Good afternoon! I just wanted to take a quick minute to share with you some of the goodies I've gathered this year for our preschool bucket and show you some things we are using (and have been using).
When we think of school, we normally think of paper and pencil (or crayons and scissors) sorts of things, but for a 3 year old (and even up to 7), it doesn't need to be ALL or ONLY that. We know that creative play feeds the brain for young children and focus on gross and fine motor skills are important. This is why I have loved dipping into the Montessori preschool methods this year. Yes, we've learned skills like folding napkins for dinner (and washcloths), balancing on a jump rope (great fun) and even sorting color cards (paint chips) in graduated shades + more.
Those are all things I do with my preschooler, but there are learning experiences I keep in a special bucket for when I'm doing school with Roo and I need Littlest Princess to be focused on her own learning independent of me. Some homeschool moms call this a "busy bucket or box". (I come from a classroom as a teacher and any word referring to something remotely close to "busy work" is frowned upon). All work we give our children to do must be encouraging them in the work of learning, right?! :) Yes. (which is what a busy box is mostly filled with).
What's in our Bucket?
A bunch of stuff that's easy to make for your little preschooler!
1. Name Clip Pictures
Draw a picture on cardstock of anything your little one likes (or use a printed picture on cardstock). Write the letters of your child's name around the edges. Use clothes pins with the matching letters (one on each). They will clip the letters on the card matching the letters and thus begin to learn what their written name look like!
2. Name Puzzles
Again, use a clipart (large) on a half sheet of paper (two per page). This is easy to make in powerpoint. Outline it with dotted lines and run dotted lines through the middle. Type out his or her name across the picture. (one letter inside each section of dotted line). Print. Cut out. Store in baggies. (You should always have your preschooler in your site when they are using any learning experience with baggies.)
3. Opposite cards
Draw, use clipart or get some online like these here! I found mine at the dollar bin at Target this year before school began.
You can use dry beans for counting. I found our counting mats here! You can use them with snacks as well. Place the one to one snacks on the circles (5 for 5), etc. They'd be super fast and easy to make as well! DIY! We also use an ice cube tray and she practices counting and placing beans into each section (one to one correspondence).
5. Paint Chips
We use a ton of paint chips for playing with and organizing colors. There are many different ways your preschooler can do this!
6. Number Matching Cards
I got mine at the dollar bin at Target, another great find, but you can easily DIY! Using cardstock, cut into fourths. Illustrate each card with a different number of objects 1-10 or use clipart or stickers! On clothes pins, write the corresponding numbers. Clip to the card to match! Yes, preschoolers can use clothes pins and clip, but it will take a little practice (about two times). :)
Need I say more? Always use with adult supervision and on a wipeable surface of course!
8. Numbers one through 10 puzzle
Using a picture, put together a puzzle with numbers. Similar to the name spelling activity.
Use large beads or even cut apart peices of colored straw at different lengths. We use a rubbery type string (not yarn) to help lower frustration. It's so much easier! SO, DIY! You can also include sewing cards (which you can also DIY) using a whole punch, cardstock and a printed picture. (This is still a bit frustrating for my preschooler, so I would recommend adding this to the bucket later toward the end of the school year.)
10.. Cutting and Tracing Sheets
These are fun! I used a set about bees I found on pinterest and they worked great for my older child when she was 3, so I made a special set for my preschooler featuring Christmasy clipart. You can download it FREE if you click on the graphic. :)
I love so many things about the preschool years, don't you? While these learning bucket activities are great, don't forget the most important thing for a child this age is lots of movement and play!
**NOTE... I do not include any alphabet type learning experiences in our bucket as we learn our alphabet through a phonics song! :)
What do you include in your preschool learning bucket?? I'd love to hear from you!
My other preschool packets you might like are:
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