Young children love learning and spending time with their parents. If they see parents spending time working on school work with older siblings, they may want to have school work themselves. While a toddler’s main mode of learning should be play and exploration, fun learning activities can also be a great way to develop early academic skills while bonding together through quality parent-child interactions. The following Tips for Teaching Preschoolers will help you instill and maintain a fun learning environment with your child.
4 Tips for Teaching Preschoolers at Home
1. Follow the Child’s Lead
When I work with my toddlers, I follow their lead on how much and what they want to do. I have a 3-year old who loves worksheets/workbook type activities but hates sitting for stories. For this child, I find workbooks and worksheet activities that I think she will enjoy. We only do as much as she wants to. While reading story, if she wants to run off and play, no problem. Following the child’s lead will allow the child to gain from the interactions while maintaining a love for learning.
2. Provide a Variety of Hands-on Experiences
Young children love active learning experiences. Creating art, using stickers, sensory bins, and anything that involves movement will provide fun ways to interact with your child. Attending interactive events at your local library, children’s museum, and zoo will also provide fun ways to engage with learning experiences.
CLICK HERE to read my article that includes information about sensory bins and other ways to occupy toddlers.
CLICK HERE to read about multi sensory ways to work on letter formation skills.
3. Incorporate Educational Toys into Play
Educational toys provide a way to expose children to letters, math, and important fine motor skills while playing. Some of my preschooler’s favorite activities include exploration with math manipulatives including counting bears, pom poms, and links. Throw a set of manipulatives in a plastic container with some figures or other educational toys and you have a fast and easy educational sensory bin.
CLICK HERE to read about my top 6 alphabet toy picks.
4. Accommodate or Modify to Avoid Frustration
For some children, fine motor skills can feel overwhelming. If your child appears tired or overwhelmed by the learning activity, stop the activity. If the child really seems to enjoy the activity, but is just overwhelmed by the fine motor aspect, you can modify the activity to better meet their learning needs. The following tips for teaching preschoolers include specific ways to learning activities:
Many children love coloring. If an activity requires extensive coloring, the child may become frustrated. Here are some ways I have modified coloring activities:
- Outline one shape or area at a time with marker in the color they should use to fill in the area with crayon.
- Color with the child on a separate page or even on the same page (check with the child first on if they want you to color something on their page).
- Show the child how to fill in larger areas with the edge or a crayon with the paper removed or using block style crayons.
- Praise any efforts they make to keep the activity fun and respect when the child is finished with the activity. It is okay if a shape isn’t completely filled in.
If an activity requires writing, you can avoid frustration by choosing one of these accommodations or modifications:
- Allow the child to dictate and you write for them.
- Write the answer and have your child trace it.
- Shorten the amount of writing on the page (for example, copy or trace the letter one time instead of five times).
- Provide fun pens, crayons, or markers instead of the traditional pencil.
My 3 year old loves to cut, but has difficulty with intricate curves and shapes. On one cutting activity in Evan-Moor’s Skill Sharpener Geography book, she wanted to cut out the straight edge shapes but wanted me to cut around curves and some angles. I just follow her lead on how much she wants to cut and I help with the rest.
For your child, you could do all or part of the cutting. If your child needs to develop cutting skills, start with simple lines and gradually build from there. Make every effort to avoid frustration so that learning activities are enjoyable for your child.
If counting is a required part of an activity here are several ways to modify the activity:
- Model counting aloud while you touch each object or picture.
- You count aloud while your child touches each object or picture.
- You touch each object or picture while your child counts aloud.
- Touch and count aloud together.
Summary of Tips for Teaching Preschoolers
Many preschoolers love playing and learning with their parents. Keep the love for learning alive by following the child’s lead on 1) the types of activities they want to engage in and 2) the duration of the activity. Provide a variety of hands-on experiences and learning toys in their play. When needed, provide modifications to avoid frustration. Follow the 4 Tips for Teaching Preschoolers to keep the love of learning alive.
CLICK HERE to read about homeschool preschool curriculum and resources.