Pre-K activities, learning games, crafts, and printables


25 ways to use picture games

  1. Drawing inspiration. Print several different sets of pictures from a wide range of themes. Laminate the pictures and set them inside a pretty box. Set the box in your drawing corner. When children are having trouble deciding what to draw, they can pick a few pictures out of your box and use them as models.

  2. Create and recreate your story. Print several pictures related to your current theme or the time of the year. Laminate and cut out the pictures. Arrange several pieces of colourful construction paper in a binder and stick a small piece of male Velcro in the centre of each one, on both sides of the paper. Stick a small piece of female Velcro behind each picture. Let children arrange the pictures in the order of their choice in your binder to create a unique story. Encourage children to share their story with the group. When they are done, they can simply remove the illustrations and start all over again.

  3. Complete the pictures. Print and laminate several picture games. Provide dry-erase markers and stickers. Leave everything on a table in your manipulation area. Children will love decorating the pictures by drawing additional items and adding stickers here and there. At the end of the activity, simply remove the stickers and wipe the pictures with a moist cloth to erase children's drawings.

  4. Pictures in order. Print the picture games from the "Alphabet" or "Numbers", themes. Laminate and cut out the pictures before sticking a Popsicle stick behind each one. Arrange the pictures on the floor, next to your sand table and encourage older children to insert them in the sand in the correct order. The pictures can also be inserted in the ground or snow if you wish to do this activity outside. Once all the letters and/or numbers have been arranged correctly go from one picture to the next, naming the letters and/or numbers with your group.

  5. An ever-changing décor. Print your current theme's picture game. Laminate and cut out the pictures. Hang a large piece of laminated paper on a wall. For example, for a "zoo" theme, you could use brown or green paper. Children can use adhesive putty to fill the paper with the pictures and create a scene. The pictures can easily be removed and rearranged over and over again. If you wish, you may use the smaller format and invite each child to create a small scene individually by gluing the pictures on a sheet of construction paper. Encourage them to draw various items related to your theme around the pictures.

  6. Tiny paper puppets. Print several pictures representing various animals and characters. Laminate them and cut them out. Glue each picture on a brown paper lunch bag placed upside down. Show children how they can slide their hand inside the bags to bring the animals and characters to life and use them to create original stories.

  7. Illustrated menu. Print several pictures representing food items. Let children cut them out and glue them on several pieces of colourful construction paper. They can use ribbon to join the pages together to create a menu. Children will love using their menu to play restaurant with their friends. If you prefer, glue the pictures on a large piece of cardboard and display it on a wall, in your kitchen area. It will represent a large menu like the ones displayed behind the counter at fast food restaurants.

  8. Interchangeable garland. Print several pictures related to your current theme or the current season. Laminate them and cut them out. Leave them in your manipulation area. Hang a long piece of colourful ribbon horizontally or vertically nearby. Arrange several clothespins on it. Invite children to use the clothespins to display the pictures and create a pretty garland. Children can modify the garland as often as they wish. At the end of each day, remove the pictures. Children will spontaneously recreate the garland.

  9. Illustrated mobile. Purchase a hanging dryer with clips (for stockings) and hang it at children's level. Show them how they can use it to display pictures related to your current theme. They will enjoy repositioning the pictures over and over again throughout the day. Name the different items as they manipulate the pictures.

  10. Unique "flipograms". Print several series of pictures. Use a hole-punch to make a hole in the upper left and upper right corner of each one. Stack the pictures one on top of the other and insert two rings in the entire stack. Show children how they can explore the pictures by flipping them over and behind the stack one at a time. Name the different items together.

  11. Illustrated board for circle time. Print several pictures related to your current theme and glue them a piece of colourful cardboard. Laminate this board. During circle time, use the board to present various items associated to your theme to your group. You can give each child a dry-erase marker. During circle time, whenever a child identifies an illustrated item, let him/her circle the corresponding picture. This will help younger children visualize what you are talking about.

  12. Framed pictures. Purchase several inexpensive picture frames. You can, for example, purchase plain wooden frames at the dollar store and let children paint them with bright poster paint. At the start of each new theme, slide the pictures from the theme's picture game inside the frames with your group and let them help you hang the frames on your daycare walls as you discuss the different items. Your daycare will always be nicely decorated.

  13. Hunt and seek. Print and laminate several pictures representing a wide range of items (clothing, toys, household items, etc.). Give each child a big catalogue along with one or more pictures. Encourage them to try to find the items inside their catalogue. Of course, you can also invite children to find the items inside your daycare.

  14. Illustrated greeting cards. Print several pictures representing the age of a child who will be celebrating his/her birthday, activities he/she enjoys, or a particular celebration (Easter, Valentine's Day, Christmas, etc.). Let children cut out the items they prefer and glue them on a folded piece of construction paper to create a unique greeting card. If they wish, they can decorate their card using markers.

  15. Memory game. Of course, you can also print two copies of several pictures and arrange them in rows in front of your group. They can take turns turning two cards, trying to find matching pictures.

  16. One picture, two pictures. You can also print and laminate the pictures twice and hide one copy of each picture within your daycare. The pictures can be completely or partially hidden. Give each child a few pictures and ask them to find the matching pictures.

  17. Picture targets. Set several small hula hoops on the ground throughout your yard. Deposit one laminated picture in the centre of each circle. Have children toss a ball towards the hula hoops. Every time the ball lands inside a hula hoop, name the illustrated object.

  18. Colourful pictures. Print and laminate several colourful pictures related to your current theme or the time of the year. Glue each one on a different color of felt. Invite children to use a dry-erase marker to circle the items that are the same color as the felt in each picture (for example, if a picture has been glued on a piece of blue felt, children must identify all the blue items). Name the colors with your group.

  19. Illustrated costumes. Print and laminate several pictures representing professions, celebrations, countries, etc. Fill a large container with a variety of costumes and accessories. Children take turns picking a picture. The rest of the group can help the child who picked a card use the items available to dress up as in the picture.

  20. Decorated pictures. Print several copies of the picture game related to your weekly theme. Provide feathers, sandpaper, felt, pompoms, etc. Encourage children to glue the material on the pictures. They can, for example, use them to represent fur, textures, etc.

  21. Picture tree. Every time you present a new theme to your group, ask them to decorate a tree with the pictures from the theme's picture game. You can use a tree in your yard, a tree located near your daycare entrance, or a few branches set in a bucket filled with rocks or sand indoors. Laminate the pictures and use a hole-punch to make a hole in each one. Thread a piece of ribbon or yarn through each hole. Discover the pictures one at a time and invite children to hang them in your tree. Let children manipulate and move the pictures around as they wish.

  22. Renewable photo albums. Purchase a few small photo albums (one photo per page). Print several copies of the picture game that goes with your current theme. Laminate and cut out the various pictures and let children slide them inside the pockets of your photo albums. Little ones will love manipulating the pictures and turning the pages of the photo albums. At the end of the theme, remove the pictures so you can use your photo albums for your next theme.

  23. Dreamy pictures. Call upon children's grand imagination at naptime. Print and laminate several pictures. Every day, before naptime, slide a picture under each child's mattress. Invite them to admire their picture before falling asleep. After a while, guide them by encouraging them to close their eyes to try to "see" their picture in their mind...and then in their dreams.

  24. Buried pictures. Whether you bury your pictures in your outdoor sandbox or in a manipulation bin filled with rice or dry cereal indoors, children will love using paintbrushes to delicately discover the pictures you have hidden. Encourage them to guess what each picture is before they can see it completely.

  25. Guess the theme. To introduce a new theme, use its picture game to make children guess what it is. Show them one picture and let them identify the items they see. Continue with additional pictures until children are able to name your new theme. Display the pictures on a bulletin board, close to your daycare entrance. Children will enjoy inviting their parents to guess their new theme too.


Patricia-Ann Morrison



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