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Setting up for preschool....quick and easy?


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I have no preschoolers of my own, but I have a home daycare and have been asked to do preschool. I need some easy free or really cheap ideas to do for them. There is a little boy, age 3(as of June) and little girl, just turned 2.


Any free or close free activities out there?


What does everyone else do with their own preschoolers?

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Lauri Toys, specifically those at mfwbooks.com. Anything else that develops those hand muscles... blocks, playdoh, clay, peg boards... Six Little Ducks or some other songs and some musical instruments to play along with. Finger Painting one day per week. Candyland DVD game. Nursery Rhymes with hand motions.


You might look at letteroftheweek.com. The book Slow and Steady Get Me Ready would be great too because it covers kids that young.

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I just finished making dd 3 some preschool activities in a bag. I did buy the book ($12 or so), but I also made up a few of my own. Most of them are independent activities like matching and sorting. I didn't have to buy many supplies. I have a laminator, but you could just use page protectors if you don't. Anyway, she loves pulling them out on her own to use. I had a ton of them last year. Until dh thought they were garbage and threw them all away:glare:


We also use a lot of puzzles and dry erase workbooks.

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I posted on the other thread this site: www.homeschoolshare.com


The free unit studies are similar to BFIAR which is what we use. The website also has lapbook pages to go with BFIAR books.


Other PreK sources we use:



  • Little Visits for Toddlers (devotional...not sure if it would work for your kids)
  • Signing Times videos--I found several of these at a thrift store
  • pattern blocks, teddy bear counters, and other math manipulatives
  • Preschool Activities in a Bag
  • puzzles
  • picture books


You could also set up some rice (or water) play areas...basically fill a tub with rice or water and add measuring cups, funnels, spoons, etc. This can get messy, but my DC loved playing with rice at our old library!

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Do you have a nice low shelf? I like to put things in baskets or on trays that the littles can carry. Give them two rugs in a basket and let them set up activities one at a time. Sorting, tongs, pegboard, puzzles, seriation cards, etc. all make good activities.


For the little one I sit (just turned two), I make a sensory table by taking the two chairs that came with her kids table and putting them facing each other, then putting an under the bed bin on the seats. I have used a smaller, dishpan-sized bin inside the bigger bin to limit spilling around the edges, but sometimes I use the large bin itself. I have put water, lentils, and rice in the little bin (you can also put it on the floor on a large towel, but it's fun to stand and play, too). I just changed it out last time I sat and put pasta in the large bin--I used 2 bags of butterfly pasta and 3 bags of rotini, both of them the colored kind. Add cups and a pitcher for pouring, tongs for big pieces (like pasta), spoons of various sizes--not too many, just enough for something to "happen." Hide things, like erasers or nice rocks or shells or marbles or those smooth glass pieces that go in the bottom of vases, or pirate treasure...Not every time, mix it up, and change out the bin after they've used it 5 or 6 days.


I always have a small dustpan and broom (the hand kind is what the family has) nearby so she can clean up. I put a bib on her for waterplay, and hang a towel off the back of the chair (or do it outside).


Playdough is cheap to make, and lasts a long time. Make them wash their hands before and after (same with water play) and it will last longer.


Set up a book shelf or reading corner--Take a couple large pillows, cover with a pillow case, and put a basket of books out. Display a couple of them, and hang a picture or poster on the wall there, too. You want to define the space and make it attractive. Use what you have--do you have one of those nets that hangs from a hoop? Set it up as a reading place.


Dramatic play--again, define an area--Hats, shirts, scarves, etc hanging on hooks (those command hooks are really useful). You can take a sturdy crate or box and make it into a kitchen set. Ikea has really cheap but nice utensils, pots and pans, etc that are not plastic. (I hate plastic, myself.) Change the space to be a grocery store (have them bring in boxes of used stuff--mac and cheese, crackers, milk jug, etc), a costume shop, a space ship (all it takes is a box and paint), etc.


I often see home daycares with lots of stuff, but it's all pushed to the wall--turn the shelves to make little spaces. Be aware of flow--And make everything neat, organized and attractive.



Edited by Chris in VA
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