We all know the importance of teaching our children every day. Children learn from books and lesson plans, but they also learn well through hand-on experiences. I work hard to find ways to prepare for preschool with my kids at home. Here are a few things you can do to teach your children and prepare for preschool:
How to Prepare for Preschool
Let them help you cook.
|Halle counting her chicken nuggets.|
Nothing is more hands-on than following a recipe and eating the finished product. From making a sandwich to baking cookies, this task is a great way to teach children because it covers many of the basics.
While adults may not view directions as a set of rules, essentially that is what they are. A toddler learns that leaving out just one ingredient can have negative consequences. Stirring and pouring also help fine tune motor skills. Measuring ingredients teaches fractions and reading a recipe can boost sequencing skills – the ability to identify the beginning, middle and end of a story – essential for reading comprehension.
Take a walk.
During the summer months, walks are a near-daily occurrence, sometimes more than once a day. While I’ve been cooped up most of the last few months in snowy, cold Indiana, we have managed a couple walks on the not-so-bitter days. We use the walk as a time to talk about everything we see. With my 3- and almost 2-year-olds, I point out and encourage them to point out things that we observe. We talk about stop signs being the shape of an octagon and say the letters “S-t-o-p.” We look at fire hydrants. We talk about snow melting. My 3-year-old loves to identify American flags. We look for airplanes and listen for barking dogs. We talk about the leaves and how they change with the seasons. We are anxiously waiting for the summer months so we can get out on a daily basis!
Make mealtime a time to count.
It’s good to create a connection with the things we do every day, so eating is a good time to learn some math. We work on counting our food as we eat it. For instance, I may give the kids a small bowl and some goldfish crackers. We will count out eight crackers. Then as each cracker is eaten, we count backwards.
Take trips to the store.
When we go to a store, I always try to incorporate learning. I point out items, especially things that we do not have in our home. We look for shapes and patterns on clothes or bedding. I talk about healthy foods and let my kids have a say in which fruits we purchase. We look at aisle numbers and talk about how we pay for our items, and I often let my oldest hand the money to the cashier.
Encourage them to help clean.
Chores and tasks around the house are good for your children. They give children a sense of responsibility – and empower them. Some parents have a hard time and struggle to find ways to get kids to clean up. Luckily, my young children love to help with tasks such as unloading the dishwasher (they hand me dishes and I put them away – no broken ones so far!) and simply cleaning up the toys they play with. I’m working on encouraging them to keep track of their own belongings, too. Ironic considering I’m the queen of misplacing things myself!
These are just a few of the ways I teach my kids through concrete experiences every day in our house and while doing the things we do on a regular basis. I hope this gave you a few ideas.
How do you teach kids during your everyday life?