I am a stay at home mom and I have had my babies here with me all day every day. My oldest is now in First grade and doing wonderful. He is the golden boy and not just because his hair is perfectly blond. My youngest is in PreK and loving having a little independent time from mom. In the years before they started school, I created a lot of fun learning activities for them. I have the teacher background and I worked to put those pre-learning skills into a lot of the games and activities we play. I try to add these Preschool education-based skills to all the Busy Boxes I create.
Here in this post, I wanted to break down those pre-reading, pre-writing and pre-math skills by age for you. It’s helpful to see your kiddo aligned with their developmental age. For example, a two-year-old should not be expected to write their name and a 5-year-old can be doing a lot more than a shape puzzle. Stay at home moms, homeschool moms, work at home moms, teachers, and daycare providers- here is a quick guide for those pre-school educational-based skills kids aged 2-5 should be aiming for.
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All this information is generic and based on average kids and what they learn as they are developing.
Kids are all different and many will learn faster or slower than others. I just created this post as a guide! I wanted to help you understand the skills your kiddo may be capable of. When you are creating learning activities and experiences for them at home it will be helpful to know what skills she should be able to handle.
At the age of 2, they are still babies! This age is all “I do what you do.” Everything needs to be kept very simple. One activity at a time. Do NOT expect anything to hold their attention for long. Activities need to be childproofed in a sense. Board books are the best! Take it from my experience- I left my daughter with a paper library book at naptime thinking she could handle it at this age. She proved my way wrong and ripped every page from that book.
Print Motivation is where it’s at! Kids are just identifying what a book is and the actions we go through when looking at a book. They can hold the book and turn the pages(maybe not even correctly). They can look at the pictures. Some may even babble to match how we sound when reading out loud to them. Here are some great books for 2-Year-olds! Read about 9 Ways to Make the Most of reading with your kids here!
Fine Motor Skills is the name of the game here. Look for games and activities to get them to practice using the small muscles in their fingers and hands. Pinching, moving, stacking, touching, feeling, grabbing… you get the point. Here are some awesome toys on Amazon to target those 2-year-old fine motor skills! Learn more about Fine Motor Skills Here!
At this age, independence is not strong. You must show, model, and give attention often. Board books are still better as indicated by my earlier story but kids are all different. At the age of 3, I could fully trust my son with a paper book.
Print Motivation is still a big deal. Print Awareness is now knowing the correct way to hold the book and turn the pages as they look at pictures Kids will do what you do so be sure to read often to them and show them how to turn the pages and how to use the pictures to understand the story. If you do this then you will see them holding the book and reading the pictures just like you might call attention to them when reading. Two excellent samples for 3-year-olds.
Fine Motor Skills are still at the same level of expectation as the 2-year-old. I do encourage you to add some writing tools into the mix now. Practicing holding a crayon in their hands- choosing which one feels more comfortable. Just remember to know your kiddo and the level of independence- don’t trust a kid alone in a room with crayons and a giant blank wall unless you want some crayon art to remember them by. These chunky crayons are great for them to grip and pressure as they push them to paper. The Magnadoodle is safer for your walls but not as comfortable.
Very basic with- matching shapes, comparing sizes, sorting, counting, and number songs. Music is a fun way to get them started with memorizing the numbers. Matching colors is easy and can help when matching shapes and numbers too. Here are some fun 3-year-old math toys.
These kids want to be independent almost as much as they want to still be babies. This age is a time of big growth- body, and brain.
Print Motivation and Print Awareness are still being practiced and mastered at this age. Letter Knowledge is stating with the ABC song and the letters in their names. They can practice identifying the letters and even talking about uppercase and lowercase. 4-Year-Olds are when you really start looking for letters!
Fine Motor Skills being practiced are the same as I mentioned earlier. Just now even more time can be spent with those writing tools. Tracing or even copying letters, names and some shapes can be a fun way to start some purposeful writing.
Matching, comparing, counting, sequencing, and patterns are all wonderful math skills to start at this age. You can also break out the 10 frames to practice making sets and matching them with their numbers. Check out how to use a 10 Frame on YouTube!
At this age, your kiddo is in or about to begin school. If you have decided to homeschool or just have them at home for the beginning of their 5th year here is what you could expect them to be ready for in the learning department.
Print Motivation and Print Awareness should be mostly mastered. Letter Knowledge can still be a big area to practice especially the difference between upper and lowercase letters. Many kids this age are ready to start Phonemic Awareness or the learning of the letter sounds. Getting some books with very simple sight words or Consonant Vowel Consonant Words will be great! There are lots of learning games you can play with CVC or consonant, vowel, consonant words. All my busy boxes have CVC word building mats!
Fine Motor Skills are always good for practice. The stronger the hand and fingers the better and more confident your child will be when it is time to get writing! Tracing and copying letters, numbers, and shapes are wonderful to practice.
All those same skills mentioned above are still wonderful and fun for your 5-year-old to practice. They help build a base for all other math your child will encounter in the future. Identifying sets of numbers and sequencing them is perfect for this age- especially since that is the very beginnings of addition and subtraction.
I compiled this list of the skills most kids are ready to learn by age here for you to make it easier when creating your own busy boxes. You will usually get a few different options based on age when I create Busy Boxes for you. I wanted you to be able to have that knowledge for your self. It is easy to think kids should be capable of more and get frustrated when they do not. This quick list is a little reminder to take things slow and let those skills build!
Subscribing will also get you loads of DIY or “use what you have” ideas for getting your preschoolers working on these skills. You will have access to my printable library of 30+ Busy Box Activity Printables!!!!