
Involve children in recycling projects or regular recycling at home to teach them about the properties of materials (plastic, paper, biodegradable substances, etc) and how they impact the environment.
22. Playing with Sand
In the sandpit, children learn how to count mud pies, change the consistency of sand by adding water, use their fingers to make many creations and much more.
23. Obstacle Course
An obstacle course is a great way to build specific skills such as balance, strength and coordination and counting.
24. Loose Parts Play
Playing with loose parts can be calming and encourage creativity out of materials you would otherwise never think to use – think bottle tops, pegs, stones, etc.
Here’s a printable set of puzzles!
26. Family Meals
Eating dinner as a family has numerous benefits and is one of the primary ways busy families connect and develop their relationships. It is a place to bond and to learn the art of conversation.
27. Playing in the Bath
28. Thinking Games
Try to ask open-ended questions whenever possible to teach kids to think and reason.
29. Fine Motor Activities
30. Listening Games
Teach kids to listen, wait their turn and play cooperatively with games such as Simon Says and the Telephone Game.
31. Board Games and Quiet games
Board games and quiet games teach children many intellectual concepts.
32. Educational Outings
Taking children on educational outings is so meaningful for them. They are likely to remember their trip to the museum to see ancient Egyptian artifacts a lot more than watching a program on the same topic.
33. Community Projects
Getting kids involved in community projects such as donating items to the less fortunate or cleaning up a littered area is a good life skill and has many educational benefits.
These are just a few holistic activities for 3-5-year-olds to get you inspired.
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