During those preschool years, it can be so fun to plan homeschool units that you know your preschooler will enjoy.
For me, I need unit planning to be simple and inexpensive!
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In this post, I’m going to show you the easiest way to put together themed unit studies for your younger children, and you’re going to be able to do it without spending any money.
Choosing Homeschool Preschool Units
Some of the unit themes we’ve enjoyed over the years include:
- Community Leaders
- United States of America
Want more ideas?
Simply Google a variety of different preschool programs or curriculum resources and see what’s included in their Table of Contents.
I typically choose one theme each month from May through August.
It serves as a great way to keep my little ones engaged throughout the summer months (adding a little structure to our day-to-day), but I’ll admit to you…
I keep things pretty relaxed!
There is no set agenda or schedule.
We are not using any specific preschool curriculum, and there are not really any goals or objectives other than I want my kids to have as many opportunities as possible to grow in their love of learning.
This is something that can be done any time of year – using resources you already have in your home!
So what exactly do I do?
Well, in this post, I want to give you an example of what this looks like for us.
My hope is that it will provide you with a little inspiration of your own!
Let’s get started!
The unit I’m going to share today is our farm unit!
Oh yeah, did I mention that this whole unit planning/prep thing can be done without you having to spend any money?
Yep, that’s right!
After choosing the theme for the month, (and it can be whatever you want it to be. Remember, there are no rules!), I go through my house with a fine tooth comb – looking for anything and everything that will fit my theme.
Let’s start with the books!
I usually grab a large basket (or a plastic bin), and the first thing I do is look through my kids’ books!
We keep books in our family room, in the playroom, and in our homeschooling area.
I check all three of these location for books that will fit my theme, and I put them in my basket!
I also like to check the local library for books my kids have never seen or audio books they can listen to during rest time, before bed, or in the car = FREE resources! Yay!
Psst…these Mercy Watson books make for awesome read-alouds to little ones – something we like to do together before bedtime!
Now let’s choose some fun activities!
Next, I raid the playroom, including the puzzle racks and the game closet!
Here are some of our farm-themed favorites!
- My First Touch-and-Feel Farm Picture Cards
- Farm Animal Stickers by Dover Books
- Green Toys Farm Playset
- Step-by-Step Puzzles – Farm Animals
- Farm Duplo Sets
- Chunky Wooden Farm Puzzle
- Farm Hide & Seek Puzzle
- Memory Matching Farm Game
- Farm Magnetic Number Maze
- 4-in-1 Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles (Farm-Themed)
Next, I check my Homeschool Closet where I store items by subject/theme – and I typically have a few additional items that I can add to my basket!
- Old MacDonald’s Farm Peek-a-Boo Activity (Free Printable!)
- Melissa and Doug Scissor Skills: Barn Cutting Activity Included
- Farm Magnets
- Chicken Life Cycle Activities
- Jumbo Farm Counters – These are great for counting, sorting by color, or practicing patterns. You can also use them to work on a variety of different beginning concepts related to addition, subtraction, etc.
- Farm Animals Wooden Stamp Set – These are fantastic for strengthening fine motor skills.
Do you use Pinterest?
After gathering these items, sometimes I check Pinterest!
I don’t always take this extra step, but if I’m needing a little extra inspiration, I might something fun and simple from there to do!
Even better if they’re free! This FREE 25-Page Farm Printables Packet from Gift of Curiosity has been one of our favorites! My kids have especially loved all the practice with patterns!
Are there any fun projects and/or interesting experiments that I could do with my kids? I always check my boards for things I have pinned that will fit my theme!P
Online Experiences can be really interesting!
In addition, are there any on-line experiences I can give my kiddos?
For example, during the farm unit, we watch a virtual tour of a dairy farm…yes, on YouTube. While I realize mamas must monitor YouTube closely, definitely check it out.
It can be an incredible resource!
Oh, and while you’re at it, check your app store for any apps that might fit your theme.
Take one more look around your house!
With one last look around the house, I typically run across a few more toys and activities that I can use with my theme.
You get the idea!
For this particular theme, I even raided our basket of toy animals. These Schleich animals are great idea for Easter baskets, Christmas stockings, etc. Over the years, we’ve built a fun collection of them that we’ve used for various learning activities.
“Alright, ladies and gentlemen, farm animals on one side and zoo animals on the other!”
See? The perfect sorting activity!
So check out what I’ve done, I’ve gathered items from literally all around my house – taking things we already own – putting together a fantastic basket full of activities to use for our month’s theme!
I keep my themed basket close at hand – usually in the kitchen, and each morning, we read a couple of the books and then hang out together – doing one or two of the hands-on activities!
Don’t forget about the family field trips!
In addition to this, I love to plan “Field Trips” that fit our theme.
During the month we’re focused on the farm, we try to visit a nearby farm.
We may tour a barn, pick our own food, feed farm animals, and my kids love every second!
We typically plan these types of outings for the weekend – when daddy can be involved.
Learning together as a family is something we all enjoy!
Not sure where to start?
Search on-line for related field trip opportunities!
Google will be your best resource for discovering educational experiences in the area where you live.
Next, ask around to see if your expert friends have any suggestions.
- Talk to other moms.
- Ask another teacher friend of yours.
- Post a question on social media.
Most people love sharing their great experiences with others who may also be interested!
So take a deep breath…don’t think too hard…definitely don’t put ANY pressure on yourself to go over the top.
Simply brainstorm a few themes you would like to “study” with your little ones, and then start gathering a few resources to make it happen!
You don’t have to gather every farm book ever written.
Please don’t attempt to do every Pinterest craft you’ve ever pinned.
You don’t have to take advantage of every resource that hits your inbox.
Just choose a few things that you know your kids will love and have fun!
Where Do You Find Your Supplemental Resources?
Most of my educational supplies/toys have come from yard sales, thrift stores, and consignment sales. You can even find fun activities at the dollar store/in the dollar spot.
You do not have to spend a lot of money to provide great experiences for your children.
Everyone’s resources are going to look different! Start with what you have and then build from there.
Utilize Google, Pinterest, and YouTube to search for amazing FREE resources, and I promise you will be able to provide awesome learning opportunities for your littles without having to spend a dime.
Want to bring an extra level of organization to your preschool planning process?
I have created a Pre-school Unit Prep Checklist that I think you are going to love!
It was designed with homeschooling families in mind, and it is the perfect tool for brainstorming/organizing a simple, but engaging, unit!
It includes three sections:
- Hands-On Activities
- Field Trips
with a checklist for each category and spacious note-making areas!
It even has a place for you to make notes about any thoughts, ideas, resources that you may want to consider for future units that you have in the back of your mind!
Want access to this printable that you can use to brainstorm fun activities for your little ones?
Interested in more information about homeschooling your preschooler? I offer the following posts:
- Two-Year-Old Homeschool Preschool
- Three-Year-Old Homeschool Pre-school
- Four-Year-Old Homeschool Pre-school
as well as a free Homeschool Preschool e-course designed to encourage you as you get started!