I have three daughters at home. One is a newborn, but my other two (3 and 5) are into everything. Nothing is safe. My three-year-old in particular seems to have a knack for making messes. Every open container of water must be explored (she loves pouring water into other containers); every food item within reach must be touched (this is why we had salty pancakes this past weekend)—you get the picture.
At a homeschool conference I attended earlier this year, I went to a workshop about homeschooling preschoolers. One big take-away from that session was the fact that young children learn best through experiencing the world around them. When babies put things into their mouths, they are learning. When toddlers mold dough into shapes, mix paint colors, and touch things like peanut butter, they are learning.
I’m really glad that BJU Press understands this. In fact, the introduction of the Pathways for Preschool Teacher’s Edition talks about this very thing: “Children learn best when they are involved in activity—their play is their work. A setting that allows them to observe, explore, interact, play, and discover is vital to their development” (p. xii). BJU Press recommends using centers to create this setting and gives many ideas for centers throughout the curriculum.
As a homeschooler, you can arrange your home to encourage this type of learning. Designate spaces in your home where your child can role-play, create art projects, build with blocks, read books, and so on. Invest in toys that inspire creative play. Set aside time to do crafts, cook, and play with your child. Below are some resources for inspiration.
- BJU Press Pathways for Preschool curriculum
- BJU Press Footsteps for Fours curriculum
- Preschooler’s Busy Book (by Trissh Kuffner)
- Home Grown Preschooler’s Pinterest account
- Deborah @ Teach Preschool’s Pinterest account
What are some fun learning activities that you have done with your small children?