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Making the choice to pull my child from preschool this fall was difficult. I feel fortunate to have the resources to be able to stay home with my little one during this challenging time; I know it isn't an option for many families. I also feel quite lucky to have a background in teaching (including teaching preschool!). For critical social skills we are doing playdates with a small circle of cautious friends, at least until it is no longer a safe option in our area, or until the pandemic passes and we can go back to school. But what about all that time when we aren't occupied by playdates?
That is where my background in teaching has really been an asset! But I know not every parent has a degree in education and formal teaching experience.
That is why I've decided to share our homeschooling journey with you!! Here is what we did during our first week learning from home:
Starting the Day: Calendar and Weather, Themed Story (Daily)
Circle time is a vital part of the preschool day. It helps children center and prepare for a day of learning, connect with their classmates and teacher(s), and, of course, learn. Sure, we are learning from home with no siblings, which means there are no other students to connect with. But that is no reason not to start the day by focusing on the learning ahead!
Each morning we start with our calendar; we discuss what month and year it is, count up to the current day, sing our days of the week song (see lyrics below) and review any special events or holidays happening that day. We then sing our weather song (see lyrics below) and then look outside to figure out what the weather is that day.
Once we have finished the calendar and weather, we read a story (or stories) related to our theme.
Our theme for the month of September is 'The Alphabet'
Each day we cover a new theme related to a letter of the alphabet. Sometimes we cover the same letter a couple of days in a row, other times we only spend one day on a letter (the only reason for repetition is if I have a lot of content related to one particular theme and can't fit everything into one day). I cover each of this week's themes in detail below.
Week 1 - Themes and Books
Why no curriculum for Thursday and Friday? Part of our homeschool journey is accepting sometimes things come up that make it difficult to follow through. My goal is always to do the best I can, as a parent, and in all my affairs. While older children doing virtual learning may not have the luxury of taking time away from formal learning, preschool is different. We can be more flexible. If there is one parenting lesson I hope to impart on readers it is that parenting requires flexibility and being mindful that sometimes things don't go as planned.... And that is OKAY. I love routine, but trying to rigidly stick with plans stresses me out. After years of running on a hamster wheel with trying to be perfect, I've decided instead to work hard to go with the flow. Thursday I wasn't feeling well and Friday we had a playdate in the morning and got sidetracked in the afternoon. And that is absolutely okay! I originally planned to cover the letter C, but instead moved those activities to the following week.
Looking for a great lesson planning template for little ones? Here is the one that I've been using (please feel free to download it for your own use (conditions apply*!)
Circle Time Book (literacy): The Book of Shadow Boxes
This alphabet book takes the form of a poem, and is quite creative. It moves away from alphabet book stereotypes, and focuses heavily on promotion of phonemic awareness (focusing on the individual sounds each letter makes), as well as some phonics strategies. You can find it here (it is out of print, but you can find used editions), or check out some of our other favorite alphabet books!
Activities: Letter coloring/Tracing (Fine motor, writing), singing the alphabet with a visual aid (see below).
Stay tuned to my subscriber's library for access to these great (and free) printables!
Circle Time Book (literacy): The Book of Shadow Boxes - Letter A poem only; How Do Apples Grow
Activities: Apple stamp painting (fine motor, sensory, STEM); Letter 'A' & apple matching (literacy).
Stay tuned to my subscriber's library for access to these great (and free) printables!
Apple stamp painting is a great activity for toddlers and preschoolers. I paired it with "How Do Apples Grow", and we used the opportunity to cut open the apple, look at the different parts of the apple as shown in the book's diagram (including the seeds). We then removed the seeds for planting (we placed the seeds in a wet paper towel for safe keeping until they could be safely planted; I was out of potting soil!). By extending the painting activity to include talking about the apple as a plant, we in turn covered apples a science topic as well as art, literacy, and fine motor skills!
Letter activities (printables coming to resource library soon!)
Favorite products for making the most of these printables:
Circle Time Book (literacy): The Book of Shadow Boxes - Letter B poem only; my child's book of choice (we read All Are Welcome repeatedly!).
Activities: Letter 'B' coloring/tracing; Body tracing activity. (click for full description of activity)
We had so much fun with these homeschool activities during our first week of homeschooling preschool. We were also super grateful to be able to build on social skills as well (since social skill development is one of the most critical elements of early education). I can't wait to share our activities from week 2!
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*Access to this template (and all Mindfully Scientific Mama content) is for personal use only. Mindfully Scientific Mama content may not be shared for commercial use, or on another website, without explicit written permission of the content creator.
Over the last few weeks I've been working diligently on tons of new content for you, and in anticipation of the launch, I'm releasing some fun (and educational) printable activities for your toddlers/preschoolers/ kindergarteners. This printables pack includes color, shape, and sight word activities with several levels of difficulty, as well as beach/ocean themed coloring pages.
Perfect for summer (or those who don't want summer fun to ever end!), or a homeschool thematic unit on the beach, seasons, or ocean life.
Plus, the bright and colorful shape activities are great for any time of year.
You can get access to these printables here.
The following is a guide for making the most out of these downloads. And be sure to send me pictures of your little ones enjoying these great activities! I'd love to share them to Instagram and Facebook with links to your social media accounts.
How to Make the Most Out of These Activities
Disclosure: This post contains links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at not added cost to you, nor are there any strings attached. Learn more here.
The shape matching activity offers four levels of difficulty. The first level has shape words written in the same color as the shape itself, plus images of the shape in the same color. The next level has shapes and words on the main card, but no in color. The more difficult levels offers the shape words with coloring, which requires color matching with exposure to site words, while the most advance level offers shape words without coloring, requiring sight word recognition.
There are two great ways to use either level of this activity.
The first is to cut out each shape card, and the word card (you can cut this out into a single card rather than individual word cards). Then have your child use a glue stick and glue the correct shape next to the correct word.
You can also use a laminator and velcro to create a reusable activity. First laminate the entire page. Then cut out the individual shapes and the big words card. Finally, apply velcro to the backs of the shape cards and next to each word. Your child can then use the same cards over and over, rather than you having to print multiple copies and waste paper.
Product Recommendations from Amazon for This Activity
Fish (Color) Matching
This activity has three different versions; three levels of difficult for one version, two levels of difficulty for a second, and a single level of difficulty for the third.
The first version is similar to the shape matching activity, and can be done the same way (either with glue sticks or a laminator and velcro). Also like the shape matching activity, the fish matching activity asks your child to match colors to the correct color word. The easiest level has the color words written in color with a matching fish. The intermediary level offers site words written in matching colors to the respective fish. The hardest, sight word level simply has the color word written in black ink. A second version of this activity requires no cutting, just drawing lines from the fish to the correct color word.
A third version of this activity is a coloring page, where your child must color each fish with the color word on its body. This requires sight word reading, and is more advanced than the other versions of this activity.
These activities are also great for binder games. Click here to learn more about how to make one!
This printables pack also comes with four coloring pages!
My toddler is already loving these activities!
Get yours today by signing up for my mailing list here!
Not quite ready to sign up? While you would be missing valuable content, I do make select coloring pages available for download without signup on my Craft Corner page, as well as worksheets available for direct download on my Activities page.
Have you done any of these activities with your child?
Be sure to comment below to let me know how it went, or send me pictures (via Instagram, Facebook, or email) of your child enjoying the activities, and I'll post on social media with a tag to your account!
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Planning a first birthday party, a general kids birthday party, or looking for new fun activities? This post has ALL of that, and MORE.
Above: Image of a menu card with a fishing pole and three bobbers. Menu reads "Goldfish, Swedish fish candy, Pretzel "Fishing" Rod, Lifesaver/Gummy Ring Life Preservers, Sand Cups, Veggie Rods with Dip.
Be sure to check out the following cake topper options on Amazon to recreate the looks above! Just click on the images to navigate to the product pages.
Above: Clickable image link for cake topper; It is a brown "The Big One" sign with a green fish clipped to it.
Above: Clickable image link for a cake topper. It has two sticks (each topped with a bobber) with colorful fish hanging from a line, and a brown sign in the middle that say "The Big One" and has fish and a bobber on it.
Above: Memory Cards. These cards have a blue border and a white center with the shape of a wave. The top of the card has a fishing pole with a yellow and red fish, and three bobbers. It also has a section to write the birthday child's name. The bottom of the card has a section for guests to write their names.
Above: Memory Poster. The poster has a blue border and a white center with the shape of a wave. The top of the card has a fishing pole with a yellow and red fish, and three bobbers. It also says "The Big One" in red and a space to write the birthday child's name.
Above: Clickable image showing red and white bobbers available for purchase from Amazon (accessible text link available in the above section)
Above: Printable bobber tags.
Above: Clickable image that brings you to the Amazon Product page for a banner that says "The Big One". The banner has four fish (red, yellow, green, and blue) and three bobbers, each with a single word (the, big, and one). Click here to view product page
Above: Printable poster available in the Big One Printables Kit. Poster says "The Big One" in red in the center of the image. The top right includes a fishing pole and a single bobber. Blue fish are shown in the center. Three bobbers are located in the bottom left corner.
THANK YOU BAGS AND CARDS
We gave out goodie bags (available in the nautical themed first birthday kit here) containing candy, as well as letting our guests bring home their own fish (see below for the product we purchased).
You can also use the bobber tags from the printables kit and/or the printable thank you notes. Either use a hole puncher and ribbon to affix the tags to the bags, or handwrite thank you messages on the notes for your child to mail/give to your guests.
Above: Three images showing three different thank you card options.
The top thank you card has a blue border, says thank you in red at the top, has a fishing pole and three bobbers in the top left corner, and has a square in the center that says "Insert Picture Here". The background is white with light blue fish. The bottom left thank you card has a blue border, says thank you in red at the top, has a fishing pole and three bobbers in the top left corner, and has a background that is white with light blue fish. The background is white with light blue fish. The bottom right thank you card has a blue border, says thank you in red in the center, has a fishing pole and three bobbers in the top left corner, and has a background that is white with light blue fish.
We ordered an adorable Big One onesie and a crown from Amazon. And, the choices turned out adorable, if I do say so myself!
Taking this theme beyond the party: Resources and links to fun and educational thematic content
Be sure to check out the following content:
And coming very soon.... Literacy Kits!
The Big One - Printables Kit
- 4 different bobber tag/photo banner options.
- 1 "The Big One" Poster
- 1 Memory Template Card for Guests to Fill Out
- 1 Memory Poster for Guests to Paste Bobber Tags with Memories On
- 1 Menu Card - Blank
- 1 Menu Card - Filled with Sample Menu
- 3 Thank You Card Options
- 1 Pin the Tail on The Fish Set (1 poster, 2 pages of tails)
- 6 Pages of Photo Booth Props/Decorations
- 1 Page of Multisized Fish Tags
- 1 Decorate Your Own Fish Template
- 2 Pages of Fish for Decorations or Fishing Activity
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