Have you ever thought about how to use curriculum, but also keep it child-centered and discovery based?
That’s been one of my biggest struggles as a credentialed teacher and mom- teaching my little ones in a way that’s fun and engaging for them, but also helping them be prepared for kindergarten and beyond. It can be difficult to find a preschool science curriculum that is easy to use and fun for our energetic little ones.
As a mom, I want my kids to enjoy their childhood, have a love of learning, be curious about the world around them, and want to learn new things.
As a teacher, I know how important it is to be ready to learn and prepared for the rigors of school, but also not teach them what they’ll actually learn in kindergarten and leave that up to their teachers.
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Enter Evan-Moor’s Skill Sharpeners: Critical Thinking!
We used the Pre-K version, as my little ones are 3 and 5 years old, so the Pre-K Skill Sharpeners, which help kids think through age appropriate problems, was the perfect level.
What I really like about the Skill Sharpeners: Critical Thinking from Evan-Moor is that they are cross-curricular, which means they include a little bit of reading skills, a little bit of math, some fine motor skills (great for writing!), and lots of age-appropriate critical thinking skills, like analyzing, demonstrating, categorizing, and more. And, it’s science-based, which means that toddlers and preschoolers are naturally interested in it, making it a great preschool science curriculum.
If you’re looking for a workbook that’s not a traditional “paper and pencil” style workbook to use as a guide to help you teach your toddler or preschooler at home, the Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners: Critical Thinking is a fabulous starting point.
Before I dive into more about the Pre-K version, I’ll share with you a few things I like about it and how I made it a part of my preschool science curriculum:
- There are pages to practice cutting and gluing. To get the most out of it, have little ones trace the cutting lines first.
- Instead of completing the matching activities with a pencil/marker the first time, do it together using their pointer fingers. Then, use the page as an independent activity for your preschooler.
- Get up and moving! Do some yoga, a scavenger hunt, go for a discovery walk, etc. Adding in movement helps your little one get out energy, which can help them be more focused.
The first unit in the Pre-K version is about butterflies, grasshoppers, lady bugs, and honeybees, which is perfect for spring time (or anytime, really). My kids love looking for bugs, so I supplemented the activities with doing bug hunts and observing the bugs we found (we’re still trying to find a grasshopper). We then read short non-fiction kids’ books about insects, which helped expand on what they learned and reviewed in the Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners book.
Other units in the book are just as high interest to toddlers and preschoolers, as it covers the weather, different types of transportation, and the community, but without a lot of reading. This puts little ones in the driver’s seat to spend more time DOING activities and applying what they’ve learned.
Another plus to this program is that you can pick it up and use it at anytime, picking up where you left off the last time. This is important for busy families who may not have time to sit down and do the whole thing all at once (but if you can, that’s great too). You can do a page or activity each day and use this to supplement your preschool science curriculum. You can also use it as the basis of your preschool science curriculum and add in other activities like we did. Evan-Moor designed this program so that you can skip over activities that your preschooler isn’t quite ready for or doesn’t happen to be interested in, which I really like because it makes the program cohesive but flexible for those of us who need it.
All in all, the Skill Sharpeners series from Evan-Moor is a great program to get if you’re looking for something to bridge the gap between school and home for older students, or to use with your preschool science curriculum at home. It has high interest passages and topics for children to read, analyze, practice their problem solving and critical thinking skills. It’s cross-curricular, standards-based (but flexible for those loosely following the grade level standards), and can grow with your child all the way up to 6th grade. To make it even easier for busy parents to use, this colorful, easy to follow book also has an answer key at the back of the book. Grab your copy today!