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Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education

Places For Teachers to Start

Classroom Activities that Inspire Children's Reasoning

Teachers are most effective when they facilitate the development of children's ability to reason rather than focusing primarily on rote memorization and following directions. This demands teachers design and engineer educational experiences that are tailored to their children's specific needs and interests.

Below are PDFs of activities early childhood teachers can download to explore how they can begin to facilitate children's reasoning in science, engineering, the development of technology, mathematics, literacy, self-regulation. Only one or two pages long, they are places to start. Once teachers experience their children's satisfaction and joy in solving their own problems, it will be difficult to not want to explore further!

If you are unable to open the PDF files, click here to download Adobe Acrobat Reader free of charge.


Children playing with with straws

Air Dynamics 

(science, technology, engineering, mathematics)

Child blowing bubbles

(science, technology, engineering, mathematics)

These games have the potential to promote knowledge about physics. Children have opportunities to reason about gravity, balance, force, and trajectory. Therefore, these games can be a valuable part of a preschool and early elementary science curriculum.

Child looking over a recipe

Cooking activities are both educational and highly motivating to children. A difficulty with some early childhood cooking activities, and one reason why they are done so seldom, is that if children are to do the cooking (as opposed to watching the adult), close adult supervision is required. However, this muffin recipe is designed to allow children to cook on their own, with little adult help beyond the introduction.

(science, mathematics, social studies, literacy, language)

Effective educators use group games not simply to teach children how to play the game, but to give them chances to develop reasoning and the ability to cooperate. Playing games with others provides children great opportunities to grow cognitively and socially.

(literacy, mathematics, self-regulation)
Cards with children’s names written on them have many uses and can make a valuable contribution to an early childhood literacy program. Over the years teachers have suggested many uses for name cards, some of which we have reproduced here.

(mathematics, spatial thinking, geometry)

(science, technology, engineering, mathematics)

(science, technology, engineering, mathematics)

(social studies, self-regulation, executive function)

Children making shadows

(science, technology, engineering, mathematics)

(mathematics, physical science, spatial thinking)

(mathematics, spatial thinking, executive function)

(science, technology, engineering, mathematics)

(science, technology, engineering, mathematics)