Preschool Play At Home

I’ve often said that if I spent everyday at my childrens’ preschool, I’d be writing daily for Mommy Footprint. The inspiration and wonderful ideas that come from this play-based, magical school have been a wonderful experience for my family over the last 6 years. Two of my favorite ideas that come from preschool have been around forever, but since I setup both in my house last week, I’m reminded just what great ideas they are from the amount of time all of my kids spend playing with them. And both are very low cost to setup!

Wooden Stump & Nails

Ever drive by a house that has cut down a tree and is offering the stumps/logs for free?  Well next time, stop and pick one up because your children will love to hammer nails into the stump. Both my boys and daughters have loved this activity at preschool and we’ve recently picked up a stump and ball pein hammer that I picked up at my local hardware store. The ball pein hammer is normally smaller, lighter and has a ball and opposite flat face..much easier for small children. And by small children I mean 3 years olds and up. They are more than able at that age to hammer nails into wood and the stumps help the nails slide in so easily!  It will keep them busy for hours and teach them great motor skills. You can teach children to hammer thin pieces of wood to attach to the stump or even cardboard once they get bored of just hammering nails. Also, pickup nails of all sizes to further encourage fine motor skill development.

If you are nervous and think your toddler or child is too young to use real nails,  find golf tees and left over Styrofoam packing from large appliances. Using the ball pein hammer, kids can hammer golf tees into the packing material and you don’t have to worry about them using real nails.

Sand Table

It’s a standard in any preschool and there’s a good reason why – sand tables are wonderful. When I received my package of safe sand from Santastik, I knew what I was going to use it for….creating an indoor sand table. The sand is amazing and kids love to play with it. We added some animals, scoops, cups, and the sand into a long flat plastic container and all my kids have enjoyed playing with it. I just put the container on top of their play table and voila…they are all very happy. And unlike the bean table I set up years ago (my husband still curses that idea), the sand table is very easy to clean up. Yes, kids get excited and throw the sand around, but the Sandtastik sand is super easy to vacuum so the mess is a non-issue. To find out why I’m recommending the Sandtastik brand of play sand – check out this article. This sand is made without carcinogens or asbestos which might be found in other brands of sand.

I love my kid’s preschool. We’ve been there 6 consecutive years because of the close ages of our 4 children and although I’m very sad this time is coming to an end this Spring, I’m grateful for the many lessons the teachers have taught me.   A parent participation/play based preschool will not only bring your children great memories – but you’ll be surprised how much as parents you will learn.

Related Articles:

Finding Non-Toxic Sand For Kid’s Sandbox

The Perfect Home Made Play Dough Recipe!

Walnut Boats Made By Joel – Great Craft!

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2 Responses to Preschool Play At Home

  1. Nadia @ Red, White and GREEN Mom May 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Thanks for the ideas. I always see discarded tree logs around in summer but never thought to pick them up for my toddlers. What fun!
    Oh, and I completely agree about how great it can be for parents & kids to find that kind of school. I am lucky that my son goes to one and I truly have learned a lot this past year!

  2. Daddy May 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    I think it is important to add that for safety’s sake, it would be smart to have your little one’s wear eye protection while nailing anything. You can find pretty inexpensive safety glasses at department stores and home improvement stores. Not only does it protect them from a tragic eye injury, but they’ll think it’s cool and it teaches them proper tool safety.

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