Meg's favorite preschool resources

Posted by  | Friday, January 28, 2011  at 2:28 PM  
We haven't done a lot of preschool with Karis yet, but there are a few things that she and Karlie have really enjoyed. (When you have two littles, the youngest seems to learn everything right along with the older!)

1. This Melissa and Doug magnetic chalkboard/whiteboard with wooden letters and numbers:
It comes with some letters and numbers, but I went ahead and bought the extra set of letters because I think it is so important for them to learn the lowercase letters along with the uppercase ones. I cannot tell you how much fun they have had with this! I started with just one letter pair a week and slowly added the alphabet (the vowels first, then adding consonants), along with the numbers. We sit on the bed and I ask them questions as they take turns taking the letters and numbers off. For Karis, I ask questions like, "Which letter says, 'buh?' and "which number is first in line" or "which number is beside the 2?" or "which number is between the 4 and the 6?" With Karlie, I ask more simple questions like where is the "Jj?" or "what sound does the 'A' make?" or "what color is the 2?" They get really excited about their turn and after all the letters and numbers are off, I just let them play with them all. I love that it is magnetic and the letters are wooden rather than cheap plastic!

2. A calendar :
My girls really look forward every day to putting up the new number for the day, singing our days of the week and months of the year songs, and picking the weather for the day. I just use painter's tape that comes off easily to stick everything up there. I love doing the calendar with them because they learn to recognize numbers up to 31, and it helps them look forward to special days and visits from grandparents. I have tiny pictures of their grandparents that we put on the calendar to show when they are coming to visit each month and we will count to it each day. They also get really excited each month when I print out a different (seasonal) picture to use for the numbers. I plan to start doing patterns with the numbers soon (like alternating two different colors for an AB pattern, then adding more colors or shapes when they start to find that too easy). Sometimes I just let them play with the calendar (which is why the weather is all messed up right now :) The calendar has definitely been a fun and easy way to help my girls learn!

As a former pre-school teacher who saw too many energetic and busy little ones forced to sit down and practice writing letters before they really needed to or could even do it without frustration, I have not been in any hurry to teach Karis to write her letters. I want her to find learning fun! So I was excited to find these sand-paper letters on Amazon and quickly incorporated them into our letter book. As we discuss a new letter each week, I make a page for our binder that has a picture of different ways they will read the letter in a book, a little rhyme to help them remember the sound the letter makes, the sandpaper letter, and directions to help them learn to trace (and eventually write) the letter. We pull the book out a few times a week and chant the rhyme and directions and they practice tracing the letter with their fingers. That way, it will be very simple for them to know how to write it when they get the patience and coordination. They love the feel of the sand-paper letters and tracing them is probably their favorite part of looking at our letter book!

4. Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row books -- These books are pricey, so I would recommend getting them at the library, but I really like them. The author chooses some of the best books available, recommends that you read the book 5 times with your child, and gives you ideas of activities to do with them. The B4 book is very simple and a lot of the ideas I could come up with myself, but it saves me the trouble of trying :) The actual 5 in a row series is great, and tries to bring in ideas for all subjects, such as geography, Bible, and even cooking! My girls have really enjoyed each book selection and the things I have pulled from them.

5. Matching puzzles like THESE -- I could have probably posted these with the toddler products because Karlie has been obsessed with them since about 18 months, but the older topics like "opposites" and "rhyming" are great for preschoolers as well. Keep your eyes open because we actually found some similar ones at the dollar store! We currently have "pairs" (things that go together like a hat and a glove or bread and butter), "animal Mamas and babies," "uppercase and lower case," and "rhyming."

Those are just a few of the things that we use a lot right now. I'd love to hear your suggestions!


Leah F said...

I love the calendar idea, Meg! I have another friend who does something similar with a calendar. this is a silly question, but where did you find your calendar? And where does it hang in your home?

Meg said...

Any teacher's store should have a calendar and you might find one at Walmart or Hobby Lobby. We actually have the both the calendar and our magnetic letter board hanging in our guest bedroom/ baby room because the girls' room is too small :) I would love to have a little office/schoolroom but that is not going to happen anytime soon :)

Terra Jones said...

We use this calendar ( it's super sturdy - the cards all come 'detached' (meaning: I didn't have to do any work, lol, key with 3 under 4, LOL) and they are heavy cardboard (I was worried it was going to be flimsy pieces of paper, but they are super strong and are already laminated).

our guys love it! (we haven't found a good hanging spot yet, but it has grommets at the top for good hanging too)

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