Preschool at home? Yes you can! That is what I tell moms of little ones. Yesterday I shared how we chose to let our children spend their preschool years at home, learning along the way, with no formal curriculum, no formal schooling. We filled our days with activities that encouraged imagination and exploration and opportunity for discovery.
Children at the ages of 2 and 3 and 4 are naturally curious and energetic and full of imaginaton. Giving them opportunity each day to develop these wonderful character traits is all the average preschooler needs. Some of the activities we have used include:
- Manipulatives – Objects you move around. They can be used for counting, or sequencing, or one-to-one relationship. Little guys love to manipulate their world. Using everyday objects like paper dolls or wooden blocks or craft sticks or twisty-ties make abstract concepts more concrete.
- Pattern Recognition – stack duplos or wooden blocks and have the children duplicate the same pattern of shape/color/size. String beads or buttons and have them repeat the same on their string. Provide a cup of different kinds of beans and have child make a design and then duplicate it, or ask Dad or older sibling see if they can match it.
- Look for Opportunity in Unexpected Places – When my husband and I were away for a weekend, I found this packet of gummy snacks in the shape of letters. So cute! Just thing to bring home this learning tool disguised as a special treat! My 1st grader helped his little sister line up the alphabet and then he ‘taught’ her how to make words with them: CAT MAT RAT SAT
- Teach Them to Follow Directions – Give him a list of tasks to complete: Put this pillow on the couch, close the closet door, then sit on the floor by my feet. Make it a game, use it to get some housework done, reward them with a snack or activity when they are finished. It teaches them to listen, to follow through, to build memory skills.
- Play Games – A favorite game in our family is dominoes. They can learn to match the dots at a very young age. They love getting their ‘train’ in order then watching and waiting for others to lay a matching domino. Card games such as Uno and SkipBo are easy for them to learn too.
- Change up the rules. Many games can be adapted for preschoolers. They have a great time lining up their dominoes like a train. Switch out one domino so it does not match and ask them to find the one that doesn’t fit. Count the number of ‘cars’ on your ‘train’. Or take a deck of playing cards, have them draw one card and then find that number of items (draw a 5? bring Mom 5 stuffed animals!)
To learn more about how preschoolers learned in our family you can see the beginning of this series HERE.
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