Easy ways to teach preschoolers? Is there even such a thing as easy ways to teach preschoolers? I definitely did not think so at first or at least it wasn’t always so obvious to me. Honestly, it has taken me since May to come up with the most amazing easy free ways to teach preschoolers, namely my own son, and allowing him to take the lead and guide me has played a huge role in the success I have had.
I truly struggled in the beginning to find ways to teach my preschooler, much less easy ways. To be honest, I got preschool teaching and learning wrong for quite some time, and I mean really wrong. I tried to make my son listen to me, I tried to pick what topics we’d learn about, I tried to give him rewards or persuade him to write his name and count and say his ABCs and I failed at finding the best and easiest ways to teach my preschooler.
My son was not learning the preschool curriculum that I was so obsessed with him knowing, didn't seem to be enjoying the books we read and I was utterly frustrated and ready to give up trying to teach it to him. What’s worse is my confidence as a veteran teacher was shaken because I have always prided myself on being able to teach any and all children and here I was failing at teaching my own child, a preschooler no less.
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Out of frustration at my failed attempts of finding ways to teach my preschooler, I closed “school” for a week. I decided we’d just enjoy each other and put a pause on mastering all the topics that preschoolers should learn. I put aside all the helpful guides and resources for preschoolers and all the preschool workbooks and we played hooky. Yes, you heard me right. The teacher led her preschooler to abandon his preschool learning and played hooky instead.
During our week off of preschool teaching and learning, our schedule became wake up, decide what we wanted for breakfast and then cook breakfast together, using my son’s non toy gifts from Curious Chef. It was amazing watching him cut, measure and calculate as we cooked. He would ask questions about measurement, ingredients and concepts such as heat, cold and more. If I didn't know any better I’d had thought I’d stumbled across an easy way to teach my preschooler.
Our breakfast time was even more filled with easy preschool teaching and learning experiences as my son asked questions on how we could change or improve our muffin, omelet, breakfast pizza and banana fritters recipe. We talked about the shapes of our plates and cups and how we came to use utensils. What’s more amazing about these “accidental and easy preschool lessons” is my son started them all. He asked all of these preschool learning type questions out of natural curiosity and interest. He had helped me discover the easy way to teach preschoolers.
I accidentally taught and my preschooler accidentally learned more than he had in the several weeks before. After breakfast, we got dressed and headed outside for a walk in our neighborhood. During our walk, our not preschool learning and easy preschool teaching time continued. I received questions about the numbers on mailboxes, the animals that were spotted, and got requests for songs and stories I could share to make our walk more entertaining. Again, we were covering so much more than I ever had in my forced preschool lesson plans with this easy way to teach a preschooler.
Right around lunch time, after we had built Legos and read several books, I realized where I had gone wrong with my other preschool learning attempts. I had been trying to see my son as an extension of me instead of as his own person. I had done a poor job of making my lessons interesting and meaningful to him. Since he didn’t see the value in them and wasn’t interested in those topics, my lessons failed. Even more embarrassing was the fact that these are mistakes that I was serious about avoiding in my classroom, but I had abandoned them in my “ home preschool classroom.” I was so determined to help my son learn that I had overlooked the easy way to teach preschoolers sitting in front of me.
The rest of our day’s schedule during hooky week included a nap, simple coding, puzzles or dramatic play and then a snack that we prepared together. While we got out cubed cheese and cut our apples or bananas, we talked about shapes. Next, we had outside or inside play time, depending on the weather. That period of outside play would bring an end to our preschool learning hooky day and start family time. At the end of that first day when I discovered an easy and free way to teach preschoolers, there had been few tears or tantrums and I didn’t feel exhausted.
Each day of that preschool learning hooky week, the same thing happened, my preschooler showed me easy and free ways I could teach him that were much better than the methods I had tried. He asked questions, told me about the experiments to test things he wanted to try and most importantly enjoyed learning. As each day passed, I knew I had found the most amazing, free and easy ways to teach preschoolers.
I will admit, I felt pretty foolish. As a veteran teacher, I created lessons around the foundation of teaching what children were interested in and what they would care about, but at home with my own child, I had not used best practices. After preschool learning hooky week, I turned over a new leaf teaching my preschooler and started using the free and easy ways he had taught me to teach him.
Now, one very important thing I mentioned above is that children learn best when they have an interest in what they are learning and also if they are able to “do something” as they learn. I started to rack my brain about what topic had come up most over the past week with my preschooler. A clear winner appeared, animals. My preschooler, in almost all of our conversations where he showed me the easiest ways to teach him related things back to an animal.
The following week, I reopened my new and improved home preschool learning center, with the central idea of using the easy ways to teach preschoolers that had been shared with me and placing a focus on preschool learning about animals. I decided that we would keep our breakfast schedule and after our morning walk, my son would get to pick what animal we learned about that day. Most days, he would pick an animal we had seen our walk, but ever so often his choice would shock me.
Preschool Learning About Animals
I think it is safe to say that all children, especially preschoolers, love and are curious about animals. Once the thought occurred to me, I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t thought of it before. Almost as if it were confirmation: The Monday morning after I decided to teach my preschooler using his curiosity about animals, what did we see on our morning walk? I’ll give you 2 hints: They move slowly and have a shell. I couldn’t believe it and of course neither could my preschooler. We saw a turtle! It comes as no surprise that when I asked my son what he wanted to learn about that day that he said turtles.
To begin our lesson that day, I got a sheet of chart paper and made a KWL chart. A KWL chart is an excellent way to collect information about a topic you are learning about because it organizes fact into 3 useful categories: what you already Know, what you Want to know and what you have Learned.
I started by asking my son what he knew about turtles. Here is what he told me:
They are slow.
They like to eat.
They are green and brown
They can swim.
They have four legs.
Next, I asked my preschooler what he wanted to know about our animal of the day and he said he wanted to know:
What do turtles eat?
Why do they swim?
How do they get in houses?
How big can they get?
How old can they be?
I can honestly say that I was very impressed with what my preschooler already knew and the questions he came up with about what he wanted to learn about turtles. Next, I had to make a plan for how I would teach him the facts he wanted to learn. Thinking about what I knew about my son and preschoolers in general, I decided to use a combination of books, videos and craft activities.
Teaching Preschoolers about Animals
As I mentioned above, my plan for teaching my preschooler was to use the ideas and ways to teach preschoolers he had shown me during our week off, starting with turtles. To begin with, we used paper, read books about turtles. We also viewed short videos on turtles, did a simple craft and then at the last minute, I decided that we would make a turtle booklet too.
If you’re a new parent or if preschool learning or knowledge of easy ways to teach preschoolers is a new concept to you, you may not know that even though preschoolers love animals, there is definite preference. Some of the animals that preschoolers love and are interested in are: turtles, snakes, birds, dogs, cats, all farm animals and more.
Animal Activities for Preschool
Preschooler learning and using these easy ways to teach preschoolers can be an exciting adventure. Like I said earlier, you want to be sure that you provide enough resources, so that your preschooler or preschoolers can find the answers to the questions they shared with you about their animal. Once you have finished researching and writing down what we’ve learned, I would highly recommend using some type of craft or activity to finish up your preschool learning about animals lesson.
Lesson Plan on Animals for Preschoolers
Now that we’ve talked about ways to teach preschoolers, the best topic and the ways to get your preschooler learning all the preschool lessons they need to know without being aware, let’s talk about lesson plans about animals for preschoolers. I know one of your first questions reading this is where can I find lesson plans for preschoolers on animals? My honest answer is, you don’t need one. As I mentioned above, you will want to let your child be involved in the animal selection and at every stage of their preschool learning about animals (where appropriate).The only preschool lesson plans, which will guide you is the curiosity of your preschooler.
How to teach preschoolers?
Now that we’ve figured out what to teach your preschooler, it’s important to provide some help as you try to learn how to teach them. Preschoolers usually have a very short attention span and need teaching techniques that work for them. In case you need this information, preschoolers are expected to know and say the alphabet, recognize and write the letters in their name, shapes and colors. They also have to know how to grip a pencil and how to cut with a pair of scissors.
Why teach preschoolers?
I have seen several discussions debating whether preschoolers are ready to start learning. I do not agree with setting a preset time for preschooling learning to begin, but I do think it is important to use their interests to help them learn, which will give you a chance to use several of the hangouts.
Still struggling to come up with amazing, easy and free ways to teach your preschooler? Well, here are some tips and suggestions for you:
Amazing, Easy and Free Ways to Teach your Preschooler
1. Use what your preschooler is interested in
The most important easy and free way to teach your preschooler is to use what they are already interested in. Does your preschooler love Legos or dolls or costumes? Do they want to know everything about dinosaurs?
Well, feed those passions and use it as an easy and free way to teach your preschooler. Create lessons on whatever it is that your child has an interest in. We all know that children like what they like and will remain interested and engaged much longer doing something they care about and have an interest in than doing something you've tried to force on them.
Another amazing, easy and free way to teach your preschooler is by reading to and with them. Even your most independent preschooler loves to be read to. Allow them to pick out the book that they want to read and ask them questions about the book while you read.
One thing my son and I had started doing as a part of his preschool lessons, and that we have continued, is to start a collection of themed books that you can use for special occasions or that can provide more information about things they have an interest in. For example: We have a pretty massive collection of books on love or Valentines day and we also have a growing collection of dinosaur and superhero books.
3. Allow your prechooler/preschoolers to come up with the questions that they want to find the answers to.
One of the most amazing, easy and free strategies for teaching my preschooler that I stumbled across is allowing him to come up with the questions he wants to find the answer to during our lessons. Some of the questions he's come up with, that we have researched and experimented to find the answer to, are: how do plants grow best, how big can turtles get, how do things thaw out faster and what is fog? His questions often surprise me. Even if it takes a little longer or a lot longer, allow your preschooler to guide their learning and try not to change or lead the questions they want to find the answers to.
4. Fill your preschool learning lessons with experiences that include the senses (listening, touching, seeing...) and movement
One of the most amazing and easy things that you can do to help your preschooler learn is to remember to include movement and activity in your lessons. An example of this would be as you learn about animals, for example turtles, you can practice walking like a turtle. You can try to predict the sounds they make and then, listen to books about turtles to see if you got it right.