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Social Studies Games and Activities For Toddlers and Preschoolers

beach ball globeAfter my posts on science and art activities, it only seemed natural to include one on social studies. Children are born as social beings. As babies, they are introduced to friends and passed to family members of elder generations. As they grow, they start to understand their connection to their families, communities and eventually society as a whole.  As parents we want to encourage our children to make investigations about themselves and the world around them.

Social studies skills help children with problem-solving, as well as coping with social and emotional issues.

Some of the things kids are expected to know by the end of kindergarten:

  • left from right
  • how to identify traffic symbols
  • how to distinguish map parts, such as the difference between land and water as well as identify general areas
  • how to put events in temporal order on a calendar
  • a general understanding of the definition of “history” meaning events and people that occurred in a different time period.
  • state and national symbols and icons

These are just a handful of some early social studies concepts. While these skills and ideas aren’t supposed to be “mastered” until the end of kindergarten, I believe that toddlers and preschoolers can grasp a lot of these on some level. There are lots of games and tools out there to help your 2 to 4 year-olds build on  these concepts. I’ve gathered some ideas for you in the slideshow below.


  • Teach the calendar 1 of 6
    Teach the calendar
    We have a regular calendar up in our house that we refer to all the time. Shnook is totally obsessed with the days of the week and months of the year. P.S. The calendar is a great math tool, too!
    Buy this calendar on Lakeshore Learning for $29.99
  • Teach history 2 of 6
    Teach history
    The best way to introduce history to a toddler is to start with his or her own history. Show him or her pictures of when he/she was a baby.
  • Teach the symbols 3 of 6
    Teach the symbols
    The flag is a fun one because there are tons of crafts for 4th of July and other patriotic holidays.
    Check out Enchanted Learning to learn how to make a craft stick flag.
    Photo Credit: Flickr
  • Maps and the globe 4 of 6
    Maps and the globe
    Toss this inflatable ball back and forth and show your toddler that when their hands touch the blue part, that's water. You can talk about if there's more blue or other colors on the ball, too.
    Buy on Amazon $2.17
  • Teach left and right 5 of 6
    Teach left and right
    Make a little color-coded board like this. I chose red for "right" because they start with the same sound. Then you can do the hokey pokey! (By the way, this is not how I learned my left and right and I still get confused).
    Feet clip art courtesy of clkr.com
  • Teach traffic symbols. 6 of 6
    Teach traffic symbols.
    If your toddler doesn't know the "red light/green light" game, get it going now. You can also use a red "STOP" sign to familiarize them with this icon.
    Photo Credit: Flickr

More by Naomi
10 Summer Science Projects For Toddlers
10 Summertime Art Projects For Toddlers
When Will My Toddler Stop Groping Me?

Read more of my posts on Toddler Times.
Check out my personal blog. I Am Still Awake.
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