Before I began staying at home with the boys, I taught high school Biology and Human Anatomy. Quite a different scene to switch to teaching toddlers! While I have a background in how to plan out a lesson, I am NOT an expert or certified for early childhood or elementary teaching. I will tell you that I let Pinterest guide a great deal of the activities that I implemented and also just for inspiration in creating my own activities! (I also had a couple of years of experience being a teacher assistant in a Pre-K classroom to help me out!)
With all of this, I thought I’d share just a few ideas and subject areas to help guide you in a direction for homeschooling (mainly for preschoolers). I will also leave links to websites or names of apps that will take you even further for each subject or just for a good source for miscellaneous activities to do at home!
Listen, I know that it is hard to stick to a schedule or plan with little ones. It is stressful! It is even irritating sometimes! But trust me when I say that kids of ALL ages, especially preschoolers, function better when there is a routine in place. Of course there will be things that come up to prevent all going according to plan, but having a basic flow of activities can help your child’s mindset and even ease some anxieties they may have of a “new normal”. It might even be helpful to make a big version of a schedule for them to see and to know what is coming next using pictures.
This is a look at what we’re doing this week. Notice that I only planned out the mornings (when my older boys would normally be at preschool) so that it keeps in step with their normal routines. Also make note that the time slots are definitely not set in stone--some activities will not take as long as anticipated or hold their interest, so I always have a few back up options to fill the time if that is the case!
Since my boys are just learning to write their names and identify letters, our literacy activities usually involve just that! My mom and I have created several “file folder games” that we’ve laminated and I have also just created my own or found different letter tracing activities on Pinterest! There is so much out there that is available for free! There’s no need to reinvent the wheel (unless you want to--its fun sometimes!)
We also have book time where I read a couple of books aloud to grab their interest and then they each end up picking out their own books to look at--even Taso! Having books around is one of the best things for preschoolers! Get into the habit of reading a few a day! Let’s be real--you probably have a little more time to do that right now!
- Playdoh Letter Mats
- Dry Erase Boards
- Line & Name Tracing on Paper
- File Folder Letter Matching
- Book time
Math for preschoolers is a little different from what comes to mind when you hear “math”. Number recognition, counting [outloud, pointing while counting (one-to-one)], tracing numbers, matching can all be math activities. Similar to literacy, we have some laminated activities that we can reuse each day for practice, we do calendar time and count the days, and usually try to come up with a themed activity to incorporate during the week.
There are so many opportunities to bring science into your home, especially in the spring months! It also doesn’t always need to be messy!
We already started a few seeds (kits from Target dollar spot made it super easy and convenient) and plan on monitoring their growth. We expanded on that activity by learning about the parts of the plant through a YouTube video and then used Dot Dot markers to paint flowers and labeled the parts. Later in the week we will review the parts of a plant using pieces that I’ve cut out of construction paper.
Just like the example above, there is an opportunity to create multiple activities from one science topic or experiment! Also, include playtime into your STEM activities like building structures with blocks or magnet tiles!
Here are some other science activities to try:
- Baking soda & vinegar with food coloring (chemical reaction)
- Rain clouds (shaving cream, water & blue food coloring)
- Density (layer different liquids like water, oil, honey, & rubbing alcohol)
- Water Properties (flowers in water with food coloring, drops of water onto a penny)
This is where you can get really creative and have some messy (or messy-ish) fun! My mom is a crafter so we grew up always having a plethora of art supplies. I’ve created the same type of household for the boys being somewhat artistic myself! We love using paint, Dot Dot markers, markers, crayons and so many other items! Once again, I try to come up with some themed crafts and projects but sometimes, I just let them create whatever they want. Here are a few ideas:
- Watercolor paints
- Washable paint on windows (flowers, spring theme)
- Glue & Tissuepaper Decor: Easter eggs, chicks, bunnies
- Dot Dot marker activities
- Stickers & Paper
Your kiddos will definitely need some movement breaks throughout the day! Even when you’re giving them free choice, carve out some time for intentional movement like yoga, playing instruments, having a dance party or just playing outside! Fine motor can be incorporated into your other activities, especially art, but can also be addressed through an activity such as playing with play dough.
Sensory play is super easy and usually ends up being an activity that keeps the kids engaged for longer than anticipated! For this you can fill a bin or Tupperware with beans, rice, beads or even just water and let them go for it! If you’re not interested in a large mess in your kitchen or living room, try the bathtub! Some other ideas might be playing with shaving cream (trace letters & shapes in it on a cookie sheet) or water beads (amazon). Another great idea is bringing outside in especially when weather isn’t agreeing with outside play! We’ve brought snow inside, small rocks to put their trucks and cars in, sand, etc.
With all of the uncertainty of what the coming weeks will bring, all we can do is take things one day at a time and do the best that we can! You’ve got this! If you need any more ideas for activities, lessons, or weekly schedules, leave me a comment or send me an email! I’d love to share other things that I have with you!
Stay positive, friends!
We will get through this together!
Additional Links & Resources: