Sunday, August 9, 2009

Homeschool Activity Center Prepping

Keagan is officially beginning "preschool" this year. Of course, we've been doing little Montessori-style activities with him since he began crawling around, but I've been slowly working up a "collection" of activities for him. I really don't believe in buying expensive products when inexpensive things will do. You may not see the value in some of these items, but, with children, it's not the ginormous, flashy toys that really help them learn and grow, it's those inexpensive things we all have around the house- boxes, blocks, paper, kitchen tools, twigs, and millions of other items!

Here are some photos of a few of the things I've put together for Kbaby.

I bought these mini-blocks for under two bucks at Hobby Hobby. I had this metal tray hanging around the house. Sometimes K turns it over and sticks magnets to it. I painted some of the wooden cubes (red and yellow), but it's quite a tedious task (painting a few sides of each cube, letting them dry before painting the other sides), so I'll finish painting them later. I want to leave some plain. The natural wood color is appealing, but I love pops of color. All of the kids tested them out today, and I'm really interested to see what they work them into as time passes. So far, they've been dice, ice, and little castle bricks!

This is the beading tray with various beads- some are plastic, some are wooden. One of the activities I'd really like to do with the kids is make beads from a flour dough. I think they'd really like it, and the beads could be used for various activities. This activity (putting beads on a pipe cleaner) helps build the skills needed to write.

This is a super inexpensive activity but kids love it. I need to find some small tongs for K to transfer these colorful marbles to the ice tray. Still... picking them up with his fingers is good for him too. A spoon would be great, he definitely needs to work on using utensils. He pretty much has the fork down.

These shapes aren't new (you've probably seen them in some of my other photos), and neither is the little bucket, but I finally paired the two together. It's so cute to see K tote this around. Sometimes he leaves a trail of shapes.... like Hansel and Gretel. (Hehe!)

I just love finding stuff around the house that works for our homeschool, and I love open-ended toys! Really fosters their imaginations!

A few photos of Merika and Nolyn's stuff. I really don't have it all put together just yet, so "stay tuned" and you'll see more as we progress into school.

This is the case of chalkboards, obviously. I have about 5-6 chalkboards for the kids to use. The small ones are great for teaching them to write capital letters (Handwriting Without Tears uses this as a tool). The one on the right is from Dollar Tree.

I prefer to use chalkboards because they save paper. I mean, come on. I am not going to save every single handwriting paper. A paper a day for five days a week for who knows how many years... it adds up. My mom just bought them dry erase boards, one side is blank and the other side has the lines (like that chalkboard up there does).

And this is just half of our watercolor stash. The rest doesn't fit in this... so it's at the top of the pantry. (Actually, my aunt gave me a bunch, and we accumulated a dozen or so more from those too-good-to-pass-up back2school sales over the years.)

My aunt gave me these. They are really great for teaching fractions. The clear sheets have lines on them, and you place them over the colored squares. The strips are "fractions" of different sizes.

This is the kid's Math tray. The card (as pictured) goes in the first section. The top number goes into the second section, and they either take beans out (subtract) and put them in the third, or in the case of addition, count out the second number (in beans) in the third section and then transfer them to the middle. In both cases, the answer to the math problem ends up in the middle section. Get all that?

I'll post more photos as we get more organized.

How are you preparing for the new school year? Are you refreshing things?


anny said...

I like your homeschooling supplies. What about just dying those wooden blocks to expedite the process?

anny said...

Oh, one more idea for the big kids - instead of an ice tray, try to make a ten-frame to help foster counting to ten, addition and subtraction to ten, multiplication, counting by twos and fives (to some degree), etc...

Amy said...

It's not exactly my homeschool preparations, but I did just blog about what I've been doing to keep my nearly 3 and nearly 5 year olds busy.

Since we're expecting baby #3 this fall and since my son won't officially be ready for kindergarten by public school standards until next year even though he is sailing through the Hooked on Phonics program I picked up cheap at a discount store (He asked to get reading lessons) we're being very relaxed with 'preschool' for the both of them. (I'll be in trouble teaching them to avoid run on sentences eventually)

They've got a lot of activities they can do and we're big on so-called Practical Life stuff but in an informal, real life way. I too love using inexpensive, common materials for my kids. And we've got those chalkboards too. Keeping it simple to avoid burn out, big messes, and a cranky mom.

I love those wooden shape blocks you've got!

Sisterlisa said...

Now this is so cool! Thanks for sharing!