Tuesday, February 2, 2010

So hard to teach with this distraction

Just as you are getting ready to dive into a new world of learning with you older children your preschooler says, "I am booorrreeed." Does this sound familiar to you? Or how about this scenario, all gathered around talking about your studies for the day, all the children are interested and learning with amazing attention. Until, the 4 year old starts to run crazy, screaming, throwing their arms about. Now, you have lost the attention of all.

Being young is a time of magical imagination, and exploring. Children learn through play. Young children have a strong curiosity and desire for attention.

Well, after talking to a very good friend of mine, another homeschooling mama, an idea has unfolded. She said preschool daily activity boxes and my mind filled with many wonderful thoughts. Here a few of those thoughts.

How about a daily box, bin, container of your choice?. Label each one clearly on the outside Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. (April, I am awaiting the pictures.) Make sure the container is labeled clearly and large enough to be easily read. Now we are ready to begin filling the containers with material to awake the imagination and creativity of a youngster.

Now what should we fill them with? So many ideas are running through my mind, I must slow the thoughts down to make any sense of it all. Inhale, Exhale.... okay. Maybe we should put pages in each one corresponding with the days of the week. That way they will be coloring, tracing, copying Monday on Monday, Tuesday on Tuesday etc. I would also include some pages with the child's name written upon them in each box. Do not forget anything special for the week, for example is there a holiday that week.
(Here is a good site to use)

Some other ideas would be one day of the week can be dedicated to colors. Put crayons in this box with coloring sheets. (Another good link) http://www.kidzone.ws/prek_wrksht/colors/single-worksheets.htm

Maybe some play dough in this box as well. Here is a recipe. http://www.kiddinaround.com/NEWS/Play_dough.html
You could have a whole day dealing with colors, or you could divide this to one color per day.

Now shapes, again either a day for shapes or one per day. Here is a good link for shapes. http://www.akidsheart.com/threer/lvl1/shapes.htm
I think if I was doing a day on shapes then I would choose this day to include construction paper and scissors. If you are doing one color per day, one shape per day then make the whole box say red and circles. Then you could add a ball to this day, or anything else you come across that is red and a circle. If you are doing a day of shapes blocks would be a good thing to include within this container. http://www.kidslearningstation.com/preschool/teach-shapes.asp

Another idea, how about a dress up day? Lets pretend we did a container for Monday of color, Tuesday was shapes, Wednesday can be dress up. Include within this box dress up clothes appropriate for your child. For example, for a boy I will include a cowboy hat, boots, a vest. Along with these I will include a song about cowboys and some coloring pages about cowboys. Would my son like to be a doctor? Maybe a pirate hat? My son might want to be a prince, I could include a crown. (made by him of course). Michael's has many inexpensive crafts that could be used. http://www.michaels.com/art/online/displayproductlist?categoryid=75520&pageNumber=1eNumber=1

The possibilities with dress up are endless.

If your child is old enough to work on a craft independently then maybe make the Thursday container a craft day. Include any age appropriate crafts for your child. I would set my child at a small child's table away from my other children as to not interrupt them.

Friday, now we have one more day to fill. This day could be so many different things. Maybe a puzzle day. Fill with many different puzzles, include a challenge such as a Rubik's cube. Allow them to make their own puzzle. This website tells you how to make your own photo puzzle, but you could have the child color something and make that into a puzzle as well.

Friday could also be a day to draw pictures for grandma, grandpa, etc... give the child plenty of materials to create art work that you later send to friends and family.

OR, Friday could be a day for videos. There are many videos available to teach young children Sign Language, or a foreign language. Check with your local library to see if they have DVDs that can be rented. Another idea for Friday could be a music day. Include some musical instruments.
Have no fear about spending money to buy some, there are many you can make at home. Here is a great site telling you how. http://www.familycorner.com/family/kids/crafts/9_musical_instruments.shtml

You could also include some music to learn by on this day, many titles are found on the following site. http://freekidsmusic.com/
A good Classical music for children site is http://www.classicsforkids.com/

There are several other things you could do with these daily containers. These are just a few ideas. Let your imagination get away from you. Your little one will be delighted to have something new and different to play with and this will allow you the time needed to help your older children.

This idea can be adapted for even younger children as well. If you have a very young child, as I do, then you can simply divide different toys into separate labeled containers. Everyday will be a new and exciting day of new toys. This will help entertain even the youngest of sibling while you are busy with the older children.

If you have more ideas please feel free to share!

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