Children are using technology at a very early age, so it’s no wonder that there are many preschool games which can be found online.
One site that offers preschool curriculum and educational online activities is Time4Learning. Read on to learn about the many activities available to help your child improve in school. Time4Learning has activities in math, general knowledge of the alphabet, science concepts and more. These educational resources will help you introduce your preschooler to concepts as well as assess their ability to comprehend the material.
As a preschool student, your child will become familiar with several math concepts including shapes, colors, and numbers. All of these topics have subsections where your child will pick to play an interactive lesson.
What You Can Do With Colors:
- Storybook: This is where your child can read along with the computer. The story book is based on learning about colors, but the child will also gain knowledge of book parts such as title, author, and pages. Child will also gain a sense of reading from left to right and turning pages as they click the “turn page” button with the mouse.
- Recall: Here the child will recall what they remember about the story they have just read and their colors. This not only helps with color recognition but also helps expand on the child’s knowledge to comprehend stories, a valuable tool they will need in preschool.
- Paint It: This painting activity allows for the child to choose colors to paint with on an online canvas. When choosing a color the narrator states which color the child is using, allowing for color recognition.
- Find It: Here the child is assessed to see if they can recognize colors. The child is given four different colors and the narrator asks for the child to choose a color. If the child gets it correct, a green check mark appears on the correct color. If by any chance the child makes a mistake, they can keep trying until he or she gets it right.
- Color extensions: Color activities do not just have to be done on the computer; you can do them at anytime. As you take a walk, are shopping in a grocery store, or maybe even in your own living room play the game “Eye Spy”. Tell your child you spy something with a specific color: “I spy something yellow.”
What You Can Do With Shapes:
- Showtime: Allows the child to watch an interactive video about shapes. During the video shapes are outlined and when the child moves the mouse, the shape’s name is spoken. This allows for an introduction or a recapping of shapes for the child.
- Patterns: Here the child will work on patterns and will be asked which shape should complete a pattern. You can sit with your child and also assess your child for colors during this activity as each shape is a different color.
- Puzzle: This puzzle activity allows for children to choose the correct shape to place in the correct place. Outlines of shapes are on top while the actual shapes are below. The child then picks one shape at a time to fill in the outlines. This helps to further assess for shape recognition as well as allowing the child to use logic reasoning skills.
- Match It: A matching game which allows for the child to match shapes to items with the same shape. For instance a rectangle would match up with a book.
- Shape extensions: Use the match it game as the basis for this at home activity. Make a list of shapes and then ask your child to bring you one item for each shape. These items can be found in the house if you are home. Another idea is if you are grocery shopping give the child a list of shapes which he or she must find in each aisle. The activities allow for further assessment of the shape recognition as well as allow the child to connect the knowledge with daily situations.
What You Can Do With Numbers:
- Showtime: Video helps to introduce numbers to child. The interactive video has the child counting along. Children count fish and are given the chance to choose how many fish should appear, between the numbers 1 and 10.
- Memory Match: Based on the traditional game of memory, allows for the child to use memory skills as well as knowledge of numbers to make matching pairs.
- Which: Has a fun game show theme. The game show host sets forth several numbers and the narrator asks the child to choose the correct number. This game allows for assessment of number recognition.
- Match It: This game allows for the child to match a number to a set of objects. For instance the child is given the numbers “4,5, & 6” and they are also given “ 4 cars, 5 cars, & 6 cars”. The child is then asked to match the correct number to the correct amount. This game allows for the child to use the counting skills he or she has learned throughout the math lessons.
- Number extensions: The counting and numbers do not have to end when the computer shuts off. Allow the child to continue counting whenever he or she gets a chance. Here are some great ways to utilize counting in daily life tasks:
- Counting money when you go to the store
- Counting items in the grocery store (how many bananas, how many apples)
- Cooking in the kitchen you can have your child count food items for you (we need 3 eggs, 4 teaspoons sugar, etc.)
- Show Time: This interactive video presents the child with a visual and verbal introduction of the alphabet. As the alphabet song is sung, letters appear on-screen. The video also allows for the child to choose any letter using the mouse. As the child chooses a letter, the narrator speaks the letter and also states a word which starts with that letter. For instance: “W is for Watch.”
- Which: This game is presented in a game show form as a penguin with a cute toupee is the host and the child is the game show contestant. The child is shown two letters at a time while the narrator asks for the child to choose the correct letter. For instance: Letters ‘B’ and ‘D’ are shown and the child is asked which one is letter 'D?' By using the mouse, the child is working on motor gross skills as he or she is learning the alphabet.
- Memory Match: This old game has a new age twist. The child is given eight cards which they must “flip” using their mouse. As they turn over the card they see a letter and the letter is spoken. This method not only helps them with visual memory of the letter but also helps them recognize the letter using verbal clues.
- Match It: This game matches a letter to a picture which starts with a specific letter. For instance: the letter “K” would be matched up with the picture of a “kiss” which also has the word “kiss” below the picture. This game not only helps with recognition of letters but also helps introduce the child to phonics.
- Alphabet Extensions: There is really so much you can do around your own house to help your child learn the alphabet. Here are a few ideas:
Draw one letter per index card and use these index cards to drill your child. Make this fun, though, by going to each room of the house and asking your child to find five items which start with__________(show the letter of your choice); just make sure there are items in the room which start with the letter you are working with.
Using the ideas from memory match, make your own memory cards again using index cards. This time make pairs for each letter (use one uppercase and one lowercase letter for each pair of cards). Try to make them visually stimulating and allow for each set of letters to have their own color. This can help not only with recognizing uppercase to lower case letters but also assess for color matching.
During snack time, allow the child to play with their food! Use sliced carrots, celery, cheese, etc. Ask the child to make an “A” with his carrot sticks or a “T” with his celery. This child will love playing with his food while learning!
Science themes which are covered in the preschool curriculum on Time4Learning include weather, the human body, the human face, and space. The sections are basically the same for the alphabet and for math (which we read about in the previous article). They have storybook or videos where the children are introduced to the science topics. The child is then assessed using interactive games such as Match It, Find It, or Memory Match.
My three year old actually found these sections to be the most interesting. This may be because, when we are “teaching” our preschoolers about what they need to know such as math and the alphabet, we sometimes overlook the science topics. While my daughter knew beforehand about the human body and the human face, she really enjoyed playing along with the head, shoulders, knees, and toes song.
- Weather: Use an everyday calendar for this daily activity. Cut out small “weather” signs such as sun (sunny), cloud (cloudy), rain (rainy), etc. You can draw these weather symbols or you and your child can try to find pictures in magazines which represent them. Each day ask your child to state what the weather is like then have him tape a weather symbol on the calendar for that day. To make it even more fun, have the child color the weather symbol instead of using cut outs.
- Space: On Time4Learning, your child will learn read a story about being an astronaut. This story tells about a boy who makes his own rocketship using everyday items such as a cardboard box. Take tips from this story and help your child become an astronaut for the day. Use an old cardboard box and materials to decorate the “rocketship.” Remember to count down to blast off using the counting methods your child learned: “5,4,3,2,1!”
- Human Body: Ask your child to think about all the amazing things the human body can do. Go over the five sense with your child. Now ask your child these questions:
“Use your senses…”
What do you hear?
What do you smell?
What do you touch?
What do you see?
What do you taste?
Your child’s answers will vary such as “I hear birds” or “I taste ice cream.”
Time4learning.com’s preschool curriculum includes two sections that teach about animals found in the farm as well as the zoo. The farm section starts off with an interactive video which had my daughter singing along with “Old MacDonald”. As the cute farmer sings his song, he introduces the child to several farm animals and their sounds. The best part about this video is that the words or letters pop up on the screen as they are being sung. For instance as the farmer sings “E-I-E-I-O”…the vowels are popping up on the screen. This allows for visual and verbal recognition as the child connects the word with the pictures.
The other three parts for the farm sections include, "Write your own story," "Find it," and "Match it." My daughter and I found that the “Write your own story” was interesting as it allows the child to use her own imagination. Various multiple choice questions are set forth such as “What kind of food do you like to eat for breakfast?”…then the child is given four kinds of food such as muffins, eggs, biscuits, or fruit. The answers the child gives is then put into their very own story that they helped “create”. The child can choose a different answer for the questions each time, so the story can be different each time as well.
The zoo animal section starts off with a video which brings together the letters of the alphabet with the animals found in the zoo. The cartoon character speaks to the child as she states each letter of the alphabet while introducing the child to a zoo animal. For instance, she will say, “V is for the vulture”. Each letter of the alphabet is also shown so that the child can relate the letter with the animal. Letter recognition seems to come up in additional lessons besides the alphabet lesson, which helps the child to keep practicing letter recognition as well as phonetics. The other games in the zoo lesson included "Memory Match", "Find It", and "Paint It".
While your preschool child may have enjoyed learning about the animals online, they probably would enjoy being introduced to the animals in person…much more! Try taking a trip to the zoo or to a farm to allow your child to see up close what these animals look like, what they eat, and what they feel like.
Another great way to spend time teaching your child about animals is to have your preschooler cut out animal pictures out of a magazine along with the letter it starts with. Have your child compile these pictures into an “Animal/Letter Book”. For instance, a page may have a picture of a horse along with the letter H. Again, this allows for the child to connect the animal with the letter.
The child is introduced to various food items including items from the food groups. The part my daughter enjoyed the most was the patterns lesson. The child is shown a pattern using food items such as fruits and vegetables then the child is asked to complete the pattern. An example of a pattern is:
Bananas-Carrots-Bananas-Carrots-Bananas_____________: The child would fill in the last spot with the picture of the carrots. The pattern game allowed my child to apply what they learned about food to the math concepts they had learned previously.
The fruit puzzle was not only fun but allows a preschool child to use logical reasoning skills as well as motor skills as they drag the puzzle pieces into the correct spots using the computer mouse. Other food games included "Match It," "Paint It," and "Memory Match."
Using the skills and information learned with Time4learning’s preschool lesson, you and your child can work on various activities.
At the store, allow the child to choose their favorite fruit and favorite vegetable to buy. When you get home, clean and slice the produce and then let the child make patterns using their fruit and vegetables. For instance, they choose an apple and celery. Give the child apples slices and slice the celery into several parts as well. The child can then make patterns on her plate using the fruits and vegetables.
In the grocery store you can also allow your child to point out vegetables and fruits. Ask them which fruit is red? They may choose an apple or may even choose a strawberry. Ask them what vegetable is green? The child will have lots to choose from here! This fun game will not only allow the child to identify fruits and vegetables but will also identify colors.
The Vehicles lesson includes "Show Time," "Match It," and "Paint It." While it may seem that the games are very repetitive this is actually good for preschoolers as they learn through repetition. So while it may be a bit boring for an adult to sit there through another "Match It game", the preschooler is actually having loads of fun.
During the Showtime video, my daughter sang along with the song “Wheels on the Bus.” Just like in the animal section’s “Old MacDonald,” having a more popular and familiar song allowed my child to be comfortable with the video and allowed for more interaction.
The "Match It" game allowed my daughter to use reasoning skills. The preschool child is given three different types of transportation devices including a plane, a bus, and boat. They are also given three settings including water, road, and sky. The child then matches the type of transportation to the setting it would be found in. For example, the airplane is found in the sky.
Take a train ride, bus ride, or even a boat ride on a local ferry. After your day of transportation fun, go home and talk about the things your child liked or even did not like about the transportation. Maybe the train was too noisy or she liked being on the water with the ferry ride.
Driving in the car does not have to be boring even if you are stuck in traffic. Have the child count different color cars. “How many blue cars can we see in one minute?” or you can ask, “Let’s see how many shapes we can see on a car?” (tires for circles, rectangles for doors, etc.) This will allow the child to apply her mathematical concepts to the transportation lessons.
Time4learning seems a bit repetitive with the games as there are only a few games which keep coming up in various lessons. However, preschoolers learn things by doing them over and over and over again. They are also comfortable with familiarity. This being said, many parents may feel that this constant repetition may be a bit useless and yet I found it to be very useful. In one month as my child went back to lessons everyday, I found she was absorbing all of the information in.
Overall I felt very comfortable allowing my child to play on the website as she was gaining knowledge from this preschool online curriculum, as well as having fun. The fun does not have to stop at the computer or even at the extensions which have been included. Remember as a parent to a preschooler, you must always think outside the box as well as think on your toes. You never know when an educational experience may be right in front of your face!
What the Child Says
Overall, my child preschooler really liked how the interactive lessons were set up. The one thing she was disappointed about was that every time she went back to a lesson, it seemed to be repetitive. For instance, for each section only, one story or video will show up, it never changes. This would be one suggestion I would make to Time4Learning: to have several stories and videos for the child in each section.
Our last article in the series will look at everyday items and objects such as transportation, food, and animals.