If you are planning to homeschool your preschool or kindergarten age kids, here are some of the educational toys and games that you can incorporate in your curriculum.
Have you ever heard of the term gameschooling?
Yes, it is actually a thing. Gameschooling is a method of homeschooling using educational toys and games. How cool is that?
Games allow families to bond and share quality time together and encourage learning through play.
In my Timberdoodle Homeschool Curriculum review I explained that it was one of the main reasons why I chose their preschool/kindergarten curriculum last year for my son.
And based on our experience last year, the play based learning approach has really worked for us.
Preschoolers and kindergartners (2-5 year olds) get super excited when they get a new game or toy and they are so much more engaged when they can use all sensory inputs to learn.
Educational Toys and Games for Preschool and Kindergarten Kids
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If you want to try to incorporate educational toys and games in your homeschool curriculum for preschoolers and kindergarteners, here are some of the games we use on a regular basis and games that are favorites of gameschooling parents.
General Knowledge, Gross and Fine Motor Skills
These educational games focus on general knowledge such as weather, time and daily responsibilities as well as gross and fine motor skills coordination.
You’d be surprised by how many teachers say that kids arrive in kindergarten without being able to hop on one foot or string a bead.
Fine motor skills start to make a big difference when kids start learning handwriting.
A favorite for many homeschooling parents, sensory water beads are great for fine motor skill activities and to entertain preschoolers for a while. They could get messy and that is why a sensory table or baking sheet is a great way to contain the beads during play.
A hands on activity for kids to learn about weather, days of the week, days of the month and time.
A staple in every household, but also a great way to strengthen the muscles in the hands and encourage creativity.
For kids who are motivated by rewards, a chore chart outlines responsibilities and encourages good behaviors and involvement in the family.
Works on gross motor skills as well as shape, color and number recognition and logic. Great for families with multiple children.
Math is super important in any curriculum and since we have a math loving child, we spend a lot of time working on this subject.
We currently use Math-U-See as a curriculum, but also have used several Kumon workbooks.
However, we “play” math a lot more than we use workbooks, and here is how:
This game is an all around favorite. I originally purchased it for fine motor skills, but soon realized that it also works on color recognition, counting, sorting, shapes and addition.
Another game that we play several times a month. This game works on subitizing – the ability to count without adding each number, or in other words recognizing that 4 dots equals the number 4. This is very valuable when adding numbers 1-10 and for math speed in later years.
The Polka Dot Game also works on ten frame recognition and number ordering.
We started learning addition with the Osmo games and the addition and subtraction game puzzle. It’s usually for kids 5+, but if you have a kid that loves math, I say give it a go. It’s very intuitive and I thought it would be too advance for our 3 year old, but he took to it like a fish in water. The child then advances to more difficult levels. For a full review of the Osmo Games read this post.
If you are just starting to teach math to your toddler or preschooler, then this is a great starter toy. It works on sorting, counting, addition and color recognition.
When your child is ready to advance to skip counting or counting to 100, this game will help a lot.
We love this puzzle! Big, self-correcting pieces that help kids with counting, addition and subtraction. At first it might be better to remove the subtraction component and teach only addition.
This puzzle is similar to the one above, however the differences are it does not include subtraction (that is a separate game), but it does include actual numbers in the reverse side (ex: 2+2= 4).
A favorite of gameschooling families, the sum swamp game encourages addition and subtraction with the use of dice for kids to advance to the finish line.
A magnetic and wipe off set of ten-frames to encourage hands on addition and subtraction.
A cool subitizing game that can grow with the child. Games get harder as the child gets older or advances in math skills.
Reading and Writing
A great, mess free way to employ logic and pattern recognition to learn how to write the alphabet and numbers. The child looks at pictures and learn to put the pieces together to make the letters.
Using WikkiStix Alphabet Cards is a great way to familiarize your kids with the alphabet and how to write letters without handwriting. The WikkiStix can become a little messy and some kiddos might not like the feel of them, but the cards can also be used with playdough or for finger-tracing.
The Osmo games include silicon shapes to make letters and it is perfect for kids that are too young to start handwriting, but that are ready to learn letter shapes. The game starts easy and then advances to more difficult levels. For a full review of the Osmo Games read this post.
If your child is just learning rhyming or needs some reinforcement, then this puzzle can help. Great fine motor activity as well.
Once your child starts to learn sight words, a great way to memorize them is by playing bingo!
The more advanced level of sight words bingo once your child has memorized all the words at level 1.
An affordable and multitasking game of bingo, with consonants, sight words and rhyming words. It’s also wipe-off for easy cleanup.
If your child responds better to colors and shapes, this fishing game is a great way to incorporate sight word recognition.
Finding games for CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) is really hard. This is a great one for learning initial, medial and final sounds and work on phonics.
Along the lines of the last game, this word builder is more an independent game for CVC words. It works in conjunction with the CVC blocks.
Logic and Problem Solving
This is a great game for shapes, colors, geometry, pattern recognition and spatial awareness. It has different levels of difficulty and kids love it.
Why not incorporate a literature classic into a geometry, logic and spatial awareness game? In this game the child is asked to protect the piggies from the wolf by solving a simple geometric puzzle. It reminds me a game of tetris!
One of my son’s favorite, this game is for pattern recognition and problem solving. The child needs to replicate a pattern and needs to be able to solve it within the confines of the board.
For competitive kids, an hourglass is also included.
Candy Land is a game probably all adults have played and it continues to be a childhood favorite. The colorful board and easy rules are great for logic, relationship development and addition/subtraction.
Similar to geometric building blocks game, the Osmo Tangram is a combination of virtual and hands-on game. The child is shown a puzzle to replicate using geometric pieces. The camera then sees the picture and tells the child it’s correct or not. The child then advances to more difficult levels. For a full review of the Osmo Games read this post.
Another childhood staple, UNO can start very basic and works on color and number recognition, but also strategy and softer skills like dealing with competition and failure.
Science and Geography
This is a great starter kit with instructions on simple science experiments to do with your children. All you need is some food coloring and other pantry items.
A cool kid’s microscope to investigate bugs, plants and more. It comes with slides of specimen, so no collection necessary.
This toy responds to touch and speaks the name of body parts and internal organs. Perfect for teaching anatomy in an interactive way.
Similar to the human anatomy talking game, this interactive map of the USA names the States, capitols and interesting facts about each State in the US. It also plays the National Anthem!
If you are not a crafty parent, fret not. These all in one educational toys and games make art easy, encouraging creativity without much preparation or mess.
This great sticker activity comes with several placemats of animals and precut, peel and glue stickers to decorate it based on letters and shapes. An easy, mostly mess free art activity that preschoolers and kindergartners will love!
Do-A-Dot markers are great for young kids who are just starting to use markers and pens. They are thick and because they make “dots” they are easier to color within the lines. This do-a-dot book of dinosaurs are great for kids obsessed with prehistoric animals, but there are many more available for any other interests.
This simple coloring booklet is made of thicker paper, perfect for Do-A-Dot markers. Other themes are also available.
I really love the Osmo Games. They also have a creative kit for artistic kids who like to draw. What I love about these games is that they are versatile, you can travel with them easily and they are many games in one. For a full review of the Osmo Games read this post.
If you liked this post on homeschooling, you might also like these other posts:
- Timberdoodle Preschool Curriculum Review
- 50 Ocean Books for Kids – with FREE printable!
- How to Homeschool with Kumon Books
- Favorite Books for Babies and Toddlers
- Halloween Books for Kids (with a FREE Halloween Scavenger Hunt printable!)
- Osmo Games Review
- 50 Indoor Activities to Do With Kids