Our Playful Choices for Preschool and Kindergarten




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While we introduced learning activities in preschool, we always took a playful approach, which taught my daughter that learning.....was FUN.  Here are my favorites for the preschool and the kindergarten years.  

We picked and choose from these ideas and activities each day, as our preschooler had a very short attention span as most preschoolers do.  And kindergarteners have just a bit more.  Our focused learning time in kindergarten was about 1/2 hour to an hour at most. 

Let's start with math play.....then touch on early language arts, fine motor fun, handwriting, art, early science, and the fun of a field trip or two.
   
MATH PLAY


When you are four, or five, everything is math!  Toys can be counted, towels sorted and put into sets.  Cookie making became a lesson in adding and subtracting, and beads got sorted into patterns as well, as making necklaces.  

Also, buttons, shells, rocks, sorted by shape, color, size, what have you.  Even laundry could be sorted into sets, or small, medium and large, such as with towels. 

Here are two early math workbooks that we also enjoyed, with my reviews, so you can see how we used them:

 Numbers and Patterns  


Math Manipulatives Kit

Nothing has to be bought for math play with manipulatives, as small toys, buttons, shells, or whatever you have will work out just fine!  Anything that your kids can count, sort, and put into groups, or sets..will be wonders for their learning!


We didn't use a complete math program, but preferred doing our early math, with our own hands-on activities, card games were great, too.

Here's a review of Saxon Math for K if you would like some guidance for early math.  It involves a lot of great hands-on learning, too. 

My daughter loved learning about letters in...

EARLY LANGUAGE ARTS

A is for Apple
We introduced the letters of the alphabet with simple ABC crafts projects and a great little book called  the Big Book of Alpha Tales.   





This book has a humorous story for each letter of the alphabet.  There are ABC mini-book to make as well, which was a favorite activity in our house!

Our early reading activities centered around read alouds, and going to the library a lot.  Of course, they have lots of books for introducing the abc's for free! 

Phonics and Reading Readiness


All three Primers make a complete introduction to phonics for your young learners!

Not every homeschool family does phonics, but we found that it to be key to developing reading skills.  For early Phonics, we used the Explode the Code Primers (ETC).  


This is a very well researched program, which has been proven to improve reading levels.  It is kid friendly as well!  ETC primers covers all the basic phonics.  It also includes writing the abc's, more early reading skills, and word families. 


For those who are ready to move on, here is info on the next books in the series by Explode the Code.  We let our daughter take reading at her own pace, and followed her lead. 




When my little one was ready, we decided to use the Bob Books series as our first readers, which introduced one vowel at a time. We also liked the series at I Can Read .  

Next, my daughter loved arts and  crafts for...


FINE MOTOR FUN



To develop the hands and wrist for handwriting, we did LOTS of crafts, enjoying sidewalk chalk art, etc.

We played with playdough, did drawings, cut with sissors, fingerpainted, and often did gluing projects. Sometimes we tore paper into small pieces to make a design with glue, which helped to strengthen the finger muscles.   


Here's more ideas for small muscle games.  Do what your child enjoys...if they don't like crafts, playing with legos, small blocks, playing with small cars, etc. 


This post, below, has more fun ways to help your child with fine motor skills and grasp. 


And that lead to learning how to write....

HANDWRITING 


photo credit Oak Meadow


We wrote letters in pudding, in the air, on the sidewalk, in the sand, and on large newsprint paper....the bigger the better.  This gave my daughter the feel each letter. 

 Teach Your Kids to Write  has lots of ideas for beginning handwriting, if your little ones are ready for that.  It doesn't matter when your kids learn to write, they will get it, when it is the right time for them.  


Then sometimes art became a place to do a little early writing....

ART 



Coloring, painting, playing with clay were popular at our house.  A favorite was painting with pudding, when I had the time to get it out.

My daughter had a lot fun drawing, then sometimes she would dictate a few words about her picture, which I would write down for her to copy.When she chose the words herself, her copywork was very meaningful to her. 

We also had fun making very simple little books sometimes.....




The Art of Simple Book Making - Your Child is an Author! 
How to encourage story telling in your young child.  I would write down her words for her in the "book".


Next, here's some things that we did for early science activities, when it fit into our day...

SCIENCE FUN 




And finally, we sometimes took a field trip or two...


FIELD TRIPS


Some of our best memories are doing little field trips with our young learner, like going on a train ride, fishing at a kid's fishing hole, or joining other homeschoolers for a parks day.

One year, my daughter asked to do a ballet class, like she had read about in one of her library books.  So we found a pre-ballet class, and she loved it.  Here's her class picture...



None of the kids really knew their dance, at recital, but that didn't matter.  They were up there, doing their thing.

And now that my daughter is a rising junior in college, (Can that really be, already?).... 



....and I now have more time to share about our earlier years, and all the fun we had homeschooling them.  


This post is a part of the 8th Annual Back to Homeschool Blog Hop-Curriculum Week. 



 Click on the title above to check out all the great posts from iHN veteran homeschoolers.


Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool, 


Betsy



Betsy is a veteran homeschooler who blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school and college too.  She offers homeschool help and free messages at BJ's Consulting.  


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This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.

Copyright @BJ's Homeschool 2016
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4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. So do I, Beauty full Slow! I can still picture my now, almost a college junior, when she was young, concentrating hard on her ETC lesson, which she loved, or doing an art project, etc. I am so glad that we homeschooled preschool....great memories!

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  2. I haven't thought about pre-school for several years now, but we have an almost 2 year old, and I know it is going to be on the horizon soon! Thanks for these resources.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Heather! I had fun putting this post together, and remembering the fun we had. My daughter especially liked doing Explode the Code, with the illustrations that were done by kids in each lesson. Wishing you lots of fun with your preschooler when the time comes!

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