5 fun activities to teach living and nonliving things to kindergartners


We live in a world where non-living things act like living things.

So, it comes as no surprise if our children find it difficult to distinguish between living and non living objects.

We talk to Alexa and Siri, online TV apps recommend shows that we would like and our cars are now driverless.

You know why I talk about this?

When I taught my kid to distinguish between living and non-living objects, he asked me questions that left me speechless.

He said “Plants should be non-living creatures because they cannot talk but Siri should be real (because she talks back)

At this moment, I realized that it is important to change my teaching methods. So, I brainstormed a few activities, that helped him understand the complete concept of being a “living thing”.

In this post, I will discuss 5 fun activities that will help your children differentiate correctly between living things and non living things.

1. Pictionary

For this activity, you need cards that have words on it. You can use a combination of words, like, neem tree, lions, tulsi, mommy, a robotic toy, or a remote controlled car etc.

Ensure that you have at least 10-20 of these cards.

Ask your kid to pick up any one card and start drawing it on the board. There is only one thing which your kid is allowed to tell you about the word/image – Whether it is a living thing or a non-living object.

At the end of each part, ask your kid to tell you why they thought it is a living object or a non-living thing.

This is a good exercise because you will get to know exactly where your children are confused.

After playing this game, I realized my son always missed “breathing” or “requirement of oxygen” to judge an object. So, I made sure, I asked that question every time he told me it is a living or non-living thing.

2. “Guess, what?” cards

If you creating picture cards for activity #1, you can just use them here. If not, you can just print out objects and living things on an A4 sized paper and cut them out.

Put them face down on the table. Take turn to pick up a card.

Let’s say you picked up the first card. Your kid gets 5 chances to guess the object on your card. He/she can only ask questions which have a yes or no answer.

For example,

  • Does it talk
  • Does it breathe
  • Does it walk on its own
  • Is it in the nature?
  • Is it human made? etc.

If you play this game regularly, you will see that your kids are starting to understand living and nonliving way better than they initially did. It gets easier for them to distinguish between living and non-living things because they start asking each of these questions in their minds.

3. Look around and jot down the living and non-living things

This is an extremely simple activity.

One of the weekends, ask your kid to look around the house and jot down things he thinks are living and nonliving.

You will be surprised at the list!

Try it out, it’s a lot of fun!

My son asked me if vegetables are living things because they come from plants! Comment below and let me know how would you handle that?

4. Sort out living and nonliving things

You can use the cards we have created earlier.

If you want to take one step further, buy small objects from a toy store. For example, buy animals, kitchen items, vegetables etc.

Put them in a bucket.

Ask your children to sort it out into living and nonliving things. You can also put a timer to this activity.

Source: Kingergarten Kindegarten

5. Videos

As usual, there has to be a video section.

Videos are the most effective methods of teaching kids. The songs are catchy, it is visual and easy to do for busy parents.

Here is a video I really liked –

There you go.

If you follow these activities, your children will quickly learn to identify the difference between living and nonliving things. Not only that, they will also be able to tell you why is an object living or nonliving.

What are you planning to implement? Do you have other ideas to simplify the concept of living and nonliving things? We would love to hear from you. Comment below and let us know.


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