The preschool years are simultaneously enchanting and exhausting. So much energy bundled into those tiny little bodies! These activity sites are sure to help when you are looking for something fun to share your kids that is both easy to whip up and engaging for all involved.
These crafts, lesson plans, themes and activities are adaptable for ages two to six, and can be used at home, in the classroom, or at day care. First stop is the basic materials list, which includes construction paper, tempura paints, tape, crayons, and the ever important cover-up such as an old t-shirt. The activities themselves are divided into printable activities and themes (such as alphabet, colors, numbers and so on.)
Noteworthy stops at Jean Warren's Preschool Express include the toddler and preschool activity calendars with a different mini-activity nearly every day of the month. "Draw the first letter of your child's name on paper. Have child glue over it with leaves." "Find cities of distant relatives on a map." "Sing your phone number to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Other highlights are the Music & Rhyme, Skill, Discovery and Inspiration Stations.
Story time is one of my favorite toddler activities, so I was thrilled to discover these wonderful audio stories, all narrated by Natasha Gostwick. Story Nory is an archive of stories old and new, with a brand new recording released every week. These can be listened to on the computer, easily transferred to an iPod, or copied to a CD for listening in the car. The stories are classified as Original, Fairytales, Classics, Educational and Junior (which are the simplest stories specifically for toddlers and ESL students.)
Do your kids like watching videos? Ever wondered if there was a YouTube for kids? There is now. Totlol is a community of parents who recommend, rate and screen YouTube videos. What you get is a huge collection of child-appropriate videos, without any of the videos you don't want your kids to see. To take full advantage of the site's features, you will need to join. It's free and gives you enhanced viewing options, personalization, parental tools, and participation tools for scouting out new videos.
Ziggity Zoom is a super fun play environment for kids age two to eight, created by Kristin Pierce Fitch and her mom, illustrator Sharon Pierce McCollough. In addition to the online activities (games, stories and coloring pages), there are plenty of offline activities such as crafts, printables, and fun kid recipes like Mermaid Bananarama. For a quick overview of the site, I suggest stopping by the Parent's Guide, because although kids might like the colorful icons that do not have labels, I found them confusing.