Cognitive Development &
A Typical Course of Study for
|Home Preschool Curriculum Guide
There are a variety of activities you can do at home that correlate with the cognitive developmental stage of 2-5 year
olds and the typical preschool course of study. Preschool educators say children ages 2-5 should have certain
motor skills in order to begin formal academic learning in the school or homeschool environment. Here are the
skills they identify:
A child should be able to:
Walk a straight line
Alternate feet walking down stairs
Stand on one foot for 5-10 seconds
Walk backwards for five feet
Button a garment & zip a zipper
Throw a ball
Draw and color beyond a simple scribble
Control pencil and crayon well
Copy simple shapes
Cut simple shapes with scissors (handles scissors well)
Build with blocks
Match simple objects
Complete simple puzzles (5 pieces or less)
Here are some activities you can do to help your preschooler develop these motor skills.
Developing Motor Skills
Build An Obstacle Course!
One way to improve motor skills, get some exercise, and help your child learn vocabulary and concepts needed for
reading readiness skills is to build and use an obstacle course.
Take A Hike!
Button A Garment & Zip a Zipper
Show your child how to button and unbutton, zip and unzip, and snap and unsnap their clothes. While you're at it,
show them how to hook and unhook clothing, as well as how to open and close Velcro tabs.
Let your child play dress up with old clothing such as shirts and pants with buttons, zippers, hooks, and laces.
Get a dress up doll such as Gund's Teach Me Girl and Teach Me Boy that help kids learn to button, unbutton, tie
shoe laces, zip and unzip and more.
Throw a Ball
As their ability improves, try this game
Guess What I Drew
Materials: Put stickers, stamps or glue pictures onto index cards.
How to play: Have a player choose a card from the deck. (The player should not show anyone else the card!) Then
the player should try to sketch or draw the object that is on the card onto a piece of paper with a pencil or crayons.
When the player has finished drawing the picture, let the other players guess what the picture is in turn. Everyone
should have a turn to guess what the player drew. When everyone has had a chance to guess, the player can reveal
the card they picked. There are no winners or losers here, just guesses. Then, the play passes to the next player.
Kinderart.com offers free drawing lessons that you can print out and do at home designed especially for
preschoolers and young children.
Ed Emberley's drawing books make learning to draw easy and fun. He has an entire series of books for varying age
groups that you can probably get at your local library or bookstore. Try Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Faces that is
geared for kids 4-8.
Colouring is a matter of practice. Make sure you have a supply of colouring crayons, pencils, and markers at home,
along with lots of plain paper and colouring books within easy reach of your preschooler. Designate a small area as
your "art nook" and keep it well stocked.
Allow your child to access the supplies at will. Encourage your child's artistic expression. Our activity and colour
pages offer a huge variety of colour & activity books and pages. Get all kinds of free printable colouring pages and
on-line colouring pages at PreschoolColoringBook.com
Control Pencil and Crayon Well
Using a pencil and crayon well takes practice. Make the materials easily available to your child so that they can
practice by drawing, colouring, and writing whenever they want. Have a variety of pens, pencils, crayons, markers
and paper with which to experiment.
Activity books such as dot-to-dots and mazes improve pencil and crayon control.
Get free printable dot-to-dot activities.
Get free printable mazes.
Play: "Can You Draw What I Draw?" You'll need a piece of paper for each player and crayons or markers. Draw a line
(or something simple) and ask your child to do the same, then draw another shape and ask him/her to do the same.
Then reverse rolls and let your child lead and you follow.
Copy Simple Shapes
Let your child use shape cards to copy shapes onto paper. See Concepts
Trace shapes in a sandbox. See Concepts
Finger paint and ask your child to draw shapes in the paint.
Cut Simple Shapes With Scissors
Practice using scissors. Give your child paper (like junk mail!) and scissors and let him/her cut to their hearts
content. They will not have any direction when they begin, they will need to learn how the scissors work at first. Have
a dustpan, broom and garbage near by to pick up small pieces! Encourage your child to help with the clean up!
Let your child do cut and paste projects.
Practice cutting shapes.
Find a selection of links with free cut-out paper doll patterns. Use the cut-outs to make your own story books and
Cut pictures from magazines.
Draw or print shapes for your child to cut out.
Glue & Paste Projects — The best way to learn this skill is to get lots of practice. Start out with easy projects. The
less frustrating for your child, the better. As he/she gains skill, you can tackle more difficult projects. These projects
can get messy — so plan ahead. Wear appropriate clothing. Use a drop cloth to minimize mess and reduce worry.
The point is to have fun while teaching a skill. Be sure to use non-toxic glue and paste. Show your child how to glue
and paste together: paper, egg cartons, baskets, cardboard, boxes, milk cartons, tea bag boxes, wax paper rolls,
toilet paper and towel rolls, oatmeal boxes, etc.
Then, show your child how to use glue and/or paste to decorate their projects with: glitter, beans, rice, cotton balls,
toothpicks, felt, wood, sequins, packing materials, tissue paper, torn or cut paper, newspaper clippings, magazine
clippings, noodles, pasta, peanut shells, coloured puff balls, coloured feathers, buttons, styrofoam, pipe cleaners,
ribbons, paper punch outs, fabric and odd pieces of costume jewelry.
Do paper craft projects together.
Builds with Blocks
Building with blocks helps children to discover for themselves important concepts such as size, shape, number,
space, weight, and height -- all precursors to good math and science skills. Invest in a set of blocks and encourage
your child to play with them. They are the ultimate educational toy and come in a variety of options including: wood
blocks, Lego Duplos, Lincoln Logs and foam blocks.
Make your own blocks. Just use empty cardboard boxes of different sizes and shapes. (Tape them closed for ease
of use.) Use shoe boxes, milk cartons, oatmeal boxes, toothpaste cartons, etc. You can fill them with crumpled
newspaper to add weight, if needed. If you want your home-made blocks to look more appealing or uniform -- cover
them in contact paper (you can purchase inexpensive rolls of it at building supply stores). Or, make Brown Paper
Materials: You will need brown paper grocery bags, newspaper, and strong tape like masking or shipping/packing
Directions: Take a standard-sized grocery paper bag and lay it on a flat surface like a table or the floor. Fold the top
of the bag over about 6" to 8" and make a crease in the bag on the fold line. Then, open the bag and stuff it with
individual sheets of crumpled newspapers. Then, fold the bag on the crease line to close it, and tape it shut
securely. You can decorate the bag-blocks if you want -- or just get busy and build forts, towers, tunnels, and
whatever else your imagination inspires.
Matches Simple Objects
Show your child two matching items — explain that they look alike, so they "match." What else matches? Look
around your house for objects that match such as silverware, dishes, napkins, light switches, windows, faucets,
pillows, socks, etc.
Match playing cards — such as all of the 2's, 5's, jacks, queens, kings, etc. See concepts & Puzzles for
Match objects you find when you walk such as flowers, leaves, rocks and shells.
Play these printable concentration games themed around Clifford The Big Red Dog.
Sort through toys and match objects that are alike.
Complete Simple Puzzles (5 pieces or less)
Buy puzzles especially designed for young children and put them together.
Make your own puzzles! Glue a magazine picture or photograph to poster board or cardboard, cut it up into 5-6
pieces (or more, depending on child's ability to assemble), and let your child put it back together. Or, use these
blank puzzles to create your own puzzle masterpieces.
Do puzzles online. A nice feature of this website that offers online, interactive puzzles for kids of all ages and
abilities, is that you can choose the puzzle category you want and then select the number of pieces you want the
puzzle to have such as 6,12, 25, 40, etc.
Back tothe beginning of the FREE Pre-School Curriculum
Homeschool unless otherwise stipulated.