Let me just start by saying I love learning. So I am raising Olivia and Henry assuming they do to. Let me clarify the "I love learning" statement with I love to learn by reading, and doing. So I decided to come up with a early learning plan for Olivia and now Henry, to encourage them to love to learn and read. Here is what I have started with so far.
- I purchased the book "What Your Preschooler Needs to Know: Get Ready for Kindergarten (Core Knowledge Series)" along with the What Your Preschooler Needs to Know: Activity Book 1 for Ages 3-4"for it. We haven't cracked open the activity book yet but we have started in on the book lists in the back of the book. So far (In the past two months) we have checked out from the library and read 200 books to Olivia (Henry gets to hear them when I read while I breastfeed). I am also going off of the book list from Sonlight curriculum for 4 and 5 year olds, I love their book suggestions. ( Last year we did the P3/4 year old book list, purchased most of the books since Olivia adored them.)
- We have a box with crayons, colored pencils, coloring books and paint that I get out on a daily basis for Olivia to create something with. Paints don't come out as often as the less messy crayons and pencils. Usually I also pull out a large sheet of brown butcher paper and ask her to draw me something like a chicken or a dog (scribbles to me but she knows what she drew!). Other times I pull out paper that she can draw on and then mail to Nana or auntie or uncle. I often have her color as I do some cleaning around the house that she can't really help me with like mopping or vacuuming.
- Cleaning and cooking are something I am including in our "curriculum" as necessary life skills. Olivia is at that stage where she loves to be just like mommy. So I am trying to make good use of it and teaching her to put her toys away, help with laundry, help make the bed, pick out her clothes, help bake cookies, or put meals together. It takes longer for mommy but makes Olivia so happy and I feel is better than her watching TV while I clean. Often she will get distracted and start to play or "read" in the middle of a cleaning session but that is a toddler's prerogative right!
- Bimonthly (minimum) frugal field trips. Our favorite right now is the toddler story time at the library. They sing songs, get read to and then make a fun little craft at the end. It is a weekly event at the library but we are only going about once a month right now. Other ideas for toddler field trips are: free days at museums, going for walks (free and good for everyone involved. I was just given the post part-um go ahead to start exercising and lifting again, I am excited for our almost daily walks to start back up!) and of course trying out different local parks and playgrounds.
- A daily reading of the "The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name". I read it aloud whether she is sitting by me listening or busy playing with her legos. I want her to know Jesus loves her from a very young age. I personally love reading this bible as it is like a little mini devotional for me as I am reminded as I read how much God loves me.
- For exposure to music I have been playing a mix on pandora of children's music, and classical. Olivia spends most of her day dancing. I love hearing and singing along with the songs. Plus it's free to stream Pandora so why not!
So what exactly is our routine you might ask? Here is what a typical day looks like for us:
8 AM : Get up, get dressed, make beds and eat breakfast. (mommy needs her coffee!)
9:30 AM: Read to Olivia from the book list, Read from the Jesus storybook bible
Here is where if I have errands I need to run or we have a field trip for the day we would leave the house
10:30 AM: Turn on Pandora to play throughout most of the day, bring out Olivia's craft box and place on the kitchen table for her to have access to through out the day. ( I have been teaching her the crayons, pens and pencils stay at the table)
11AM: Encourage Olivia to play with duplo legos, mega blocks and engage in imaginary play (she loves to feed her babies and "cook") Mommy will be cleaning the kitchen and getting lunch ready during this time.
12: Lunch then clean the house and Olivia can play the rest of the afternoon. She is great at self entertaining. Often she helps me clean. When the weather is nice she plays outside.
In the evenings Olivia always helps daddy collect the chicken and duck eggs, feed the animals and then daddy and her will sometimes watch a "tune"(restricted to two evenings a week, although when baby first came it was much more for a while), play with legos and/ or read books.