Fun Early Learning Resources for Summer or Any time of Year

With summer upon us and the quickly approaching arrival of our third child, I was trying to plan some fun simple activities that my preschool daughter could work on that wouldn’t require much time or energy on my part. I wanted something educational but different from the normal schooling routine. I wanted some activities that could be self-directed while mommy might be busy with a new little one. I came upon these few resources that I have been absolutely thrilled with. And did I mention my daughter loves as well?

Kumon Workbooks -  I recently stumbled upon this series of hands on workbooks, and my daughter has been making her way through the My First Book of Cutting workbook and absolutely loves the various cutting exercises. They are simple and yet have really strengthened her eye and hand coordination. They are an easy tool for basic childhood development while being very self-directed for the most part. These workbooks range in skills from cutting, drawing, mazes, tracing, pasting, to basic math and language skills, all for a 3-6 year old level. They even offer a First Steps series for as young as 2 year olds with basic cutting, pasting, and coloring practice. We plan to use these this fall with my toddler while sister is working on her own school, along with this cut little pair of first scissors. These workbooks could easily be used alone for a solid start on preschool.

Brain Quest -We started the Brain Quest preschool question pack and what a fun little hands on learning tool. Most of which were pretty easy for my four year old, but still offered fun review and helped solidify some concepts she is weaker in. It’s great for the car or just a simple self directed activity. With full cover pictures and self-checking ability, it has been lots of fun to do together or on her own. We look forward to picking up the Brain Quest Kindergarten as well!

Taro Gami Coloring books -These coloring books are pretty unique. Taro Gomi is a Japanese illustrator that inspires kids to color, draw, imagine and create from unfinished picture prompts. They are also huge, with each volume having somewhere around 400 pages. They inspire imagination in a fun way. Rather than having all the pictures ready to be drawn, the child is encouraged to finish the drawing on their own, such as draw the apples on this tree, and now draw you eating the apples, or draw clothes on the child, etc. These books are certainly suitable for older children as well and may be slightly advanced for a young child.

What Your Preschooler Needs to Know – This book is packed full of fun poems, short stories, classic read alouds, simple history and science stories. It has helped me learn how to dialog more effectively with my daughter through our reading experiences to increase comprehension, retention, and narration with lots of helpful teaching tips or question prompts at the side of the page. There is a thorough article at the end about reading aloud to your children with practical tips on making your read aloud time most effective. My little ones love all the sing-a-long poems with simple hand motions or dancing movements. Each day they pull out the book and asks me to read this or sing that. Lots of fun interaction together (with both toddlers and preschoolers)! You can also purchase activity guides that accompany this book.

Thanks to FBS Books for the sampling of some of these products!

What are your favorite early learning resources?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

5 Responses to Fun Early Learning Resources for Summer or Any time of Year

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  2. Nola July 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    I also love the Kumon books, although I have found that for my daughter they can be almost too repetitive (she is in the 5-6-7 range at 5). Well its not that she hated that though…actually its just that I look at it and for example there are many pages of adding something plus 1 and really she got it on the first page. But its good for her to repeat it too so that she gets the point. I never used the younger books but they are cheap and I am sure as good as these older ones so I might use them with my younger child when the time comes. My older daughter does love them especially that they have a certificate in the back for her when she is done. We did the easy telling time, easy addition, one about rhyming words and phrases, and numbers 1-120 this year. The numbers 1-120 really helped her get a solid foundation on numbers, which for her helped her to easily and mostly on her own figure out addition and subtraction at basic levels.

    Nothing else I tried was as big of a hit at our house, so not much else is worth mentioning resource wise. Although we did try the A reason for handwriting book but I should have bought the higher level since it was too basic for her. Sometimes things just work that way without being able to actually use it first. I do think that is another book though that looks really good to me its just that she needed the higher book.

    Another thing I did when I had a baby was to prepare ahead of time simple crafts for the older child to do. I made little ziploc baggies of activities. You could also use bins like what people set up for keeping toddlers busy during homeschooling or those activity grab bag style things. I can’t remember all I set up in them but I found them helpful to pull out when I needed to be with the baby. I only pulled them out then. I had some new (used) books, some magazines to cut, paper shapes to glue, giant lacing beads and lacing strings…that sort of thing. I’m sure there are ideas online, you could even just have certain toys or books rotated for this purpose. I am going to do this again when I have the next baby. It really helped and of course they are still educational as much as books.

  3. Arianna V July 8, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    I forgot all about Brain Quest. My younger siblings used to have them and it was always fun to “quiz” each other. That is nice that they go all the way down to preschool age.

  4. Sarah M July 8, 2011 at 4:23 am #

    we love the Kumon books and my littlest guy did between 4-5 in his first school year just as extras because he loved them. He especially loved the cutting one, too, and I really noticed a difference after him going through that book. I did give him a maze , one, and was surprised he was having trouble until I realized that there was a beginner’s maze book, a level lower than the one he had, they just didn’t sell it where I bought the rest. Darn!… but he did finish it and wanted to do it when I was able to sit with him and help him.

    Sarah M

  5. yen July 8, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    and some of the kumon books are under the 4 for 3 promotion of amazon. :-)