I have recently had conversations with several different moms who were fearful they could not ‘do’ preschool at home with their children. They had heard of great preschools in their area or were told their little one needing more socializing or feared they didn’t know enough or have enough patience, yet they really did not like the idea of sending their child away at such a young age. They asked for my opinion, so I shared it with them, and now I share with you. I do not see formal preschool as a necessary thing.
We chose not to send our children away to preschool. I don’t remember ever wrestling over that decision, it’s just what we did, it was our lifestyle. Our youngest children are now elementary age and our oldest children are successful, productive adults. They survived, even thrived, being at home with Mom and siblings, growing and developing and loving life. In my opinion, the important thing for my children in those preschool years was opportunity – opportunity to discover and play and explore. Given the opportunity, children naturally learn.
Though it looks different for each family, those opportunities are all around us. What do those opportunities look like? You can do preschool at home, using what you have, and be successful. Over the next 3 days I’d like to show you a little of what it has looked like at our house:
- File Folder Games – I cut out cupcake shapes from colored paper, made a pocket by folding a piece of paper and glued them to the inside of a file folder. With a marker I numbered the cupcakes 1 to 10 and used a scrapbooking punch (any hole punch would work) to make ‘sprinkles’ so my preschooler could play pastry-chef-baker while counting out the sprinkles and practice number recognition. You can adapt this for colors, shapes, sight words, states & capitals, whatever! If you don’t think you are up to the task of creating your own, you can find some terrific games at File Folder Fun
- Learn Shapes Together – Cut shapes from poster board or cardboard, each shape in 3 sizes and let them line up and sort like shapes with like shapes, or from smallest to largest.
- Play Twister – Everyone can get in on this game together. A great Phys Ed activity, helps with large motor skills, color recognition, cooperation, right/left. A variation on this theme – have child/children stand along outside border, call out 2 or 3 different colors and have child jump from one to the next in proper sequence. Or, count the circles as they step from one to the next.
- Match the Colors – Cut a large circle from cardboard ( a pizza box works great!) and divide it into 6 or 8 sections. Color each section a different color and take the same number of wooden clothes pins, coloring them to match. Have child draw clothes pin out of a bucket and clip to matching color. You can add the color words for word recognition as well.
- The Great Outdoors – there is no better place to learn than in God’s Classroom. Given the chance, they will get up close and personal with toads and bunnies and caterpillars. They will dissect flowers and dig up roots and scatter seeds. They will breath in fresh air and build strong bones and muscles. They will appreciate and understand this world God made just for us.
- Watch the Road Signs– One day, driving to a friend’s house, one of my little guys called out “Oh, no! We missed our road!” I was certain I had not missed any turns, so I quizzed my young navigator – “What do you mean? This is the road we always take.” He answered that we had passed Highway A, and AA, and B and C but we just passed K so we must have missed Highways D and F! I had no idea he was even aware of the roadsigns, let alone that he recognized the letters on them.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more ideas, but in the meantime I’d be thrilled if you’d pop over and visit my pinterest board for preschool where you’ll find more ideas. I’ve been collecting them just for you!
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