Category Archives: Preschool

Tools to help with printing practice

I don’t think I ever posted about these. If I did, please accept my apologies of the repeat.

A few months ago, I bumped into a post at Confession of a Homeschooler where she briefly mentioned Kumon Write and Wipe cards.  Having a deep discount coupon burning a hole in my pocket I purchased all three sets at B&N (If you purchase through Amazon, these items are included in the 4 for 3 promotion):

There are about 8 different kinds of cards, but I bought the upper case & lower case letters and the 1-30 sets.

When I originally purchased these, Sullivan really did not have the fine motor skills to even hold the marker included.  Today, he can get through one set of cards with no problem in under 10 minutes.

Another tool that compliments the Kumon cards that Sullivan uses is the Leapfrog Scribble and Write:

There are various setting that gives the child a chance to copy and trace letters  letters, shapes and numbers with instruction coming from the system. There is a free draw setting and another setting where the system draws a letter and the child presses the corresponding letter.  I found this to be a great pre-writer tool to use with Sullivan, especially when it was nighttime and he wanted to bring a toy to bed with him (the writing is a lighted red).  Obviously, none of this works without an adult close by to help cheer and coach the child along. I just thought I would share things that worked outside of the typical roll dough (which you can use with the Kumon cards) or writing in sand. I hope this helps someone. 🙂


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Beginning with Before Five in a Row, Jesse Bear

This week, Sullivan started with Before Five in A Row.  Some of the book tie into units that I had pre-planned out (like hygiene and Jesse Bear ), other books I will use as stand alone units.

This week we started with Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear.  I combined hygiene mini books and the Jesse Bear helps I found at Sullivan seemed to have a lot of fun and we were able to start a routine with things like morning clean up and where to put your clothing in the evening. We also took time to talk about healthy food choices and wearing proper clothing depending on the weather.

I will need to come back and update the blog with pictures from the lapbook. Here are the elements of our book:

Jesse Bear cover page (painted in water color)
B Shape Book
Steps to Brushing Teeth
Bare Bear and his warm, winter, and rainy clothes
Taking Care of Me
Healthy Food Choices- I gave Sullivan a supermarket flyer and had him cut out foods that he believed were a healthy choice. We looked at them and then he glued those helthy foods/drinks on his plate.
Ten in the Bed. A nice exercise to practice subtraction. There ten in the bed, and then we subtracted depending on song lyrics.

This was a gentle introduction into Before Five in a Row. Sullivan had a lot of fun, and I had so much fun watching and planning. Next week we will be doing our Thanksgiving unit.

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A Kaleidoscope of Colors: Autumn Pre-K Unit

We were given one last taste of summer this week. The temperature at the beginning of the week climbed to the mid 80s and then came crashing to the low 50s by week’s end. The trees still haven’t changed colors, but we have continued our talk of fall. We may take a drive to the mountains for some color effect over the weekend. It is one of the things I miss  about living up north, the changing of the colors just are not the same in the southern half of the country.


Get Up and Do Something Activities

Go on a Nature walk, collect leaves and nuts
Talk about the season of fall what will happen
Sing a song about Fall

Sit Down Work

Make a collage out of leaves and then laminate
Leaf Rubbings using Fall colors
Four Seasons of a tree (will need either one large sheet of paper or 4 separate sheets)
Color X amount of leaves
Simple plus one leaf addition
Leaf Counting Book

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Boo to you and you and you. Our Halloween Pre-K Unit

Another cool autumn week is upon us. Perfect weather to come indoors and start talking about special things that happen in Fall. Last week it was our apple unit, this week is Halloween. Gilbert is going to be Harry Potter and Sullivan will be a buzzing bee.


Hands on Activity

Going to Pumpkin Patch
Carving Pumpkins
Various $1 pumpkin crafts from Michael’s
Trick or Treating

Sit down work

Fill in the missing letter
Make a Pumpkin Pattern
How many pumpkins should we pick: I create a simple flip book to teach how many we should place on our page if one is taken away. I used jack-o-lantern but it can be used with either the child drawing their own pumpkins, or using stamps.

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Return to Carter Mountain and Preschool Apple Unit

This week we will be focusing on Apples. We started our week on Sunday with a trip back to our favorite apple picking spot, Carter Mountain. The plan was to go at the end of our unit, but the weather was so beautiful I made an executive decision and went to our mountain.  Great time with friends, yummy cider and of course the apples!

Here was how our week went:


Go out and do it Activities:

Carter Mountain!!
Make apple sauce
Drink some apple cider
Make an apple pie with from apples we picked from our trip

Sitting Activities:
Math: Put X amount of Apples in the Basket
Growing an Apple Pie Layer book
Apple Prints
Apple mosaic made with bits of red, green construction paper

Pictures of how things went:

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Robots here, Robots there, Robots everywhere!

Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures from our robot week, but I think it was a great success. Here is what we did:


Gross motor activities
Robot Simon Says- to figure out direction

Created my own Robot jigsaw puzzle:
What I did: printed free images of Robots and created 2 robot puzzles. I laminated the puzzles I created since Sullivan was really into them, but I don’t think it is necessary.
Robot puppets out of paper bags
Create your own Robot Face

Robot Counting Page
Robot Addition


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All is Fair…State Fair that is

This week we had the opportunity to travel to the State Fair. I decided to build on this and have our books center around a carnival/fair theme.

Our books included:

Our Activities included:
Visiting the State Fair
Having an at-home carnival (which included tossing socks in to a hamper and sack races)
Sullivan also did a few connect the dot activities around some of the animals we saw.

On the fun side. I love, love the fair. I am like a moth to a flame when it comes to Fair food. Loved the deep fried oreos! The kids enjoyed watching a magic show and a dog agility presentation. The one event my husband and Gilbert missed out on was the pig races. This is purely a guilty pleasure of mine, it is wrong but I love it so (*blush*). After checking out the youth competitions, Gilbert has announced that he would like to submit a few items. I am thinking about doing the same but we will see.

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What do animals eat?

You know what they say about making plans…

I thought I was doing really well with Sullivan, I was going to the library weekly and getting theme books. I would ask him questions about we read and he would answer. He can identify numbers and count to 15..but he really didn’t seem interested. There was one thing he seemed to care about, what everything and everyone was eating.

What do cats eat? What to dogs eat? What do ladybugs eat? What do goldfish eat? What to owls eat? Horses eat hay like cows? We eat cows? And then my friends is when the proverbial apple on my head. My child is showing me interest in a topic, why don’t I follow this up with a few books and activities about this subject and see where it goes. And thus the Food Chain preschool unit was born.

Here is the list of books we used in this unit:

Who Eats What by Lauber
Food Chains by Greenaway
Trouts are Made of Trees by Sayre
Hungry Animals
Mealtime for zoo animals
What happens to a Hamburger
Everyone Poops

For activities:
We are watching a Magic School bus video (Gets Eaten)
Making food chain pictures from images I found and drawing a line to who eats what.
On another page I have a picture of him and images of things he eats and where they come from.

Cute little side story. I really don’t think he believed me when I told him that bigger birds will sometimes eat smaller birds (as the Lauber book had mentioned), during our trip to the grocery store this week, there was a hawk that had caught a blackbird. I hate to say I said to him “I told you so”, but I did (very quickly <10 seconds) show him in when we drove by.

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Dollar Store Find, FTW!

A year or two ago I went into my local Dollar Tree and purchased the above Phonic Tiles. Why? I did not yet have a reader and I did not know what method I would be using, sometimes you just cannot pass by a product that shows potential.

Fast Forward to today. We are beginning to teach Sullivan how to read. He has shown a lot of readiness, he pulls out books and “reads them”, he is constantly asking what words say (showing he understands that letters combined have a message), and he most importantly he has asked. With Gilbert we started 100 EZ Lessons and then sent him over to Ordinary Parent’s Guide then we took our year of when I was sick. With Gilbert I have decided to go with Ordinary Parent’s Guide, I thought about using Phonics Pathway, but I like the lay out of Ordinary Parent’s Guide. I’ve digressed…I’ll talk about this again in another post, back to the tiles.

For the price of $1 I have 176 tiles that have 52 letter tiles, 32 vowel combo tiles, and suffixes/prefixes tiles. Not bad. I am using these tiles along with our reading lessons. And having a great result, I know the writers of the book say, the book is all we need, but I think the tiles have helped Sullivan a lot. My only mistake is I only bought one set, I now realize if I can buy another set, I can use this product when we (in many years) move on to All About Spelling.

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Pattern Blocks, Homemade Sequence Cards and Tangoes Jr, Oh my!

One thing I have been doing is working on creating hands on activity stations for Sullivan. One such station I created  was a pattern block station. With printouts from Sullivan works on shape recognition, color recognition, and beginner critical thinking skills. If you click on the link you will notice that one file shows the color outline while the sister file just shows object outline. What I did was use white cardstock and print the color image on one side and the black and white image on the other side. That way when he was confident enough he could flip it over without the guidelines.  If you have a laminator,  you might consider laminating your pages depending on how long you think these cards will be beneficial.

Another thing I did was create homemade sequence cards. They use pattern block shapes and are really great for the 2-4 year old set.

Another product we have been using are Tangoes Jr.

Tangoes Jr

This is a lot like the pattern blocks above but only use 7 shapes to create all sorts of cute images.What I love about the Tangoes is that is that is magnetized so that when Sullivan places a piece it sticks, no slipping, no sliding, no frustrated sighs that the image is ruined.  After about a week of ownership, I did end up buying two expansion sets.  I wanted him to have a variety so I will be rotating them every few weeks.

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