The current COVID-19 situation has shuttered many preschools across the country.
Parents are now faced with the task of either implementing a preschool homeschool curriculum or devising their own preschool lesson plans for their children who are suddenly at home a lot more.
Preschools may not have given you a curriculum to follow at home, so you may be faced with creating one yourself. It might seem overwhelming to face the prospect of building your own homeschool preschool from the ground up, but have no fear, we’re here for you. T
his article will give you some valuable tips on making your own preschool homeschool curriculum, as well as provide several educational preschool activities
to help the time pass faster in a fun and educational way.
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started!
Preschoolers are naturally curious, which means they love educational activities…especially if they’re fun,
Educational Preschool Activities
The key to developing an effective preschool homeschool curriculum is to
start with the end in mind
. Ask yourself these two questions:
- What do you want your preschooler to learn?
- How long do I have during the day to teach them?
Now, use these goals to work out the incremental steps to get your preschooler where you want her to end up. Keep in mind we’re talking about a little one here, she isn’t going to have the perseverance to do too much, too fast. So
you’ll need your preschool curriculum to move in baby steps
That can be a really good thing for parents, especially if you’re working while your preschooler is…well, out of school. You’re figuring out how to teach your kiddo, too, so taking things slow is good for everyone.
One way to take the pressure off of being a parent
a teacher is to
try to focus on making these activities more than just educationa
l. Preschool activities are a great opportunity to bond and nurture your relationship with your child, and this has the potential to be a happy memory.
Keeping preschoolers on a schedule helps them anticipate what’s coming up, which can help them feel less overwhelmed.
Preschool Curriculum: Daily Schedules
One of the ways to simplify homeschool preschool is by setting a daily preschool curriculum schedule. It’s good to establish a routine, since it helps you schedule your day. It also gives your preschooler structure so they know what they’ll be doing next. And of course, if you’re working from home, it can help you figure out how to balance your homeschool preschool curriculum with your work responsibilities!
While creating a preschool lesson plan or schedule can seem overwhelming, we’re here to help.
Here are two preschool lesson plan templates
that can help you stay calm, cool, and collected
Also, keep in mind that your preschooler might only be able to focus on an educational activity for about 15 minutes of a 30 minute block. That’s also okay.
Work at your preschooler’s pace!
Flexibility is key when it comes to homeschooling preschoolers.
Preschool Schedule 1: A Gentler Schedule
Our first preschool homeschool curriculum is one
designed for younger and less active children
. This one will have plenty of rests between lessons, and will give you a chance to relax while still having fun.
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Reading to Your Preschooler
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Indoor Free Time
11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Educational Activity (Math, Science, or Reading)
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
1:00 PM – 1:30 PM
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM
3:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Preschool Schedule 2: A Busier Schedule
The second preschool homeschool curriculum will be
more suited for older preschoolers and more active children
. You may also switch to this schedule when the weather’s nice, or when your preschooler seems to have tons of extra energy to burn.
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM
9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Neighborhood Walk Activity
11:00 AM – 11:30 AM
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Outdoor Activity or Free Play
1:00 PM – 1:30 PM
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
3:00 PM – 3:30 PM
3:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Educational Preschool Activities Examples
Now that you have a sample daily schedule,
let’s take a look at some awesome activities you can do with your preschooler.
We’ve divided up the activities into categories, so feel free to jump around to topics that suit you and your little ones the best.
Nature and Science Preschool Activities
You’ll likely find that science and nature lessons are the simplest preschool activities you’ll implement. You have the benefit that preschoolers are, by default, interested in the world around them and how things work.
The key is to keep it simple, and let your preschooler make discoveries on their own.
Here are five bonafide nature and science activities to reveal the magic in your child’s surroundings.
Preschool Science Activity 1: Bug Hunt
Kids love bugs! It’s rare to find a preschooler who has a fear of or is disgusted by our little six- and eight-legged friends.
To encourage your kids’ curiosity,
make or download a bingo card with eight or ten common insects and go out with your preschooler and try to find them all.
Research facts about them beforehand, and teach your child by asking leading questions, like “Why do you think this bug is green?” and “Why do you think the ants all walk in a straight line together?”
There are a number of downloadable Bug Hunt Bingo Cards online
, so you can print out one that matches the insects in your area.
Preschool Science Activity 2: Leaf Catalog
This is another scavenger hunt-based idea that children really enjoy. Similar to the Bug Hunt above,
make or download a bingo card of common leaves in your area, and then go around looking for them.
For this one, you might have to venture out of your backyard into the neighborhood. This is a great opportunity to take a walk; it’s always good to get out of the house, especially if the weather is nice! (It can also help your preschooler burn off extra energy, which is never a bad thing.)
Similar to the Bug Hunt, research some facts about the trees the leaves belong to beforehand and ask leading questions to get your little one interested in plants and how they work!
Preschool Science Activity 3: What’s Under the Grass?
Here’s one that will keep your child busy for a while, although this one can get a bit messy! Show them that if you dig in the ground, there are all kinds of bugs, seeds, and rocks underneath.
Lead with questions about how the “treasures” you find may have gotten there, with the goal of
showing them how all the critters and plants work together to create an environment!
If digging under the grass doesn’t yield very exciting results, try lifting up a stone or mat in a damp area. You’ll probably find all sorts of critters under there.
Preschool Science Activity 4: What Do You Hear?
This activity is good for when your little one is tired or distracted and you just want a quiet moment with them. Go outside and tell your child that the two of you are going to listen for a long time and find out how many things you can hear. A long time to sit quietly for your child is likely only going to be a minute or so, but
after sitting quietly and listening for as long as you can, list with your child all the things you heard and then try to find out what they all were
. Your preschooler might not know what she heard, so try to figure it out together.
Preschool Science Activity 5: Let’s Grow Food!
Gardening your preschooler might seem like a difficult task, but it can be a great chance for them to learn about plants, nutrition, insects, and weather! While you can’t reasonably expect a preschooler to maintain an entire garden,
you can assign your preschooler one or two plants that they are responsible for
. Make sure they check on it every day and become invested in the plant’s survival and growth. Choose a hardy plant that is difficult to kill, like mint, beans, lettuce or squash. Then, when harvest time comes along, watch your child beam with pride as she eats the vegetable she grew herself!
Believe it or not, preschool math activities can be really fun when you think outside the box.
Math Activities for Preschoolers
Science activities tend to be an easy sell for preschoolers, but math is abstract and not as easy for little ones to grasp.
If math isn’t your strong suit and you’re intimidated by the idea of coming up with a math preschool curriculum, h
ere are some easy math activities that will keep your preschooler entertained for hours
Preschool Math Activity 1: Shape Hunt
This one is perfect for when you need to get out of the house for a while. Make a list of shapes, or
download a shape scavenger hunt chart from online
walk around the neighborhood, trying to find at least one example of each shape
You’ll find that cylinders, circles and rectangles are everywhere, but squares are a little harder to find! This is also a great time to encourage your child’s curiosity. Have them look at plants, rocks, and even cars to try and find different shapes.
Preschool Math Activity 2:
There are any number of activities you can do with a large “Hundred Chart,” which is just
rows of numbers, ten per line, that count up to 120
. There are several great ones online for you to download, or you can make your own.
With a hundred chart, you can teach evens and odds, assign and track chores, teach how to count money—the sky’s the limit!
Here’s one idea: before you eat your morning cereal,
set out your hundreds chart and count the pieces up to a certain number
by placing them on top of the chart itself. You can start by counting to five, then ten…and before you know it, you’ll be up to 100!
Preschool Math Activity 3: How Many Dogs in the Neighborhood?
Another great walking game, especially for little ones just beginning to learn to count, is to
walk around the neighborhood and count how many dogs you see or hear
. (Just make sure your preschooler doesn’t run up to any dog you don’t know. Safety first!
Once your preschooler gets the hang of things, you can use this activity to start to teach addition and subtraction. For instance, maybe one day you count six dogs, but the next day you count five. That’s a great opportunity to explain that five dogs is one less than six!
Preschool Math Activity 4: Footlong Worms
This is an easy way to teach measurements. Get some play-doh or modeling clay, and
see who can make the longest worm
by rolling the clay out on a table, floor, or other hard surface.
Each of you can make 5-10 worms, and then you can measure to see who won. You can add another math lesson if you add all the lengths together and average them. You can also incorporate science by teaching your little one about giant earthworm species like the horrifying
Giant Gippsland Earthworm
Preschool Math Activity 5: Shopkeeper
This play pretend game is a great way to teach your preschoolers how to count, and slip in a lesson about money, too.
Set prices on several household items and “go shopping” with your child
. Try to keep the prices simple so kids can practice their numbers. For each product your child wants to buy, show them how to count out their money to pay for it!
Toy cash registers and fake money kits are very inexpensive and easy to find, and you may already have one of these in your home. But if you don’t, you can borrow money from a Monopoly set or cut out your own dollar bills from construction paper.
Reading With Your Preschooler
Reading is a great activity to help soothe and quiet your bored preschooler. She’ll probably never get sick of listening to you read to her, and reading out loud gives you the opportunity to help your preschoolers learn their letters and new words.
Here are some reading-related activities that you can do with your preschooler to help them get a jumpstart on their reading skills.
Preschool Reading Activity 1: What Happens Next?
This activity works very well with younger preschoolers, even ones who are just beginning to talk. As you’re reading through a book,
find a climactic stopping point and ask your little one what she thinks will happen next.
Once your preschooler answers, ask them
they think the story will go that way. It’s a great way to engage your child’s imagination while helping them learn how to articulate their thoughts.
Once your child has explained their guess, keep reading to see if they’re right. (Spoiler alert: preschoolers usually come up with better ideas than the story itself, which is part of the fun.) This activity seems simple,
but this helps your preschooler get a sense of logic and problem-solving, as well as keeping her interested in the act of reading.
Preschool Reading Activity 2: What Do You See?
Another activity that works well for little ones is to take a picture book or magazine, point to an image, then
ask your preschooler what they see in the picture.
You’ll often be surprised by the tiny details that stand out to a preschooler, and this also helps your child learn to focus on information. Be sure to follow up with information about what something is, what it does, and where it comes from.
Preschool Reading Activity 3: What Would You Do?
This is another activity that teaches your child about logic and consequences. Find a point a book or story where it makes sense to
ask your child what she would do in the same circumstance.
Once they tell you their choice,
continue reading to find out if the character does the same thing or something different
, then follow up with questions about what your child thinks would’ve happened if the character had done what she suggested. This is also a great way to talk about manners, being nice, and the difference between right and wrong.
Preschool Reading Activity 4: What’s This Letter?
If your preschooler is in the early stages of literacy, she likely knows the names of some or most letters.
Take a simple book, especially one that has only a few words per page, and ask her about the letters.
See if she knows what sounds the letters make, and see if she can find the letter again on the page.
This is probably a game that your preschooler can only play for a short period of time, but it can be an effective first start at reading.
Preschool Reading Activity 5: Word Hunt
This activity will likely be geared to older preschoolers who already have some literacy skills.
Come up with a list of common words and ask your child to find those words in a book
. A great selection of words to begin with would be the “sight words,” which are words that are common enough to account for a majority of the words your child will encounter.
Art activities with preschoolers are a great way to unlock your preschooler’s imagination. (It may even unlock your imagination a little bit in the process.)
Art Activities for Preschoolers
Arts and crafts keep your child’s attention more than almost anything else. They’re not just a way of encouraging creativity, though—
art can be an excellent entry into logic, problem-solving, and observation.
Here are some fun art activities that can inspire your preschooler’s imagination…and help them learn in the process!
Preschool Art Activity 1: Backyard Collage
Very young children may find painting, drawing and coloring frustrating, as they don’t yet have the motor skills to do as good a job as they’d like. That’s why collage is such a fun art activity to share with your child.
For this exercise, have your child find ten exciting objects in the backyard. Feathers, leaves, stones, grass, weeds…anything is fair game.
After your child gathers her ten objects, then help her find a way to glue them onto a piece of paper or cardboard to make a scene, landscape, monster, or whatever
Help your child guide their choices toward a finished product by asking leading questions. For example you could ask questions like, “Which one of these is going to be the monster’s hair? What’s this stick going to be, his nose? His arm?” The goal is to encourage your child to embrace their imagination through art.
Preschool Art Activity 2: Pinecone People
This activity is like sock puppets, except with pinecones!
Have your child create a person from a pinecone by gluing legs, arms, and faces onto it using things laying around the house.
You can also cut shapes out of paper and old magazines, too.
As your child makes the pinecone person, you’ll find your child will invest her pinecone with a personality and backstory. Encourage her to come up with funny stories about her pinecone person, and be sure to help her with any of the more difficult or frustrating gluing jobs.
Preschool Art Activity 3: Fairy House
Children have vivid imaginations, and art is a great way to tap into them. In this activity, you’ll help your child create a home for mythical, magical fairies.
Have your child gather items to make a little house for the fairies in the yard.
Look for pieces of bark that might be couches, stones that might make a sidewalk, scraps of boards that might make a bed. Then have your child check on it every day to see if the house has been inhabited.
While it’s unlikely that your child will find a fairy in her house, she will likely find beetles, ants, and other critters. Try to get her invested with periodic updates and improvements to the house. Keep those fairies happy!
Preschool Art Activity 4: Shadow Friends
Shadow puppets are a great way to engage your preschooler’s art skills while teaching them lessons about how light works.
Engage your child’s imagination by helping
build a variety of hats, cut-outs, and objects that create an assortment of silly creatures when viewed via their shadows
. It’s especially fun to create a whole puppet show story using all the critters together! Maybe even hang a sheet in a doorway and put a lamp behind it so that you can put on a show for your preschooler.
Preschool Art Activity 5: Worst Meal
This silly activity will have your child laughing for sure! Now that you’ve assembled a small assortment of shadow puppets, pinecone people, and fairies,
ask your child to find objects that she thinks would make a disgusting meal
for her homemade buddies.
Dirt in bottle caps for pies, weed salads, tiny cups of rain water, insect husks for main courses, and so forth, will create a yucky banquet that your child will delight in serving to her hapless imaginary playmates! While this isn’t necessarily the cleanest activity, you and your preschooler will have a blast putting together some icky meals.
While it’s important to help your little ones learn, it’s important to give them downtime, too. That’s why we’ve put together a list of just-for-fun activities you can do with your preschooler.
Leisure Activities for Preschoolers
While these educational activities may be great bonding opportunities for you and your preschooler, you both need a break once in a while, too. Here is a list of ten leisure activities that you can use to have a great time or just chill out and relax together!
Outdoor Activities for You and Your Preschooler
If the weather is nice, it’s highly recommended you go out into the sunshine and have some fun after being cooped up together. Not only will that lift your mood, it will also help you both expend some pent-up energy.
Preschool Outdoor Activity 1: Wish Upon a Star
This one may sound simple, but it’s going to seem like an adventure for your preschooler! Wait until well after dark and go out into the front or back yard, or wherever you have a clear unobstructed view of the stars, and
lay on your backs and watch for falling stars
. If none appear after a few minutes, then find a star and make a wish together.
If you have an older preschooler, you can even work in a simple science lesson by talking about constellations and what the stars are. But, lesson or no, your child is likely to find wonder in simply being outside in nature after bedtime!
Preschool Outdoor Activity 2: Picnic
A classic never goes out of style.
Have lunch or dinner together on a sheet in the backyard
. Half the fun is getting prepared, trying to decide what all to bring and what would be a good thing to eat outdoors. You can even help your preschooler put some of the food together! Sandwiches, crackers, and pudding are all easy foods you can make with your little one. But be prepared for your preschooler to want every meal outside afterwards!
Preschool Outdoor Activity 3: There’s a Robot in the Recycling!
Before trash pickup day,
look through your recycling bin and see what you could use to build a robot together.
Your goal is to use found objects to make something new and fun.
As you look through your recycling, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Maybe an Amazon box could be the torso, with taped-on toilet paper roll arms and soda bottle legs! For extra fun, create an air of mystery about it by mentioning beforehand, “Did you know there’s a robot in our recycling?! Come on, I’ll show you!”
Preschool Outdoor Activity 4: Bubbles Everywhere
We’re pretty sure there isn’t a preschooler out there that doesn’t love bubbles.
Bubble mixtures can be easily made with just dish soap and water
. Many recipes call for glycerin or corn syrup, but if you don’t have them, sugar will work in a pinch.
Here’s a great simple recipe
And if you don’t have a bubble wand, don’t worry. You can make your own bubble wand using a straw and twist-ties from your bread or trash bags. Go spread those bubbles far and wide together!
Preschool Outdoor Activity 5: Obstacle Course
If you need to incorporate some running around time in your day, an obstacle course can be a great option. Find an assortment of obstacles: boxes, an empty wading pool, and food cans can all make great obstacles for preschoolers to go in, over, and around.
Set up in an obstacle course with your preschooler
, and have races to see who can get through them fastest!
For more inspiration, take a
look at what this family did
While preschoolers love playing outside, sometimes you just need a little inside quiet play to balance things out. Here are some of our ideas for making inside play special and fun.
Indoor Preschool Activities
All the above outdoor activities may be fun, but what do you do if it’s raining or the weather isn’t cooperative? Don’t worry: you can have just as much fun indoors as out! Here are some fun activities for you and your preschooler.
Preschool Indoor Activity 1: Cook a Meal
What, you ask? You don’t think your four-year-old is ready to start cooking yet? Think again! Your preschooler is going to jump at the chance to mix a batter, knead dough, or throw soup ingredients into the pot.
Come up with a simple recipe, and let your preschooler help you put it together!
You can turn this into a learning activity, too. For example, you can teach your preschooler what different ingredients are, and even have them try some (like veggies or cheeses) raw. Make it an adventure!
Preschool Indoor Activity 2: Sheet Fort
Here’s another timeless classic that never gets old!
Set up a perimeter of dining room chairs and drape sheets over them to create a sheet fort in the living room.
Floor it with the couch cushions and dig out the old Christmas lights, and you’ve got yourself a cozy environment to read, listen to music, or tell stories together!
Fair warning, though: your preschooler may never want to sleep in their own bed again.
Preschool Indoor Activity 3: Podcast
Speaking of telling stories together, there are a number of great podcasts for children. Some of them are music-oriented with silly songs to sing along with, some are stories, with animals and fairy tales. No matter what you’re interested in, we’re sure you can
find a podcast your little one enjoys and listen to it together.
One particular favorite is
Little Stories for Tiny People
, which has fun, rhyming stories that will keep your preschooler’s attention until the end. If you get inspired,
make your own simple podcast
with your tiny person by recording yourselves telling a story together!
Preschool Indoor Activity 4: Fix Something
Do you have a broken vase in the cupboard you’ve been meaning to glue back together? Is the leg wobbly on the chair and needs to be reglued? Did a picture fall off the wall and you just haven’t had the chance to rehang it? Well, now’s the time!
Take a simple repair, and walk your child through the steps of how to fix it
. You can show them how different tools work, and you can even let them test them out (safely, of course)! Letting preschoolers perform simple tasks themselves will make them feel like grown ups, too.
Preschool Indoor Activity 5: Photo Album
Ten years ago might not seem very long ago to you, but it was two lifetimes ago for your preschooler. Little ones are fascinated by old photos in which they can see houses before remodels, their grandparents as young people, funny-looking cars and clothes, and so forth!
Take an afternoon to
look through old photo albums together
. Show them what you looked like when you were their age, and share stories of your own happy memories. Maybe you’ll be inspired to make a photo album together, either online or by printing some photos you have on your phone or computer. This will not only be a great bonding opportunity, but will also create a time capsule for this time you’ve spent together.
5 Tips for Creating Your Own Preschool Homeschool Curriculum
Homeschooling a preschooler can be tough, and there’s no doubt that you’ll do the best job you can.
Check out our five expert tips that can help make the homeschool preschool process a little easier!
Tip 1: Be Confident
As you implement these preschool lesson plans for your child,
it’s important that you project confidence and remain calm
. Your preschooler may try your patience, and you may feel like you don’t really know what you’re doing—but your child doesn’t know that unless you tell her. If you compose yourself as a calm and patient teacher, your child will see you as a calm and confident teacher, and they will (mostly) respect your instructions.
Tip 2: Be Patient
Learning is difficult! Much of what you’ll be teaching your preschooler will seem very obvious to
, but they won’t be so obvious to them. Everything is still new to your little one, so
take your time and let your child set the pace
. If your child behaves as if she’s overwhelmed, she probably is. So, rather than get frustrated with her, adjust your routine by slowing down.
Tip 3: Play to Your Strengths
What are you good at? What do you enjoy? If you’re a math person, you can probably figure out a great way to apply mathematical principles to everyday situations, but you might struggle with more artistic endeavors. If you’re more of a creative type, then you will probably come up with better art projects but perhaps the math exercises are a challenge for you to explain.
What’s important is that you
understand your strengths and biases and work with them
. Spend extra time researching activities in areas where you’re not quite as adept, and read up on how to teach those concepts to your preschooler. A little preparedness on your part will go a long way to making sure your preschooler is grasping important concepts!
play to your preschooler’s strengths
. If you try to make your active preschooler sit still for a three hour art project, you’ll both end up miserable. Adjusting our suggested daily schedules to your preschoolers’ needs will help you be much more successful.
Tip 4: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Burnout is real—both for you and for your preschooler. If you think you’re going to successfully adhere to a strict schedule every day, guess again. You’re not working with an adult here, you’re working with someone in a very early developmental stage.
If you try to fit in too many activities in too short a time, you’re going to both end up frustrated and exhausted. So try to
think about how to keep this homeschool preschool curriculum from being something you hate a week or two from now
. Maybe that means more free play time, or more snack breaks. Whatever that looks like, don’t be afraid to embrace it!
Tip 5: Repeat Yourself
Children learn from repetition.
So, even though it might seem silly or annoying to you, repeat key ideas from your preschool curriculum you want to impart several times. Do the same activities over and over. Read the same books repeatedly. This is going to help your child to learn the knowledge they need to be successful once school picks back up again.
Many of these activities help your kids learn, but they’re not formalized educational tools.
If you’re looking for more formal educational games, we’ve got you covered
We have a whole list of alphabet games that can help you teach your preschoolers their letters!
You may find that your younger kids are a bit too young for some of the alphabet games we posted above.
If your preschooler is on the younger side of the age spectrum, you may be looking for something a bit simpler.
This list of toddler games may help inspire your playtime!
Homeschooling your preschooler is a great time to help them work on more advanced skills…but teaching them doesn’t have to be boring.
For example, sight word games are a great tool to help other kids start to learn to read.
Our expert list of sight word games can help get both you and your preschooler started on the right track.