No need to tell your child you are “doing school.” These activities are learning disguised as play!
Disguising Learning as Play
Children love to explore the world around them. When they explore, they learn. That’s not boring; that’s exciting!
When you think about what you want to teach in preschool: letter recognition, counting, math and science skills, and fine motor and gross motor coordination, you can do that in a playful and enjoyable way.
Homeschool preschool doesn’t have to be drudgery!
At this age, it’s important to keep this truth in mind: Learning is play, and play is learning.
Preschool Learning Activities That Are Also Play
Preschool is just what the name suggests; it comes before school. Your little learner should not be confined to a desk and forced to focus for long stretches of time.
The content of preschool education can be presented in an interactive way to make it fun. Check out these ideas that prove that play is learning.
Learning to recognize your ABCs and then learning the sounds of the letters are two of the educational goals of preschool. Kids can thoroughly enjoy these lessons when you add a dose of fun. Try:
- Completing letter puzzles
- Using letter cookie cutters on playdough or real cookie dough
- Hiding the letter in plain sight and then hunting for it
- Making letter-themed snacks (e.g., apples, apricots, and animal crackers)
- Singing catchy songs to learn the ABCs
Fine Motor Practice
Handwriting involves fine-motor coordination, but those skills can come with play as well as “official schoolwork.” Crafts are a wonderful and playful way to practice fine motor coordination. Here are some ideas:
- Beading with large pony beads, dried pasta, or O-shaped cereal
- Painting or coloring or gluing
- Drawing with sidewalk chalk
- Playing with stickers
- Cutting snowflakes
- Fingerplay: drawing on shaving cream on a cookie sheet
- Using Playdough, pipe cleaners, or Wikki Stix
Gross Motor Practice
Whole-body coordination is also something you want to develop in preschool. Who knew so much was happening during times of free play? Try these activities:
- Playing hopscotch
- Riding a tricycle or balance bike
- Climbing on play equipment
- Walking on a balance beam or fallen log
- Move Like a ____ (fill in the blank with a kind of animal)
- Catching bubbles
- Any game that involves a ball (throwing and catching)
Learning to count, the names and of the numbers, and doing simple addition are all math skills for preschool. When you work on math concepts through play, math is everyone’s favorite subject! Try these ideas:
- Singing songs to learn to count
- Using math manipulatives: purchased (linking cubes, pattern blocks, teddy bear counters) and edible ones (raisins, Cheerios, M&Ms, etc.)
- Playing Bingo (and board games that involve counting spaces as you move)
- Measuring for cooking
- Counting pizza toppings when making pizza
- Simple color by number worksheets or connect the dots
Science is all about hands-on exploration at this age. What can be more fun than that? Try these learning activities for science:
- Mixing colored water
- Playing with measuring cups, spoons, and water beads
- Putting items in a sink full of water–will they sink or float?
- Making mud pies or fairy houses outside
- Making slime
- Building with Legos
- Growing your own herbs, strawberries, or tomatoes
- Getting an ant farm, butterfly garden kit, or frog growing kit
- Freezing small plastic animals in ice and then melting them outside
Homeschooling Preschool: Learning as Play
No matter what your age, you can be excited to learn new things when you add a dose of fun.