What Has My Preschooler Been Doing Lately?
I thought it was about time to write a post about how my preschooler spends her day.
Free, Unstructured Play
First of all, she spends a lot of time playing both indoors and out.
Play helps kids learn to control their emotions and behavior. Play allows kids to be creative. It helps them learn discipline, resist impulses and develop resiliency. During make-believe play children engage in ‘private speech.’ They talk to themselves about what they are doing and how they are doing it. This dialogue helps them master emotions and help them police themselves. Kids learn to cope with their feelings as they act out being sad, angry, excited, etc. in a setting that they control. During play, kids learn to cooperate and negotiate with others. They build relationships with others. It allows them to test their beliefs about the world. Kids learn a lot through play. Often, kids create their own rules as they create new games. Play helps kids build problem solving skills and other cognitive skills.
Did you know that since the 1970s, kids have lost an average of nine hours of free playtime a week? It’s important that kids have time for solitary play, playtime with family (and adults) as well as playtime with friends. Pretend play is a crucial part of what makes humans so smart!
Read Aloud Time
Reading aloud to your child is extremely important. Reading to your child increases her background knowledge, taking her places you can’t get to in everyday life, and exposing her to new ideas. It also drastically increases her vocabulary and comprehension. When you talk to your child, you use somewhere between 9 and 11 rare words for every thousand spoken. When you read a children’s book to your child, that number increases to 30 per thousand. In other words, there are nearly three times more rare words in a child’s picture book than in everyday conversation (Trelease, The Read Aloud Handbook, p. 16). Trelease goes on to say that by the age of four, a child in a language-rich environment may have heard up to 32 million more words than other children of the same age!
The first thing ED and I do each morning is get a pile of books and start reading together while she eats breakfast (and then we usually move over to the couch). It’s a quiet time of day since her older siblings usually sleep in later than she does!
Here are some of the books we had in our pile today! Cinder Edna and Caps For Sale are on the top-most-requested books of the week!
When I work with ED’s older siblings, I have a bunch of activities on hand in ED’s workboxes that I can offer her or she can pull out. She almost always wants something to do while LD and DD are working on math, spelling and writing. Here are some of the things she pulled out in the past couple of days:
ED pulls out her maze book about once a week. Kumon has a whole series of mazes.
I am also really impressed by the huge selection of mazes put out by KrazyDad like these easy mazes. ED has worked through the first book of easy mazes (20) and is into his second. KrazyDad has these mazes up for free, but he really appreciates donations.
File Folder Games
We always have a lot of file folder games ready if she’s interested. These are things she can do independently while her sibling work. She happened to choose the upper case-lower case letter matching from File Folder Fun.
I also have lots of File Folder Games in a folder like these from Colorful File Folder Games (a resource I bought when LD was little):
This past week I saw Erica’s adorable sight word pumpkins over at Confessions of a Homeschooler and put them into ED’s workbox. She loved them.
I also throw in printouts of copywork and let her trace when she’s interested. She has worked on a number of the Ancient Egypt copywork pages from Happy Scribe (cost: 50 cents) the past week or so.
We also have games out on the table that I rotate every couple of days. You can read more about some of the games we use here.
Learning to Read:
ED is learning to read simple words. She went through the first set of Bob Books and now we’re using some other simple books we have on hand. Some readers that a friend passed on to us and printouts of the free Sam Books I mentioned a while back. (Here’s my post about the free phonics readers — Sam Books and where to get them. There are 52 books in all.) And she still loves Animal Antics as well.
By the way, since I’m talking about phonics readers I may as well mention the pack I made to go along with the very first set of Bob Books. You can download the worksheet pack here if you are interested. It’s 20 pages.
Sight Word Activities:
She also did some sight word matching this past week using the Valentine’s Day Word Match activity I made for her last year.
You have to do some cutting and pasting to make this, but here are the pages I used to make mine. I glued the words onto clothes pins. I also laminated the sheets for durability and to make it easier for ED to manipulate.
She also brought out the sight word mats and had me call out words for her to hop on. It’s—um—distracting when DD and LD are working on their spelling!
ED and I also spend some time every day working on math. Currently she is working through the kindergarten Sunshine Math pack someone mentioned in an online group. You can also find links to the math pack at mathlearnnc.
And she does lots of crafts. I’m planning to do a post on her fall crafts and activities, though so I’ll save that for another day!