• OUR PRESCHOOL PLANS - resources we are using with the three year old for preschool
    curriculum,  curriculum picks,  homeschool planning,  preschool

    OUR PRESCHOOL PLANS – resources we are using with the three year old for preschool

    I’m excited to share our preschool plans for the year!

    I’m using the idea of preschool curriculum really loosely here, it’s more like a list of preschool goals and a list of resources we are going to be using.

    All the things I can link will be included below!


    OUR PRESCHOOL PLANS - resources we are using with the three year old for preschool






    Reading Magic

    Best-selling children’s author and internationally respected literacy expert Mem Fox reveals the incredible emotional and intellectual impact reading aloud to children has on their ability to learn to read. With passion and humor, Fox speaks of when, where, and why to read aloud and demonstrates how to read aloud to best effect and get the most out of a read-aloud session. She discusses the three secrets of reading, offers guidance on defining and choosing good books, and—for this new edition—includes two new chapters on boy readers and phonics, a foreword, and a list of “Twenty Books That Children Love.” Filled with practical advice, activities, and inspiring true read-aloud miracles, this book is a turn-to classic for educators and parents.


    Brain Quest Cards

    Loved by kids and teacher approved, and featuring hundreds of curriculum-based exercises and games, Brain Quest card decks reinforce classroom learning with a fun, fast-paced game.

    Brain Quest Pre-School introduces kids aged 4–5 to learning in a smart, entertaining, and engaging way, covering counting, spelling, vocabulary building, and more.
    In a set of two fan-decks, Brain Quest Pre-School features hundreds of questions and answers to help kids know exactly what they need to know, when they need to know it.


    • Two full-color Q&A decks in a reusable flip-top storage box
    • 300 questions and answers covering counting, letters, colors, and more


    Nature Alphabet Flash Cards

    Nature themed alphabet flash cards.


    Tactile Letter Cards

    Upper and lowercase tactile letter cards.


    Printable Letter and Number Pack


    Free Printable Letter Cards

    Sign up for my newsletter and I’ll let you know when I have them available again!


    Wipe-Clean Castle Activities (Usborne Wipe-Clean Books): Amazon.com: Books

    Usborne Wipe Clean Books

    We love so many of these books!


    Book Outlet

    Get $10 off your first order at Book Outlet!


    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    Simple Preschool Journal

    Fun and simple ideas for a preschool journal.

  • Our Favorite Games to Play - Intentional Homeschooling
    gift guide,  preschool,  resources

    10+ of the Best Educational Gift Ideas for Preschoolers

    With Christmas around the corner I’ve obviously been thinking a lot about gift ideas for the kids and one of my favorite kinds of gifts to give kids are ones that are fun but also educational.

    Of course Christmas isn’t the only time we are buying gifts for our kids (or other kids) and I wanted to have a place to share some of my favorite preschool items.

    The things on this list are things we either own and love or are really high on my to-buy-very-soon list. I could have shared way more things on this list but I wanted to keep it small to make sure I was sharing the best of the best.

    I am planning on making this an education gift guide series, here’s the list of the different categories I want to share:

    + The Best Educational Gift Ideas for Toddlers
    + The Best Educational Gift Ideas for Preschoolers (this list)
    + The Best Educational Gift Ideas for Elementary
    + The Best Educational Gift Ideas for Middle School


    The Best Educational Gifts and Toys for Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten kids


    The Best Educational Gifts and Toys for Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten


    Wooden Blocks

    I would highly suggest a pack or two of wooden blocks, they have endless hours of use. My kids love to build towers, houses, bridges for their cars to drive through and so many other things. I love the creativity they come up with when using wooden blocks.



    We have had this magnet board for years and the kids have gotten so much use out of it. There are a number of similar types of magnet boards out there. They are great for learning shapes and figuring out how to create the different pictures. It’s perfect for those pre-math skills.


    Explorer Kit

    An explorer kit is a fun gift for this age. You can buy all the items separately to create your own kit or buy a pre-made one. Then you can go out exploring and give your child certain things to find.


    Reusable Sticker Pad

    Stickers are fun for kids but reusable stickers are even better! We love the Melissa and Doug ones that include different scenes. They also have habitat and vehicle versions.


    Reusable Water Pad

    These are another great reusable activity. My kids have all loved these water booklets and once they dry they can use them all over again! We’ve found some at dollar stores and Melissa and Doug have some as well.


    Floor Puzzle

    Preschool is the perfect time for puzzles and I love the idea of a map puzzle, lots of learning in one item!


    Robot Engineer

    If you have a builder this kit looks amazing. It comes with a story and is a build-along adventure where you can build the different machines they talk about in the story.


    Our Favorite Games to Play - Intentional Homeschooling



    We love to play games in our house, here are some of our favorites for the preschool age.



    This is by far the most played game in our house. My daughter got it for Christmas years ago and we played it more than thirty times in the first week! When we have preschooled aged kids over we pull this game out frequently and it is always a hit. In the game you are a detective (a chicken) that is looking for clues to find out who stole the pot pie! It’s so cute and works on kids’ deductive reasoning.


    Robot Turtles

    Another well used preschool game that we have, in this one kids learn basic coding concepts as they use their turtle to move, turn, push boxes and laser beam icicles all to find the diamond.



    PitchCar is a good game for dexterity and motor control. Kids have to take turns flicking their car across the track without flying off.


    Castle Logix

    This is a fabulous looking puzzle game where kids are presented different castle building challenges. This one is really high on my to-buy list.



    Need some book ideas for preschool? You can check this list of my favorite books that preschoolers love.


    What are some of your favorite educational gifts for preschoolers?

  • book lists,  picture books,  preschool

    10 Great Books for Preschoolers

    I’ve taken a little break from weekly book lists this summer but will be back with Friday book lists starting in September!

    That being said, I do have a book list for you today! Here are ten books your preschooler will love.





    Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

    “Do you like green eggs and ham?” asks Sam-I-am in this Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss. In a house or with a mouse? In a boat or with a goat? On a train or in a tree? Sam keeps asking persistently. With unmistakable characters and signature rhymes, Dr. Seuss’s beloved favorite has cemented its place as a children’s classic. In this most famous of cumulative tales, the list of places to enjoy green eggs and ham, and friends to enjoy them with, gets longer and longer. Follow Sam-I-am as he insists that this unusual treat is indeed a delectable snack to be savored everywhere and in every way.


    The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

    A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents . . . the gruffalo! As Mouse explains, the gruffalo is a creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. But Mouse has no worry to show. After all, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo . . .


    The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet

    Katy caboose doesn’t like her life at the back of the train. Stuck with clouds of billowing smoke from the engine and a bumpy, jolting ride, she longs for some peace and quiet. When her rusty bolts bust loose, Katy finally gets the life she wants in a way she never expected!


    The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson

    A string of paper dolls go on a fantastical adventure through the house and out into the garden. They soon escape the clutches of the toy dinosaur and the snapping jaws of the oven-glove crocodile, but then a very real pair of scissors threatens. A stunning, rhythmical story of childhood, memory and the power of imagination.


    The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers

    When a boy discovers a single-propeller airplane in his closet, he does what any young adventurer would do: He flies it into outer space! Millions of miles from Earth, the plane begins to sputter and quake, its fuel tank on empty. The boy executes a daring landing on the moon . . . but there’s no telling what kind of slimy, slithering, tentacled, fangtoothed monsters lurk in the darkness! (Plus, it’s dark and lonely out there.) Coincidentally, engine trouble has stranded a young Martian on the other side of the moon, and he’s just as frightened and alone. Martian, Earthling—it’s all the same when you’re in need of a friend.


    The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

    A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend . . .

    Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.

    When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.


    What To Do With a Box by Jane Yolen

    If you give a child a box, who can tell what will happen next? It may become a library or a boat. It could set the scene for a fairy tale or a wild expedition. The most wonderful thing is its seemingly endless capacity for magical adventure.


    Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

    Once upon a time, there were three hungry Dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur . . . and a Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway.

    One day—for no particular reason—they decided to tidy up their house, make the beds, and prepare pudding of varying temperatures. And then—for no particular reason—they decided to go . . . someplace else. They were definitely not setting a trap for some succulent, unsupervised little girl.

    Definitely not!


    The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

    The quintessential cautionary tale, Peter Rabbit warns naughty children about the grave consequences of misbehaving. When Mrs. Rabbit beseeches her four furry children not to go into Mr. McGregor’s garden, the impish Peter naturally takes this as an open invitation to create mischief. He quickly gets in over his head, when he is spotted by farmer McGregor himself. Any child with a spark of sass will find Peter’s adventures remarkably familiar. And they’ll see in Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail that bane of their existence: the “good” sibling who always does the right thing. One earns bread and milk and blackberries for supper, while the obstinate folly of the other warrants medicine and an early bedtime.


    The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

    Virginia Lee Burton won the Caldecott Medal in 1943 for her memorable picture book The Little House,a poignant story of a cute country cottage that becomes engulfed by the city that grows up around it. The house has an expressive face of windows and doors, and even the feelings of a person, so she’s sad when she’s surrounded by the dirty, noisy city’s hustle and bustle: “She missed the field of daisies / and the apple trees dancing in the moonlight.”

  • How to Teach Your Preschooler to Read

    How to Teach Your Preschooler to Read

    I always feel like I need to start these posts out with some kind of disclaimer, so here is this one: not every child will want to read as a preschooler and that’s totally fine. This post is for those that have four-year-olds who are interested.

    Okay, now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about teaching your preschooler to read!

    How to Teach Your Preschooler to Read

    The base text that we use for learning to read is the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. At about $15 it is an excellent and cheap resource, I’ve used it for both of my kids (with two very different personalities). In our preschool curriculum I break down exactly how many lessons we do each week.

    TYCTR can be a very dry program if you follow it completely, so we break the rules and don’t follow it all the way. (Know the rules and then break them. 😊) If you want a dry program go ahead and follow the script exactly how they have it laid out for you, if you want it to be something you will continue with and will keep your child’s attention, read on!

    How to Teach Your Preschooler to Read

    First off, we never do the last task, “sounds writing”. Most kids are ready to learn to read quite a while before their fine motor skills are really up to printing. I realized really quickly with my daughter that if we wanted to have any success with this program we’d need to cross that off our list and work on that at a later date and not at the same time as the reading.

    We follow along with the rest of the lesson for the first 10-15 lessons, then we leave out the “say it fast” and “say the sounds” and “rhyming”. For the most part at this point we just go over each of the letter sounds they have for review and read the sentence/story.

    How to Teach Your Preschooler to Read

    I have had very good success with this program for both of my kids (my daughter did it from ages 4-5 and my son is 4 now and about 1/4 through and it’s clicking even better for him than it did for her). The way and rate they introduce new letter sounds in TYCTR really seems to work well for kids this age.

    What we’ve done in the past and will continue to do is follow the lessons until about lesson 80, then from there they’ve pretty much learned everything from the book so at that point we just take time to read the stories from the remaining 20 lessons.

    How to Teach Your Preschooler to Read

    When a child is done going through the book they are supposed to be reading at a grade 2 level and I can attest to that! My daughter has continued to love reading and devours books and by the time she was done grade 1 she was reading at a grade 5 level.

    How to Teach Your Preschooler to Read

    In addition to our schedule for TYCTR there are a couple of other things I like to add in . . .

    An easy one is the Jolly Phonics songs, my kids just watch this on YouTube every now and then and it helps make phonics a little more fun (for them, the songs get in my head and make me go a little crazy sometimes).

    I just recently came across Alphablocks on YouTube, I haven’t tried this with my kids yet but I plan on it soon!

    A free app that both of my kids love and is great for learning to read is Teach Your Monster to Read – they’ve made it really fun and educational.

    Another good phonics app is Endless Alphabet – I’ve never actually purchased the full app and my kids have enjoyed the free version.

    How to Teach Your Preschooler to Read

    So, with our regular reading lessons via TYCTR and a few fun videos and apps thrown in that’s how learning to read gets done in our house!

    If you have a preschooler that you would like to teach to read I would recommend following our free preschool curriculum!

  • More than 20 activities to help develop fine motor skills in preschool pre-writers.

    20+ Activities for Building Fine Motor Skills in Pre-Writers

    One of the things we’ve been working on this year with Ephraim in his three year old preschool is building up his fine motor skills. I’ve read many times that boys are usually farther behind than girls in this area and so far from my experience that has been so true.

    We’ve been doing a number of different activities to help increase his fine motor skills, and I’ve been looking up ideas for future activities as well so when it comes time to really start writing he’ll have developed the muscles and fine motor skills he needs.

    Here are more than twenty ways to help pre-writers build those fine motor skills . . .


    Activities for Fine Motor Development for Preschoolers and Pre-Writers




    Picture Books About Knights


    playing Lego – the action of putting all those pieces together (and also taking them apart)


    cutting – I’ll often draw shapes on a piece of paper for him to work on cutting out


    Pearler Beads crafts – so so good for those fine motor skills, my kids like making theirs into coasters




    transfering water from one cup to another with an eye dropper


    tracing using stencils


    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds


    using different mini shape punches to make shapes in paper


    gluing small paper pieces onto paper (use the shapes they previously punched out)


    gluing googly eyes on to paper


    adding stickers to paper


    using cotton swabs to paint dots


    using clothes pins


    threading beads on pipe cleaners


    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds






    using lacing cards


    putting nuts on bolts


    adding small elastic hair bands onto Popsicle sticks


    using bingo dabbers


    painting – we love the easy clean up of watercolors


    troll haircuts


    playing with Playdough


    using tongs to transfer items (like little bouncy balls) from one bowl to another


    or use tweezers to transfer mini pompoms from one bowl to another


    paper weaving (make a woven placemat!)


    Do you have any other fine motor activities you would add to the list?


    More than 20 activities to help develop fine motor skills in preschool pre-writers.

  • Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    Ideas for a Simple Preschool Journal for 3 Year Olds

    On the first day of our homeschool year my 3 year old surprised me by sitting down and asking what he was going to be learning. Up until that day he had not been interested in learning his letters or numbers, printing, coloring, drawing or any type of intentional learning so I was a little blown out of the water with his request.

    I had been planning to do one small thing with him each day but apparently he wanted a little more book work as well.

    I did some very academic research (okay, I searched on Pinterest) and came across the idea of a simple journal for 3 year olds. I felt like I hit the jackpot!

    P.S. If you like this post you may also be interested in our 4 year old preschool plan!

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    What Ephraim really wanted was to have a notebook like his big sister and this way we could take a simple composition notebook and do a little work in it every day, or whenever the fancy strikes. Plus we can customize it to something I want him to work on or something that is of interest to him. So far he loves this.

    I do have one simple rule for his journal: he needs to go in page order. If I didn’t have this rule he would have taken a crayon the first day and scribbled one line on each and every page of the book and I like a little more order than that. (Yes, I’m a bit of a control freak.) 🙂

    So, here are a few different ways we are using the journal . . .

    We are going through the letters of his name and he’s putting stickers over each letter. It’s pretty much just letter recognition and I’m hoping it will help him slowly learn how his name is spelled, so far he thinks his name is spelled: E-p-m, that’s 3/7 right there, not too shabby!

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    Here I just drew a circle and let him do what he wanted, apparently he drew me. I’m not sure I see the resemblance.

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    This page I just drew some stuff for him to trace, he wasn’t at all interested in tracing the E’s but loved the lines and shapes. Ever since he did this page he loves drawing zigzag lines everywhere.

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    On this one I drew a couple of circles and put a number above the circle and he was supposed to put that many stickers in each one. We worked on this one together, I’d like to try it with him again soon and see if he can do it on his own.

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    As soon as he saw the P on this page he got out a marker and drew his own P, the large backwards one on the opposite page. That was the first time he has ever initiated drawing a letter so I was thoroughly impressed.

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    Just some stamping and then coloring them afterwards.

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    More stamping, letter stamps this time.

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    Leaf rubbings! He really liked this (and the collecting of the leaves before hand), we’ll have to do more or something similar again.

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    Most days he does a page or two of something I’ve told him to do and then he’ll do a page of free scribbles. The other day he drew a circle with a bunch of legs and said it was “Spot”, what they’ve named their ladybug pet outside (they think every ladybug outside is Spot). This was pretty much a breakthrough moment in his drawing/coloring and then he kept going with it and it’s hard to see what it started out as but I am so impressed by his growth these past few weeks.

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    We did some stencil tracing and used a Spirograph, we’ll definitely be doing that again.

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    Here I cut a strip of construction paper and gave him a craft punch to use and then we glued both the punched out pieces and the piece of construction paper in the book. He’s really proud of this page.

    Ideas for a simple preschool journal for 3 year olds

    And that’s the first few weeks of Ephraim’s preschool journal! I already know this is going to be such a great indicator of his growth throughout the year, and it’s something both he and I are proud of.

    Do you do some type of journal with your 3 year old?
    What else would you include in a preschool journal?