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.
Learning Activities for Kids
Best Books for Preschoolers
Best Books for Kindergarteners
Hi, Michelle. Thank you so much for your printables. My daughter is now 14 months and she is obsessed with trees, plant, and flowers. Do you have any botany-related printables?
Also, could you recommend a safe, child friendly plant? What did you choose your children?
Hi Sherene, I’ve not made any botany-related printables so far, but that would be fun. Living Montessori Now has a great post linking to free material here: http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/03/31/free-montessori-botany-materials-for-a-gardening-unit/ Also, not all her resources are free, but the Pinay Homeschooler makes lots of great learning material. You might want to see what you can find here: http://www.pinayhomeschooler.com/search/label/botany
As far as a safe, child friendly plant goes, I’m probably not the right person to ask. I have a bit of a black thumb, but we do have a family vegetable garden that my husband is mostly responsible for and my kids help out with. Every year we grow green beans, snap peas, tomatoes, pumpkins, carrots, onions, and lettuce. All of my kids love picking the green beans and snap peas directly off the vine and eating them. My daughter is crazy about tomatoes. Sorry I can’t be more help. Good luck!
You have been extremely helpful. Thank you very much for the links to other sites. Both sites have a lot of information and printables. I plan to purchase the miniature trees on Pinay’s site.
The garden idea is awesome. Your husband must have a lot of patience. I plan to start small with strawberries in the house since Abigail loves them. I’m with you on the black thumb attribute. Plus I am concerned about flies and bugs inside my living room. Thank you again for your response and keep up the great work. I’ve already learned a ton so far and purchased the Charlotte Mason and Trish Kuffner(Toddler’s Busy Book) based on your recommendations.
I’m glad you were able to find some of what you were looking for. I hope your daughter enjoys the tree printable. Good luck with your strawberry plant! We have a raspberry plant separate from our garden, but still outside. It took a couple years to start producing at all, and even last season I don’t think we ever found more than a handful at a time. However, my kids love it and are excited to get even one homegrown raspberry. :)