Aug 21, 2020 Homeschooling your preschool child takes a lot of devotion and love, but it should not make you feel bogged down with planning and implementing activities. The greatest thing about preschool children is that they do not need fancy, flashing toys to learn.
Homeschooling preschool kids is not easy. Play is their language, and using fun activities is the best way for them to learn. With some basic prep, planning, supplies, and guidance from mom, dad, nanny, or whoever is their homeschool teacher, your little one can be kindergarten-ready in no time!
To help you craft your lesson plans, I’ve broken the day down into various activities, listed supplies, or prep the grown-up will need to do, and provided the developmental area it encompasses. So all you have to do is gather and teach!
Of course, every family and child has their own schedule, and each child is different, so there are no times on here. Just follow your child’s lead and interest level. The only activity that needs a specific time is physical activity. Pre-schoolers need two hours of active play each day.
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1. Good Morning, Song Time!
Start your day with a ritual. It can be a song or a rhyme or a silly dance. Having a routine helps set the day for your child.
One of my favorite good morning songs, especially for little ones, is by Kiboomu! You don’t need to play the video if you’re concerned about screen time; instead, just play the good morning song in the background.
I suggest mom or dad learn the song first so they can sing along as well. I love that this song introduces a variety of feelings and teaches basic greetings and communication skills! (Language Development, Music Appreciation, Social-Emotional)
2. Activity Time, Art
Prep for this activity requires printing some pictures by the artist Kandinsky. You can pull them up on the tablet and computer at the time and having plain paper and drawing or painting supplies.
Show your child the paintings and ask them what they notice? They usually mention lines, squiggles, shapes, colors. If not, guide them in that direction by asking them, “Do you see any shapes?” or “What shapes do you see?”
After you’ve looked at and talked about the pictures, supply your child with paper and their art tool of choice, paint, markers, crayons, and ask them to create a piece of art. The purpose of the project is the creation, not in the end result looking like anything specific. (Language Development, Fine Motor Skills, Art Appreciation, Math/Shape & Color Recognition, Cognitive/Spatial Reasoning)
3. Grab a Snack!
Mealtime is an excellent opportunity to work on conversation skills, math & counting, and science as you discuss healthy nutrition and how our bodies grow.
4. Free Play!
Give your child roughly 30-40 minutes of free play. You can provide materials such as Legos, Animals, blocks, dress-up clothes, etc. or this can be a time they head to their playroom or bedroom and use whatever is there!
This is also a great time for mom/dad/grandma to take a little break! Make that second cup of coffee, sit, and read for a bit or catch up on emails. For about half their playtime, let them be on their own to build independence, problem-solving skills, and creativity. Start by having them play 5 or 6 minutes alone, then gradually add time until they can play 20 minutes.
The other half of the time can be used for guided play. Guided play is different than structured play in that the child chooses the activity, and the adult guides their play through open-ended questions and conversation.
For example, if your son is playing “grocery store,” you can ask what certain items cost, if he can help you find the spaghetti sauce in the store, and where does he think the lemons are in the store? (Dramatic Play, Language Development, Social Skills, Cognitive, Mathematics, Problem Solving Skills . . . and more depending on their toy(s) of choice).
Open-ended Questions to Ask Children during Play
- Why do you think that happened?
- How could you do that differently?
- Where could we find more of these?
- What could we use to fix that problem?
- What else could we try?
- How did you come to that decision?
- What other options are there?
5. Gross Motor Activity
Yoga! I recommend using Cosmic Yoga on YouTube or heading directly to their site. They produce kid-friendly yoga/workout videos that are done through a story. The videos average in time around 15-20 minutes, so it is a great way to get some of that physical activity in the day! (Language/Listening Skills, Balance, Gross Motor, Music & Movement)
5. Story Time!
Here’s one book I love. Parents can pick any book that goes with the theme or message they are working on. If you are going to be homeschooling get a library card! Many popular children’s books are also read aloud on YouTube.
What I LOVE about this book is that it teaches children that art can be many things. Art doesn’t always have to “look like” something. Some of the most celebrated artists in the world created abstract art. This story is all about encouraging a child to do their best, the intrinsic motivation that creates, and then her ability to go on and help someone else. (Critical Thinking, Social-Emotional Development, Literacy, Character Development)
Questions to Ask While Reading a Book
- Why do you think (character name) feels this way?
- What do you think (character name) is feeling?
- What would you do if (blank) happened to you?
- How could you help someone in (blank) situation?
- What are some ways (character name) could solve their problem?
6. Outside Time!
Outside time is really going to depend on what is available to you. If you live in an apartment or don’t have a yard, walk to the local park. There are many great ways to alter activities for inside use or in a smaller space. Here are some great games you can play outside! (Balance, Gross Motor, Language/Following Directions, Teamwork, Fine Motor)
- The Floor is Lava (if you have a multi-level playground)
- Simon Says/Red Light, Green Light/Mother May I? (the classics still work)
- Beach Ball Bounce, how long can you keep the ball in the air
- Soccer, tossing a large rubber ball, or kicking a ball back and forth
- Chasing Bubbles, using different parts of your body to pop them
- Talk a walk around the neighborhood and do a scavenger hunt
- Hopscotch on the sidewalk
- Low rock walls or wooden beams to walk along as balance beams
Talk to your child about what has been their favorite thing so far today and why?
9. Story Time
I love this book, not only because Eric Carle’s artwork is stupendous, but because it is a funny and silly story that children love! It is an excellent counting book – as each animal the rooster encounters increases by one then slowly decreases.
For a fun spin, have your child clap or raise their hand every time they hear the word “rooster.” This is an excellent way for them to work on recognizing individual words. (Literacy, Mathematics, Language, Story Comprehension)
10. Outside Time!
Try to do at least 30 minutes each time.
11. Activity, Science
Sensory Bin. You will need to acquire a small kiddie pool, a large but low plastic bin, or by ordering an actual water and sand table and the materials to go inside. You can decide if you want to do this inside or outside.
The idea of a sensory bin is to fill it with a variety of materials that your child can manipulate and explore. They can follow a theme such as ocean animals, construction, or nature or can be wholly generic or random. (Science/Investigation, Cause & Effect, Math/Less & More, Measuring, Sensory experience)
Sensory Bin Ideas
- Beans & Rice, alphabet magnets, measuring cups, large beakers, small shovels (Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Fine Motor)
- Crafting feathers, pom-poms, large tweezers, various plastic colored cups (Fine Motor, color recognition, sorting)
- Kinetic Sand, beach toys or Play-doh Toys (Mathematics, Science, Fine Motor)
- Orbeez, clear plastic cups, ocean animals, scoops (Mathematics, Science, Fine Motor, Cognitive)
12. Dance Party!
I always loved to end my teaching day with my pre-schoolers with a dance party. It is another way to add physical activity to your child’s day, plus dancing makes you feel good! Pick some tunes and let loose with your little one! (Music & Movement, Gross Motor, Music Appreciation)
Keep in mind this is a sample day, take what works for you, and tweak it and make it shine! These learning activities could take you three hours, or they could take you six. The concept is to engage your little one in a well-rounded day of activities in which they are immersed in learning through play!
As I said, it doesn’t take lots of expensive toys or supplies to help young children’s development! All play-based activities take is some prep, a little elbow grease, and an adult who loves them!
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