Pre-school at home...teaching My 2Yr Old

Updated on May 08, 2011
J.T. asks from Philadelphia, PA
13 answers

Hello Moms,
I'm looking for advice on how to create the pre-school setting in my home. My 2yr old is currently in daycare, but I will no longer be working so I"m able to keep her home with me. I want to continue the pre-school feel but I'm a little confused about a typical pre-school day. What time should breakfast, lunch, and snack be? What types of activities should I be teaching her? How long should outside time be, etc? I don't want to pressure her and make her bored with learning, I just want to help her with the basics. My daughter will be 3 in May where should she be academically? Do you know of any websites where I can print off colorig pages, etc? I'm sorry for rambling just need a little advice here. Thank you so much enjoy your'e day.

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So What Happened?

Let me clarify some things. When I say re-create I mean I want her to continue on the same path(learning, talking, activities, etc). She has learned quite a lot since she began daycare, however there was no need to continue paying the amount of money we we're paying if I'm no longer working. So to sum everything up I want to help her continue to learn, and have fun. Thank you so much Krista P. that was very helpful information:-)

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

My kids learned everything through exposure to everyday life activities. Going to the park, museums, library, science centers, post office, helping me at home with cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.

Colors, letters, shapes and such can be learned with play-doh, crayons, markers, painting, puzzels, etc.

Read everyday, and talk to her a lot. I did everything by talking constantly about what I was doing.

She is only 2. Have fun! She will have many years of school.

If you want to print coloring pages I would Google that =-)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I guess I'm not sure why you'd want to recreate the daycare environment at home. Isn't the benefit of being at home that it's NOT daycare? I don't think you need to structure your home/days like a daycare in order for your daughter to learn. She'll learn plenty just by being home with you. You can make learning experiences out of just about anything. Sort laundry according to colors, and let her choose the right piles. My five year old son sorts my laundry for me, unassisted, because we've done that since he was little, and he loves it. Let her help you cook, and count your ingredients. Look for letters on all the packaging. Sing songs while you do things. Explore nature.

Just be. That's the wonderful thing about being home with your little one. That it DOESN'T have to be like daycare.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

A friend of mine has twins at home and has them on a "day-school" type schedule. She shared her schedule with me last summer so I could keep my son on his normal rountine when I was home with him for 6 weeks (I'm a teacher).

Up and dressed before 8 am. (no jammie days).
Breakfast by 8:30.
8:30 - 9 - "Learning" time: flashcards with letters, shapes, colors, numbers, etc. for recognition.
9 - 10 - play time (he often just wanted to keep doing his "cards" - it's one of his favorite things to do)
10 - morning snack
10:30 - 11:30 - outside time - we went just in the backyard or on "nature" walks. My son loves rocks and flowers.
11:30 - lunch
12:00 - 2:00 - nap or "quiet" time - if he didn't want to sleep he could lkook at/"read" books. I would turn on Nick Jr. the last hour if he still wasn't napping. This is when I washed dishes, folded laundry, or slept myself. etc.
2:00 - Art time - we would use paints. markers, colors, chalk, etc. Sometimes I would have him make specific things (father's day cards) - other times it would be coloring pages, or just paper. It was usually my favorite part of the day as he was so into explaining to me what he was making.
2:30 - snack and then back outside. We would play in the pool or on his playset.
At 4:30 I would start making dinner, which he often helped with. Then when his daddy would get home he would show him his art and tell him all about his day, just like he did at the day-school.

Looking at it now - it seems so structured, esp for a 2 year old, but my son LOVED it - plus it made the transition easier to go back to school in the fall. We still follow this structure now during holidays when i have both kids at home.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I am a SAHM and let my children lead the education for the most part. If we want to spend 3 hours outside looking at lizards, I start going over body parts and how we have the same body parts and how they are different. (lizards smell by sticking out their tongue). The only thing I direct is learning the ABC's and letter sounds. I am very into the "unschooling" method except for letters.

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answers from New York on

Ask her current daycare provider for a copy of the schedule and go from there. Preschool is about "learning to learn" and "learning to be part of a group", not academics. Please keep the focus on the process of learning, not "the basics".

Make sure she still has access to social situations like a playgroup or some kind of group lesson! Most of preschool "curriculum" surrounds peer negotiations and learning how to function in a group setting.

"The Basics"
- Colors & Shapes
- Story sequence
- Letter and Number differentiation and identification
- Art exploration (sensory and direction-following)
- LOTS of imaginative play opportunities (dress-up, pretend play, child-directed games)
- Tabletop activities that last no more than 10 minutes each (coloring, puzzles, playdoh, basic gluing/painting)

Remember that you are "mom" and not the "teacher". If you have a hard time separating the two (most people do), then consider two mornings a week of nursery school at a local church or community center.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My son's preschool schedule looks like this:

9AM circle time (look at a calendar and sing the days of the week song, then story time and letter and number of the day)
9:30 morning snack
9:45-11:00 play time - they have 'areas' that they rotate through, for 20 minutes each including home living (this would be easy for you, it's cooking, cleaning, etc), arts and crafts that usually tie in with the letter/number of the day (they will often look through magazines and cut out pictures of anything they see that starts with the letter of the day or color or paint pages that reflect the letter or number), sensory table (a table with high sides that they fill with things that the kids can dig through and play with - often colored rice (not as messy as sand), or free play. The obviously don't do everything every day, these are just a sample of the things they do over any given week.
11:00-12:00 - outside if possible, inside dance party when weather is bad
12 - lunch
1 - nap
3 - afternoon snack and then back outside or free play, we pick up at 4.

To be honest, I think that the biggest benefit to preschool is the social learning for kids. So I would urge you to find playgroups in your area, look at the library schedule for story times and other activities, etc. I think that these kinds of opportunities for preschoolers to interact with each other and learn appropriate responses, how to play with others, how to share, are the biggest benefits of preschool.

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answers from Kansas City on

I'm doing home preschool with my youngest and she is loving it so far! I am using the Letter of the Week Curriculum. It is very easy to follow and it gives you lots of ideas to do with your child. Check out the website - As for the books needed for each lesson, I check them out at the library. I check them out three weeks at a time since we get the books for three weeks. Also, for pictures of the themes for the week I go to google images and find them there. You can pm if you have any other questions, but it really is a lot easier than I expected!

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answers from Kansas City on

Bookstores like Barnes and Noble have whole sections with preschool workbooks. My son will be 3 in March and here are some of the things he's learned at home: counting 1-20, recognize/name all letters--upper and lower case, count backwards from 10-1, colors, shapes, letter sounds, and recognizing numbers (through 15). We are working on: patterns, sequence, puzzles, playing Memory game, and fine motor skills (coloring, scissors, etc). We also work on his full name, address, and phone number. We don't get much outside time because it's really cold, but we roll a ball inside. He, of course, also loves playing with legos and matchbox cars.

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answers from Philadelphia on

If she likes the shows, you can get fun coloring pages to print at

As far as learning, just have a fun home that is open to her exploration, get fun interesting things to play with, and say yes to as many of her requests as you can. Put her needs first. And most especially, YOU must be fun, interesting, attentive and present. I don't think there's anything that can help your daughter learn more than an interesting, interested mom who is delighted by her.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I have a friend who stays at home with her two daughters and she tries to have "mommy school" at least once a week with her daughter. She got the idea from this blog, so maybe it can give you some ideas.

I work and therefore take my son to nursery school each day. They have a low-structure kind of learning experience, which I love. It's modeled after the Reggio Emilia approach, where they have a theme each week, but students really drive the learning experience. For example if the theme is maps and they are talking about maps and pointing out places and suddenly the kids are asking questions about China (because it's on the map) then that's where the lesson goes. Kids are more likely to retain information when they are asking questions and directing discussion. It also incorporates a lot of outside time, 2-3 hours a day when the weather permits it. Here is his schedule:
7:30 - 10:00am Free Play or Free Choice Time (puzzles, manipulatives, dress-up, books, playdough, art projects)
10:00 - 10:20 Rhythm/Drum Class Daily (Wednesdays Yoga)
10:20 - 10:30 Clean Up Time in Main Classroom
10:30 - 10:45 Rectangle Time (Music and Movement)
10:45 - 10:55 Wash Hands for Snack
10:55 - 11:10 Snack Time (school provides snack)
11:10 - 11:25 Meeting Time (Meeting Time = Story Time - books, weekly theme)
11:25 - noon Out Door Play (Large motor activities Outside or Gym)
noon - 12:10 Transitional Meeting (books) or Front Room, wash hands
12:00 - 12:45 Lunchtime (Parents provide lunch)
1:00pm - 2:00 Large Motor Activities (Outside or big room)
1:15 Start Nap Time for younger children
1:30 Yoga on Mondays & Art Class on Tuesdays and Thursdays
2:00 - 3:10 Free Play or Free Choice Time (puzzles, manipulatives, dress-up, books, playdough, art projects)
3:10 - 3:20 Clean Up Time
3:20 - 3:35 Rectangle time (Music and Movement)
3:35 - 3:40 Wash hands, snack
3:40 - 4:00 Snack Time (school provides snack)
4:00 - 4:15 Meeting Time (Meeting Time = Story Time - books, weekly theme)
4:15 - 6:00 Out Door Play (Large motor activities Outside or Gym)

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answers from Columbus on

Ask your current daycare for a schedule of their daily activities and what time they occur, then organize around that schedule, adjusting as needed. :)

I think loosely scheduling stuff like "craft time" (crayons, maybe a glue stick or stickers on a paper; or playdoh, or fingerpainting) for after nap, and reading time before nap, and "dancing/movement" for when they are energetic (singing a song and dancing to it). When the weather is good, scheduling outdoor time is really important, even if it's just a walk around the neighborhood.

Having a schedule, but being flexible, can help. Also, plan to have playdates at least once per week for socialization.

Edited to add: ask your local library for suggestions on good books on preschool activities. And/or google search for "toddler learning activities" or similar words.

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answers from Williamsport on

Daycare is pretty free-form play style except for nap time at this age. In my daughter's 3-4 year old class, they did "circle time" where they sang a couple of songs and got a few books read to them, then "go outside time" even in winter unless it was raining, then "craft project" then lunch, then "nap" then "go outside" again and/or "craft" and then free play.

Target (book section) and Wal Mart (toy section) and even some large grocery stores (book and magazine section) have great pre-school, kindergarten and 1st grade workbooks for math and letters and general learning stuff. We plowed through the kindergarten ones at age 4 and now we're almost done with first grade ones and she's in K4. You can go to whatever level she is absorbing, but she's still young enough to skip the academics.
Tons of reading to her and singing with her is the best. She can learn the alphabet by pointing out letters on blocks and flashcards etc. My son learned his whole alphabet form "Super Why" and "Word World" at that age on PBS. I was ready to start teaching him, and he already knew it!

And Launa's right, they pick up the most from talking to you and doing your activities with you. All my kids were really advanced, and we didn't really "try" but I always talked to them like adults, discussed what I was doing during chores and outings (tons of vocabulary to learn), and we were always together. I just did the daycare one or two days a week for a while when I had to wok PT, and my younger two didn't have it, but they were all comfortable with other kids at the park etc.

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answers from Seattle on

I teach my two preschoolers at home and love My Home Preschool. It is an online preschool that has been created by a teacher. All of the lessons are created for you. We play and learn together. Print offs are included and use common household materials.

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