Early Childhood Home Learning Home School Nature

Early Childhood
Home Learning

My First Love

The father in our next door neighbors family worked at a children's residential facility in Rochester, New York. The mom was a nurse. Both of our families had a policy to finish our daily chores before play.

But I loved hearing Jack's stories about his job. Saturdays and Wednesday was his day off. So they were my favorite days. I can not remember a time in my life that I didn't want to be like him and work with kids. He was an amazing  role model. Thank You Jack Ingerick for being my inspiration for a 40+ years career. 



As a former private school administer, can tell you that I would consider any alternative to public school right now. I would struggle with the vaccination issues as well as the risk of exposure. But I am most concerned with they way they are headed pertaining to curriculum. I totally understand your concern.

My favorite curriculums are an adapted version of Waldorf, Montesorri, Hands on, and unit studies. The school that I founded used a multiple intelligence curriculum that I loved designing the curriculum for. My favorite parts of that approach was the recognition that curriculum revisits the same topics several times through out their school years. It is just presented with more details as they get older. It also recognizes that kids with Dyslexia or difficulty reading can learn and excel without a textbook.

As a parent, you want the best for your children, and this includes their education. Some parents assume that homeschooling requires superhuman patience or a special degree, but it is not as hard as you think to provide your child a quality education. Although homeschooling may not work for everyone, there are academic benefits, plus a whole lot more. Experts generally recognize that most students fit into three basic types of learning styles:

  1. Visual learning style. Visual learners make up around 60-65% of the population, and these students prefer visuals like diagrams, symbols, graphs, and charts.

  2. Auditory learning style. Auditory learners make up about 30% of the population, and they absorb material best by hearing it. They tend to read aloud and do well in oral discussions.

  3. Kinesthetic learning style. Kinesthetic or tactile learners make up around 5% of the population. They learn best by doing: touching, experimenting, moving, or some kind of physical activity. Read More on learning styles in the last section of this page.

    Homeschooling has become extremely popular in recent years. Many parents are concerned about the lack of moral training in public schools, worry about school safety, or would like to take responsibility for their child’s education. If you are a parent who is considering homeschooling, there are more resources and support than ever before. This includes help with curriculum, record keeping, legal issues, concerns about educating students with special needs, and much more. Families who see the benefits are wise to seriously consider homeschooling this year and beyond.

Yes! You can homeschool your preschooler

If it's an option for one of the parental units to stay home with the kids, you should consider skipping sending your younger kids to preschool.

We're very, very fortunate to be able to do this, so this year my husband and I made the controversial decision to take our 4-year-old out of preschool and get him ready for Big School at home. 

When I told people that I was quitting my job and that we were doing this, they were all either in awe or thought I was crazy. But the one thing they could all agree on was that spending this time with my kids would not be something I would regret. 

There are 6 milestones that we need to make sure they reach to become ready for public school kindergarten:

  • Pencil grip: This doesn't need to be perfect as it's only established properly at 10 years old.

  • Shape recognition: It's the basis for a lot of mathematical concepts as well as helping your children read.

  • Auditory analysis and synthesis: How the brain perceives what it hears. This comes in to play when putting sounds together when learning to read.

  • Emotional readiness: Being responsible enough to do work if he's not interested in it, can he tell the teacher when something is wrong, rather than sit with it, can your child tell when something is a big deal or not and conflict resolution.

  • Classification: The ability to group things, for example, that dogs, cats, fish and hamsters are all pets.

  • Bilateral integration: Simply meaning, is your child able to cross over his midline.

To be honest I felt pretty confident that I could teach him all of these things given the time and opportunity.

There are tons of preschool curricula available online but I knew that I wanted the curriculum I chose to be play-based, not have a lot of preparation and most of all, be fun! I did a lot of research and explored so many curricula before settling on one that was good for us and not too expensive. All in all, getting the curriculum and buying the supplies we needed came to about 1 month's worth of his preschool fees.

You don't need a lot to teach your preschooler because they're still learning really basic concepts and all of these things can be taught just doing everyday chores and using things you probably already have at home.

I'm also able to teach him life skills that seem simple to us but are pretty important like cutting apples, cleaning himself after using the toilet, making himself a sandwich, making his bed etc. It's also fun to find lessons in everything we do keeping in mind the six milestones I want him to achieve.

Exploring the Targeted Skills in Playing Preschool

A playing Preschool Years 1 & 2 introduces children to a variety of topics and skills, specifically selected to form a foundation for future learning. These foundational learning skills build background knowledge and experiences to support developing brains.

Alphabet Knowledge

Rather than focusing on memorization, the emphasis is on phonemic awareness, growing deep relationships with the alphabet, and seeing letters as building blocks of words.

Comprehension Skills

The curriculum targets comprehension skills aimed at helping kids understand what has been read through predicting, classifying, and answering questions.

Number Sense

Playing Preschool takes number sense beyond counting and explores quantity, subitizing, joining numbers, and understanding the ways numbers are used.

Math Skills

In addition to number sense, Playing Preschool explores other important mathematical concepts like graphing, measuring, sorting, geometry, and patterns.

Recall & Retell

Understanding how to recall information and retell it in sequence is used across school subjects, from writing to reading to science. Playing Preschool develops this skill.

Life Skills

A playing Preschool allows children space to develop a variety of skills that will be used throughout their life, such as pouring, scooping, measuring, and gluing.

A Playing Preschool Focuses on Experience and Exposure.

Playing Preschool introduces topics that will support your child’s overall knowledge and development, such as exploring the five senses, understanding relationships in systems, and even grasping the plant life cycle.

A primary goal of Playing Preschool is to build your child’s background knowledge and broaden their foundation for learning. Playing Preschool exposes kids to various ideas and skills that will stay with them throughout their lives. As children develop skills in language patterns, numeracy, and phonemic awareness, they’re also building lifelong knowledge about types of weather, properties of matter, and animal classifications.

It is critical for children to learn about the world around them in addition to school-based skills like number sense and letter recognition. Playing Preschool emphasizes this balance.

Choice of Curriculum

If you are a parent that is working, consider programs that were established prior to the Covid Pandemic. I highly recommend Florida Virtual School for those who live in Florida. Those who are out side Florida, K12 online public school alternative has actual qualified and experienced instructors to assist your children when they are needed. The students are far better taken care of than your local schools version of homeschool. Just my opinion...

Forest or Waldorf school activities for toddlers and preschool

the forest classroom

 Here’s a great collection of forest school activities for toddlers and preschooler.

forest school activities, toddler forest school, forest preschool ideas, outdoor learning, outdoor classroom ideas

Forest school activities for toddlers and preschool

There’s a growing number of schools and play groups which are taking place outdoors in the woods.

At these forest schools children, dressing in warm or waterproof clothing to match the weather, spend most, if not all, of their day outside, playing and learning in nature.

Some nurseries and play groups are designed so all the activities are outside. And more and more traditional child-care settings are creating woodland corners in their grounds, so children can spend part of their day getting the benefits of forest school.

Being outdoors lets children have open access to fresh air and lots of space to run around.

It promotes a connection to nature and a love of the environment.

All the traditional areas that we want our children to start learning about – like language and math skills – are still encouraged and developed, but the children get to use sticks and fir cones and leaves as their materials.

Forest schools ideas for toddlers and preschoolers

If you have a little woodland pixie who loves to play outdoors, here’s a wonderful collection of forest school ideas for toddlers are preschool that you can use to take learning into the woods.

Measure leaves.

Trace the veins on leaves.

Make a leaf crown.

Build your own family tree.

Print in play dough with nature finds.

Find out what lives in soil.

Print art with pebbles.

Make nature shapes.

Paint sticks.

Count with pebbles and sticks.

Learn the parts of a plant.

Go on a leaf hunt – free printable!

Go fishing for leaves.

Roller paint with conkers.

Make clay faces.

Make conker caterpillars.

Create nature suncatchers.

Collect a forest alphabet.

Paint with branches.

Make art with flowers.

Weave around conkers.

Make leaf suncatchers.

Make leaf rubbing plates.

Create leaf art in twig frames.

Make nature faces.

Practice lacing with leaves.

free forest school lesson ideas

Free Forest School and Garden Classroom resources!

If you're looking for nature study lessons, arts and craft projects, campfire recipes, foraging ideas, outdoor math and literacy activities, outdoor games, and ways to explore forests, gardens, and outdoor spaces - think of NurtureStore as your forest fairy godmother!

Whether you're in a forest school or outdoor classroom, running a school gardening club, bringing nature lessons into your class, home educating with nature, or wanting to connect with the great outdoors at the weekend, you will love the Seasons School ideas.


Recommended Content

Raising Children That Love Nature

“Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.” (Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods)

Recently I was asked to give a talk to my church’s moms group about tips for hiking with children and nature engagement. I believe that instilling my children with a love of the natural world is one of the best gifts I can give them as a mom–we have an established family rhythm that includes time spent in nature as a priority for all of us.

Below I’ll be sharing several tips on how I go about inspiring a love of nature in the hearts of my preschooler and toddler through the following:

  • Hiking

  • Play, Arts, and Learning

  • Reading Stories

I will be sharing personal tips but also lots of resources and have a large picture book list at the end of this post, with referral links included.

Tips for Hiking With Kids

hiking with kids
Start Small —

Don’t try to do a 6 mile strenuous hike on your first adventure with kids, and definitely not if you have a baby with you and/or a resistant-to-hiking kiddo (or kiddos!). There’s nothing wrong with a short hike well-enjoyed.

There’s also much to be said for staying local, staying close to home, and even in your own neighborhood. Don’t feel like you have to drive an hour away to get some amazing hiking adventure in. One of my favorite naturalists, Wendell Berry, has said “If you don’t know where you’re from, you’ll have a hard time saying where you’re going.” Get to know deeply where you are from, get to know deeply what is around you. Cherish time spent nearby and save yourself the car time.

And … repeat the same simple hikes over and over with your kids! Do the same hike throughout seasonal changes (if you have them) and observe what changes occur. Let your kids take ownership and lead the way once they are familiar with the trail.

Use Your Resources —

Go to Nature Centers or Visitor Centers! Also, be sure to check the website of the place you plan to visit. Often they list helpful information for nature studies–for example, what wildflowers are currently in bloom. Websites will also have specific safety tips for that area you will want to be mindful of. If you are going to a National Park or somewhere with a lot of trail options, take the time to investigate those trails in advance–often you can find websites that will give good detail on family-friendly hikes. You can know in advance what to expect on a given trail and prepare your kids for potential highlights (e.g. a waterfall, a cave, or an arch).

Get the Kids Out of Their Heads —

Sometimes we legitimately get tired legs or are hungry or sleepy … but sometimes the desire to NOT hike can just be a matter of a mental block. You’re too much in your head. I’m going to share some tricks we use with our kids when those moments occur. Note that many of these tricks are things my husband does with adults when he leads backpacking trips!

Play games

  • “I SPY” is always a hit

  • Scavenger hunts, for example:Find 10 pinecones or find 5 squirrelsFind as many different colors as you canFind as many different leaves as you can

  • We also sing “We’re going on a _____ hunt” from the We’re Going on a Bear Hunt rhyme for a lot of things. On one of our recent hikes in the Smoky Mountains I was pretty sure we would see a salamander so I sang “We’re going on a salamander hunt / We’re going to catch a big one … “

“Trick” them with encouragment

  • “We’re almost there” is the vaguest expression ever, but IT WORKS! If you’re all feeling a little tired and like you’re not going to make it, just anyone saying “We’re almost there!” can be the psychological help your kids and you need to keep going.

  • Talk. What about?? Anything!!! Just talking to your kids about literally anything can help get their minds off of the my-legs-are-tired funk.

Engage all the senses

  • I will often play “quiet game” with my kids where I just say, “STOP, quiet game!” and they know to stand still and be quiet and listen. After a little bit we talk about what we are hearing.

  • Smell flowers

  • Rub your fingers over leaves

  • Make weather observations, e.g. temperature, wind, cloud clover, and sun position

If your kid wants to stop every 2 seconds and observe EVERYTHING

  • Try letting them collect ONE thing that strikes them and have them hold that item the whole way (or as long as they can). Sticks or rocks are perfect for this. “Let’s take that stick to the creek at the end of the trail and throw it in!

  • This is where your research pays off: what’s something your child will be excited about seeing further down the trail? Talk about reaching that point and encourage them to keep moving.

  • You’ll have to figure it out on that trail on that particular day how to find a balance between (a) being present to your surroundings & slowly observing the natural world and (b) actually hiking and moving forward to your destination. This “groove” will likely be different every time you hike!

Be prepared for meltdowns and to be met with resistance

  • You have to go with the flow. Sometimes you will want to hike further than is appropriate for your kids on that day at that particular location. Be flexible and try to quit before you all get to the point where you are totally exhausted and cranky and may not want to repeat another hike.

Pack as Little as Possible —

The reality with hiking for parents is that you are probably going to be carrying your kids in some fashion for at least some of the time if not all of the time. Maybe you have a baby in a small carrier or a toddler in a hiking backpack or your normally-great-hiker of a kid decides he just cannot walk the last quarter mile back to the car. SO, given that, you don’t also want to be bogged down with a ton of gear in your backpack. Keep the “stuff” to a minimum. But, on the flip-side: don’t be the person that heads out on the trail totally unprepared.

Right now with our 4 and 2 year old we have our 4 year old hike the whole way (with minimal carrying if needed for encouragement or over a particularly tricky or strenuous area). The 2 year old rides in our hiking backpack and we let her hike if she’s interested but don’t force it. We often stop for at least one snack & water break and let her get out of the backpack and explore at that point. In my opinion, a good hiking backpack is not something to go budget on—the cheaper options are cheap for a reason. It is worth the money for the sake of your personal comfort (and sanity) while hiking!

Here’s what I always bring:

  • Plenty of water & snacks

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Trekking poles or find a walking stick. We have extendable trekking poles so if my kids don’t feel like using them, I can adjust it back to my height and then I get to have a turn. It does work just fine to use only one trekking pole at a time, so right now we own only one pair for the 4 of us.

  • Change of clothes if you plan on getting wet or muddy (and you should plan on it!). I usually don’t bother with a towel for the hike itself — though you could bring a compact camping towel pretty easily!

  • Rain coats if needed (luckily these are light and pack down small)

  • Zip loc bags for collecting nature curiosities

  • A couple Band-aids

  • Small batch of either tissues or wipes

  • My husband carries a pocket knife which is also handy

  • Camera

I leave as much as I can in the car:

  • Bug repellant & sunscreen

  • *Another* change of clothes including dry socks & shoes

  • Towels

  • First-aid kit

  • More water and more snacks!

If I have the ability to do a stroller “hike” I also might bring:

  • Magnifying glass

  • Butterfly net

  • Binoculars

  • Scavenger hunts I create

  • Several bags for collecting nature treasures & scissors or clippers

And when I had a baby and a toddler (my kids are 19 months apart) and wanted to do a nature walk with just me and the two of them??? — I wore the baby and pushed my son (a toddler) in the stroller and encouraged him to walk when he could. As he got better and better at walking, I transitioned to going places where I could still wear my youngest in a carrier and let my son hike [to help transition to non-stroller hikes]. We kept it less than a mile for sure to build confidence, and I didn’t want to be in a situation where I’d have to carry both kids! We gradually worked up to longer hikes, and now my son can make it several miles without being carried.

Make It About Togetherness —

Go for weekly or bi-weekly hikes as a part of your built-in family time. Or, share the fun and spend the hike with friends! Children hiking with other children in a variety of age groups can be so special: being in nature levels the playing field. No one has to fight over the same toy or feel left out if they aren’t “big enough” — everyone can grab a good stick, stomp in the same creek, and run free! Also, the kids that are better hikers can help in a huge way to encourage the younger kids that may not be so great at it yet. Your child may be better encouraged by an older friend than they are by you.

Set Expectations & Rules —

One rule I set for my kids in the deep woods: stay on the trail unless you are with us and we say it is okay. Around us there is poison ivy right at my kid’s eye level. We do go off-trail but they are right with us at those points and it’s usually not in the summer. At National Parks you are not allowed to go off trail.

Another rule I might establish for the day — don’t get wet … yet. We recently went on a several mile hike up a mountain in the Smokies and on the way up the mountain (at the beginning of our hike) I told my kids not to get in the water at all and that we were going to do that on the way back down. I did not want them starting the hike out with water-logged shoes & wet shorts that were going to be bothering them the whole hike. On the way back, closer to the end of the trail, we let them get wet to their heart’s content.

If you have older kids you’ll probably want to set some boundaries as far as how far ahead they can go without you on a trail. For example, stay within hearing distance: if they can’t hear you they have gone too far.

Check safety warnings at your location before you set out — there could be important information to know regarding creature dangers or bad weather or trail hazards.

Are there rules at your location that you need to follow regarding picking flowers or taking rocks? National Parks are very stringent regarding collecting nature items or going off-trail. Smaller natural areas like your local nature preserve may not be so stringent (but no doubt have rules in place). The At Home Podcast has this absolutely wonderful episode entitled Hands-On Nature that deals with this very subject. It’s worth listening to and forming a set of guidelines for your family based on what you feel is appropriate.

Retell Stories —

When you return from your hike, tell stories about your day! Let your kids engage in the retelling with your prompting. Tell them the names of the trails. Create family memories. Discuss your personal highs and lows of the day. Journal about your day together. Create maps with your children of your hike — it doesn’t have to be accurate or elaborate–just do a simple line drawing of a trail and draw different highlights along the line (e.g. this is when we crossed that cool bridge; this is where we stopped to throw rocks in the creek; this is where we saw that deer, etc.)

“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist.” (Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods)

Camp & Hike —

A lot can be said about camping, but I’ll just leave it simple: camping can be such a wonderful family adventure! The best way to learn how to do it with your family is to just try it out and learn from that first experience (probably filled with lots of mistakes) to help make the next camping experience even better! Learn by doing. You don’t have to do backcountry camping–start out car camping if you’ve never done it but would like to.

FYI — I have a whole blog post on Camping activities for Preschool for inspiration and fun (which can be done at home). If camping adventures seem too much to tackle right now, just set up a tent in your yard and pretend! My kids went NUTS this summer when we set up the tent in the yard for a week — so much fun and we didn’t have to pack any gear up.

Bringing Nature Engagement Back Home: Play, Arts, and Learning

Simplify Nature Identification —

“One of my students told me that every time she learns the name of a plant, she feels as if she is meeting someone new. Giving a name to something is a way of knowing it.” (Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods)

Remember: the best teachers in the world say “I don’t know.” You do not have to know all of the trees, bird, flowers, etc. that you see on a hike. You just have to be interested. Display a sense of wonder at the infinite possibilities for discovery in nature, and that interest will rub off on your kids.

I have a 4 year old and 2 year old and both can correctly ID a few trees by bark or leaves, several wildflowers, and several birds (some by sound). How?

  1. Experiential or hands-on learning when possible:Learn by being immersed in nature. This doesn’t mean intense and long hikes: just be outside and observe what is happening in the natural world.Nature Centers are great for up-close hands-on learningFor birds, at home I let my kids use our Sibley postcards as flashcards. We also just bought my son this awesome bird song ID book. We connect dots between our at-home learning and what we see in the wild.For another example of some hands-on learning + play, we have these animal track rocks and use them in play dough a lot. I created a real-life 3-Part Card set to go with these rocks — if interested you can have that PDF here.When feasible, let your kids handle (or gently touch if rare or fragile) the items you are learning about.

  2. RepetitionI do not expect my 4 year old to learn a new leaf or a new tree if we discuss it one time. I wouldn’t expect that for myself or any adult! If we are discussing a particular tree, for example, I point it out day after day on our hikes, in different ways in different settings (e.g. I’ll pick up a leaf one day, point out the bark another day, find a fruit or flower another day).

  3. Keep it smallI don’t break out the ENTIRE tree guide or overwhelm the kids by naming every tree we see on our hike. So, instead, I’ll focus on maybe one or two trees at a time. For wildflowers, this past spring I created a one-page printout of maybe 15 wildflowers I knew that we would see where we live. We made it in to a scavenger hunt and crossed of the flowers when we saw them. We’d focus on finding one or two on a given hike.

Obviously for older kids than mine you’ll have more opportunity to go more in depth here. Hopefully you will get to a point where your kids will be able to ID many more birds and trees and flowers than you know and get to inform you what they are on your hikes! I look forward to the day when my kids know more than me!

Our Favorite Nature Guides:

Nature Journaling —

The following resources have been incredibly helpful to nurture my own understanding of nature journaling and to provide that kick of inspiration needed to begin my own adventure:

Eventually I will include my children in this in a more purposeful way. For now I share with them what I’m doing, and enlist their help in creating memories for me to journal.

Build Nature Collections —

I have been extremely grateful to have purchased the Curiosities: The Guide ebook by Angie Warren. This has been a great source of inspiration to get my collection in order and not just sitting in a bin where none of us can enjoy it. It has also inspired me to start collecting things I never knew I wanted like small animal bones or dead insects!

Curiosities: The Guide has an excellent book and resource list which I will not copy here, but I did want to share the few books that I have perused this year that have helped inspire me to build our own family’s cabinet of curiosities using all of our nature finds.

When we go out in nature now, my kids are all-in for collecting items. They get so excited and love it (we call anything we find “nature treasure”). I’m planning to get each of them a tea box to store their own personal treasures in.

Of course: we do not take everything! We are definitely thoughtful about it as we curate our own family collection. For me, the items collected are not just items: they are memories. I don’t just want random things that look cool: I want the treasures that remind all of us of our family story.

Arts & Handcrafts —

With a 4 and a 2 year old we cannot do a lot of handcrafts quite yet because I want their fine motor skills to develop more in practical ways (e.g. pencil grip & scissor skills), but there definitely are some simpler handcraft options out there with adult-supervised help that kids their age can really enjoy. My goal has been to include natural materials in to our crafting and arts projects in a variety of ways—it can be a way to extend the outdoor experience to the indoors. We can collect something one day that we use a few days later to make something: the kids are then a part of the whole process and (hopefully) are growing  a love for the *process* of making things.

Here are a few arts & handcrafts I’ve been able to introduce to my kids:

Dipping leaves in wax

We use this beeswax

Sun art prints

We use this sun art paper

Natural material critters

Book: Nature Anatomy

Flower press

Book: Farm Anatomy

Leaf threading

With a plastic yarn needle

Nature paintbrushes

Or attach flowers to sticks

Loom weaving

Stick painting

Leaf rubbings

Rock painting

Make little creatures

Nature prints in clay

We use air-dry clay

Leaf collection loom

Another loom option


Create small worlds

Natural materials play


Loose parts play

Play dough + nature items


Process art

Acorns + paint + fingers

Here are some resources for handcrafts and nature-inspired art and play with kids that I’ve found useful and inspiring:


This is the bin of loose nature parts I keep available for play indoors and outdoors. It’s a repurposed cutlery tray. We most often use this when playing with play dough, but we also use it when playing in an outdoor “mud kitchen” or “water kitchen” — tree parts and rocks become pretend food. The possibilities are endless. 

“A ‘loose-parts’ toy … is open-ended; children may use it in many ways and combine it with other loose-parts through imagination and creativity . . . Nature, which excites all the senses, remains the richest source of loose parts.” (Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods)

Food From the Wild —

Foraging can be daunting (and a bit scary) if you’ve never done it. If you are interested, I suggest finding someone who knows wild edibles to hike with you! There are excellent field guides available and tips online but I do think it can help to have a person who knows wild edibles to teach you experientially. We keep it pretty basic with our kids at their ages because I don’t want them thinking everything they find is edible! We always hunt for morel mushrooms in the spring time, a popular and easy to identify wild edible … though not so easy to actually find.

We also tap Sugar Maple trees in the winter and make our own maple syrup. This has been so much fun to do with the kids and it’s something I look forward to every winter. It can be a time investment to actually cook the sap in to syrup (it’s a 40:1 volume ratio to cook it down) but we usually build a fire and make an outdoor day of it! I will say that tapping maple trees seems like a lot of work BUT once you do it one time, you’ll be more equipped to do it again and again. If you want specific details on what supplies we use, send me an email and I’ll get you the info! If you don’t feel like making your own syrup or don’t have Sugar Maple trees nearby, attend a Maple Syrup Festival!

Read Nature-Inspired Stories!!!

“A good book is a magic gateway into a wider world of wonder, beauty, delight, and adventure. Books are experiences that make us grow, that add something to our inner stature.” (Gladys Hunt, Honey For A Child’s Heart)

Please visit this page for multiple book lists of nature-inspired stories!


Some resources for further reading and inspiration:


What is Waldorf?

Waldorf, is not as easy for me to agree with, compared to Montessori Nature. The connection to nature and it's rythmns is awesome. How ever it's philosophy and history is pagen. If that is fine with you great. If not remember that you are boss and don't use the lessons based on pagen beliefs and celebrations.

Our countries founders set forth to separate church and state. Meaning our schools curriculum should not include any religion. The churchs later created "Sunday Schools" for Bible based learning. Parents need to know that any type of curriculum with any indoctrination of philosophy or religion should be avoided in a classroom of any kind. At home we can make the choice to leave out the aspects that we don't agree with.  

I don't agree that we should use natural wood and Natural fiber toys. They are pourous and you can not safely sanitize them. I agree that we should celebrate the seasonal rhythmn and learn to enjoy being outside no matter what the season is. 

Waldorf By Grade

For more information on Waldorf education at home or to try our curriculum, please visit

Why Waldorf Works:

The Waldorf Curriculum (AWSNA)

Waldorf Early Childhood

1001 Ideas for Toddlers and Twos

Other Online Resources - Working with Infants and Toddlers

Waldorf in the Home: Resources for Nourishing Family Life
Rahima Baldwin Dancy

Joyful Toddlers
Faith Collins, Rahima's daughter

Juniper Tree School of Puppetry Arts: Early Childhood Puppetry and Storytelling Training Courses
Suzanne Down
(sign up for the free monthly newsletter)

Simplicity Parenting
Kim John Payne

Love and Logic
(sign up for the free weekly newsletter)

"The Hands That Wait"
a beautiful blog post from Connected Nature

*NEW* 12 Things You Didn't Know Your Toddler Could Do in the Kitchen
blog post from Uno Zwei Tutu

Resources for the Preschool Years

Association of North America (WECAN)
Infant & Toddler

OverviewPreschool & K Overview

Kindy & Bridge OverviewThe Online Curriculum Project:

Early Childhood
The Simplicity Parenting Podcast:

#115 To Ignore or Not to Ignore Difficult Behaviour

New Recommended Preschool Booklist
How We Transitioned to Waldorf:
My Original Curriculum for the Preschool Years

YouTube Playlists to help you learn more about Waldorf:

Getting to Know Waldorf

Teaching Waldorf


All Categories

Extracurricular Activities

Fairy Tales

Four Processes

Grade 1

Grade 3



Inner Work






Saturday Share



Waldorf By Grade

Waldorf Education

 Rhythms: Cultivating Connection With Your Kids Outside by Sarah Street

Beginning Watercolor Resources – THE SILVAN REVERIE

Forest School Backyard Play Supplies – THE SILVAN REVERIE

A Charlotte Mason Inspired Preschool Daily Rhythm – THE SILVAN REVERIE

Preschool Supplies & Resources by Learning Category – THE SILVAN REVERIE

Gross Motor Activities for Kids - Kids Activities Blog

28 Active & Fun Preschool Gross Motor Activities

 Montessori From Birth

Montessori parenting can begin even before a baby is born. As we prepare to welcome a baby, we can shift out mindset toward the child led ideals that Montessori promotes. As we prepare our home for the arrival of a new baby we make special preparations based on our child's age, interests, and needs. Read more about Montessori Babies here...


Babies don't get all the fun! The toddler years can be extremely challenging for parents without the right tools and understanding of their unique needs. Montessori helps us understand what toddlers are and are not ready for. Montessori and gentle, responsive parenting techniques can help us approach common toddler challenges like potty training and discipline. Read more about Montessori Toddlers here...


Montessori homes look and feel different then many mainstream or traditional ones. While a home should never feel like a classroom (Montessori classrooms are actually modeled to feel like homes), there are specific things we try to incorporate in our home environments. They should be simple, accessible and encourage independence. Low tech toys, child sized furniture, and practical opportunities abound in Montessori homes. 

Read more about Montessori homes here...


My goal here on The Kavanaugh Report is to provide education about Montessori at home. But more importantly, I want to provide a practical example of what Montessori looks like in a real family, in real life. The stories you'll find here, are ones meant to inspire and encourage. From babyhood to elementary and beyond, I hope you'll find a way to incorporate Montessori in your day to day life.


If you're ready to get started with Montessori at home, have a look around The Kavanaugh Report, you can find posts organized by category at the top of the website. Click a category to find all the articles on that topic. Listen to an episode or two (or ten!) of my podcast

Shelf Help . Join my membership community

for even more individual support. And, sign up below for weekly inspiration in your inbox. 

 Check out our latest blog posts:



Starting Practical Life with Babies - A Simple Activity

The Kavanaugh Report › 2022/06 › star...

An easy and quick Montessori baby activity to introduce your baby to practical life work through connection and everyday tasks.

Montessori Baby - Toys and Activities 11 and 12 Months Old

The Kavanaugh Report..

Introducing Playthings with Your Baby

The Kavanaugh Report

Montessori and RIE ideas for introducing toys to newborn babies as they start to become more awake and aware of their environment.

Holding Boundaries with Older Montessori Babies

The Kavanaugh Report › 2023/03 › Mo...

Montessori Baby: Floor Time at 3-Months-Old

The Kavanaugh Report › 2022/05 › mo...

A look at floor time with a Montessori baby around 3-months including natural gross motor play and simple play activities for babies

Montessori Preschool  & Pre K Years

Nurturing the Love of Learning: Montessori Education for the Early Childhood Years

Montessori training videos:


Another very helpful and inspiring video resource for parents and teachers who’d like to use Montessori principles and techniques is to see Montessori in action in Montessori schools. If you’d like to see some great examples of Montessori in action, be sure to check out my Montessori Schools – Video Ideas and Inspiration category.


M is for Montessori - Montessori Resources Page

For resources specific to Montessori homeschooling, see my Montessori Resources page 

(with LOTS of posts with resources such as how to start using Montessori at home, how to set up a Montessori preschool homeschool classroom, where to buy Montessori materials, DIY Montessori materials, Montessori elementary homeschooling, and free Montessori materials online).



The Homeschooling Report 2017

The Homeschooling Report 

If you’d like to see what research says about homeschooling, check out “Fabulous Insights into Home Education – Homeschooling Research” at Wisdom Ninja. You can get a free 122-page copy of the results of a homeschooling survey with 1506 respondents from around the world. You’ll find lots of fascinating information in the report, and you could find the answers to your questions about what works and doesn’t work for other homeschoolers. 

Science is everywhere. With this awareness, you can identify common scientific principles that occur in your normal everyday family life. That's reassuring for parents who have become teachers due to the pandemic. Your child begins to experiment and learn about science usually before he can walk. The youngest child discovers gravity at a young age when the spoon "falls" to the floor from the highchair or the stuffed animal "falls" from the crib. It's a true discovery that can be replicated and ...

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Start a Family Tradition

"The pressures and fast pace of today's society have taken away the times of quiet togetherness which we should have with our children... We all know how quickly they grow up and leave us, so let us not wait until it is too late."—Elizabeth G. Hainstock, Teaching Montessori in the HomeWhen the family navigates major transitions, the impacts are life-changing. Whether adjusting to a new child or an ill parent, or suddenly working and schooling from home, our family traditions can help us stay gro ...

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Bird-Watching with Young Children

"Spring came again to the northern garden and so did the bluebirds." —R. Bruce Horsfall Bluebirds Seven The dawn chorus of birds is a universal sign of spring, and you might listen for it with your early-rising children - even from inside your home. Morning is a perfect time to hear birds as they greet the rising sun. It's an ideal way to introduce yourself and your children to bird-watching, and, it is easier than it seems. Surprisingly, children are able to become enthusiastic participants in ...

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Telling Stories

Our lives are made up of stories. Consider for a moment how your mind recalls almost every experience with a story. As parents, we have a treasure trove of stories within us to share with our children and use to help them mature and learn history, manners, morals, family lore, and appropriate behavior.As technology becomes more prevalent, we are using our human story-telling skills less and less. The person-to-person, parent-to-child story is special and creates unique family bonds. Impacting on ...

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Each Child is Unique

"Every child is gifted. They just unwrap their packages at different times."—AnonymousLooking at a shelf of parenting books in the bookstore recently made me wonder how parents today decide how to raise their children. One could become The Confident Parent or listen to The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer while trying to remember that Baby Knows Best. But how do you know what's best? Is there a right or wrong? For the first-time parent, it helps to have in place a basic philosophy about personal va ...

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Parenting the Toddler's Absorbent Mind

"...the mind of the child in infancy is different from ours, and we cannot reach it by verbal instruction,..."—Maria Montessori, The Absorbent MindWhat a baby learns without conscious thought (intent) is absolutely amazing! Parents watch this miracle happen on a daily basis. In just ten to twelve months, an infant is no longer a baby, but a toddler. The changes are dramatic. In that short time, the little human has begun to communicate, and so much more. He will soon be walking and talking. Mont ...

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Toddler Activities


Seasonal Activites


Anytime Activities


Art Activities

Music note

Songs & Rhymes

Boy chef

Science & Cooking


Coordination Activities


What Is A File Folder Game?

File folder games are independent activities that you can grab on the go and then can be folded up and tucked away. They’re usually colorful and often feature exciting themes and images, which makes them extra fun for kids. For some reason, even basic activities are more fun with a file folder game.

Why Do Teachers and Parents Love File Folder Games So Much?

File folder games have been around forever but were a well- kept secret until recently. 

They’re fun, take up almost no space, and last for years. Once they’re prepped, you’ll have them for whenever you need a quick activity.

Oh and did I mention how cost effective they are? You can make a file folder game for pennies! And once they’re laminated, file folder games are reusable and long-lasting. I still have some from when I began teaching and that was,-ahem- a BUNCH of years ago.

Counting activity with gumballs in jars in a red file folder game with text how to make file folder games

How Do You Use a File Folder Game?

Great question. And the answer is that file folder games can be used in lots of ways. Need a “Do Now” activity? File folder games. Got 5 minutes before lunch and need a quick activity? File folder game. Are you an ABA teacher looking for activities students can do while you run trials with other students? File Folder Games. How about something for a fun little brain break? Do you have a child that is gifted or one that is struggling? File folder games are great for those exceptional learners.

I’m not even going to say it, but you know (file folder games). I’ve personally never used them for homework but you could definitely tuck them into your students backpacks for a little extra practice at home. That’s what I love about file folder games… They’re so versatile.

And on that note, I’m getting tons of messages from teachers raving about how easy it is to send students home with file folder games for remote learning. This is perfect for hybrid model school schedules. Send the file folder game home with a student to use on the days that they’re home. Then when they return, sanitize them (they’re laminated, which makes them really easy to wipe down), and send them home with other students. Teachers have been thanking me profusely for my file folder games, and although I never imagined they would be used this way, I’m so happy they’re helping people during this time of global pandemic.

What Kind of Game Should You Make?

Colorful file folder games for addition facts

Before you begin making your file folder game, first think about what skills you want to reinforce. File folder games are great for matching, sorting, identifying, sequencing, and classifying. Think about how your file folder game will work. For example, a matching game would require a template and movable pieces identical to whatever is on your template. Here are examples of different types of file folder games (click on each one to see examples that I’ve made):

What you’ll need to make a File Folder Game:

 Instructions on How To Make A File Folder Game:

     1.  Template. Let’s assume we’re making a matching letters to letter sounds file folder game. You’ll need to paste your template(s) to the file folder and laminate it. In this case, the template would be the images of the letter sounds.

*Optional: If you’re feeling fancy, add a cover page and a file folder tab with the title of your file folder game. This’ll make it easier to find quickly, especially if you have a big collection of games. If you do this step, make sure to laminate the file folder with the cover page, title tab, and template already glued on.

      2.  Movable pieces. Now we need the pieces that will bring your game to life. In our “matching letters to letter sounds” example, the movable pieces would be the letters of the alphabet. You can print out the letters, but feel free to use foam lettersletter magnets, or any other kind of letter manipulatives. You can use whatever you have. Be creative! If you print out letter pieces, make sure to laminate them. That way, they’ll last for years.

Colorful file folder games with math fact activities with the text how to make file folder games

      3.   Velcro. This step is optional and can be done several ways. When making file folder games, most teachers opt for Velcro to affix the answer pieces to the template. It is nice and feels more durable and aesthetically pleasing, but you don’t have to.

An alternative to using Velcro is sticky tack. It’s less expensive but still allows you to “stick” the answers to the template instead of just having them float around. Or hey, let ’em float. Just make sure to keep track of them because they’re easier to lose when they’re not fastened down.

        4.  Storage. I usually store my file folder game pieces in a Ziploc bag when they’re not in use. You can staple it to the back or just tuck it inside the file folder. Get the kind with the zipper top so kids can open and close them without your help!

Personalize Your File Folder Game.

Now that you know what you want to do, consider themes you’d like to include. That’s the best part about making your own! This is especially fun for kids who have specific interests. Trains? Animals? Sports? Try to find images that fit your theme to use in your file folder game. You can use clipart, print out images from online, clip photos from magazines, or pictures from coloring pages. (Make sure you have commercial rights to all of your images if you plan to sell your file folder games).

Or Save Time and Them!

If making file folder games isn’t up your alley, might I suggest my TPT store where you can find TONS of them, ready to print. Skip the hassle of creating your own templates and images and browse through over a hundred downloadable file folder games that address all different skill areas and themes.

Because I know teachers aren’t millionaires, I keep my prices pretty low. For a few bucks, you can save yourself time that could be spent doing the bazillion other things on your to-do list. Click here to browse my file folder games. I bet you’ll find something you love! Here are a few of my favorites:

Telling Time File Folder Games

Vowel SOunds File Folder Games

By now, I think you know how much I love file folder games. And now that you know how to make them, the possibilities are endless! I hope you have an awesome day!


File folder games can be used alongside your thematic unit studies.  Incorporating a learning center game into your daily lessons is a great way to keep children actively involved and immersed into a specific subject.  Studies show children who learn and adapt their knowledge across subjects retain and access that information at a much higher rate.  A thematic unit study and file folder game is a helpful tool for this type of cross curricular learning.  


Even at an early age children can learn all about color identification, number recognition, sequencing, letter sounds and more. We suggest using hands on learning games with active children who find themselves bored or frustrated with traditional worksheets or lessons…..making our games a great resource for preschoolers.

EASY Portable Activity Kit for Road Trips

8 / 8 / 16

After travelling all over the world with Miss G {hello 36 hour treks to and from Kuwait!}, a six hour road trip really isn’t a big deal to us.  That being said, our little lady is a huuuuuuuuuuge talker, and sometimes you just need to have a moment of quiet {or a moment to talk to… Read More

Make Ten {an easy card game for kids}

6 / 28 / 16

Hope loves playing all sorts of card games, so when I came across Make Ten, a simple game that focuses math skills and uses just a generic deck of cards, I knew it would be a total hit. UPDATE: Since sharing this game and our Make Ten printable play mat, I’ve had countless requests… Read More

























Play and learn!  That is why we love to create and curate the best learning activities for kids.  Hands-on learning helps kids understand, remember and process…oh, and it is fun!

learning activities for kids of all ages on Kids Activities Blog

Hands On Learn Through Play – Over 700 Learning Activities for Kids of All Ages

Put down the textbook and get some hands-on learning through play! Here at Kids Activities Blog we are big champions of fun. We know that when kids learn something through an activity or craft, they will remember it longer, process it more fully and have more fun.

learning activities for kids of all ages learn through play

Learn through play by choosing from over 700 educational activities for kids!


Many of our learning activities are used in classrooms and homeschool lessons, but don’t stop there! These are just plain fun. They make the perfect after school, rainy day or “mom I’m bored” activity too!

Reading, writing, STEM, Science and so many other things can be learned through play.

What makes it even more fun is that kids of different ages can learn and play together.


Explore books, reading and play games! Learning to read is an incredibly important skill for kids which can seem challenging for many children. We have reading activities, reading games and reading tips to make it easy to gain reading skills. Reading is fun and opening the adventure for kids is key to their reading level development.

Check out all our reading activities: Reading for Kids

Do you have a favorite book? Or want to explore reading beyond the pages? Check out over 40 resources on books for kids!


These essential preschool skills allow future success in school and are the foundational building block on so many lessons. Here are some resources to teach kids colors, letters, numbers and more…


File folder games are perfect to make with and for kids because they put all the learning fun into one place…a file folder! And because they are in a file folder, they are easily stored for future learning. Teachers, homeschoolers and parents use file folder games to create educational activities for children to play.


Every single letter has a learning center here at Kids Activities Blog devoted to worksheets, spelling words, sight words, crafts and activities…and more!


Keep browsing the hundreds of fun ways that you and your child can learn together with hands on learning play…


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Letter E Craft- E Is For Elephant Preschool Craft


Super Easy Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe that Kids Will Eat

Preschool letter d is for duck craft

Letter D Craft- D Is For Duck Preschool Craft

letter c preschool craft- caterpillar craft

Letter C Craft- C is for Caterpillar Preschool Craft

halloween science experiments

23 Awesome Halloween Science Experiments To Do At Home

Letter B Craft- B Is For Bear Preschool Craft

Imag shows a combination of fire safety activities for preschoolers. from Kids activities blog

12 Fire Safety Activities for Preschoolers

halloween coloring pages addition color by number worksheet on a desk surrounded by Halloween themed art and craft supplies

Printable Halloween Addition Color By Number Worksheets

preschool letter a craft- a is for angel

Letter A Craft: A Is For Angel Preschool Craft

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Model of an Animal Cell Coloring Pages

Free Printable Halloween Tracing Coloring Pages for Kids

Free Printable Halloween Tracing Worksheets

public speaking activities for kids

7 Public Speaking Exercises for Kids

Toddler and Preschool Themes


Colors Theme

Winter Theme

Feelings Them

Shadow Theme


Transportation Theme

Valentine’s Theme

5 Senses Theme

Dr. Seuss Theme


Shapes Theme

Forest Animals Theme

Easter Theme


Dental Health

Spring Theme

Bug Theme

Earth Theme


Garden Theme

Wetland Theme

Butterfly Theme

Weather Theme


Desert Animals Theme

Zoo Theme

Summer Theme

4th of July


Picnic Theme

Ocean Animals Theme

Birds Theme

Camping Theme


Dinosaur Theme

Rainforest Theme

Pirate Theme

All About Me!


Farm Theme

Frog Theme

Apples Theme

Fall Theme


Tree Theme

Monster Theme

Pumpkin theme

Halloween Theme


Nocturnal Animals

Space Theme

Thanksgiving Theme

Fruits and Vegetables


Polar Animals Theme

Gingerbread Theme

Christmas Theme

New Year’s Theme

Bonus Themes

These are extra themes that you can use anytime throughout the year to fill in for a month that has more than 4 weeks in it.

Pet Theme

Community Workers

Fairy Tale Theme

Human Body Theme

Incredible List of Best Preschool Workbooks Your Kids Will Love

Finding the best preschool workbook for your child is a bit magical…these top workbooks for 2 year olds, 3 year olds and 4 year olds are playful learning that kids enjoy. Preschool workbooks aren’t just for the classroom. Parents can use them for enrichment learning, to catch up on preschool skills kids might be behind on, teach new Kindergarten-ready skills and for just plain entertainment!

These top selling preschool workbooks will keep kids 2-5 busy and having fun while learning.  Shown are 4 top selling book titles from Amazon.



Here are best-selling preschool workbooks we love…

Related: Check out our free Kindergarten readiness checklist

Starting early reading with preschool workbooks will give your children confidence for their first day of school! This will ready them for grade level skills that will set them up for success. They can build skills, new skills using these workbooks created by top brands in the field.


Speaking of preschool, it is hard to ever feel ready, as a parent. I still remember how nervous I was for my son’s first day of school! It hasn’t gotten any easier as the years have gone on, with each of my children.

One thing I have found is that preparing for the first day makes it easier. So, my favorite way to prepare is with preschool workbooks and have “play school”. Play school builds confidence in their early reading and learning skills as well as how classrooms work.


Preschool workbooks books can be one of the best ways to develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and more for school readiness.

  • Building writing muscles. During these activities, your child will use their pencil to follow paths and draw different shapes. This helps them to build their fine motor skills. For additional information on how to hold a pencil, be sure to see these cool pencil holders that can help little hands – 2 year olds, 3 year olds and beyond…

  • Engaging. Beautifully illustrated preschool workbooks brings the skills to life, with helpful – and silly – pictures your child will love.

  • Build confidence. Having a physical marker of progress can be super affirming for young ones!

  • Get Ahead in School. Mastery of writing skills opens children’s minds to learning new and exciting things, instead of frustration.


Grab our FREE 30 Days of Play Guide

Spend more time playing with your kids with this 30 Days of Play Calendar!


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If you are trying to figure out how to homeschool preschool, I suggest buying the SPIRAL versions of each of these books.

It makes it much easier to make copies of the worksheets so that they can be done multiple times to develop basic skills, throughout your homeschool schedule. The spiral design keeps you from destroying the book’s spine by trying to press it flat enough to get a good copy.

Related: Check out these fun and awesome storytelling ideas.


While these are labeled as preschool workbooks filled with preschool essential skills, kids of all ages may benefit from using these preschool activity books: Toddlers, grades Pre-K & Preschool and beyond…older preschoolers, Kindergartners needing early learning activities and even adults learning English for the first time.


ABC My First Learn to Write Workbook - Practice for Kids with Pen control, line tracing, letters and more for ages 3+


You can set your kids up to succeed in school with a easy jump-start to their handwriting! This guide teaches them letters, shapes, and numbers and makes it fun. I like that it is spiral bound which gives kids the ability to lay the book flat.

My First Learn-to-Write Workbook introduces your child to proper pen control, steady line tracing, new words, and more. This preschool workbook contains dozens of exercises that will engage their minds and boost their reading and writing comprehension skills.

Recommended ages: 3-5 years old


My Preschool Workbook cover - Make Learning fun - 101 games and activities that prepare your child for school


Kickstart your kid’s education! Bursting with exciting challenges, this best-selling preschool workbook combines the best features of preschool workbooks. My Preschool Workbook makes it tons of fun for your young scholar to develop the skills and abilities necessary to begin their scholastic journey.

From connecting dots and matching pictures to following paths and tracing shapes, this book has it all! It’s like getting several preschool workbooks worth of activities in one! You can always make the lessons even stronger with a wide variety of preschool reading games, we have found!

Recommended ages: 3 & 4 years old


Number Tracing for Preschoolers Workbook for ages 3+


This super fun preschool workbook is all about numbers! It starts with teaching the basics of how to write each number. This is done both as the number, as as the word, which helps build vocabulary!

As your child progresses, early reading skills are introduced alongside the numbers. The Number Tracing Workbook for Preschoolers is a great way to build preschool skills, before the first day!

Recommended ages: 3-5 years old


Big Preschool Workbook School Zone logo ABC 123 Skill areas included list - Ages 3-5


Help your child take their first steps in learning how to read & write alphabets and numbers with the Big Preschool Workbook. This is one big fun preschool workbook full of colorful & engaging workbook is filled with fun activities for preschoolers. It truly makes language arts feel like play.

Easily one of the best books for 3 year olds out there! Lessons include an intro to colors, shapes, some early math, alphabets & more. The progressing difficulty level keeps the challenges coming until the very end of the big book. Learning has never been so much fun while doing a little hard work!

Recommended ages: 3-5 years old


My Sight Words Workbook cover - make learning fun - 101 high frequency words plus games and activities - ages 4 to 6


Give your children the building blocks for early reading with My Sight Words Workbook. Pictures, examples, and a little monkey helper make this book friendly and fun for preschoolers to get ahead and learn the top 101 sight words. Kids can color in a star for every word they master and see their progress in real time.

This will increase their reading skill and confidence.


  • Practice with other early reading activities will help the lessons stick!

  • One of our favorite activities is reading blocks!

  • Sight words are common words like “of”, “the”, and “you” that don’t fit standard phonetic patterns and can only be learned through memorization.

  • Sight word activities will have kids say each word, trace each word, write each word, and use it in a sentence. Then, they can tackle puzzles and games to reinforce what they’ve learned.

  • Check out our brand new Baby Shark Sight Word Printables – available now!

Recommended ages: 4-6 years old


Preschool Math Workbook for toddlers cover - ages 2-4


This preschool workbook put together a variety of different activities that are both fun and educational! The Preschool Math Workbook for Toddlers Ages 2-4 is a great way for your little one to learn basic mathematical skills such as number recognition, number tracing and counting.

All of the activities involve a variety of magical creatues and animals to keep your child engaged.

Recommended ages: 2-4 years old


Wipe Clean My Big Activity Workbook


Endless practice is the best way to set your little learner up for success! The bright colors are engaging and the wide variety of challenge levels makes it perfect to encourage growth even in areas like social studies.

The ability to wipe clean this preschool workbook means that a wrong answer isn’t forever! It has a good amount of activities for each subject which we think keeps their interest.

Recommended ages: 3-5 years old


Preschool Basics by School Zone Ages 3-5 workbook cover with squirrel juggling the numbers 1, 2 and 3 on acorns


This Preschool Basics workbook by School Zone include skills for reading readiness, math readiness and more with 64 pages. No writing required as this workbook will prepare kids for handwriting skills with a series of skill building activities.

School Zoe books have won The Parents’ Choice Foundation Award, Brainchild Award among others.

Recommended ages: 2-4 years old


Get Ready for School Wipe Clean Activity Pack box with handle labeled as ABC 123 First Letters and ready for writing with colorful artwork


This fun preschool learning pack comes in a carrying case with Velcro enclosure, and include four preschool titles introducing early school concepts with lots of opportunities for practice on the wipe-clean pages full of puzzles, games, stickers and coloring activities sure to delight.

Get the preschool learning pack here.



The 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments

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Have you tried any of these preschool workbooks? Do you have any recommendations of workbooks we should add to the list?


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Colorful & Fun Free Printables for Toddlers to Learn

Sometimes I think worksheets and learning printables get a bad rap.

I mean, I get it. Standards-based, testing-focused schools often overuse worksheets and desk-work to get through the crazy amount of content they are required to cover. Which leaves little-to-no time for creative exploration, hands-on activities, and imaginative play. All of which offer invaluable authentic learning and important developmental benefits for children.

But not all paper-based learning should be completely disregarded. With the diversity of learning styles and needs among children, educational printables and worksheets can sometimes have great value for a child’s development and skill-building.

For example, when my daughter switched schools last year to one using a workbook-based curriculum, her anxiety decreased and her learning increased. Being a hands-on learning advocate, I was shocked. But workbooks are totally her jam.

Even toddlers can benefit from some paper-based learning sometimes. 

Hear me out… Presented as a no-pressure, fun learning activity and balanced out with lots of active and imaginative play, too, workbooks and learning printables for toddlers offer valuable fine motor skills work, hand-eye coordination development, early literacy and math learning, speech and language development, and even calm quality time with mom (or dad or another carer).

FREE Color and Shape Learning Printables for Toddlers - from Play Smart Workbooks

So, Don’t Hate on Printables

Give them a try! You might find your little one loves practicing writing and drawing like their older siblings or like mommy and daddy.  

Today's educational system requires paper documentation of progress and alignment of state or national standards. So when you use printables or workbooks its quite easy to put dates on them and portfolio them in a binder. So the workbook page becomes your document for mastery as well as a framework for hands on, sensory and thematic units. They can also provide pre-unit measurement of what they retained from the last time you taught the same subject so try to keep a extra set of the blank  worksheet as well. Like the subject of American history circles through our standards three to four times during our school years. Each time, the students are older and handle more details than the last time they went through it. Just like in the classrooms of the public schools.

Anyhow, you’re in luck! 

Gakken, the folks who make fun colorful Play Smart Workbooks, sent us some free printables for toddlers from their new Play Smart Picture Puzzlers workbook for two-year-olds on up!

Printables for Toddlers from the Play Smart Picture Puzzler Workbooks for 2 Year Olds

I’m so impressed with the Play Smart Picture Puzzlers workbooks they sent us.

Each workbook is filled with brightly illustrated toddler learning activities, a convenient wipe-clean game board, and lots of enticing colorful stickers.

Learning Printables for Toddlers from the Play Smart Picture Puzzler Workbooks for 2 Year Olds

And each workbook has a kid-friendly theme, like Colors and Shapes, Animals, or Vehicles.

Free Learning Printables for Toddlers from the Play Smart Picture Puzzler Workbooks for 2 Year Olds

But before you buy the workbooks, download this pack of 4 Play Smart Picture Puzzlers sample pages to see the quality yourself and let your little one try them out…

FREE 4-Pack of Learning Printables for Toddlers

FREE Toddler Printables from the Play Smart Picture Puzzlers Workbooks

Get the Toddler Learning Printables Pack

Subscribe to B-Inspired Mama's email updates to get the free printable pack right in your inbox.


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If your toddler responds positively, don’t feel guilty about offering them more fun learning printables or Play Smart Workbooks. As long as worksheets aren’t forced, worksheet learning is balanced out by other active play and learning opportunities, and your child’s having fun, toddler printables are totally okay!

Check out ALL of the Play Smart Workbooks for Toddlers:

Play Smart Color & Shape Picture Puzzlers 2+

Play Smart Color & Shape Picture Puzzlers 2+

Play Smart Skill Builders 2+

Play Smart Skill Builders 2+

Play Smart Animal Picture Puzzlers 2+

Play Smart Animal Picture Puzzlers 2+

Play Smart Early Learning 2+

Play Smart Early Learning 2+

Play Smart Brain Boosters 2+

Play Smart Brain Boosters 2+

And if your toddler doesn’t respond well, no worries! They will most-likely develop all of the appropriate skills and learn all the necessary concepts in other ways which better suit their learning style and needs.

P.S. Play Smart Picture Puzzlers are for More Than Toddlers!

The learning printables for toddlers you can dowload above are perfect for children around age two. But there are Play Smart Picture Puzzlers Workbooks for older kids, too. Check ’em out if your toddler finds these printables too easy or for your older kids…

Play Smart Vehicle Picture Puzzlers 3+

Play Smart Vehicle Picture Puzzlers 3+

Play Smart Animal Picture Puzzlers 3+

Play Smart Animal Picture Puzzlers 3+

Play Smart Early Learning 3+

Play Smart Early Learning 3+

Play Smart Skill Builders 3+

Play Smart Skill Builders 3+

Play Smart Brain Boosters 3+

Play Smart Brain Boosters 3+

Play Smart 1-2-3 Picture Puzzlers 4+

Play Smart 1-2-3 Picture Puzzlers 4+

Play Smart Animal Picture Puzzlers 4+

Play Smart Animal Picture Puzzlers 4+

Play Smart Brain Boosters 4+

Play Smart Brain Boosters 4+

Play Smart School Skills 4+

Play Smart School Skills 4+

Play Smart Skill Builders 4+

Play Smart Skill Builders 4+

Play Smart Play Again Picture Puzzles

Play Smart Play Again Picture Puzzles

Play Smart Preschool Prep

Play Smart Preschool Prep

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