Being Confident of This

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Top Free Resources for Teaching Pre-K at Home

on September 15, 2013

Do you have toddlers or preschoolers in the home?  I’m planning to teach our two preschoolers at home this year, for reasons like teaching the faith and values that our family upholds as true and also for financial reasons.

While I’m really excited to exercise my teacher muscles by homsechooling our preschoolers, I’m also feeling a little overwhelmed since preschool is not exactly my specialty. So, lately I’ve spent a good deal of time on Pinterest and Google trying to gather up the best, free (or really, really inexpensive) preschool resources out there – from curriculum, to themed units, to printables, to hands-on activities, and more.

So, on today’s Mama Monday, I thought I would share these free preschool resources with you so that you don’t have to spend all of the time I did on collecting them! 🙂  I won’t have room to mention everything I’ve pinned while searching, so if you want even more material to consider, look at my Learning at Home board on Pinterest.

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  1. God’s Little Explorers CurriculumMotherhood on a Dime offers this FREE, faith-based preschool curriculum online for homeschoolers, and it looks to suit our family’s needs.  The free curriculum includes basic plans for daily instruction (based on a four-day school week) as well as printables.  I plan to use the free version of this curriculum as my foundation and supplement it with some of the activities and ideas listed in the categories below.   Note: the creator of this program also has a paid option format that includes better graphics and more printables.  The paid option is still very inexpensive (less than $15 )for an entire school-year’s worth of plans!
  2. Seasonal/Themed Printable Packs – I plan to use this free fall printable pack from Homeschool Creations as a supplementary material for this season along with the curriculum mentioned above.  Homeschool Creations offers many other printable packs as well.  1+1+1=1 is another amazing printable packs resource with everything from princesses and my little pony to solar systems and star wars! 🙂
  3. Writing Skills – my children are not yet coordinated enough to form actual letters (although our daughter is close), so we’ll be working on some pre-writing skills before anything else.  I picked this floral printable for my daughter  and these printables will work well for both children as well as these from 3 Dinosaurs .  I love the idea that this mom had to put the printables or workbook pages into sheet protectors in a binder so that you can use dry erase markers with them.  You could even let your preschooler decorate the front of his or her binder to personalize it.  Use them over and over again! 🙂  Once they grasp the concept, I plan to introduce alphabet letter formation.  The Measured Mom offers these writing stations as homeschool alternatives to using printables alone.  You could use the same methods with shapes and numbers, as well.
  4. Letter Recognition – I love the idea of starting out with my children’s names as well as other names in the house.  You can read about name kits at Fun-a-day.  If you’re intersted in a montessori method for introducing letters, Living Montessori Now offers excellent advice.  Hands on as we grow  has a list of 50 fun activities for learning both upper case and lower case letters.  At Crystal and Co. you can find instructions for fun letter-of-the week crafts, too, as well as other homeschool resources.
  5. Number Recognition – DLKT offers a number of counting and number worksheets here. Turtle Diary offers these printable options.  What I think will most appeal to our preschool boy and girl will be more hands-on activities like this paper tube one from Learn With Play at Home and a method using easter eggs from Reading Confetti.
  6. Shape Recognition – Although our preschoolers already know most of their shapes, we still need to do some reviewing in this area.  Hands on as we grow demonstrates how to be hands-on when learning shapes.  Shape puzzles are another great resource as children can both handle the shape itself and also learn how it fits into the board. I also like this crafty approach to shape matching from education.com.  Creative Family Fun offers 12 fun ways to learn shapes.  Also, you can find printables for shapes here at Aussie Childcare Network.
  7. Color Recognition –  Although our daughter is pretty solid on her colors, our son could use more help.  So, we’ll be continuing to practice our colors through the preschool years in our homeschool.  I’m working on a home-made version of Go Fish using colors for our preschoolers, so when it’s done I’ll be sure to share with you. 🙂 Toddler Approved provides these hands-on learning methods for colors.  Inspiration Laboratories has a great idea for creating a color rainbow that I think our preschoolers would love.  We also plan to sort buttons, pom-poms, beads, etc. by color and create patterns, as well as learn colors through reading some books we have about colors.
  8. Music/Rhymes – I plan to use youtube for much of our music, but I also like these printable nursery rhymes from Aussie Childcare Network.  DLKT offers these printables for making nursery rhyme characters to use as puppets or for a felt board.
  9. Bible Literacy – I plan to incorporate Bible lessons into our home preschool, but I’d like to save this topic for a future post as I plan to review a few options in detail.  So, check back next week for those options. 🙂
  10. Letter Formation –  Here are some great printables for the alphabet:

Other free (or nearly free) resources to consider:

Pinterest – while I already knew of some of these free online resources, much of the additional material I found on pinterest. 🙂

Library books – the best way to teach your children (aside from play) is through reading to them.  You can find books on almost any theme or subject you plan to teach.  Libraries are great resources for supplementing the books you already have at home.

Youtube  – a quick search for alphabet songs, shape songs, days of the week songs, and more reveals that the options on youtube are endless… and best of all, free! 🙂  You can also teach nursery rhymes and other preschool favorites such as “Five Little Speckled Frogs.”

PBS/Netflix – Leap Frog, Word World, and Super Why are all educational animated shows that focus on letter learning, although Leap Frog has some that focus on numbers and shapes as well.  We have a subscription to Netflix’s online streaming service, so I plan to use many of these programs through Netflix.  The advantage to using Netflix over PBS is that I don’t have to wait for an episode to air.  Instead, I can hand-pick episodes to coordinate with themes we might be exploring that week.

Online learning – the internet offers a wealth of free online resources for learning games.  Check out this article to  find out which of  our favorite educational websites will suit preschoolers.

Dollar Store Deals – I wrote a whole post on items you can find at the dollar store to use in teaching preschoolers or toddlers, complete with ideas on how to use them!

Toys – we have a few toys that I have set aside specifically for our preschool use (I do not keep these toys in their regular toy box, which makes them special since they can’t play with them whenever they want).  Any toy that says a letter’s name aloud and repeats the sound the letter makes can be a good tool to use when your preschooler just doesn’t want to sit and work with paper.  You probably already have a few of these “educational” toys laying around the house, so don’t feel the need to go out and buy new ones. 🙂

Additionally, much of the time spent during preschool should be free play, when children have time to pretend play using blocks, legos, dress-up clothes, kitchens, etc.  You can also use toys you already have at home to enhance themed lessons.  Finally, puzzles can be great resources for learning shapes, colors, letters, and numbers, etc.

I hope this helps to get you started on planning for your toddler/preschool years, whether you intend to teach formally by homeschooling or just as your children are interested.  Feel free to share with us your favorite free online sources, as well!

Jen 🙂

I’m also linking up at any of the blogs here!

Sharing with: How Do You Do It?,


23 responses to “Top Free Resources for Teaching Pre-K at Home

  1. Sarah says:

    Seriously friend … you have the BEST resources. Pinning this so I can come back and remember all of these PreK ideas.

    Thanks for joining the momma melody. We would love to have you join us again. Anything mom, from vacation pics, encouraging words, to recipes. I jot some notes on Mondays, but it’s a come whenever you can kind of party. Just moms. Sharing our notes. Creating a melody.

    http://justsarahdawn.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-momma-for-today.html

    Be blessed bunches,
    Sarah

    • Thanks, Sarah! I figured since I needed to do all of the gathering work anyways, I might as well share it with others. Sometimes making a post forces me to get organized – like a little accountability. 🙂 Love your link-up, by the way.
      Jen 🙂

  2. Missy says:

    Thank you for sharing! I’m always looking for free resources for our homeschool too 🙂 I’ve pinned this to my Preschool board. I found your post through Momma’s Notes @ Splashin’ Glory.

  3. Angela says:

    I have used a few of these, but there are several I have never heard of. Thanks for putting it all together!

  4. We also use a few of these (can’t say enough good things about God’s Little Explorers!) but I’m excited to look through some of the others I haven’t seen before. Thanks so much for the time you put into this! Your children will thank you and we thank you! lol

  5. Yasmina says:

    I am overwhelmed with joy! Seriously so glad i found your blog, i have a son who goes to preschool half day ..5days per week but stilll mornings and weekends i can use it to help him out. but did not know any good resources to help him out..BTW that picture with the cars we have EXACT the same ! so funny

    • So glad it’s helpful for you! 🙂 We no longer have the car toy, but I was looking through photos for a colorful toy to use in the graphic and that was the best I could find, haha! Thanks for stopping by.
      Jen 🙂

  6. This is SO awesome, Jen! Thank you for compiling all of this and doing the work for us! 🙂 I was pumped to find this today! 🙂

    • I’m glad you found it helpful! Putting it all together forced me to get a little more organized. We’re getting kind of a late start, but since it’s just preschool, I’m not too worried.
      Jen 🙂

  7. Angel says:

    wonderful post. Thanks for sharing with us at Raising Imperfection.
    Angel

  8. Reagan and I have started doing letter recognition. It still amazes me how quick they pick it up. Great information.

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. 🙂

    ¤´¨)
    ¸.•*´
    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo
    Raising-Reagan.com

    • Thanks, again! I started a little late with our preschoolers because we moved last summer. Our daughter is just soaking it up, but our son is more of a day-dreamer and not quite so interested. He seems to like pre-school, though, so I think it will just take more time for him to catch on.
      Jen 🙂

  9. […] promised in last week’s Mama Mondays post on Pre-K resources for homeschooling, I have some color learning activities to share with you today.  I did not […]

  10. […] Jen shared a great list of the Top Free Sources for Pre-K at Home. Even in Kindergarten and First Grade we still use mostly free resources for schooling. Also, be […]

  11. […] If you have toddlers or preschoolers at home, you might also enjoy this list of free resources! […]

  12. […] entrusted to us, but I also really enjoy helping others save money, too.  So, as a follow-up to Free Resources for Teaching Pre-K at Home, I thought I would share with you all of the deals we have found at the dollar store that we […]

  13. ldskatelyn says:

    Awesome list! We are using the God’s Little Explorers curriculum and just started it this week (I shared a review of it on my site). It’s pretty good, but I’m excited for next week when we really get into the Bible and more.

  14. […] websites that have all of the above in the form of free content! 🙂  Since we’re doing preschool at home this year with our four-year-old twins, I thought I would gather our favorite learning websites (in no particular order) all together in […]

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