How to Help Preschoolers to Know About Cause and Effect
Every person’s actions have consequences, both good and bad. The sooner a child can tie his actions to the effects they cause, the sooner he can develop a more mature understanding of the world around him. Preschoolers may not be able to grasp the intricacies of human behavior and its effect on the world, but they can begin to understand the basics with a few simple lessons. Once children have a basic grasp on cause and effect, it will be easier to build that knowledge into something more complex.
Ask students to use the word “because” in a sentence, and then dissect the sentence for cause and effect. For example, in “I ate a sandwich because I was hungry,” the cause of the action is hunger and the effect is eating a sandwich. You can do this with each child’s example.
Bring a few gym balls into the classroom and have children roll them around. Ask you students to identify the cause and effect relationship between pushing a ball and its motion across the floor.
Look for simple children’s books that demonstrate cause and effect principles. “The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash” and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” both have cause and effect elements and are about preschool level.
Incorporate cause and effect principles into your daily class schedule. For instance, when students line up neatly, they are allowed to go outside to play. When they sit quietly, snacks are distributed. Every action in your school day has an identifiable cause and effect; help your students recognize these moments.
Have students bring in items from home that tell a cause and effect story. Empty water bottles are empty because someone drank them. Shoes are old because someone walked in them. Toys are broken because someone dropped them. Students can find their own stories with the help of their parents.