Just for Preschoolers
There are many ways to incorporate preschoolers into the homeschool day. Often little ones want to learn like they see their bigger siblings do. There are plenty of activities that preschoolers can do with minimal supervision. Older children can oversee these activities when they are not busy.
The best idea that has been related on this subject is that of a “Busy Box”. There are many things that can be put into this box or drawer. Depending on the ages of the children, different items are more appropriate. Examples of such items are: old postcards, greeting cards, envelopes from junk mail, scratch paper, clean plastic bowls. Other items to put in the box are wooden spoons, baby food jar lids, and empty thread spools. The basic rule here is that nothing should be put in the box that could be swallowed. Items should be clean and colorful.
With items in the “Busy Box” the children can play many things, such as post office, or library. Perhaps, they could play store if they were provided with boxes or bags and play food. We’ve used the little cereal boxes from the multi-packs of cereal.
Little ones can also sort items such as buttons, or other small items. A muffin tin or clean empty egg carton is useful for such purposes. They could also count and put a certain number of items into each section of the tin. A child could sort blocks by color, size, letter, etc.
There are many things an older child can do. Sorting, as already mentioned, is a way of exercising the mind. Other things that they may do or practice is learning the alphabet, learning to color in the lines, and color with shading. Simple math can be done with buttons, pennies, or other items.
Another fun thing to do is to focus on one letter a week and teach about that letter. The child can practice the sound(s) the letter makes, practice writing that letter, and other activities based on this letter. For example, the child could circle all the As on a page of the newspaper. Using old magazines, newsprint and glue, an older child could make a collage of items that begin with the letter of the week.
For younger children, it helps to have some puzzles, or other items that may be used only during lessons. An example of this might be a rice “sand” box. To do this one takes a container of a moderate size, preferably with a lid, and puts rice in it. The child uses it like a sandbox.
As previously mentioned, older children can be mentors for their younger siblings. The older ones can oversee storytime, coloring, drawing, teach simple math, or help the younger one make a simple snack. The important thing is that the older one is patient and kind to the preschooler.
Two other ideas are using a shoelace to string buttons or spools, or drop an old sheet over a table or several chairs to make a tent. There are many ways to occupy a preschooler if one takes a little time to get them settled first.
Possibly the best suggestion for preschoolers is that of keeping them well-fed and having adequate naps. A tired and hungry child is going to be cranky. Each child needs a different amount of sleep a day. Find out what the child needs and try to ensure that the correct amount of naps is taken. Small children do better when a routine is followed. They like to have order to their day. One does not have to always follow this pattern, but it does help the child to feel secure.
A few years ago Earlier this year we were invited to a dear old friend’s babyshower. The invitation suggested giving a book instead of a card to help build baby’s library. A great suggestion I might add! We began our hunt for the perfect book, one where I figured wouldn’t be returned because my friend already received it. I love the book ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ but a new parent can only get so many copies of it. We found the hardback Museum ABC as well as the board books by Julie Merberg & Suzanne Bober all pictured below. We pulled them off the shelves, sat down and began reading them. How fun and unique these are! We thought it was a great way to introduce little ones to art masterpieces!
Preschool Art books introduce art to the littlest of learners.
Craft Items to Make for Your Child includes items such as: Jell-O play dough, gak-life stuff (aka slime), salt dough and more!
This site has alphabet but be sure you have a pop-up blocker on: First-School
Yahoo Group: Kindergarten at Home Discussion list for parents homeschooling preschool and kindergarten, ages 1-5. Topics include curriculum selection (whether necessary or not), teaching tips, creative learning ideas, time management, as well as others.
Letter of the Week Preschool Curriculum focuses on learning the sounds of the individual letters, one per week.
A newsletter you can sign up for that lists more ideas for young learners: Mrs Alphabet
Preschool Education has all sorts of ideas, coloring pages, craft projects and a parents corner.
You can make your own games! Check out Shelley Lovett’s childcareland.