Teaching Preschool at Home

Teaching Preschool at Home - Preschoolers are among the best and easiest children to teach because they learn through everyday life. Found at The Happy Housewife

By contributing writer Colleen.

Preschoolers are my favorite people in the world. They love passionately, they learn with vim and vigor, and they fight with equal zest. They just feel. Everything.

The thought of teaching preschoolers at home can be overwhelming. You worry that you won’t set them up for success, they won’t learn to read, and they won’t know what they need to know in order to move on in math, science, history, and geography.

Relax.

Preschoolers are among the best and easiest children to teach. They want to learn. They’re inquisitive, curious, and love adventures. There are resources such as Pinterest boards to help you plan themed studies and sensory play. And you can find lots of wonderful preschool curriculum ideas by doing a simple Google search.

Teaching Preschool at Home - Preschoolers are among the best and easiest children to teach because they learn through everyday life. Found at The Happy Housewife

The truth is, though, that you don’t need all of that. Your preschooler will learn through everyday life if you let him/her.

  • She’ll soak up letters and sounds as you read the same picture book again and again every night at bedtime until she has it memorized and asks for a new one.
  • He’ll learn math as he stands next to you helping to make cupcakes. Or cutting the cake and serving equal sized pieces. Or noticing who got more M & Ms when they were divvied up.
  • As she rides in the car or walks around the block with you, she’ll observe community helpers such as policemen on patrol, an ambulance on a rescue mission, or firemen washing their trucks.
  • He’ll even learn about zoology, fractions, letter blending, science methods, and more when you turn on Netflix or another video streaming service to give him a bit of quiet time in the afternoon while you regroup and start dinner.

Learning is everywhere, and your inquisitive preschooler is right in that mix of everywhere. She’s busy playing and noticing. He’s making sense of his world while watching you – the most important person in her world.

So don’t be overwhelmed. Don’t stress about the nuts and bolts of preschool learning. You’re already completely and totally equipped to give your preschooler exactly what he or she needs…you.

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Attracting Ladybugs for Summer Learning Fun

By contributing writer Colleen

I love summertime, don’t you? My kids and I try to get outside as much as we possibly can to enjoy the seasons all year round, but summer usually finds us out there from morning until late night. And since I’m on a mission to raise my kids to be lifelong learners and to love exploring and discovering the answers to their world themselves, I try to incorporate as many learning experiences as possible.

The best thing is – the kids don’t even realize they are learning!

Attracting Ladybugs for Summer Learning Fun at The Happy Housewife

Did you know that insects are super important to the health and well-being of our environment? It’s true! Take gardening for instance. While there are many insects that can damage vegetables and flowers, some can be really good for your garden.

One of our favorite activities to do each summer is to raise ladybugs and release them into our garden to help protect our tomato plants from aphids. Ladybugs are amazing. These little beetles prey on tiny plant-eating pests like aphids. In fact, ladybugs can eat as many as 5,000 aphids in a year! 

Can you imagine eating that many cheeseburgers in one year? Whew!

Do you have a garden at home? If you’re interested in raising ladybugs, I highly recommend the Ladybug Land kit from Insectlore. It comes with a habitat, food, and a certificate to order larvae so you and your kids can watch them go through the process of metamorphosis.

If you’d rather attract ladybugs to your garden naturally, try making a simple ladybug lair using this activity from my book, Hands-On Ecology: Real-Life Activities for Kids.

How to Make a Ladybug LairAttracting Ladybugs for Summer Learning Fun (Hands-On Ecology) at The Happy Housewife

Supplies Needed

  • Oatmeal container or another round container with a lid
  • Acrylic paint
  • Polyurethane or spray sealer
  • Craft knife
  • Wire

Instructions

1. Decorate the container with acrylic paints and let dry.

2. Seal the container with polyurethane or an acrylic sealer.

3. Cut a small, thin window at the top of the container and a door at the bottom.

4. Hang the house from a tree using the wire.

If creating your own ladybug lair is not something you want to mess with but you still want to encourage ladybugs to eat pests in your garden, you can try a premade house instead. You can even order a big bag of ladybugs to populate the ladybug house instead of waiting around for new occupants to just show up.

Whatever you decide to do with your kids, introducing ladybugs to your garden is a great way to extend learning into the summer months. Be sure to talk about the insect’s life cycle using models or a simple nonfiction book, and then enjoy these friendly insects with your kids.

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Summer Fun for Kids

Update

This summer has been very different for us. With my daughter having a broken leg we are very limited with what we can do outside because we don’t want her to get all hot and sweaty in her cast.

We’ve been doing a ton of inside activities this summer and one of them is movie night (or afternoon). One of my girls’ favorite movies on DVD this summer is Paddington. They’ve watched a few times with their friends. Paddington is a small bear who comes to London to explore and find a loving family.

Paddington is accident prone which makes for some very humorous scenes my children love. Paddington is a great family movie that is perfect for a family movie night or a rainy afternoon.

We have an awesome summer giveaway for you this week!

We’re giving away a cute Paddington plush, Paddington water bottle and Paddington Blu-ray Combo Pack.

paddington giveaway

To enter the Paddington giveaway leave a comment sharing how you are beating the summer heat. Giveaway ends June 29, 2015.

With the heat of summer and the searing July sun, we’re dragging. We are doing less, lounging more, and just kind of… blah. Along with the rising temperatures, we find the whines rising too.

“I’m bored.”

“There’s nothing to do.”

Do you, like us, need fun activities to get you through these “I’m bored” days?

Try some of these fun ideas that just might encourage your kids to award you “Mom of the Year” and help you put a stop to the whines once and for all.

Summer Fun for Kids

Have a Bike Wash

Invite your kids and the neighbors to bring their bikes to the driveway and set out buckets of soapy water and sponges. Let them wash their bikes and trikes in their bathing suits.

bike wash
photo credit: Paul Mayne via photopin cc

Let them Get Muddy

I hate muddy kids. Unfortunately for me, my kids love mud. Since I’m trying to be more intentional about saying yes to messes, I decided to embrace their love of mud and set up some mud play this summer.

We have an old baker’s rack in the backyard that I set up as a “mud pie bakery.” I put out little pie pans, bowls, measuring spoons, and other kitchen supplies from the dollar store. The girls love it.

Go to a Parade

My kids love parades. It doesn’t really matter to them what the parade is for – they just love seeing people march by them and scramble to pick up the candy that’s thrown at them. With a little bit of research, I was able to find three local parades within the next few weeks. They’re all associated with city “Home Days” celebrations and kick of festivals and carnivals. We’ll hit at least one of those before riding some of the rides and eating carnival food for lunch.

Watching a Parade

Have a Parade

My five-year old was in a parade that was just made up of the baseball league her T-ball team is a part of. A fire truck led the parade, and a police car ended it, and in between were hundreds of T-ball and baseball players of all ages and their coaches. Regardless of the simplicity, people young and old lined the 2-mile path while kids of all ages flung candy (and pocketed some for later). The parade ended at the ball fields where everyone enjoyed ice pops, chips, hot dogs, and bottled water.

Can you do something like that in your neighborhood? Call the police or fire station and ask if they’re available to lead your kiddos down the street with their lights. End it in a cul de sac or blocked off area and have a little potluck block party with snacks and sprinklers. Neighborhood relations and family fun all rolled into one!

Learn Something New

My daughter keeps playing with an old Hula Hoop we picked up at a garage sale last year. She thinks she’s getting it, but it keeps falling around her ankles, and I can’t help her. So, we plan on getting the family involved, making some bigger hula hoops for my husband and me, and learning as a family. There are great video tutorials (Google it) and it can double as homeschool P.E.!

hula hoop
photo credit: Close to Home via photopin cc

Imagine It

Studies show that kids that who use their imaginations are happier, healthier, and more successful as adults. Encourage your kids to imagine. You don’t need money to do this. Hand over a cardboard box, some old scarves or blankets, and let them go create caves, tunnels, houses, stuffed animal dens, and more. Praise them for their creativity and ingenuity, and they’ll want to do more.

Beating summer boredom doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Be intentional about how you play with your kids or how you encourage them to play with others. And if these ideas fail, there’s always the old standby, “You’re bored? Okay…I have some chores that need done. You can clean the kitchen so you’re not bored anymore.”

It’s a surefire way to cure boredom.

What are some of your creative and inexpensive ideas for summer fun? Share in the comments – I’m always searching for more ideas!

More Posts from Colleen

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

5 Great Ways to Celebrate Summer with Books

By contributing writer Colleen.

Summer is here! Woohoo… I’m so ready for lazy afternoons and letting go of school responsibilities for a bit. The kids need a break and so do I.

5 Great Ways to Celebrate Summer with Books at The Happy Housewife

But while I know the value of breaks, I also know my kids. Those sweet little ones would happily sit in front of their screens all day long if I didn’t challenge them or change things up from time to time. And reading is so important to everything they’ll ever do in their lives, that I want them to get excited about books this summer. So, we’ll be using books as a way to celebrate our time off of regular school.

5 Great Ways to Celebrate Summer with Books

1. Make a summer bucket list

In the past, we have made summer bucket lists  of things we want to do by the end of the summer, and we’re getting ready to make a new one for this year. This time, we’ll be adding in lots of reading opportunities like:

  • Spend time reading in a tree.
  • Read bedtime stories in a tent in the backyard.
  • Visit a bookstore, pick out a new book, and read it in the coffee shop with cocoa.

2. Read books from different genres

Make a chart with different genres of reading material on it and challenge your kids to read from each of the different genres throughout the summer. Some to include are:

  • Animal fiction
  • Biography
  • Mystery
  • Wordless books
  • Fantasy
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Humor
  • Realistic fiction
  • Science fiction
  • Adventure
  • Historical fiction
  • Folk stories

5 Great Ways to Celebrate Summer with Books at The Happy Housewife

3. Throw a book party

Have a few friends read the same classic with their kids as you plan to read with your kids. Throw a themed party to celebrate and discuss it. Set out some cards to start conversations about the story, its characters, and its setting, and then pull the cards, taking turns answering questions and talking about different points while you eat snacks around the table.

5 Great Ways to Celebrate Summer with Books at The Happy Housewife

4. Do an author study

As a family, choose a favorite author and read as many books by him or her as you can throughout the summer. At the end of the summer, have a movie marathon of films made from books written by that author.

5. Become an author

Challenge each of your kids to write, illustrate, and bind their own books. Consider asking other families to do the same. Then, throw a reading celebration where everyone has a chance to read their books aloud.

These are just a few ideas to get you started encouraging your kids to read a lot this summer. What are some of your creative ideas for raising young readers?

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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.