6 Favorites For Teaching Preschool At Home (On A Budget)...

May 07, 2018

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My soon-to-be 4 year old will be joining us in school this fall, as he officially begins preschool! It's almost hard to even type that! It's hard to watch your youngest hit those big milestones. You always hear moms talk about how they're growing up too fast, but it's true. It's harder on me to see my sweet little Thunder start school than it was his older brother. Alas...the time has come and he's BEYOND excited! He keeps saying, "I get to do school like big bru-her!" The sweet boy -- it's so fun seeing him jump in excitement over it, ha.

So with preparing for the little man to start, I'm going to start gathering up what we'll be doing for preschool at home. When our older son was this age, I covered the main topics at home in a very relaxed fashion. The minimal amount that we did still completely prepared him for what we covered in kindergarten, so I'm confident in knowing what we need to cover and how to approach it...

Read below for a few of our favorites...

1. Dollar Tree

If you haven't already checked out the wonderful (cheap!) workbooks at the Dollar Tree, I highly encourage you to do so. We love them for this age! They're character-themed, so it always grabs my boys' attention. Plus, at $1 for a colorful workbook, it's cheaper than finding fun, free, printable curriculums online! Back when we first started doing preschool at home back in 2015, I had planned on doing all sorts of fun printables I had found. In fact, I still have countless of them in my files. However, after finding the DT workbooks, I chose to print less and use these instead. Don't get me wrong -- there are still a few awesome printables that we use and love, but I don't go crazy printing when I know these DT workbooks are just as good! I have bought character-themed workbooks for the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, cutting activities, etc. I love them!

Note: Target also sells similar (awesome) books in August during the Back To School season, so keep an eye out!

2. Paw Patrol / Moana Handwriting Worksheets

I created the Paw Patrol version when my older son started preschool, and then made the Moana ones over the last year for my younger son. You might have seen these handwriting worksheets on the blog (either this one or my old personal blog). If not, I'll share a link here and here. Both of my boys have thoroughly enjoyed these worksheets! In fact, my older son prefers these over any of the purchased curriculum I've ordered (Handwriting Without Tears and A Reason For Handwriting). Even now...at the end of 1st Grade, my older son will occasionally ask if we can pull out the Paw Patrol worksheets to use for practice, ha!

I have free downloads throughout the blog for individual letters, but if you'd like to save time, you can find the complete sets here on Teachers Pay Teachers...

3. YouTube

While I'm on the fence on how much screen time I want my boys to have, I really REALLY love YouTube for preschool! There's a super cute set of Alphabet videos that helped teach my older son his letter recognition and phonetic sounds. The same channel also offers counting videos that are great, too! (And many, many more!) I plan to use these again for my younger son...

4. Arts and Crafts

Aside from the DT workbooks and Handwriting worksheets that I made, I want the rest of my kids' preschool experience to be fun. Lots of fun! This is the time to break out all the paints, crayons, scissors, glue, etc. and let them go to town! I love the do-a-dot markers, too. There are times when I just bring out blank printer paper and let them get creative. Other times, I'll try and do a craft based on a book we're reading. Either way, let them get messy and explore!

For those of you that aren't the crafty type, check out your local library. There are times when I have the best intentions to get crafty, but life gets in the way. This is when I make sure to hit up the activities at our local library. They offer arts and crafts twice a week at ours, plus the craft after story time twice a week. Any chance we get, I try to utilize all that they offer! Hey, it's FREE and my boys love it!

Here's my older son doing a craft back when he was doing preschool at home...

Both boys after a craft at the library based on a famous artist...

5. Books...LOTS of books

Ever since we started homeschooling, the library has become one of my best friends! We're on a first name basis with our librarians and they know we'll be in there (at least) several times a week. At one point, we continually had 100 books checked out a time. Ha! I'm trying to slow down though, since I'm noticing the boys never want to read the books we actually own, ha. Either way, reading is a vital part of preschool! I let my boys pick what we read and spend a good chunk of time exploring all the books we find...

6. Park Group

This is the last thing that I'll mention. If you're not in a park group, find one ASAP! Once my older son started preschool, I started looking for local homeschool groups. I realize that most groups cater to kids in kindergarten and above. However, most will welcome you with open arms. It's a great way to get your kids involved in a group, and you can learn SO much from the veteran homeschoolers! When we first started, I thought I knew a good amount about curriculum and how to get started with kindergarten. However, I quickly realized there was so much more to learn once I started talking to other local moms that were already doing it! Even if you go the unschooling route and skip all the workbooks, a park group is one of the best things you can do for your kids! My boys know we go every week and look forward to it!

There are countless other things I could talk about -- the awesome educational toys, the field trips, etc. However, I'll save that for another blog post. If you have things that you LOVE to do for preschool at home, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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