The "at-home preschool" idea is something that I am trying to work into our daily routine. Ha, routine! I crack myself up!
Okay, we have no real routine, so we're working on a routine, and we're working on making sure this routine has time included for specific learning activities, a proactive time set aside with my preschooler (age 3 1/2) to tackle some of the "get ready for school" type skills.
My son knows all of his letters and all of the letter sounds. This is 100% due to Starfall and not me.
Okay, I am the one who introduced him to Starfall and I'm pretty awesome at reinforcing the things he is learning, so I'll take 10% of the credit and leave Starfall 90%. Does this make me a terrible parent? Probably, but my kid and I are both very happy, so that lessens the terrible by at least 25 points. Which, since I'm also awesome at math, means I win. Moving on...
If you haven't heard of Starfall, and you have a pre-reader who loves technology, go now. You will love it. Did I mention that it's free? Seriously, GO check it out now. I'll be right here waiting when you get back. And this is not a paid advertisement, just true love.
Awesome, right? (Thanks for coming back :)
My son would spend all day "playing letters" if I let him, but I do have enough parent goodness to know that unlimited screen time makes my boy craaaaanky. So he is allowed to play Starfall while I prep/make dinner (and sometimes lunch), but that is it. Except for when I need to mop the floor. Or make an important phone call. Because it entertains his sister (18 months) as much as it entertains him, so Starfall time is happy time at our house.
But, when we are unplugged, my son still loves to play with letters. He's fairly letter-obsessed, so we're going with it and riding the wave of enthusiasm.
Last fall, I picked up two packages of magnetic letters and a package of magnetic numbers at Dollar Tree, intending on painting them cute colors and patterns like Creative Carissa. That hasn't happened yet, but when I found this awesome letter matching idea from We Can Do All Things, I knew it would be a hit with my little guy. (She also gives you other awesome ideas for using cookie sheets for travel learning games, so go check them out!)
It's the easiest learning game ever, and I love that my son can do it on his own, too. I just grabbed a yucky old cookie sheet (which I will spray paint some day), saved just for occasions like this, and wrote the alphabet and the numbers 0 through 9 right on the cookie sheet using a dry erase marker.
Then I handed my son the box full of letters and set him loose.
Paul had such a great time matching the letters! As he matched them, he would tell me what each letter's name was and what sound it made, and we would talk about what words had that sound in them. Seriously SO easy. And it's teaching so many skills at once: matching, letter recognition, alphabetical/numerical order, fine motor skills, etc. Easy activities like this greatly increase the odds that we can make a routine and learning time happen regularly!
What kind of "learning time" activities do you do with your kiddos? I love hearing ideas! (You can see more ideas I'm trying over on my "learning time" Pinterest board.)
Have a happy day,