My daughter loves to play games. Memory, go fish, Hi Ho Cherry O, Candy land, you name it and she is game to play it. Since she has this love for games I found balloon alphabet cards you can print off to play many different cards games with. If you want them to last longer coat them in clear contact paper and you then have alphabet cards to use.
The cards have both the upper case and lower case letters which makes them great for playing memory or go fish. You can also use them as flash cards but it is way more fun to play a game. I cut mine out and then went down to my local Wal-Mart and bought clear contact paper to coat them in. The contact paper is found on the same isle as the shelf paper. Simple to make and is going to provide us with hours of educational fun.
My daughter went to preschool for the last few months and while there she learned her phonics through a program called Zoo Phonics. It was a great program that taught the letter, the sound, and an action. There are many programs out there that do the same thing. Such a cute and fun way to learn your letter sounds. Since she knew that I wanted to make sure we kept practicing it and that she was able to recall them out of order. I also noticed that she only learned her upper case letters and wanted to make sure that she understood that there were lower case letters as well.
With this in mind I grabbed some cheap paper plates and wrote both the lower case and upper case letter on each plate so that we had the whole alphabet.
I then took all the plates and spread them out all over the floor. I would then say a letter and she had to find the letter stand on the plate and do the action while making the sound. She had a lot of fun running around the room searching for the letter.
The best part was that my 1 1/2 year old son would run after her and stand on the same plate and try to copy his sister. A lot of fun and a really cheap and easy game to make. For the clean up I made her bring me each letter in order starting with the letter A. A game we will defiantly be playing again soon.
Teaching Your Preschooler
As a stay at home mom I wear many hats. I am a short order cook, a housekeeper, a teacher, a nurse/doctor, and so many it would take all day to list them. Since I am home with my 3 1/2 year old and 1 1/2 year old I want to make sure that what we are doing is preparing them for school and not just sticking them in front of the TV all day. Let me tell you that would make my day much easier! I know that there are many of you out there that are trying to get your kids ready for school just like me and I wanted to share some of the things that I have been doing and also get some ideas from you as well.
I first started by hitting the web trying to find some great resources for me and for my preschooler. One of the first pages I came a across was Fishing for Ideas for Preschoolers. This page was great. It not only tells you what things your preschooler should be able to do by Kindergarten but it has tons of printable games, books, flash cards, holiday ideas, and much more. There Ideas for Preschoolers blog goes along with the website as well.
Before I became a stay at home mom I was a teacher of 4th graders. While I have lots of great curriculum and ideas it has been hard for me to figure out what to do with my preschooler. I always got kids that had some knowledge of reading and not usually kids who were just learning. A resource that our 1st grade teachers used was Starfall. This website walks kids through their ABC’s all the way up to reading. My daughter loves it because it is so interactive. A great way to reinforce there letters and sounds and give you that break when you need it.
Another thing that has really made a difference is making sure there is a routine to our day. This way my kids know what to expect and it helps the days run smoother. Trust me on the days when things are a bit off our day is not as much fun for me or the kids. Lots of temper tantrums! Not only does this structure help you day run smoother it also helps get your kids ready for the structure that school brings as well. Here is an example of a typical day for my family.
7-8:30 wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed, independent play
8:30-10:00 Gym for mom and play time for the kids (or in the case of my daughter TV time)
10-11:30 practice writing letters, practice sight words, play letter games, work on numbers,
12-2 independent play time
This schedule has to be tweaked a bit now and then based on all sorts of things but hopefully gives you an idea.
Remember that your preschool has the attention to focus on a task for all of like 2 minutes so keep it fun and short. You don’t want them to burn out but rather enjoy the fun of learning. I also try and do the not so fun things first and the games second to try and use it as a reward for the job well done. Keep checking back to see what activities we do to build our skills.