Introducing basic education concepts for preschooler - resources? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 02-03-2007, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I was wondering if anyone could recommend any good resources for me.

I'd like to introduce my preschooler to some different educational concepts (science experiments, reading, numbers, that sort of thing) but I'm not too great at doing this on my own.

He's 3 so we are obviously talking about just exposure to ideas, maybe simple and fun science experiments, books that help with alphabet memorization, that sort of thing.

Does anyone know of resources, or books, that can help me with starting these concepts? For instance.. a book that's good helping a preschoolder understand WHAT reading is? A book that has some good science experiment ideas? That sort of thing.

Left to our own devices, we hang around, read, watch TV, make things in the kitchen, draw on scrap paper, that sort of thing. And, as enriching as I feel daily life is for him, I think he's very ready to be EXPOSED to some ideas (I'm not really expecting him to start reading or anything, obviously, LOL).

Hopefully my request makes sense... I would love any recommendations. I have found some "busy books" for preschoolers. I am not really looking for just "activities"... I want things that will specifically expose him to basic ideas about the world around him, if that makes sense. I don't need something to just keep him out of my hair, so to speak, or just keep him busy, if that makes sense, I can think of fun activities... I'm looking for something more specific here.

Any ideas or help for me?

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#2 of 8 Old 02-03-2007, 06:11 PM
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Well, my suggestions would be:

(a) Grow a garden with him. Start with sprouting alfalfa or growing an amaryllis if you don't have a suitable growing space right now. A kitchen-window herb garden is fun too. Outdoors, you can grow fun things like radishes, carrots, cress, sugar snap peas and tomatoes in not very much space.

(b) help him narrate some stories or captions to add to pictures to create some little books, either with photos or his drawings. Use scrapbooking supplies or a computer printer to put them together in a nice finished package that bears some resemblance to real books. Read these to him regularly. He'll see the connection between what he said, and what is encoded on the page.

(c) carry on with the sort of daily life stuff you're doing; really, it will 'cover' the sorts of conceptual learning tasks you're concerned about. You don't have to be deliberate in exposing him to specific concepts. They're everywhere and he'll pick them up when he's ready. Helping set the table is teaching one-to-one correspondence. Carrying two glasses at a time from the dishwasher to the cupboard will teach addition and skip-counting. More importantly, when discovered through real-life exposure, concepts like this are not divorced from their applications, and kids are involved in deductive and inductive reasoning as they figure the principles out for themselves.

Include him in your life and have fun! I suggested (a) and (b) above mostly because they're fun, not because they're necessary components of preschool learning. Item (c) is the only necessary component, IMO, and you're probably already doing that just fine!


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#3 of 8 Old 02-03-2007, 07:45 PM
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Some book recommendations I have are:
Montessori Play and Learn by Lesley Britton
Stop, Look and Listen by Sarah Williamson
Slow and Steady Get Me Ready by June Oberlander
Mudpies to Magnets and More Mudpies to Magnets by E. Sherwood
These books are filled with ideas for fun things to do together.
Also, in my experience, reading together a lot and playing (outdoors especially) will lead to exploration and interest in the world around him. It will come naturally.
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#4 of 8 Old 02-03-2007, 08:17 PM
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has a program for 3-4 year olds. It might be what you're looking for. The link is

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#5 of 8 Old 02-03-2007, 10:03 PM
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Water play is one the easiest math concepts to introduce. Give him measuring cups, spoons, different size bowls wtc and when he is playing you can talk about size, volume, matter etc.

I like this concept for explaining what children are learning as they play.

When I Play I Am Learning

Dhjammin.gif, Me knit.gif, DD 10 REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif, DD 7 cat.gif, DD 4 joy.gif

We reading.gif, homeschool.gif, cold.gif, eat.gif, sleepytime.gif not in that order

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#6 of 8 Old 02-04-2007, 12:19 AM
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I really think the building of the imagination is the best educational tool you can give him. There's a lot you can do along those lines. In this article I wrote awhile back on preschool and kindergarten activities, there are a number of things suggested for introducing some basic concepts as well as enhancing the imagination.

Bev Krueger, editor of Eclectic Homeschool Online, also wrote an article about preschool homeschooling in which a few ideas and resources are suggested.

And underneath the box of articles on this page, you can find annotated links to a number of websites that have suggestions for activities for little ones.

Have fun! Lillian
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#7 of 8 Old 02-04-2007, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by KristiMetz View Post
Left to our own devices, we hang around, read, watch TV, make things in the kitchen, draw on scrap paper, that sort of thing. And, as enriching as I feel daily life is for him, I think he's very ready to be EXPOSED to some ideas
What kind of museums do you have in your town? Museums are a big hit with my 3 year old. Of course, he may only look at something for three seconds, but he has a lot of fun. I just let the kids direct me in the museums and they both get a lot out of it, but on their own level. I've found it to be a very fun way of exposing them to new things. With one paid membership, we get reciprocal visiting rights to many other museums. Our Natural History and Science Museum even has a touch-pool with a horseshoe crab and such. It's a huge hit! We also check out things like living historical farms. A local organic dairy farm here gives tours. Our library has a lot of free programs, including mini-concerts with children's themes given by our city's orchestra. We even saw a children's opera not that long ago. These are my favorite ways of providing exposure to new ideas for this age set. I think that, at 3, they often learn by seeing, touching and experiencing. Our local homeschooling social list has been a great resource for this sort of thing.

That's my recommendation anyway...lots of fun field trips.
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#8 of 8 Old 02-04-2007, 04:21 AM
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My DD is 2.5, and I am in a similar boat as you. I just read Teaching Montessori in the Home: Preschool Years today, and loved the activities in it. Simple, easy, inexpensive activities from products you probably already have in the house. It's a quick read, too. It only took me a couple hours to read it. I will say, though, that it is heavy on activities in the house, but light on outdoor and out-of-the-house activities, but for activities in the house, it's great.
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