5 Things You Need to Begin Teaching Preschool at Home

The 5 things you need to begin teaching preschool at home may surprise you!

Our homeschool journey started 8 years ago and since then I’ve “preschooled” 3 of our children at home. I use quotation marks because preschool should look more like play and less like school in my opinion. Honestly, I’ve found you just don’t need a lot to successfully preschool your child. In fact, you may find that you don’t actually need to purchase a thing!

There’s really no need for a homeschool preschool curriculum. Young children really just need great opportunities for art activities, independent play, nature study, and field trips or experiences. Below you’ll find a list of resources you can use in your daily routine of learning at home.

1. Books

Read with your child! Get yourself or better yet, your child a library card and make it a weekly outing. You can check with your local library about requirements on getting a library card, but my girls all had library cards before they were school age. We made a big deal of it. They each had their own library bag to carry books. I bought canvas bags like these and they painted and personalized them. Each week we made a trip to the library to browse picture books. Your local library most likely has a weekly preschool story time with crafts. It’s also a great place to meet families of other preschoolers and begin building community. Over the years we’ve gotten to know our librarians who know us by name and recommend books we will enjoy. We check out loads of books and we read several books a day when they are preschool age!

We also love to check thrift stores for books and every now and then we order new books from Usborne or shop a used bookstore. You don’t need to spend a dime to get books into the hands of your kids. If you have a choice between reading a book to your child or an activity, always choose a book! Reading is the most important thing.

library cards for preschooling at home

2. Art Supplies

Nothing fancy, just some paper, crayons, paint, scissors, and glue will be sufficient. Let them be creative! It will get messy but nothing you can’t clean up together. We’ve made cards, paintings, bird feeders, puppet stages, cardboard houses, etc. There are plenty of things around the house that can provide hours of entertainment and creativity for your child. My kids can’t get enough tissue rolls and cardboard boxes. One of my personal favorites was the sailboat we made out of cardboard after reading aloud Swallows and Amazons. Preschoolers need time use their imagination! You may be surprised by what they make and how having ample time to create when they’re little helps develop skills that aid in communication and writing later in life. I will add that it’s nice to have a place to store your art supplies when your child isn’t creating. We have an antique cabinet that we’ve dubbed “the art cabinet” but a storage bin or a few drawers will work just perfect.

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girls painting at a table

3. Play

“Children are born with all the wonder they will need. Our job is not to take it away.”-Ainsley Arment from The Call of the Wild+Free.

Uninterrupted free play is incredibly important part of child development. Play allows children to use their imagination and creativity in interacting with the world around them. So many studies suggest 4-6 hours of play time per day yet our schools give less than 30 minutes for recess. I would encourage you to let them play. Don’t interrupt for a lesson or even for a read aloud. You’ll know when they are ready to move on to something else. Toys, blocks, and dress up clothes are great but let your child use his or her imagination in making up games.

GET OUTSIDE and encourage your preschooler to spend hours out there every day. “If kids can consume media through screens 1200 hours a year on average then the time is there and at least some of it can and should be shifted towards a more productive and healthy outcome. -Ginny Yurich, founder of 1000 Hours Outside

Let them play!

girls exploring in a creek

4. Nature Study

Studying nature can be as simple as walking out to your backyard for a leaf to identify and glue. As a matter of fact many experts recommend you study your immediate surroundings as the best place to start. Lying on a blanket and looking at the clouds, finding a flower, picking up a new rock for their collection, catching an insect and drawing it, etc. I could go on forever. There are some really great nature study resources and I’ll link a few below but honestly, for preschool you just need to get outside everyday. Rain or shine. Hot or cold. The world is ours to explore and our children are fascinated by it! Trust me, you’ll learn just as much as they will as the years go by.

A few nature study resources…

nature study for preschooling at home

5. Field Trips

Field Trip Friday is our favorite day of the week! We’ve been adventuring weekly since we started homeschooling. It’s not always on a Friday but we do make it a point to get out of the house and into our community. Field trip ideas include…

  • the library, post office, or fire department
  • a local park
  • a short “hike” or walk
  • picnics or even lunch out
  • playdates
  • museums, science centers, or theatre
  • seasonal activities like the apple orchard or pumpkin patch
  • local farms

Really, anything can be a field trip. We’ve even gone to the grocery store and ran errands if that’s what was needed. The important thing is to give your child experiences. Again, little or no money is needed. Just time and energy to explore the community around you.

field trips for preschooling at home

Additional Homeschool Encouragement

If you’re looking for more homeschool ideas or inspiration, I’d encourage you to subscribe to my homeschool newsletter below and share with a friend.

You can also check out our homeschool day in the life here and if you’re looking for a simple and practical way to organize your days, you’ll want to check out my Simple Homeschool Planner.

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