The homeschool preschool and kindergarten years are such a sweet and beautiful time in a child’s life. The innocence and excitement over the littlest of things bring such joy to a home. Everything is new and exhilarating. Everything is an opportunity to learn and grow.
In my previous post, I discussed why a formal academics-based preschool was not necessary for all children to do well in future instructional settings. I also discussed the importance of balancing opportunities for play, nature exploration, and relationship-building. So, what exactly can you do with your preschooler?
Homeschool Preschool Fun
Talk with your child. Include him in your daily tasks. Pray together. Clean the house together; bake cookies. Prep snacks. Go for walks. Notice the bugs and the leaves and the moon and the stars. Create invitations to play with bowls of lima beans or seashells. Sing songs, read poems, and engage in fingerplays. Dress up, or snuggle up, and read books together.
Buy watercolors and paint rocks. Make lemonade, or build a fort. Use sidewalk chalk; blow bubbles, or just play with dirt. Dance in the rain. Jump in puddles. Go to story time at the library. Play with puppets or blocks. Or let them take a bubble bath.
Color in coloring books or on plain paper; put together puzzles. Play with homemade play dough or a large empty box and markers. Go to a park. Visit with friends. And allow plenty of time for free play, without prompting and without intervention.
If all you do is embrace life together, I truly believe that your child will be fully prepared for whatever type of formal instruction will arise in the future. The sights and sounds of the grocery store, library, park, etc. along with the simple acts of conversation, reading aloud, and play all create the platform for cognitive, social, and emotional development. There is no pressure to do more.
If, however, you are finding that you need a bit more inspiration, and you’re looking for more tangible ideas or something a bit more consistent, then I hope these homeschool preschool and kindergarten resources will encourage you. Each of these options offers fun and gentle ways to learn and connect with your child. We'll explore all-subject "big-box" curricula and single-subject curricula so that you can find what best works for you and your family.
Some (not all) of the links below are affiliate links. Please see disclosure for more information.
Many curriculum companies offer all-subject packages that are integrated and designed to work together. They include options and packages that include everything from Bible, history, and literature, to reading, language arts, math, and science.
These are wonderful for homeschoolers, who prefer a plan that is laid out and complete. They also work best when your preschooler or kindergartener is the oldest child because they usually require more time and commitment. These options are often more expensive as well, so that is something you will want to take into consideration when preparing your budget and plans. The following are a few of our favorites.
(If your preschooler/kindergartener is the youngest, then you may want to skip to the "Single-Subject Curricula" section.)
My Father’s World
I am so in love with My Father’s World. Their heart behind their curriculum has inspired me in so many ways. We have used "God's Creation from A to Z" for kinder 4 and kindergarten all the way up through "Creation and the Greeks" in the family cycle. Each teacher's manual is filled with hands-on activities, unit studies, and booklists that bring the learning to life. This curriculum has truly taught me how to disciple our children and point them to Christ in all that we do. (If you’re interested in seeing a video review of any of them, let me know in the comments below!)
For homeschool preschool, we purchased many of their hands-on activities, books, and games, available for purchase individually on their site. Once they created their homeschool preschool curricula, I used "All Aboard the Animal Train" with my youngest, and she absolutely loved it.
It took us about two years to get through it all; we only used it from time to time, but when we did, it offered such a sweet way for us to connect. Each curriculum is filled with a booklist, so we checked out plenty of books each week to learn more about the topics we were studying. These books were also perfect for “Buddy Reading” with her big sister and big brother.
"All Aboard the Animal Train" recommends four key components: Together Time, Outdoor Time, Story Time, and Activity Time. For us, it offered just enough learning and independent fun to balance our days and add a bit more variety.
We used Sonlight A World Cultures for homeschool kindergarten one year and had such a wonderful time connecting through books. Sonlight also has a heart for missions, and I really appreciated the opportunity to reach out and explore new books and topics that I wouldn’t normally find on my own. It led the way to deeper conversations and learning without a lot of fluff or extras.
We simply spent time reading, but the ideas ignited a spark in our children. They often carried over what they learned into their imaginative play and creations. It was so neat to watch them learn and grow in such an organic and natural way.
Sonlight has homeschool preschool curricula available, and we own many of the books that they offer. All of them have been such a sweet addition to our time together. Find out more about Sonlight here.
The HomeGrown Preschooler
I was introduced to The Homegrown Preschooler at a nearby homeschool conference and fell in love! The gentle and hands-on approach to it all was exactly what I wanted for my preschool (middle) daughter at the time.
"A Year of Playing Skillfully" is filled with monthly activities that are centered around a variety of subjects: Home Life and Social/Emotional, Language and Literacy, Math and Manipulatives, Science and Sensory, Art and Music, Gross Motor and Outside and Field Trips.
The curriculum is set up with a monthly checklist that you can post and complete as you see fit. It is not a daily set up, so there’s flexibility to use the parts that work for you when they work for you. These activities can also be done year after year as your child grows and develops.
I do have to warn that "A Year of Playing Skillfully" is very hands-on, so if you don’t like messes or dealing with a number of materials, this may not be the best fit for you. If, however, you want to dive in to the fun and just say “yes!”, then it can be such a neat way to make extra special memories with your child.
For those who prefer summer inspiration, A Summer of Playing Skillfully may be a good option to help you be more intentional throughout the summer months.
If you’re not interested in the curriculum but want all the inspiration, check out their book The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live.
Before Five in a Row