Book Play for Preschoolers- The Ultimate Guide
This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!
That’s right! This is a post for parents of preschoolers. Long time readers will know that I have a lot of content on the early years and it’s begging to be re-published with fresh insight. Bringing older content to the top for readers is one of my favorite blogging tasks. I get to revisit old favorites and let new audiences enjoy them.
If you’ve been around a while, then you may know I spent many years working for MOPS International as a volunteer in the field and leading a team of volunteers taking care of MOPS groups in the northeast U.S. (NY and New England). Throughout that time, I had the opportunity to speak to many MOPS moms about how to engage their preschoolers. It culminated in an appearance at a MOPS Int’l Convention in Dallas, TX in 2012. The same information is here on my blog and the time has come to newly encourage some preschool homeschoolers who I see from time to time and who ask me about teaching preschool at home. Enjoy Book Play for Preschoolers- The Ultimate Guide.
Teacher & Parent Resources for Working with Toddlers and Preschoolers
First I’ll list a few really good resources for the toddler/preschooler set. When our seventeen year old was just eighteen months old, he was hungry for exploring and learning his way around his world. He was bored with unstructured play time and I set out on a search using the fledgling internet. What I found was a simple activity list on a web page which had a bibliography. I bought three of the books on this list after seeing them at Amazon and the rest is history.
- The Toddler’s Busy Book– I knew I had a winner when I made the play sets from this book. Ethan spent hours placing clothespins into the holes I’d made in an egg carton. I made a lot of things from the ideas the author included and it was worth every moment together in play!
- The Preschooler’s Busy Book– You can make a lot of learning and play activities from household items. This books shows you how!
- Things to Do with Toddlers and Twos– Not much to look at but full of ideas, this was one of the first books I ordered to get things going when our oldest was 18 months old.
- Baby Days – Activities, Ideas, and Games for Enjoying Life with a Child under Three– This is probably my favorite book on activities with younger kids and it includes “the sibling factor” which modifies activities based on older/younger siblings in the mix.
- Wonderplay– A simple book with ideas for activities for kids ages 1-3 years old. One of my favorites came from here- easy peel stickers and an empty two liter bottle. A match made in heaven for those of sticker picker age!
- Making the Most of the Preschool Years – This author has a love of books and it shows in this activity book for preschoolers. This is a great one if you are also homeschooling older children at the same time.
- Before Five in a Row– Preschool curriculum for ages toddler to 4. A lovely program built on good books.
- Five in a Row– A Curriculum for ages 4-8 years old based on children’s literature. This is the foundation of our homeschool and has provided academic skill and endless family memories.
- Picture Book Activities by Trish Kuffner
- Entertaining & Educating Your Preschool Child– This is an older Usborne Books Parent Guide, but it is full of ideas on games and learning play for your preschoolers.
- Storybook Art– Worth mentioning now because of it’s connection to picture books, this book has lessons about illustrators and gives a project on the same type of art.
Make Books Memorable for Your Preschoolers
One of my consistent messages to parents of kids any age is to enjoy books together. Books are stories waiting to be told and enjoyed. How can you make books memorable for your kids? How do you engage them with story?
- Too Many Pumpkins– A favorite of my oldest when he was two years old, he loved the page with the jack 0′ lanterns all over it. So, I made him a felt set to match and we’d pull it out while I read the book to him. This was a great set to travel on errands with as well.
- Blueberries for Sal– Who can resist this fantastic book? I have my little ones hunt for laminated blueberries and drop them into the tin. If you live where you can pick blueberries, that’s even better. Make blueberry snacks together. Learn about bears.
- The Red Carpet– Roll out a ribbon for the carpet and have them drive the cars there
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom– make the coconut tree and stick the letters all over or better yet play out the story as you go!
- Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend– we built a castle out of a large shipping box that stayed in our playroom for over five years. It was a perfect fort, tea party castle, quiet time spot for our preschoolers.
Books can provide hours of entertainment beyond just reading them and having fun with books is a great way to make sure your kids enjoy reading them on their own when it’s time. The secret to finding out how to play with books is to consider what your kids find most interesting about a book and capitalize on it! You can find books to suit your preschooler’s curiosities and include any subject area.
Science Books for Preschoolers
Preschoolers are among the most perfect people to enjoy science. Naturally curious about the world around them, they love to explore and they love to be captivated. Take advantage of it! Here are some fun science books series and things to go with them.
- Let’s Read and Find Out Science– Simple language used in books for all sorts of things that occur in the natural world. Levels one and two are well suited for reading to young children.
- Flip the Flap Usborne Books– These come in a variety of subjects like animal homes, beach, farm, and human body. The flaps are sturdy and they keep interest high. The illustrations are lovely and give you a lot to talk about.
- Fun with Nature– There are many books in this series and I’ve linked you to a bind up of several titles. These are known as “take along” books and they have nice basic information with some activities to do in the field.
- Bird Watching Books– Not only would I recommend a basic bird watching book and field guide, but I would also suggest a birding CD (or recordings) and a pair of kid safe binoculars. You can spend time reading about and looking at birds and you’ll always be ready to observe at the drop of a hat.
- Science Play– This is a little book is big on making science play time and presents opportunities to engage with your preschoolers.
Books on Books for Parents
If you aren’t sure where to begin or you are wondering how much to invest in time or money on engaging your kids with books, here are a few books I have read many times. They make the case for reading aloud to your children compelling.
- The Read Aloud Handbook– This is my “go to” new parent gift. Anyone who knows me personally knows my standard gift to new parents is a copy of this handbook and a book or two to enjoy getting started. It’s an easy read and the author makes the case for reading plain.
- Honey for a Child’s Heart– A classic by Gladys Hunt, you will enjoy learning how books and stories were a part of her family and why. Included is an annotated bibliography on books of all ages.
- Read for the Heart: Whole Books for Wholehearted Families– This is another favorite of mine establishing how story enriches our soul and it offers an annotated bibliography so book choice is easy.
- Caught Up in a Story: Fostering a Storyformed Life Great Books & Imagination with Your Children– How books can be a parent’s ally in showing children what is beautiful and to grasp truth using imagination.
Podcasts on Reading with Preschoolers
Still need inspiration? Check out these podcasts from The Read Aloud Revival. There are new podcasts several times a month and sometimes they speak directly to those with preschoolers. No time to listen to a podcast? I listen at night just before bed, in the car on the way to places, and while I do dishes. Where there is a will, there is a way!
- Reading Aloud with Toddlers– How to get going with reading to toddlers since they are a tough crowd!
- Reading Aloud with Toddlers (and other Littles) Underfoot– How to keep toddlers busy while you read…that’s a big job and it is doable. And so worth the effort!
- On Living a Storyformed Life– This is a chat with Sarah Clarkson, the author of Caught up in a Story and Read for the Heart. This podcast will inspire you to hold a vision of reading aloud in your home.
Other Book Posts at Blog, She Wrote
- Before Five in a Row– A gentle & lovely preschool curriculum based on children’s literature. The front half of the manual is full of good books and ways to have fun with them. The second half is a reference for how to spend quality time with your preschooler. In this post you’ll also find an index of the books we “rowed” and the things we did with them. Oh my! What fun days those were!
- Five in a Row– This curriculum was the foundation of our homeschool for many, many years. It starts at age 4 so perfect for late preschoolers. Enjoy a look at this picture book based curriculum and how we use it in our homeschool.
- How to Make the Most of Your Read Aloud Time– Getting started with reading aloud at any age and how to work with littles as you read.
- Autumn Book & a Big Idea: The Pumpkin Book– A round of resources and play for pumpkins. This is for all ages including preschoolers.
Time spent with books and your young children is never wasted time. In fact, it’s the perfect way to build into their lives a love of learning and reading. Stay tuned for more posts in this series on preschoolers. There’s more to come!
If you want to learn more about building your family’s culture around books and you like the idea of being immersed in a community of like minded parents, consider joining us at The Read Aloud Revival. It’s one of my favorite places on the internet full of positive sharing, expert advice, and resources which are being added to all the time. You’ll find master classes, live author events, and notes to Sarah’s regular podcasts. I would love to see you over there!