Feb 2023 Preschool leader article music movement nature puzzles
Missions Discipleship

Interest Areas in Mission Friends: Music and Movement, Nature, and Puzzles and Manipulatives

Learning begins the moment your Mission Friends walk through the door. Their curious nature and excitement to find what is new moves them quickly to search the room to find what interests them at that moment.

The Interest Areas employed in Mission Friends are Art, Blocks, Books, Homeliving, Music and Movement, Nature, and Puzzles and Manipulatives.

In this blog we’ll cover Music and Movement, Nature, and Puzzles and Manipulatives.


Music and Movement is not limited to one area or time during the session. Play music from the missions area you are learning about as preschoolers enter the classroom. This provides an opportunity to begin learning as they walk through the door.

Tip 1: Create a music playlist on your phone, computer, or another device that is related to the area of study. Play the music in different interest areas or provide scarves or streamers for preschoolers to move to the music.

Tip 2: Keep a clear, plastic storage container filled with bright scarves, oatmeal containers, painters’ tape, duct tape, pea gravel, rhythm instruments, crepe paper streamers, and assorted large bells. Having these items on hand will enhance your music and movement times.


Nature activities from the missions area brings the world to your class. Be aware of allergies and supervise carefully when using items such as leaves and feathers. Always post an allergy alert chart when using nature items. Visit wmu.com/preschool for a free downloadable Allergy Alert Chart.

Tip 1: Research the missions area. Print out pictures of flowers, trees, and animals. Keep a folder of these items for quick access. Display the pictures alongside nature items.

Tip 2: Take a virtual walk using your imagination as you pretend to walk through forests, neighborhoods, and parks, pointing out the things the missionaries might see where they live.

Tip 3: Build a collection of nature items by saving items from previous sessions. Some items could include magnifying glasses, magnets, prisms, mirrors, small rocks, feathers, and pine cones.


Use Puzzles and Manipulatives as suggested in Mission Friends Leader. Puzzles enable preschoolers to develop problem solving skills, hone fine motor skills, and learn to work with others. A manipulative is something preschoolers can manipulate with their hands by combining, sorting, hooking together, or arranging.

Tip 1: If you share a classroom with another group, allow time to gather and remove puzzles that do not relate to the session focus. Return the extra puzzles after the session is over.

Tip 2: Keep a folder of the Mission Friends Leader Kit puzzles from past sessions. Reuse puzzles that relate to the current unit of study. Puzzles may also be used as activities when preschoolers gather for other events.

Tip 3: Puzzles from the Mission Friends Leader Kit are a good activity for early arrivers.


Interest Areas are great spaces for play, exploration, and learning about and discussing missions. Create a learning environment with interest areas for the ages, learning styles, and developmental levels of your preschoolers — for that one Mission Friend or for the fifteen Mission Friends. Perhaps someday, one of your preschoolers may be a missionary that future Mission Friends will learn about.

by Beth Campbell