After our first week of quarantine, I shared our homeschool schedule and everything we are doing to maintain some sanity throughout this weird phase of life. There was some novelty that first week with my 3 year old and after that week I had to quickly think of some new ways to get him engaged. I don’t want to constantly fight with him about “doing school” so I wracked my brain for some new ideas. Ellis is incredibly active and I finally found some preschool learning activities for an active preschooler that work!
Last Friday, they officially announced that schools will not open back up this school year in Illinois. As many other states have done the same. I want to do a follow up to the original post now that we are in it for the long haul of at least another month. Hopefully you have found your stride, given yourself lots of grace and know that what works best for your family may not look like everyone else’s.
I have a 5 year old in kindergarten, a 3 year old in his first year of preschool and a 14 month old toddler. My 5 year old can get distracted, but there are some school activities that he enjoys. My 3 year old on the other hand. Phew! If you have an active toddler or preschooler, these activities have worked really well for my active kids.
We are still following the same schedule– some days we are more on it than others but the boys expect it which keeps us grounded. Integrating chores is also sooo important. If your house is anything like ours, people are eating constantly! And there are constant dishes and toys and homeschool supplies to clean up.
Our philosophy is that keeping up with a household is a family job. Check out these other chore ideas if you are looking for more ideas on age appropriate chores.
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10 Preschool Learning Activities for Active Kids
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I have to put another plug for this website, because I have gotten a ton of ideas on here and want to give credit where credit is due! Busy Toddler– This website is a mecca for toddler/preschool activity inspiration.
1) Homemade playdoh We tried this our first week and a great activity for active kids since it’s so hands on. Not only was this a great science experiment, we talked about how the consistency changed as we added ingredients. Add in a pack of sea animals or shapes to increase play and creativity.
2) Lots of big floor puzzles! You are going to notice a theme. If I can find a bigger version of anything, it is usually a win.
5 Continent Puzzle Pack– We used this our first day of homeschooling and I’ve recommended them to various people. Another great one for 2 or 3 year olds is this world map with matching animal cards.
Floor Puzzles- These large puzzles are a great conversation starter as well! Like this Melissa & Doug Solar System Puzzle or Massive Dinosaur Puzzle or this beautiful Underwater Ocean Floor Puzzle.
3) ANY work on butcher paper! These 4 items have given me tons of activities. Sometimes I put them on the wall and other times the floor. You can pretty much make anything you see on a worksheet into something bigger so they can stay active during the activity. These have been a few of our favorites:
Supplies: Butcher paper, Post-it notes, Dot Stickers, Do a Dot Art Markers
Number Recognition (pictured above): Number values 1-15 drawn out with dots and also written down on post-it notes. Student works on matching the numeric values by placing post-it number on top of the correct number of dots.
Shape Practice: Draw a variety of shapes all over a large piece of butcher paper. Instruct student to color in all the triangles in red, then squares in blue, etc. Or they can pick the color they want.
Addition Practice: Use dot markers or dot stickers to practice addition. Write a few basic addition equations on a butcher paper, with a large square after the equal sign. Have your student put each number in different colors and then count all the dots in the square to state the final answer.
Letter Recognition: Write their name in huge bubble letters. On the dot stickers, write their letters randomly all over the sheet. They work on putting all the letters in the appropriate place. The day before I wrote all the letters of the alphabet on the butcher paper and he had to match them with the ones written on stickers. This name activity was an extension of that.
4) Chopping and helping out around the kitchen. A lot of times my preschooler just wants to be near me and help out, so having him chop fruits or veggies is one of his favorite activities. You can check out all my favorite kitchen supplies for preschoolers, but a wavy chopper or a pack of intro knives are a great place to start.
5) Sorting Work. Any activity where you can sort items has been working well. Sorting beads into different colors, sorting animal sets into where animals live or size etc., and collecting items to find out if they sink or float. Animal sets can also be used to talk about their names, draw them out on paper and lots of other tactile activities.
6) Real Life Skills. This busy board activity binder is a great intro to a lot of real life skills. Has buckles, zippers, tying work, and buttons. They can then move on to their own clothing and shoes.
7) Themed Days. Another tactic that keeps my boys engaged is having themed days. The work above was our solar system day: we read two books, did one of the floor puzzles listed above, listened to a couple planet songs and watched a short youtube video on asteroid belts. Then we used cookie cutters and cardboard planets to trace out the planets and draw our own. Butcher paper again! My oldest then practiced his handwriting by labeling everything.
Botany Day: We planted some seeds, read a couple books on what is a seed and parts of a plant. Our art project was construction paper flowers where we labeled the different parts of a plant.
8) Building Activities. This activity was a favorite. Of course, they were able to eat some of the supplies. They build huge structures with marshmallows and toothpicks, and it was great watching them figure out how to make them stable/taller/bigger.
9) Educational Toys. There are some games and activities that are easily integrated into a school day activity. Especially on a day where they are not feeling up to doing much.
Dinosaur Fossil Dig Excavation– Very engaging and hands on way to learn about dinosaurs and fossils.
Imagination Magnets– Still one of our favorites after owning it for two years. Fun pattern play that ranges in difficulty from easy to more difficult.
Insect Lore Deluxe Butterfly Garden– There is nothing better than the real thing to help stimulate the minds of your little budding scientists. In this garden, you get 5 caterpillars, all the food they need and a mesh habitat to grow your butterflies.
10) Creative Art. Creativity and art are essential at this age. Coloring or drawing on regular paper can get old, so adding some different activities has kept it engaging and fun. Above is an activity we did at Ellis’ 3rd birthday and it was so fun, we did a version of it again. A huge canvas drop that was hung up on the side of the garage. They used paint poured into water guns and spray bottles (mix with a little bit of water), and foam paint brushes.
Sidewalk painting of our shadows: We turned our chalk into paint by crushing it and adding a little water. Traced our shadows and painted them in. This was perfect for a nice day art project.
The boys also do lots of watercolor painting at school so we invested in watercolor sets for each and a pack of large watercolor paper.
Hope these ideas help add some fun activities to your homeschool days! If you have any you’d like to share, leave them in the comments for us all to read. 🙂
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