Preschool Line-Up: Workbox Wonders

With all the various studies I had planned for Piper this year, I wasn't sure we would have the time or I would have the energy for any themed work.
BUT the girls and I love the theme stuff so much.
I really didn't want to give it up!
That's when I decided the best plan of action was to use a workbox system for all of our theme activities!

Here's how it goes:
I fill several different boxes with materials for an activity related to the theme and store them in the cube storage unit in our living room.
Then the kids are free throughout the day to take out a box and work on its contents.
Anything that is too difficult for them to do themselves or that requires supervision is tackled when I have some free time to sit and play.

So far, this is working out well for us.
I do have to remind them that the workboxes are available since I think they feel they are off limits if it is not school time.
Also, they do far better with many of the activities if its directed by me.
That's to be expected for a 4 and 2 year old and perfectly ok!
It just means that I have had to be careful to make a point to sit down and work on this stuff with them.

With Piper, this often happens to be after her quiet time when Taitum is still sleeping.
It keeps her quiet a little longer and provides some nice quality time for the 2 of us.

Taitum is a different story.
Any time I see her showing interest in one of the workboxes, I make a point of stopping what I'm doing to spend some time with just her. It generally doesn't last long. She is all toddler now and BUSY!

So the rest of the time I include activites I know she will benefit from and enjoy into our circle time.
Both girls play together and Tait learns a ton from her big sis!

Would you like to see exactly what is in our workboxes?
Here is what we've been up to the last 2 weeks.
The theme was Birthdays!

Gift wrapping: wrapping paper, bows, tape, ribbon and scissors.

Card making: Blank cards, stamps and ink pad

This activity included a printable from Musings of Me birthday unit.
The flat stones are placed in each of the circles on the picture.
This was a favorite of the girls!

Pre-writing practice pages from Musings of Me Birthday Unit.

Lacing cards from Musings of Me Birthday Unit.

Cupcake colors colouring book from 2 Teaching Mommies.

Find the cake game from Homeschool Creations.
Piper loved this game.
You hide the cake under a number and they have to guess which number until they find it.

This one was my own little creation!
Cupcakes made from styrofoam balls, tissue paper and muffin cups.
Each cupcake had a different numbered candle and the kids had to put the correct number of candles (toothpicks) in it.
( If you make them, I recommend cutting the styrofoam balls in half. They wouldn't stand up for us and it was a little irritating!)
We made party hats using an idea from Spell Outloud.
Of course, ours had to be more princess-y...
Piper would roll the dice and had to put the same shaped jewel on her crown as what she rolled.
This was definitely another favorite!

Not pictured is the game you saw Taitum playing in a previous photo.
We had several different colored balloons that I would lay on the floor.
(They were kept in a laundry basket away from little hands since Mama still gets a little nervous about balloons hanging around!)
Then I'd sing this song to the tune of "5 Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree":

5 Little balloons sitting on the floor.
Being nice and quiet 'cause they can't do more!
Along comes Taitum as quiet as can be AND...
Finds the RED balloon!
Its as easy as can be!

I kind of came up with it spur of the moment but it ended up being a huge hit and was good practice for Tait who is learning her colors!

This is our salt box that Piper used to trace the letters we were learning each week.
Although not theme related, I decided I'd include a different letter workbox each couple of weeks since it is suggested in the All About Reading program.
There are so many wonderful pre-writing activities out there and I figured this was the best way to fit them into our day!

That's it!
And although initially getting all the activities together required a bit of work, its been well worth it in that it provides weeks worth of fun and I don't have to be preparing stuff each night!
As time goes on I'm sure I'll be tweaking the whole system a bit but so far I'd say its been a great success in our little homeschooling world!

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Sarah said...

love it!!! I have 2 small ones (3 and 22 months) that I need to keep buys while I homeschool the older two (5 and 6). I have been thinking about setting up 2 sets of bins instead of my usual one. This is a great theme idea!

The Little Truffle Maker said...

Nice to hear you use the "quiet time" theory too , Gina. I too, had that plan in effect, Robin out grew her naps so I used to say, you do not need to sleep but you need to have some quiet time. She would lay in her bed and read (quietly) while Deanna napped in her crib next to her.
I would enjoy, a much deserved cup of coffee and a wee break and then we were all rested up and ready to run again. With another one on the way, you will be so very grateful to have initiated this for sure

Anonymous said...

I love your birthday themed activities. The cupcakes are such a great idea - I have used styrophoam before, but never actually made it all pretty like a cupcake!

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