Around here, September through April is our official “school year”.
For a little glimpse in to what that looks like for us, check out:
…and then throughout the summer months, I like to do age-appropriate unit studies that I know my kids will enjoy.
Some of the themes we’ve chosen include:
United States of America
I typically choose one theme each month from May through August. It serves as a great way to keep my little ones engaged throughout the summer months (adding a little structure to our day-to-day), but I’ll admit to you…I keep things pretty relaxed!
There is no set agenda…there is no specific curriculum being used…there are no goals or objectives other than I want my kiddos to have as many opportunities as possible to grow in their love of learning – something that can be done any time of year…with resources you already have in your home!
So what exactly do I do? Well, in this post, I want to give you an example of one of these pre-school units that I’m talking about – My hope is that it will provide you with a little inspiration of your own!
Let’s get started…
and the unit I’m going to share today is our farm unit!
Oh yeah, did I mention that this whole unit planning/prep thing can be done without you having to spend any money? Yep, that’s right!
After choosing the theme for the month, (and it can be whatever you want it to be. Remember, there are no rules!), I go through my house with a fine tooth comb – looking for anything and everything that will fit my theme.
I usually grab a large basket (or a plastic bin), and the first thing I do is look through my kids’ books! We keep books in our family room, in the playroom, and in our homeschooling area. I check all three of these location for books that will fit my theme, and I put them in my basket!
I also like to check the local library for books my kids have never seen or audio books they can listen to during rest time, before bed, or in the car = FREE resources! Yay!
Psst…these Mercy Watson books make for awesome read-alouds to little ones – something we like to do together before bedtime!
Next, I raid the puzzle racks and game closet! Do you have as many puzzles and games as we do?
Melissa and Doug products are some of our fav!
Next, I check my Homeschool Closet where I store items by subject/theme – and I typically have a few additional items that I can add to my basket!
Old MacDonald’s Farm Peek-a-Boo Activity (Free Printable!)
Melissa and Doug Scissor Skills: Barn Cutting Activity Included
After gathering these items, my next stop is Pinterest! Are there any awesome printable activities that I can use throughout the month? FREE printable activities, that is!
This FREE 25-Page Farm Printables Packet from Gift of Curiosity has been one of our favorites! My kids have especially loved all the practice with patterns!
Are there any fun projects and/or interesting experiments that I could do with my kids? I always check my boards for things I have pinned that will fit my theme!
Pinterest Boards by Season:
In addition, are there any on-line experiences I can give my kiddos? For example, during the farm unit, we watch a virtual tour of a dairy farm…yes, on YouTube. While I realize mamas must monitor YouTube closely, definitely check it out! It can be an incredible resource! Oh, and while you’re at it, check your app store for any apps that might fit your theme!
With one last look around the house, I typically run across a few more toys and activities that I can use with my theme! Puppets (to use while reading books aloud to my kids – They LOVE this!), lacing cards, soft books for my littlest (Yes, even the baby is included!), etc. You get the idea!
For this particular theme, I even raided our animal basket!
“Alright, ladies and gentlemen, farm animals on one side and zoo animals on the other!”
See? The perfect sorting activity!
So check out what I’ve done, I’ve gathered items from literally all around my house – taking things we already own – putting together a fantastic basket full of activities to use for our month’s theme!
I keep my themed basket close at hand – These days it’s usually in the kitchen, and each morning, we read a couple of the books and then hang out together – doing one or two of the hands-on activities!
In addition to this, I love to plan “Field Trips” that fit our theme! During the month we’re focused on the farm, we go to a farm…at least once…sometimes twice! We’ve toured a barn – We’ve picked our own food – We’ve fed farm animals, and my kids love every second. We typically plan these types of outings for the weekend – when daddy can be involved! We really enjoy learning together as a family!
Not sure where to start? Search on-line for related field trip opportunities! Google and Facebook will be your best resources for this! Next, ask around to see if your expert friends have any suggestions – Talk to other moms – Ask a teacher – Post a question on Facebook. People love sharing their great experiences with others who may also be interested!
So take a deep breath…don’t think too hard…definitely don’t put ANY pressure on yourself to go over the top…just brainstorm a few themes you would like to “study” with your little ones, and then start gathering a few resources to make it happen!
You don’t have to gather every farm book ever written. You don’t have to do every Pinterest craft you’ve ever pinned. You don’t have to take advantage of every resource that hits your inbox. Just choose a few things that you know your kids will love and have fun!
Where Do You Find Your Supplemental Resources?
Most of my educational supplies/toys have come from yard sales, thrift stores, and consignment sales! You can even find great resources at the dollar store/in the dollar spot! You do not have to spend a lot of money to provide great resources for your children.
Everyone’s resources are going to look different! Start with what you have and then build from there! Use Pinterest and YouTube and such for amazing FREE resources, and I promise you will be able to provide awesome learning opportunities for your littles without having to spend a dime!
Want to bring an extra level of organization to the process? I have created a Pre-school Unit Prep Checklist that I think you are going to love! It was designed with Pre-school Mamas in mind, and it is the perfect tool for brainstorming/organizing an awesome preschool unit!
It includes three sections:
with a checklist for each category and spacious note-making areas!
It even has a place for you to make notes about any thoughts, ideas, resources that you may want to consider for future units that you have in the back of your mind!
Gain access to the Prep Your Pre-school Unit Printable by entering your e-mail address below!
After signing up for this exclusive offer, the files will immediately be delivered to your inbox! I will send you a .pdf that you can print and start using right away, but I will also send you the original word document in case you want to make any changes/additions to your checklist/notetaking areas! Either way, once you’re ready, print your prep packet, attach that baby to a clipboard, and your planning can begin!
To receive your exclusive offer:
Enter your e-mail address in the space provided!