It is fascinating to watch children play and learn at the same time. Through play, children acquire, refine and master skills that are vital for pretty much every aspect of their life.
Most kids will instinctively practise these skills without any prompting from an adult. For example, many children automatically sort their toys according to size, colour or other relevant criteria. Or they simulate real-life situations like going shopping, being a doctor, a teacher etc.
Through this kind of free play, they learn a great deal about life, about themselves and the world around them.
As parents, we want to do our best to support our children on their journey and help them develop their skills as easily and harmoniously as possible. We know that kids learn best through play.
To this end, we want to support you, dear parent, with the highest quality worksheets that will help toddlers and preschoolers refine important skills that will help them have a successful academic life.
For this busy book for toddlers and preschoolers we have chosen 5 focus areas:
- Pre-writing (Tracing)
- Understanding the World
The pack contains 26 teacher-developed activities and a total of 77 interactive worksheets.
To help all parents, we offer 13 FREE worksheets from this amazing activity book, worksheets that cover:
-literacy (alphabet cards that can also be used as flashcards)
-math (simple addition through an interactive ladybird activity)
-social-emotional development (identify the behaviour and give it a thumbs up or thumbs down)
-as well as an interactive worksheet to help children practice days of the week (jumping pumpkin)
-and a pre-writing activity (trace and place the object in the basket).
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Let’s take a closer look at each area:
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Domino is quite a popular game to practice different mathematical operations. In this particular interactive worksheet, children will get to exercise simple additions in a fun, hands-on way.
On the right side of the worksheet, you can see the sum that needs to be reached by adding the correct number of apples. Then, looking at the domino tiles, you will notice that only one half has a number of apples. The aim of the game is for the child to add the other half of the domino so that the number of apples on both halves make up the sum on the right of the paper.
Apples Domino is a great game for children to practice the otherwise boring addition.
Follow and Complete the Pattern
If you’ve been checking out the world of busy books for preschoolers and preschoolers you may have noticed that pattern type games are almost always present and with good reason. Pattern recognition activities is an important skill that helps children predict what comes next.
This is applicable in everyday life like routines, music, the formation of words, nature etc.. Not to mention that patterns lay the foundation of logical thinking as well as introduce kids to basic mathematical concepts and lay the foundation to more advanced math.
Follow and Complete the Pattern is quite simple, with five images that reveal the pattern and a blank square in which the missing image that completes that pattern must be placed.
To make things more interesting and always fresh, kids get the chance to create their own patterns. Just cut out the images and place them however you want in the blank squares.
How Many Leaves Got Blown Away?
“How Many Leaves Got Blown Away?” is another interactive worksheet to be added to your fantastic toddler’s busy book. Its aim is to help with number recognition.
On the right side of the worksheet, you will see the number which represents how many leaves need to be added on the ‘gusts of wind’. Simply cut out the little leaves and start counting.
Who doesn’t like ladybirds? They’re probably the cutest insects and part of their charm are their dots. Those dots are also a great opportunity to play and learn.
The game is simple: add the two sets of dots on the ladybirds so that their sum equals the number on its body. A simple addition activity that will make your little one fall in love with Math.
Match the Halves
Matching games are known to improve short term memory, concentration, classify objects according to their similarities and differences as well as increase attention to details. “Match the Halves” is the perfect game for all of the above. The child will have to make full use of his/her attention to detail in order to match each leaf with its correct half.
Sorting activities are important in early childhood as they help build the visual-spatial perception and thinking skills, which is the foundation of later problem-solving skill.
As the name suggests, children need to put in the jar only the objects (from the cut-outs) that share certain characteristics.
In the printable pack, you will find the jar, 35 objects and a list of ideas on how to sort the cut-outs. Of course, there can be many combinations thus keeping the game fresh and exciting.
Get the Interactive Busy Book from our Etsy Shop here.
At the Grocery Store
As parents and educators, we have noticed that children tend to introduce real-life situations in their play. Thus, they become superheroes, bus drivers, doctors and so on. Pretend-play is incredibly important for harmonious cognitive and emotional development in children and should be encouraged.
A popular make-believe play for all children is “at the shop” or in our case “At the Grocery Store”. The pack contains a shopping basket where children can put their groceries, the cut-out fruit and vegetables, the shopping lists, the shelves where all the fruit and vegetables can be placed and some pretend money.
Older children who can read and do simple additions can use the shopping lists and pretend money. Younger shoppers can either play without them or have a little help from a caregiver.
At the Grocery Store is a great way for kids to play and learn about a real-life situation.
How’s the Scarecrow Feeling Today?
According to psychologyinaction.org infants as young as 4 months are able to discriminate between different emotions. By the time they are 3 years old, children are quite adept at recognizing a wide array of emotions and identifying them in different situations.
So, it is quite important to label all those emotions and allow children to play and experiment with them.
This cute scarecrow (which needs a name by the way), will help children recognize and recreate its emotions. There are 7 sets of mouths and eyes that need to be placed on the scarecrow’s face.
Match the objects to the workers
It is important for kids to know about the jobs out there, what each job involves and what utensils each worker uses. In this interactive worksheet, kids will have to match the worker to the object that he/she uses.
Answer key: Pilot-Aeroplane/ Fireman-Water hose/ Chef-Ladle/ Policeman-Handcuffs/ Doctor-Stethoscope/ Teacher-Books/ Builder- Brick and masonry trowel/ Postman- Letters/ Painter-Easel/ Photographer-Photos/ Mechanic- Broken-down car/ Farmer- Fruit and vegetables.
Good or Bad behaviour?
Children start understanding from an early age what behaviour is considered good and what behaviour is bad in our society. This is learnt either by reading books that illustrate this, by experiencing the behaviours, by discussing it with a caregiver or teacher and by playing games.
In this printable busy book page, children will see 11 pictures that show different situations. They will have to put a thumbs up or a thumbs down (from the cut-outs) on each picture depending on whether it is a good or bad thing to do.
Create an Autumn Picture
Autumn is such a great time of the year. Everything is full of colour and there are so many fun things to do.
Take advantage of everything that autumn has to offer and create a wonderful seasonal picture using all the elements given. There’s a total of 42 elements so the possibilities are endless.
*We suggest laminating the worksheets so that they can be used over and over again*
Tracing is a great activity to introduce to your toddler as it has many benefits. It develops fine motor skill, improves visual-spatial skills, dexterity and hand-eye coordination. It is an excellent pre-writing activity because it gives children the chance to practice holding a pencil and exercise the muscles that are needed for writing.
This is the reason why we’ve included in our Busy Book for toddlers and preschoolers 4 fantastic tracing worksheets.
Complete the images
Children have to trace the missing half of the image (optionally, they can colour).
Trace the objects
This worksheet contains leaves and pumpkins. Leaves, in particular, are excellent for tracing given their irregular edges that help improve kids’ attention to detail and concentration.
Trace the leaves
It is windy today so the leaves got blown off the tree. Can you trace their path through the air?
Trace the lines and put the objects in the basket
A classic tracing exercise where children have to tace different styles of lines.
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You can print the cards tow-sided by using the colourful leaf cover provided and laminate them for longer use. Make sure to trim the edges to avoid getting your little one hurt.
Print two sets of cards and play a snap game. The players take turns to turn over a card at the top of their pile. They place these cards on top of a pile in the middle. Make sure to name the letters and pictures for further practice of the alphabet.
When the two players turn over matching cards they must shout “snap”. The first to shout snap wins all the cards from the pile in the middle. There are also 4 surprise cards that make players give their cards away or receive the partner’s cards.
Use the playing cards as flashcards and invent different games. You will soon read about a variety of flashcard games we tested while teaching. There is also an idea of a flashcard game in this article if you need inspiration.
However, these flashcards can also be used to decorate your child’s room and help him learn the alphabet by visually exposing him to them on a daily basis.
Cut out the two pockets and glue them on a piece of paper. Leave the top unsealed so you can create a pocket insert. Cut out the letters and laminate them for longer use and to make them easier to manipulate.
Either use velcro to attach them on a piece of paper in a folder or simply store them in the two pockets provided.
Spread all letters on a flat surface and start sorting them. Point to the letters shown on the pockets and help the child associate those with the small letter tickets they need to sort.
Put the letters in the pockets and tell the child they are nice and safe tucked in their own pocket/bed. I would keep the piece of the paper with the two pockets in a folder/binder, together with all the other activities that the child liked!
Alphabet Matching Game
You need to print and laminate the two alphabet worksheets. Make sure to cut out inside each of the circles: cut along the X in the middle. Place the alphabet papers on top of an empty box and attach it somehow so it doesn’t move while using it.
Make small alphabet manipulatives: I cut in small pieces 3 corks from wine bottles, but you can just as well use plastic spoons, cotton balls, small lego blocks, small bouncy balls etc.
The child must find the corresponding letter on the worksheet and push the object in through the hole. Once he finishes, remove the worksheet from the box and retrieve the objects. Start again! And again!
For older children, select a set of words you wish your child to practice spelling. Write them down for him. Then have him select all the letters that make up that word.
Push the letters through the hole and when you retrieve them from the box, have your child use the manipulatives to spell the word.
Learn to spell- CVC word worksheet
There are 12 CVC words and their matching pictures on pieces of paper to help children learn to spell. Spell out the word and let the child name the picture. Have them repeat after you the correct spelling, this time by looking at the word and pointing at each letter.
Then the child should write the missing vowel. Once the child finishes all the words, try to play a game to practice spelling the words. You could try to describe the picture so that the child can guess the word and then spell it. You could also mime the word, use sounds and words, or even draw it to make the game more fun.
UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD
Feed the animals
Print the animal worksheets and cut out their mouths. Cut out the small food cards and maybe laminate them. To help the game, I would cut out cardboard pieces A4 size and glue the animal worksheets on them. Cut out holes in the cardboard too and fold the lower part to make it stand just like in the picture below.
Now you can properly feed the animals! When the animals like the food, attach it to the worksheets so that at the end of the game, you can revise together what each animal eats.
Thread the animals: interactive worksheet
You must print and laminate the animal body and heads. Cut out small holes inside the small black dots. Cut out the animal shapes and use a string to attach the head to the body. Let your child do this to help him learn how to thread.
Make sure you attach something at the end of the string to make threading easier. I used a shoelace and it was extremely easy. Start threading from back to front and tie a large knot. Demonstrate first for your child and then let him do it again.
Once the head is attached, the puppet can be used in numerous ways. My son made them go in his lego castle, made them talk about their day, they befriended his other toys etc.
Days of the Week Wheel
First, cut out the two circles with days of the week. Laminate them and attach them together. Use a special clip which you can find on Amazon and probably somewhere else as well. I sued an old stud earring.
The child can play and learn the days of the week easily by spinning the wheel to find two matching days. Help him read them and soon he will associate them with the colour, the initial letter of their visual representation. The more he will play, the easier it will become to remember the written words.
Match the days of the week
After playing with the wheel enough, try to use the matching worksheet. The child must draw lines from the acorn to the written word. It is a very simple way of exposing the child to the written form of the words and practicing them further.
Jumping Pumpkin Interactive Worksheet
Once the child practised the days of the week enough, use the jumping pumpkin interactive worksheet to help the child produce the words and learn to identify what day it is today.
Cut out and laminate the pumpkin. Cut out the strings and fold them accordion style. Glue the 4 strings on the back of the pumpkin at equal distances, two string to represent the arms, the other two will be the legs. The child can pull the strings or press them back by placing the pumpkin on a flat surface and letting it bounce.
The four strings help the child practice the days of the week in order and backwards, name the missing days, and learn the abbreviations for each day. Every morning, the child can write/ glue the acorn from the previous worksheet in the middle of the pumpkin to identify what day it is today.
For a limited time, you can get the Interactive Busy Book for an absolute bargain! Click here to take advantage.
Make your own calendar
Print the three months of the year worksheets. Glue them together as indicated on the paper. Use the cardboard from a kitchen roll and attach the calendar on the cardboard by gluing the back of the “my calendar” section. Roll it and there you have it, your child’s own little calendar.
We play with it as a telescope, we spread it on the floor and find mummy’s birth, daddy’s birth, Christmas etc. But we mostly keep it on his table, attached on a wooden rod that came with the table. Use any kind of rack you have around the house: the kitchen roll one, a storage organization one, and attach paper clips on the sides to keep it fixed.
Learn about seasons
Print the first page with the seasons. Cut out the small cards and sort them accordingly: weather, clothes, activities. Place the cards in a small envelope for safe keeping but also toplay the game. Slowly take out one card from the envelope, revealing it bit by bit.
Let the child guess what the picture is. If he cannot guess,reveal more and more until he guesses. Do not show the whole picture before he guesses. Then match the card to the correct season and discuss what we wear, do and how the weather is in each of the seasons.
Place all the mini cards on a large cardboard and create a seasons poster. Encourage the child to draw, add corresponding stickers and personalise the poster.
Build your own Learning Binder! Here is a list of what you need:
- Thermal laminator
- Laminating pouches
- Velcro dots
- Hole puncher
- Play and Learn- Interactive Busy Book for Preschool
Play and Learn As Part of Your Child’s Life
Children are amazing and unique, they “are born with a hundred languages, a hundred possibilities and expressions”.(Loris Malaguzzi, Constructing Early Childhood – What do we think it is?) It is our job as adults to help them extend these possibilities and enrich their experiences.
Children need to reflect, create, wonder, explore, test, and invent new ways of thinking. They are constantly engaged in a perfect dance of play and learn. Our aim is to encourage them to make sense of ideas and the world around them. To offer them opportunities to explore and grow in confidence and skills. This book offers them just that.
Keep them engaged, keep them exploring!
We share all of our ideas on our Facebook group Learning Activities for Kids.