Homeschooling Books
Charlotte Mason

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Gentle Preschool Activities

One of the questions I am always asked by moms with little ones is "What gentle preschool activities can I do with my child?"

My prayer is that this article heart will bring you a freedom in your spirit and a joy in your heart as you enjoy your youngest set in your homeschools. I pray that you will be set free from paradigms and methods that are false and see how God has equipped you to love and train and yes, educate your young ones.

If you are reading this article you have young children or homeschool older children, where there are preschoolers in the home. Most veteran homeschoolers will tell you that they found that waiting before entering any formal program was much more beneficial that rushing in at 4 or 5 years of age. Raymond and Dorothy Moore recommend that we start as late as 8 - 12 before any formal schooling begins.

Got babies or toddlers? Read about homeschooling babies and toddlers here!

The great outdoors

Charlotte Mason says to give our children a full six years in which the most part is spent outdoors. "In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mothers first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air."

Do you know what this says to me? Invest in a jungle gym instead of a pricey pre-school curriculum! Take them for walks in forests, mountains, scrubland, seashores - anywhere safe. Below follow some ideas for gentle preschool activities.

Round the block is a good place to go while supper is in the oven. What will your child learn as you go around the block?

  • Look at the numbers on the houses,
  • talk about the flowers, trees, squirrels and birds you see.
  • Make leaf rubbings, let them smell the flowers and leaves, talk about their senses.
  • Look at street signs - can you find the “S” for “Sarah”?

  • Do little science experiments by growing things with them. Garden with them, grow beans in cotton wool, cress in eggcups.

    Follow the suns movements through your house during the day. Look at the length of your shadows, trace them and watch them change.

    Make a seasons chart with your child:

  • Divide an A4 piece of board into 4. Draw 4 tree trunks on. Label each one in turn by a season.
  • For summer glue on cut out cardboard leaves and red apples, autumn - leaves in red, orange and yellow, winter leave bare and spring leaves in a bright green with pink “blossoms”.
  • Laminate and make a little cardboard arrow for your child to move when appropriate.
  • You can also make a daily weather chart much the same. Your nature walks should be full of noticing details about the coming seasons.

    For more ideas on nature study, take a look at my nature study article and my nature study book reviews.

    Reading til you drop...

    Read, read, read and read some more. We have been taking out some 36 books from the library every 2 weeks for many years. We have loved a lot and dislike a lot and come back to the favourites.

    For our favourites please see my picture story book reviews

    Read to your children when you can’t go out. Good books - not twaddle. I know even my children are attracted to the bright Disney and nonsense Dr Seuss books. Let them have their fix and then bring them back to the good stuff.

    Let them “write” their names in sand trays, with chalk on the paving, with paint on big sheets of paper. If parents focus too much on fine motor it can cause shortening of the muscles over the collarbone.

    Let them play with fridge magnets and make nonsense words together.

    I also recommend that you read the article entitled Why Read Aloud?

    Physical Activities

    Ready for more gentle preschool activities?

    Physical Activity is very important for little ones. So taking them outdoors again is imperative even during the winters. There is nothing like a brisk walk in the cold to work up an appetite before dinner.

    When inside let them dance to your favourite music anything from Hillsongs to Beethoven. Little girls love to dress up as ballerinas and I have loved watching our children, even our sons; interpret music in praise to God.

    Make believe is another firm favourite. Let them role-play and dress up, make tents under tables and chairs. A lot of their make believe play will be fed by the good books that you read to them.

    Cook with them

    Cook with them - not just kiddies food - the real stuff - nothing makes a little one so proud as saying "Dad I made the salad", bake with them and teach them home skills. Give them chores applicable for their age and train them properly in their tasks.

    A wonderful resource for you is Debbie's Kids Cooking Activities where she has little chef lessons, other cooking activities for each season, food lists and a great monthly newsletter to inspire you in the kitchen with your little ones.


    If we quickly just look at an average stay at home mom’s day there are so many wonderful gentle preschool activities and learning experiences that you can have with your young child:

    Training: Politeness, orderliness, attentiveness, kindness, gentleness, obedience etc

    Life skills: hygiene, cleaning rooms, shopping, cooking, baking, gardening, library visits.

    Spiritual life: Praying, reading the Bible, listening or singing gospel songs.

    Learning:Reading, moms groups, nature walks, round the block pre-dinner walks.

    Gross motor: gardening, jungle gyms or parks, learning to ride a bike.

    Exercise: Bikes, walks, beaching, swimming, ball games.

    Crafts: painting, play dough, recycled models, scrap booking.

    Play: imaginative, toys, friends, role playing.

    Out and About: communities around them, who the community helpers are e.g. policemen, car guards.

    I hope this has inspired you to really assess whether you need a preschool curriculum, just yet, or whether you can just allow life to be your child’s teacher for a little while longer!

    Vickie Farris, mom to 10, says : “I doubt that the ancient Hebrew mother, who taught her children as she baked bread, swept the house, and beat out the rugs had any notion that her people would still be living 2000 years later. Neither is it easy for us, as we teach our kids phonics and feed them peanut butter sandwiches to see just what God can do through our faithfulness. I firmly believe that through us God can touch future generations is mighty ways.” Her book is titled “A Mom Just Like You” and is reviewed on my homeschooling book reviews page.

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