Hey friends! Times are tough and I know we could all use a little help with our kids right now! Some of us are choosing to homeschool, while others are giving the kids a break. I have taught everything from preschool to 5th grade reading intervention groups. I spent the most time teaching first grade and it is still my favorite. Some of you know that I have a M.ED in Reading & Writing curriculum, but did you know that I taught in Frisco ISD? I taught 4th grade the year that my son was born and made the decision to stay home. Anyway, I think my preschooler loves learning and truly wants to continue that. He’s in this wonderful stage of early reading that just makes my reading teacher heart so happy. Selfishly I’m actually really enjoying the opportunity to teach my favorite things again! I think this is a wonderful time to share 20 educational activities to do with your preschooler during this crazy time!
Reading & Writing Activities for your Preschooler
Morning Message– Write a letter to your child every morning using similar formatting. “Hi Tripp, Today is Monday! We are going to play in the sprinklers today. I love you! Love, Mom.” Each day, try something different with it, but always read it together. You’ll be amazed at how quickly a simple activity will teach them sight words. The first day, we just read the message together. The second day, I left his name out so that he got some practice writing his name. You can also have them write a the word “going” like this “_oing” and have them listen and fill in the beginning sounds. Other ideas: circle/fill in sight words, make a pattern in your letter, add math games, etc. It should be interactive! I frequently have him fill in sight words and beginning letter sounds.
Build a Word Wall-Start with words from your morning message. For example, I see “is” and “we” that I might pull first. Put them on a sticky note or index card and hang them on the wall. Add their name, siblings names, and anything you are reading together that would be good to see and read often. Talk about the words, read them every day, spell, them, etc. Find favorite words to add also. If your child loves books about firetrucks, “firetruck” would be wonderful to add to your wall. However, be sure that you are pulling words from books, your morning messages, or everyday objects that they recognize. (I recommend avoiding pulling sight words from a list.) Ideally, my word wall would be organized by letter.
Circle known words- Make a chart (construction paper is fine) full of words in random places. For a beginning reader, use their name and words like Mom, Dad, I, etc. Keep it to just 4-5 different words written multiple time. Tape that to your wall with painters tape, then ask them to circle the word “______”. How many times can you circle the word, Dad? Can you find your name? How many times?
Sight Word Easter eggs- Put those Easter eggs to work for you, y’all! On one egg, write the same sight word on top and on bottom of the line so that when you. break them apart, your child will have to match the eggs together. I use the words on our word wall and kept it small to start. (6-8 eggs) I have added an egg every day and made it progressively harder. Be sure to have your kiddo read the words to you as they find a match.
Build Words- You can buy pre-made unifix cubes with letters on them or purchase regular unifix cubes and write on them with a dry erase marker. Either way, both tools are something you will get a lot of use out of for many years! (Helloooooo spelling practice for older kids!) You can build the words on your word wall, make CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words, or simply ask your child what words they’d like to make. (Tripp chose big words like dinosaur and monster trucks. I wrote the word down for him on a sticky and then he built the words. We then added the words to the word wall.)
Write with Shaving Cream– I’m all for doing things that are fun and “different”, so let’s get a little messy with this one! (Pro tip- Use a cookie sheet to contain the mess!) Let your kiddo write in shaving cream. Smear the shaving cream on a cookie sheet, then have them write letters, their name, words, etc. This is a great one for building upon skills. My preschooler loves all things reading, but struggles with writing. For us, this is a fun way to get to work on those skills without a pencil. You can do this same activity with other textures like pudding, paint, sand, and more!
Word Families with Easter eggs– Easter eggs can also make a super fun word family activity. Turn your egg horizontally and add a word family to the right side of the egg. On the left, write 4 letters so that when they spin the top half around, it builds a new word. This is also great practice for sounding out CVC words! Teachers Pay Teachers is a great resource for printable charts to help your kiddo remember the sounds of different word families.
Driveway Letters- It’s great to be outside isn’t it? Get your chalk and write all 26 letters on your drive way. (Random order is fine, just make sure they are large enough to stand on and visible from a few feet away.) When you are ready, make a game out of it! Depending on level, you can say “Run to the letter X! Run to the letter A!” Or, if they are ready for more, have them spell words! Start with their name, but they have to run and jump on each letter as they say them out loud. (You can do with numbers, addition, etc also!) You could change this up with sight words, too!
Make a Book– There are SO many different ways to do this! Tripp loves dinosaurs so we made a dinosaur book with simple, predictable text. I printed dinosaur clip art from Creative Clips for pictures in his book. (They can also draw the pictures!) Each page said, “This is a ____(insert specific Dino here)________.” Then, he had a book he could confidently read with new words (this, is, a) to add to his word wall! We bought these books (I think!) in the Dollar Spot at Target last year. I actually stocked up on them because you know teachers are hoarders and these were too good to pass up! They would be super easy to make on your own also!
READ. Here is a list of my favorite children’s books, but the most important thing is to just read! Find things that your kids will get excited to read about! We love checking out non-fiction books from the library about things like fire engines and monster trucks, but we keep a good sized library at home as well.
- Pete the Cat
- The Duckling Gets a Cookie (The Pigeon books are an excellent series!)
- Elephant & Piggie (series)
- The Pout Pout Fish
- Llama Llama
- National Geographic Level One (Choose topics that your child is interested in!)
- Dear Zoo
- I stink! (Ecxcellent series for kids who love trucks!)
- Anything by Eric Carle
- Anything by Robert Munsch
Math Activities for your Preschooler
Play (Preschool)War with a deck of cards– This probably won’t be the “war” game that you are used to, but it will be fun for your kids! Depending on your child’s age and ability, you can either take out the face cards or use dot stickers to add a number for them (J-11, Q-12, K-13, A-1). Place the full deck in the center of the table. Each of you flip a card. The person with the highest card wins!
Play Go Fish- Yes, this is your traditional Go Fish! I know you’ve got this one, but here are the rules, just in case!
Jellybean Graphing– Check out this completely free printable for sorting and graphing (two skills in one!) your jelly beans! You could repeat this activity with other candy, counting teddy bears, or unifix cubes as well.
Make a Pattern- Grab your jellybeans, teddy bear counters, buttons, or unifix cubes, and make a pattern. Start with a simple AB pattern. Once they have mastered simple patterns, kick up the intensity with new variations like ABB, and AABB. Eventually try an ABC pattern! (This could be a daily activity like the morning message to increase the intensity weekly.
Pom Pom Counting- I love activities that also work on fine motor skills, so this one is my favorites! Use cupcake liners or even just a piece of construction paper. Write a number in the cup or on the paper. (I’m using 10-20.) Ask your child to use tongs to count and drop pom poms into their cup. (Bonus: This one keeps them busy for a bit!)
Download this FREE Math Packet!– Y’all this little packet is amazing! Admittedly, I haven’t taught math in over 8 years. My last few years in the classroom were reading only! If I’m being honest, this is definitely where I struggle to remember what they need! I really like to find math activities that are hands on for this age. I think that Angela has done a wonderful job of doing that! Some of these will be a challenge for your kiddo, but they are great activities to do together. (I personally love that there is a book and tons of cut/paste activities.)
BONUS: Uno card math games!
Science Activities for your Preschooler
Tune into the Zoo Keeper Chats- The Cincinnati zoo is putting on an excellent video every day at 2pm. Each day they feature a new animal to learn about! Tune into their Facebook page at 2pm everyday to watch! You could easily have your kiddo journal (draw a picture) about something they learned.
Plant Seeds-Preschool kiddos are at the perfect age for learning to garden! You can try flowers, vegetables, etc. Since we’re coming into spring, now is a great time for this!
Mix Colors- Let’s get a little messy with some paint! It is so fascinating for kiddos to watch things change, so they eat this one up! If you want a little help with this, here’s a perfect printable!
Study the Lifestyle of a Caterpillar- Y’all this has been such a huge activity for us! We ordered a set from Insect Lore and have been SO impressed! I seriously had no idea that these babies grow so fast. On day one, they were maybe half an inch long. Just two days later they are at least an inch and half! Anyway this set comes with an activity book, but we have added on to it by creating our own butterfly with an empty paper towel roll and construction paper and creating a book about the lifecycle of a butterfly! I love this little differentiated book!
Bonus: If you want to dive deeper into some really awesome science experiments, check out these 30 Science Activities for Preschoolers! There are some fabulous activities here! The rain clouds look SO cool!
Just Have Fun!
I just threw a TON of ideas at you! If you follow along in my instagram stories, I have been sharing several of these activities over the last couple weeks! I’m happy to take more pictures for you, and share our daily fun! I’m always happy to help you with whatever you need. I encourage you to just have fun learning and hangin out with your sweet babies! There are some days that we can accomplish 4-5 different things and others we’re lucky to finish one! Every kiddo is different! Take it slow and know this is new for everyone! Don’t stress over teaching if it just isn’t for you! Instead, take a walk, get outside, and have some fun! When this is all over, I know that we all will all come out stronger!
Support Local Businesses
Be sure to support your local small businesses as you’re able! I have a list of playdates here that would love your support when this is over! I for one, can’t wait to get these kiddos out again! I’d love for you to keep me in mind for your family sessions this fall! I’d be honored to photograph your family!