When Monkey reached the toddler age, I didn't know exactly how to teach him. I never went to preschool when I was a child, and I didn't have preschool at my house. Plus, I find it easier to teach adults than child. This might be due to the fact that I was a serious child, and was very mature for my age. I did a lot of exploration activities with Monkey and didn't allow any television until he was well over two years old. However, I wanted to do more for him. I wanted to teach him like the way I can teach adults but, of course, at a child's level of understanding. I then started reading lots of articles and blogs that taught about child education. I am not saying I'm an expert, but I definitely feel a lot better now about teaching children.
As I thought about how I wanted to do my preschool lessons, I decided it would be best to pick a theme for a week. And, then have themes for each day. Here are my themes for each day of the week: Monday is reading, Tuesday is science, Wednesday is math, Thursday is art, Friday is physical exercise, Saturday is music, and Sunday is religion. You will probably notice that sometimes these themes might show up in another day, and that is totally fine. I focus heavily on one theme and revisit other themes in order that my son will grasp the topics. I found that having a theme for each day helped me plan activities quicker and helped me teach in different ways.
I have to admit that I actually enjoy planning preschool lessons and doing them with my son. I hope you have as much fun as I have. I have included my template that I use to plan my preschool activities, and I hope that it helps you out like it has helped me out! The template will contain a place where you can write notes about each day. This is where I have included links to places where I got my ideas or songs from. Also, I use this to write down information I want my son to know. I know there will be times that I will need to look up information about certain topics I teach and this is where I can write down what I learn or what I want to teach my kiddos.
Monday - Reading
This is the day that I introduce the letter of the week. I do a project with Monkey to make the letter A so we can hang it up on the wall. We made an alligator from the shape of the letter A. This website has ideas for every letter of the alphabet! We hung it above our alphabet board (Grandma gave that to Monkey). This way Monkey can see the letter all week. I then pointed out where the letter "a" was on the fabric board and talked to him about little a's and big A's.
Next, I pulled out a blue backpack (that is his favorite color right now), and had him reach in and pull out objects that started with the letter A. Each object had its name taped to it with the letter A bolded and outlined. For example, Apple, Ant, Alligator, Angel, etc.We read books that taught about the letter "a". My mom had these books (pictured below) at her house so I borrowed them from her while I teach Monkey about the alphabet. I love these books because it has a story about each letter of the alphabet and at the end of the book has a page with more words that start with the letter "a". And, Monkey absolutely loves them!
Lastly, I taught how the letter "A" is formed by using play dough snake letter cards. I loved this idea when I came across it because my son loves play dough,and I thought it was a fun way to teach about letters. I printed off the letters and got them laminated (they work great for flash cards too). While we played with the homemade play dough, I also pulled out a cookie cutter letter "a". After we were done with the lesson, I let Monkey play with the play dough.
Tuesday - Science
You will frequently see me doing a baking activity with my son for our science day. There is so much science in cooking and baking. We made apple muffins to go with our lunch. Monkey loves to dump the ingredients in the bowl and mix them together. While we made the apple muffins, I talked with him about apples. And, yes, it got a little messy. But, I didn't mind cleaning up the pan a bit before the muffins were placed in the oven. I love hands on learning!
I also talked with him about the process of baking and why we add each ingredient to the bowl. I don't get super complicated, but enough so he can understand why each ingredient is needed. I told him about how baking powder helps the muffins get big because they produce bubbles that lift the batter or "dough". I also taught about flour, eggs, salt, and cinnamon.
Wednesday - Math
Monkey practiced sorting by size and color by using apples that we had in our home. I brought out two baskets so he could separate the colors into green and red piles. Then, we sorted by size and color. Each time we sorted, we would practice counting how many apples we had. This is a great way to practice counting numbers, finding similarities and differences, and sorting.
Thursday - Art
I found this fun activity at this website. Monkey had so much painting apples on the tree. He even put apples on the bark because they were falling off the tree. This entertained him for a long time. I like how it helped me practice coordination and allowed him to use paint in a different way by using pencils.
Friday - Physical Exercise
I was trying to think of something fun to do with my boy. The idea of pretending to be airplanes popped into my head, and I knew that my boy would love running around the house searching for letter "A" objects.I gathered up objects that started with the letter "A" and labeled them using a bright colored paper (I used yellow). I then taped the label onto each object and placed them around the house. This is how I labeled them: Apron, Alligator, Ant, Angel, etc. We then flew around the house searching for the words. When a word was discovered, we would talk about the word, remove the label, and then run off to find more words. This activity was lots of fun.
Saturday - Music
Today we sang songs. We sang the alphabet song and listened to this song on you tube. I also showed Monkey an accordion to teach him about instruments that start with the letter "A".
Sunday - Religion
Because my husband was home, we were able to both teach Monkey about certain religious figures. We read the story of Abinadi and Alma from the Book of Mormon. And, we also taught about Adam from the Bible. We did this by using flannel boards that I received as a gift from my sister. But, this can also be done using pictures and coloring pages found online.
The great thing about planning out a week of activities and crafts is that if one day something comes up then you can move around activities to better fit your schedule. Also, I read the books featuring the letter of the week every day. It is good to read to your kiddos for at least 20 minutes a day.What ideas do you have about teaching the letter "A"? Please share them!