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Independent play/learning for K?


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My dd (4.5) wants to do school so badly, but there are times I need to distract her quietly while I work with my son. What are your suggestions for independent learning for this age group? I don't want her mindlessly in front of the computer or t.v. I don't mind videos or games as long as they are doing something for her! I know some have mention Funnix, Leap Frog Letter Factory, Starfall etc. What are your opinions of these programs? Do you know of others? Thanks!

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Mindware has some great products that seem like toys, but are very educational. My kids also love using the Melissa and Doug shape boards (you use different shapes to make a butterfly, boat, etc).


I am using some stuff from Catholic Heritage Curricula with my son (4.5) right now. Little Numbers Practice and Little Letters Practice are great. He is learning how to write his numbers and letters. You need to do some supervision, but there is quite a bit of coloring and they can do a lot of it on their own while you are working with the other kids.



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We love the toys in the MFW preschool package. Pegs and pegboards, lacing shapes, lowercase letter shapes that you can use as puzzles and also lace, and numbers that do the same. There's some other stuff in there too, I think, and it comes with a booklet of ideas to use the toys in different ways.







I'm using these with DD. She loves them. And I think you can get the upper case letters from the same company (Lauri) on Amazon. They coordinate with the lower case letters and link with them in self-correcting ways so your LO can work on ordering and matching by herself.

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My littles have almost a workbox set up with thier "school things".


They have many of the things already mentioned. Things like-

magnet letters and numbers

cuisnaire rods

maze books

letter stencils

preschool workbooks

sticker books

counters (beans and some farm animals)

and so on

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Some ideas:


building/construction toys


Cutting(my dd loves it when I draw different kinds of lines on paper and then she has to cut them.


lacing(we have lacing beads and lacing cards)


Leapfrog dvd's

Jumpstart games

wooden blocks


melissa and doug toys(we have several of these and the kids love them)


pattern/shape cards

puzzles(my dd loves these)

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I also have specific things that come out during school time that are for "H school".


Workbooks which include dot-to-dots, mazes, some Kumon books, etc.

Magnetic Letters and board

Beads and string


Wooden Pattern blocks

Rice (I pour it in a casserole dish and he practices "writing" using a chopstick)

Cuisinaire rods

Unifix cubes



I used to let my now 7 yr old play on Starfall some. It was fine. I didn't love it, but it was ok for the occasional computer time.

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Thank you all for the great ideas! She loves workbooks, and coloring but doesn't sit still long enough for either (need to work on that!). We have beads, puzzles etc. But she always seems to want or need me to help her. I don't know if she really does or if she just wants the attention. I guess i just need to learn to balance the two of them better. She needs her time too afterall.:001_smile:

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