Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Preschool 101

I figured I would write a bit more detail about what I do with Caleb for "school."  Some of these activities are daily, and some are sporatic.  Caleb is the kind of kid that loves to learn, but on his terms.  I capitalize on teachable moments around here!

*  When Caleb was learning his letters, I would write all of the letters of the alphabet mixed up with chalk on the driveway.  Then, I would call out a letter and we would both try to find the letter and land on it.  The person who got there first got a point.  He would run, skip, ride his bike...whatever his fancy at that time!  We have also done it with sounds, and I imagine I could alter it a bit to make it work with the blends we're beginning now.  ("What two letters make the 'br' sound?")  I'm even thinking that this could work for basic addition.  Hmmmm... :)  It's pretty fun, and it lets him be outside and be active while we're learning.

*  I am in the process now of labeling Caleb's room with some words so that he will begin to recognize them.  I'm not going to do too many, but the basics like chair, dresser, bed, closet, desk, etc. 

*  Matt taught Caleb how to add by having him touch his fingers to his chin, thanks to a suggestion from a teacher in our church!  Ex:  5 + 2 =  Caleb will count up to five by touching fingers on one hand to his chin, then use two fingers from his other hand to finish.  He's really accurate this way and it has helped to build his confidence a lot.

*  At restaurants, we play the "Sugar Game" while we're waiting for our food.  We put out a whole bunch of sugar packets and either take one or two at each turn.  It's a game of strategy and math, because you're trying to make sure that you don't take the last one.  If you do, you lose!  He really likes this game, and it has given us many opportunities to teach him about good sportsmanship too.  :)

Starfall is a great website for early readers.  There are links for each letter that give the sound, a word that starts with that letter, and usually a fun way to remember it.  There are also some fun activities (Caleb really likes to build his own snowman and gingerbread man!), but the vast majority of the activities are very educational.  There are a lot of books on there that can be read to you or your child can read.

*  One of Caleb's favorite activities to do is to read a Tumblebook.  These are real books that are narrated and animated online.  Our local library has a subscription that allows everyone free access!  You do not need to type in a code to view these.  There are books on a variety of levels, and you can either have the books read to you or you can read them at your own pace.  Caleb LOVES these books and gets SO excited when he finds the "real" book in the library!  Tumblebooks have bought me a few minutes while I'm on the phone many a time! (They're a fabulous alternative to the TV!)  :)

*  I just found this on my mom's class website, but it looks like a good activity Caleb would like.  You can match pictures to their corresponding beginning sound, and they also do long and short vowels.  We'll have to try this one out!

iXL Math is really great too!  You can do up to 20 problems a day without a paid subscription.  This is kind of a one-stop-shop because they cover so many different skills on this website.

I hope that this might help some of you with preschoolers.  As you might imagine, we don't have a lot of "free" time around here.  I just use my teachable moments and try to keep him as interested as possible.  Good luck!  :)

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