Whether you teach preschool, homeschool your own kids, run a day care, or supplement your childís formal preschool with activities at home, if you are reading this article then you definitely have a preschooler in your life. Planning activities and lessons for your preschooler can seem daunting, but it doesnít need to be. You can certainly plan elaborate activities, but sometimes simple is better and less overwhelming to your child. Follow this formula to create and implement your own preschool lesson plans.
Choose a theme.
There are plenty of options when it comes to themesóbugs, dinosaurs, apples, seasons, colors, shapes, ocean, and the list goes on! In addition to what theme you choose, you need to decide how often you switch themes. If you decide to switch themes weekly you may become quickly overwhelmed. If you are homeschooling your child then switching out a theme may be easier to do more frequently than if you are teaching preschool in a school. The logistics of swapping out decorations and thematic toys in a preschool classroom environment can become quite hectic if you do it too often. Monthly themes seem to work out nicely for both homeschool and public preschool alike. A month is plenty of time to really delve into the theme. Once you have chosen your theme whatís next?
Plan activities in the main categories based on your theme.
There are some main categories that you should try and base your activities around that are very important for preschool development.
Fine Motor:Beads, puzzles, and anything that makes a kiddo use their fingers to grasp small objects all promote fine motor skills.
Gross Motor:Jumping, throwing, and skipping are all gross motor activities. Think big muscle groups!
Literacy & Language:Books, letters, rhyming, and working with syllables are all a part of literacy and language.
Math:Shapes, numbers, patterns,and 1-1 correspondence are example of preschool math concepts.
Sensory:Finger painting, sensory bins (literally countless options and a great way to incorporate themes), shaving cream, and basically anything that your kids can stick their hands in and get messy with are considered sensory experiences.
Art:Iím sure you donít need a list for this one, but just in case you do this would be any coloring, gluing, cutting, markers, tape, paint, etc.
Any theme can easily be worked into the categories listed above. The best way to do this is brainstorm and make a list of any activity ideas for the theme you chose. If your run out of ideas turn to Google, Pinterest, or your favorite preschool site (*cough, cough*)and continue on with your list. Once you have a decent sized list go through and mark them as FM (fine motor), GM (gross motor), L (literacy and language), M (math), S (sensory), and A (art)to make sure you have ample ideas in each category. If you are very ambitious you can try and incorporate an activity from each category every day, but if you donít have time that is perfectly fine. Decide how much time you want to spend per day and assign certain days for each of the categories. After you have your list of ideas categorized, you should go through and see what activities you already have the materials for on hand. I am a big fan of utilizing the resources you have around your home (or class). Who wants to take an extra trip to the store, let alone spend more money, when you already have resources at your disposal? There are some really, really cool and intriguing ideas for projects out there on the web. But I caution you: only choose 1-2 super involved projects and keep the rest relatively simple. You donít want to plan too many projects that involve a boat load of prep time or you may get burnt out quickly. Remember that your preschooler will be thrilled with anything you plan at home. They are just as excited about painting with water colors as they are doing some elaborate art project. Happy planning! Stay tuned for future articles with full lesson plans.