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Thoughts, experiences, and helpful tips on raising a Preschooler.
Colorful 12 Piece Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle Sets
9/1/2017

Melissa and Doug 4-in-1 Wooden Jigsaw PuzzlesThese puzzle sets are perfect for little preschool hands and minds. We got a Pet set as well as a Vehicles set for our little boy. Each set comes with 4 different 12-piece puzzles. The puzzle pieces are made of wood, so they are sturdy and easy for little hands to pick up and work with. The pictures are simple, bright and colorful, which really appeals to young preschoolers.

When we first got these Melissa and Doug 4-in-1 wooden jigsaw puzzles, he needed our help to put them together. But after some practice, he is able to do them himself.  Since there are only 12 pieces for each puzzle, a preschooler can feel successful putting these together. Our son enjoys putting together each puzzle one by one, until they are all done.

Puzzles are a great way for a child to play while also building their spatial awareness and problem solving skills. It challenges them, and with an age appropriate puzzle, it can help them feel a sense of accomplishment when they complete the puzzle. Our son likes to line up the puzzles we can admire them all together.

Magna-Tiles Building Set
8/17/2017

Magna TilesThe Magna-Tiles building toy is made up of geometrically shaped magnets covered in brightly colored plastic. 

It is a great hands on toy that allows the creative brain to develop as children use their imaginations and sharpen their spatial awareness to build countless structures. 

It also wakes up the logical side of the brain as the child studies the shapes and internally calculates how they line up and compare with each other. 

And then you've got science, magnetism, in this toy as well. What doesn't it have? 

You could take a little break while your preschooler plays with this. You'll be amazed at what you come back to when your child says, "Come look what I made!" Older children love this as well! In this photo, our 7 year old made a castle.

This particular set is a little pricey, but you can find other off brand sets that are just as fun. 

You might even be tempted to take a crack at building something cool yourself. Or it could turn into one of those priceless moments where you sit and play with your kid. 

Clean-up is fun and easy too. Our son loves sticking all the like shapes together, and it makes putting the stacks in the box that much easier.

"If you build it, he will come" - Field of Dreams

Drawings of a 4-1/2 yo Girl
9/14/2014

The love of girly things and mythical creatures has inspired drawings to take on new shapes. At 4-1/2yo, Baby Bel just started, this past summer, drawing mermaids, unicorns, rainbows, and butterflies. Faces haven't quite graduated to any new levels. I suppose they will continue to be "stick figures" and standard smiley faces unless serious interest in more realistic drawing occurs. Still, I am quite proud of these drawings and continue to encourage her art work.

Mermaid

 
Unicorn


Rainbow
   
 
Butterfly
 
Field

 Family
I love how they all have clothes and shoes and different hair.




Homeschool for a 2-1/2 year old
8/5/2014

Hard to believe that Baby J is a preschooler now. He is going to be 3 this fall/winter. So homeschool activities have begun. Flash cards have been ok for learning letters and numbers. But they are a little boring for the 2-3yo. Still, I have used them because they are easy to pull out and also to take places.

The Melissa & Doug Alphabet Sound Puzzle has been a fun one for him. It is a colorful wooden puzzle that says each letter when you put it in place. This has been doable for Baby J lately. And he enjoys doing puzzles. I ask him what each letter is before he puts it in place.

I've also started doing worksheets with him because his big sister does worksheets, and he wants to do whatever she does. I am using the Summer Bridge Activities Grades PK-K with him now (as I used for his sister a year ago). It seems to be a good place to start. There is shape recognition, coloring, basic tracing, counting, like objects, finding similar and different objects, basic mazes, and more. So far, he has been able to do the activities in the book, with a little help.

Dinosaur Dig
8/5/2014

Today in Homeschool, we studied dinosaurs again. I had gotten this dinosaur sand toy set and wanted to use if for a dinosaur dig in our sandbox out back. I started off by talking to my 4yo about dinosaurs and how we know they were here verses other animals that we have seen at the zoo.

Then I read the kids a book about dinosaurs. I like The Day of the Dinosaur. It is a little outdated but it is very good for this age. It talks about a few different dinosaurs, what they are like, what they eat, why we don't see them anymore, and how scientists know they existed. It got the kids all prepared for their dinosaur dig.

Last of all, I let them watch a couple of short Youtube videos of real dinosaur digs.

Then I let them wait inside while I burried the dinosaur sand molds in our sand box in the back yard. I gave them each some digging tools and let them have at it. They had lots of fun doing the dig and my 4yo wanted to go digging some more after all the pieces were found. She wanted to dig all over the back yard.

Finally when they came in, my 4 yo told me that she didn't think the dinosaurs died in the sandbox and that I put the pretend bones there. And she could tell they were not real dinosaur bones. She asked if someday we could go on a real dinosaur dig.

Legos
12/23/2013

Blocks have been the type of toy that has stood the test of time in our household. They are often touted as being one of the best toys for children. At first, I thought they we boring toys. But after 4 years, I realize that they have been a go-to for myself as well as for Dad and the kids when its playtime.

Since Daddy has taken a strong interest in legos lately, they have been a big hit with the kiddos as well. We have a "kids" lego bin, which includes spare parts from various lego kits, miscellaneous lego figures, as well as a couple of "pick a brick" selections that we have bought.

I was a bit worried about our daughter's creativity for a little while, since she seems to need me to play with her and interact with her when she plays with her dolls and other toys. (As opposed to her little brother who seems to engage himself deeply in finding different and "out-of-the-box" ways of playing with toys.) But she has surprised me lately, with the interesting structures she has built with this spare parts lego collection.

Here is one of her latest creations:

Not sure quite what it is, but I'd call it art :-) It was something she built using her imagination, so I'm thrilled about it!


The Cinderella Castle Lego Duplo Kit is another favorite right now. We had bought this within the past year, but put it away for a while, and recently took it back out. And it is a big hit, now.

Our daughter, who just turned 4, can now build it almost entirely by herself by following the directions that came with the kit. After building it, she enjoys playing with the Cinderella and prince figures that it came with. There are beds, a staircase, table and chairs, and other fun parts to this castle.

Her little brother enjoys playing with it, too. But being only 2 years old, he ends up eventually collapsing the castle.

But its lots of fun, and makes me feel like buying a hundred more of these Duplo building sets. It looks like they are phasing this one out, though. And coming out with a new one, that is not duplos, but regular legos for ages 6-12. Its called Cinderella's Romantic Castle. I put it on her wish list for later :-)

We also have the Lego Duplo Creative Cakes set, which we received as a gift for our daughter's 3 year birthday. It has been a favorite toy for both her and her brother this past year. They love building all kinds of different cake creations with it. It comes with candles, frosting, cupcake cups, and more. And it got little toddler J to practice singing "Happy Birthday" to all the members of our family!

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Featured Preschool Blog Articles

Evolution of Drawing Faces  - 10/26/2013
Homeschool for a 2-1/2 year old  - 8/5/2014
Dinosaur Dig  - 8/5/2014
Legos  - 12/23/2013
Halloween Drawings  - 11/19/2013


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