How to Teach Your Preschooler at Home Easily for Free
At first, it may be hard to imagine teaching your preschooler at home. You may be asking, “what do I teach my child?” and “how do I teach my preschooler at home?”
The answer is something you are already doing. Letting your child play and teaching them life skills.
Teaching a preschooler through play is the most important aspect of early learning!
You don’t need to be a credentialed teacher or have any experience in the classroom setting to teach your child.
Teaching your child the basics, like numbers and letters, is important, but remember life skills like cooking or cleaning up their toys are just as important.
This blog post will give you tons of tips and ideas for having preschool at home in a fun and easy way. You can pick your favorite activities from the list below and create your own schedule.
The Importance of Play and Preschool Age Appropriate Activities
The most important thing you can do to teach your preschooler at home is to let them play. It feels like you should be doing “more,” but giving them plenty of opportunities to play indoors and outdoors will allow them to develop fine and gross-motor skills and social skills, which will prepare your child to sit at a desk to complete worksheets when they are older.
Teaching your preschooler at home doesn’t require teaching certificates or experience to do so. All you need are age-appropriate hands-on activities. Forcing your preschooler to complete worksheets for long periods of time is NOT age-appropriate.
Here are some ideas for learning activities. You can start your day outdoors after a nutritious breakfast.
Getting outside is a healthy recommendation for exercise and exposure to the sun. Of course, stay safe with sunscreen and plenty of water. It’s important to get your preschooler outside every day if possible.
Teaching your preschooler at home includes exploring the community surrounding you. The real fun is outside the classroom setting.
Allowing your kid the opportunity to play outside is priceless. Your kid can enjoy the sun, run, climb, look at animals and use their imagination. Every child needs time to jump around and let off steam.
After a couple of hours at the park, I joke around that my children will sleep well in the evening.
Where you live, getting outdoors may be a challenge for many reasons, like weather or the ability to find a safe local park. If it’s just too cold or you can’t find any safe playgrounds nearby, try bringing the outdoors inside. You can use your backyard, patio, or areas around your house.
Taking your preschooler on a bike ride is awesome. Bike rides are one of my kids’ favorite activities. Your preschooler can exercise and practice coordination.
If you have a driveway or piece of sidewalk that your kids can draw on, give them some sidewalk chalk to get creative. Letting your little one grab a piece of chalk is great for their future in writing. They can practice their fine motor skills, which are very helpful once they start to write.
You both get time in the sun, and your kiddo can draw, learn colors and the alphabet, play games like play tic-tac-toe and hopscotch, or make lines and shapes. Right outside your doorstep is an opportunity for your preschooler to learn at home.
The Park to Teach Your Preschooler Social Skills
If you are fortunate, you have a safe, local park within walking distance, load up your preschooler and your baby in the stroller for some family fun time.
The walk to the park can double as a “nature walk.” Your child may feel compelled to pick up rocks, sticks, flowers and touch the bark on the trees. If you are lucky and live close to a nature center, you can explore nature on a trail.
Once at the park, your child can run and play with other children. Learning happens here. Communication, conflict resolution, and taking turns are best learned in real-life situations.
Let’s face it some adults have not learned those skills, so time at the park with socialization is important.
Be sure to pack snacks!
If playing at the park is not an option, there are other opportunities to play indoors.
Indoor Activities for Teaching Your Preschooler at Home
The easiest way to play that does not require leaving your home (it’s hard sometimes) to teach your preschooler is to use indoor opportunities for imagination and play. One day your little one will have a house of their own. All of those skills they need to learn to manage their life starts now. You get to make it fun!
Pretend play is important because it promotes creativity, language development and lets your child “try out” new roles. Pretend play happens with or without toys.
Your child can come alongside you and “pretend to cook.” Set the table with your child’s dishes, play food, and utensils. Ask them to help you “cook.” Let them serve themselves and eat a pretend meal.
Or a kid can pick up a banana and pretend to chatter away on the phone.
Watch them get creative with your Amazon boxes. A box will easily turn into a car or boat.
This type of play fosters social-emotional growth and problem-solving skills in preschoolers at home.
Teach your Preschooler with Board Games
There are preschooler board games that I absolutely love as they provide an opportunity to teach preschool concepts like letters and numbers through play.
My kids love Candyland! There is counting, and you can usually get through a game before they lose their patience. I keep my girls’ Candyland game around just in case my toddler likes board games in the future.
Feel free to change the rules a bit to make the game shorter. Look for games with the 3+ on the side of the box for kids ages 3 and up.
My preschoolers didn’t realize they were learning, but they had a great time counting, taking turns, and identifying colors.
Art and crafts time can be fun for both you and your child.
Grab paper, a box of crayons, paints, markers, a smock, and something to cover the table and let your little one create. Art is a great way to encourage fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and develop creativity.
I used to love coloring in my coloring book on the front patio of my apartment as a little girl. I still enjoy coloring, and it’s one of my favorite activities with my kids.
Your preschooler can also work on drawing shapes and cutting with scissors with your help.
Sing songs and have fun with your preschooler any time you want. Music is a fun way to learn numbers, colors, and new songs. It will give them a jumpstart on math.
Music made for preschoolers is fun to sing and dance around to. Music is available to buy on the Apple Store, Amazon, and other places.
Your kids will learn rhymes (which will help them with reading later), how to clap, wave, dance, letters, numbers, counting, and other preschooler skills. You can even create your own preschool playlist.
Your preschooler will love being surprised with preschool songs that you are familiar with and can sing along to.
Reading stories to them
There is rarely an occasion when my kids don’t like being read to. Kids of all ages enjoy this activity.
Reading to your preschooler encourages them to read later on, and it gives you a chance to bond with your child. A board book from the library is short and caters to a little one’s attention span.
My toddler loves hearing me read for a full minute before he is over it and onto the next activity.
Choose simple books. Your preschooler doesn’t need elaborate picture books yet; simple board books work great for this age, as well as short picture books about familiar topics and characters. You can make it interactive and ask questions about the story.
Building with legos is a favorite when it comes to teaching preschoolers at home. You can give them a small tub of legos or Duplo blocks and sit down with them. Your child can build cars, dragons, or whatever else comes to mind using Legos. But beware. One step on a lego can easily wreck your day.
Teaching Life Skills to Your Preschooler at Home
One of the most important things you will teach your children is life skills. Your children having the ability to take care of themselves is priceless. It’s a skill that takes time and patience but totally worth it. Your child can start learning life skills as a preschooler.
Once you are done cooking, it’s time to clean up. After a meal or snack, your child can help load the dishes in the dishwasher or wash and rinse dishes under supervision. This is a great opportunity for your preschooler to participate in the care of their home.
Don’t stop there.
Teach them to clean up their toys, and throw dirty clothes in the laundry.
Future “you” that has a teenager will be so glad that you taught your child how to clean early in life! Your child will know early on that cleaning up is expected.
Gardening with Your Preschooler
Let your child help with your garden at home or in a community garden. Your child can water the plants every day and watch seeds grow into sprouted plants. It will teach your preschooler about nature and where food comes from. They will love digging in the dirt, finding worms, and watering plants.
Don’t have a green thumb? Don’t worry; plenty of hardy plants can survive and take some roughhousing from younger siblings.
Even if you don’t have a spacious backyard, you can grow herbs and plants in small spaces. Microgreens can grow indoors as well as other herbs.
If you are in a bigger city, city gardens may rent a plot to you to grow fruit and vegetables.
As a bonus, if there are older children at home, gardening with them is great for their development. There are opportunities for learning and curiosity in unexpected places.
Once you have done your activities in the morning, it’s probably time for lunch—more learning.
Teaching Your Preschooling Cooking at Home
Kids love to hang out in the kitchen and do what they see you doing. Cooking is an opportunity to teach kitchen safety skills, healthy eating habits, hygiene, and patience.
Did you know that baking counts as science? When baking, all of your ingredients must be measured accurately for a recipe to turn out just right. That’s also math — tasty math!
Older toddlers and preschoolers can learn the basics of cooking.
Involve your child in meal planning, grocery shopping, and even cooking. Your preschooler can help you get all of the items out at the start of a recipe if they are interested or participate in mixing.
Once baked, the yummy cookies will be enjoyed by all. It will also teach your preschooler about patience as they have to wait for something yummy to bake.
You can also cut up some fruit or vegetables and let them have some fun while they are learning about healthy eating choices.
Once you have finished eating, a cooking lesson can be an opportunity to enjoy the tasty creations and then help wash up!
Cooking is also great practice for fine motor skills. Cooking is an important life skill that young children can begin to learn with you.
Toys for Independant Play
Preschoolers may enjoy downtime where they play and explore toys on their own. If you have a baby or toddler in addition to your preschooler, this can give you some moments to relax without having to deal with two or more children.
During their independent playtime, your preschooler can use their imagination to create stories and situations that help them learn and deal with the world around them.
Believe it or not, there will be moments when a preschooler is perfectly content on their own with you simply in the room with them.
Preschoolers are ok with toys that are simple in design. Wooden blocks, dolls, scarves, books, and toy vehicles are a great part of a toy collection. You do not need toys with batteries that make all the noise and light up.
In my experience, the toys with all the bells and whistles are the first ones to get tossed aside and forgotten about. I am a big fan of Melissa and Doug products because they support a child’s use of their imagination.
Toys don’t have to be expensive; you can make some yourself, grab hand-me-downs from friends and relatives, or your preschooler might enjoy saving up their money and buying items with their allowance.
Don’t discount the simple errands with your family that you run every day with your preschooler in tow. There are so many kids that don’t know how a letter gets from place to place or how to grocery shop. Trips to the grocery store or post office can be a learning experience.
I was approached at the park by a young woman who shyly asked me where to put a stamp on an envelope. Life skills are important and can be taught by allowing your child to be your shadow sometimes.
Take your preschooler along and answer their questions or teach as you go. Let them know where you are going and why and let them participate.
A child can help load groceries on a conveyor belt or swipe the credit card through the machine.
The use of screentime is a hotly debated issue in mom groups. I give screen time in moderation. I feel it can be a great tool, and knowing technology is necessary.
Many great apps do a great job of helping children to practice their numbers, colors, and skills to help them get ready for school, whether you choose to homeschool or send them to a traditional brick-and-mortar school. If you want a quick guide to homeschool, click on my article Roadmap to Homeschool.
Starfall is a wonderful website with music, stories, and games.
Sesame Street and PBS preschool are also great options to consider.
You can also look for preschooler-friendly shows on Youtube to subscribe to. If you want to know more about free curriculum, check out my post: 5 Places to Get Free Curriculum article.
Give your kids screentime using your best judgment and the recommendation of your child’s pediatrician.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to teach your preschooler at home. There are preschool activities all around you. Take those ideas and create a routine that works best for your family.
The best way to teach them lessons is through play and letting them explore the world around them, so they learn more about themselves and their environment.
You don’t need to be credentialed or have any teaching experience as long as you’ve got an open heart for learning with your child!
With every day that passes, we’re moving closer to one of the biggest milestones in our children’s lives- their first day of school (and with this milestone comes new challenges).
If continuing the homeschooling journey sounds appealing, then you’d love my FREE Quickstart Homeschool Guide today! It gives you more information about what comes next if you want to homeschool your child.