ivey league preschool: all aboard!

This past week we did a fun, informal preschool unit on TRAINS!  (One of Caleb's favorite things!)

It was all pretty laid-back.  I decided that if all we could manage was twenty minutes of preschool that day, that was a good start.  Caleb is ahead in some respects (he knows his letters and letter sounds, he can count objects up to 12, etc.) but isn't quite at kindergarten level yet with other areas.  Which is fine with me.  The kid isn't even five yet!

On Monday, we put together a cute train.  I did all the cutting, but Caleb was responsible for decorating and gluing.  He also insisted all the train cars have eyes "like Thomas."

Link to free printable!

On Tuesday we tried out some counting and math activities using a free printable preschool packet.  He successfully matched number cards with groups of objects (i.e., matched the number "3" with a group of 3 train tracks), found the missing number, and put together a puzzle by placing numbers in order:

He also decided on his own to work on tracing letters.  Since he's easily frustrated with this kind of activity, I just let him go at it.  We have plenty of time to work on pencil grip and on improving his fine motor skills.  As you might be able to see, our printer's running out of ink so some of the worksheets are a bit faded in parts (Caleb didn't seem to mind!).

On Wednesday we made a "name train."  I made the letter squares and railroad track, and Caleb had to tell me how to spell his name.  He got C and A right, but needed some help with the rest.  But all I had to do was enunciate the next letter sound in his name ("Ca-LLLLLLeb") and he would usually get it immediately, so he's close to being able to spell his name without help!  He glued the cars in order and added the wheels (it was also his idea to add the cotton ball steam!).

I also made an engineer hat for him.  I colored the stripes in since he's not big into coloring much lately.  He got a kick out of it when it was done though!

Link to free template and instructions!

On Thursday, we didn't do anything.  Oops. We ran some errands in the morning and time just got away from us.  But that's how it goes.

On Friday, we made chocolate chip train cookies!  He's had a train cookie cutter for awhile now and we finally used it.  I mixed up the dough and he helped me with the cookie cutter...as well as with eating the cookies when they were done.  I highly recommend this recipe; it's a great change from plain sugar cookie cut-outs, and the cookies hold their shape really well!

Link to recipe here!
Along with our usual reading, we also read several train books to keep Caleb excited about the theme:

Hey, Mr. Choo-Choo, Where Are You Going?  by Susan Wickberg
The Little Red Caboose by Marian Potter
Train Song by Harriet Ziefert
The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet

The first one on the list was from the library, and the other three we own.  I was actually surprised we didn't have more train books since Caleb really likes trains!

All in all, this week was fun.  For both of us.  I didn't stress about Caleb meeting any kind of benchmarks; we just had a good time while learning a little.  And isn't that what you DO in preschool?  :o)
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