Nowadays, kids are learning a ton before they ever step foot in kindergarten, and if they don’t, sadly, they’re considered behind. I’m not sure how much I agree with this accelerated academic learning practice. I think ideally kids would be allowed to discover their world at their own rate, motivated by their own level of interest.
However, I also know there are lots of parents who are so opposed to “formal teaching” of young children, that they refuse to even tell their kids the names of letters/colors/numbers/etc. I’m not on that end of the spectrum either.
In my experience, toddlers and preschoolers want to know things and are good at learning labels. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with helping young children learn the labels for things that will come in handy in their schooling and to help them start to see connections and think about things in new ways.
Below are some of the homemade materials, games, and activities I’ve used with my own children to help them gain basic knowledge that will hopefully benefit them in their future academic careers. Click each picture or title of the following preschool learning activities for a more detailed description and instructions.