Meet Playing Preschool: the best homeschool preschool curriculum. Playing Preschool provides families with a new way to do preschool at-home using a hands-on, play-based method of learning. This simple program helps make homeschool preschool successful with in-depth guidance and step by step lesson plans.
What are you teaching your child today?
Do you ever wish you had a blueprint for what to do with your kids? “Teach them this, read them this, talk to them about this, do this activity with them.”
I know I do.
Can you imagine the relief of knowing what to teach your child each day? No more flying by the seat of your pants. No more wondering how to make it to nap time each day. No more worrying that they aren’t learning.
Get ready for a whole lot of relief.
I’ve made a simple homeschool preschool curriculum to solve this problem.
Welcome to Playing Preschool – a new way to homeschool preschool
Welcome to having a hands-on, simple-to-follow curriculum for teaching children at home. Welcome to a cost-effective preschool solution without the competitive pressure of school. Welcome to at-home preschool without a workbooks.
When I was a new parent, the cost of preschool for my children was staggering to consider, but the idea of teaching them at home with purchased worksheets didn’t feel like me.
I started to envision how I wanted their preschool years to look and also, how I could serve other families in the same situation.
As a former kindergarten teacher, I wanted a little more structure with a lot less pressure. I wanted planning, sequence, and play-based learning.
I couldn’t find what I was looking for in the homeschool preschool curriculum world so I made Playing Preschool: A sequenced, 190 day play-based learning program. Then, I decided to make Playing Preschool Year 2 (to keep the party rolling).
What is Playing Preschool?
Playing Preschool was written by me (Susie Allison) the creator of the 1.9 million follower Instagram account, Busy Toddler. I was a kindergarten and first grade teacher and I have a Master’s in Early Childhood Education. Playing Preschool has been a best selling preschool curriculum since it was released in 2017.
Playing Preschool (1 & 2) is homeschool preschool ebook program designed to change the way you think about early childhood education.
Each year of Playing Preschool is broken into 19-units of homeschool preschool done easy: sequenced, pre-planned, hands-on activities in a simple daily lesson plan. Not only are these activities fun, but they’re educational – think reading, math, science, and art!
The years are each 190 days of lessons aka a traditional school year, but without the pressure, commitment, or financial burden of traditional preschool.
Playing Preschool is a system of teaching young children that I developed over my years as a classroom teacher. It’s play-based, low key, and easy to follow.
Playing Preschool focuses on experience and exposure.
It’s about building background knowledge for your child so when they enter school and the teachers say, “Today we will be measuring things,” your child can unlock prior knowledge and feel confident in class. “I know what measuring is – my parents and I do that all the time!”
Playing Preschool is “evergreen.”
This means Playing Preschool doesn’t follow a calendar or season or holidays or hemispheres. You can start this when your child is ready – in the fall, after the new year, or in the middle of April.
Many families start Playing Preschool at the beginning of a traditional school year.
Many families start Playing Preschool in January after the New Year.
Many families start Playing Preschool in the Spring as part of Kindergarten Readiness.
An overview of the Playing Preschool ebooks
Each year of Playing Preschool is 19 thematic units spanning 38 weeks, 26 alphabet letters, and 190 days.
With Year 1, you’ll also find a 20+ page “Start-Up guide” so I can give you all the insight possible on how this program works and make sure you are ready to teach it.
With Year 2, you’ll get a 20+ page “Introduction to Learning” guide to assist you in teaching your child.
Playing Preschool Years 1 & 2 are each built on 19 themed units, each unit is two weeks long. A homeschool preschool day in Playing Preschool includes a suggested book perfect for the theme, questions to ask your child, conversations to have, and two simple activities.
But these are not traditional activities or complicated lesson plans.
They’re highly engaging.
They’re easy to set up.
They use minimal supplies and best of all, they’re packed with learning.
You’ll find weekly overviews and daily lesson plans packed into the 300+ page programs. These are lessons I wrote out and scripted for you to help you be the best teacher possible for your child.
There’s structure: each day follows a predictable pattern.
There’s planning: every day is planned for you.
There’s a sequence: these aren’t random activities. The skills in these activities grow and develop along with your child.
“Thank you for a program that values the individual development of kids and shows such HONOR to the work they are capable of, while never pushing them in ways they’re not ready for. I have three munchkins under 5 and I also love that this curriculum is something I can have the 2 year old join in with and also do with a baby on my hip.” –Sara, Mom to 3 kids under 5
The sequence of Playing Preschool
And the units are sequenced and build in their complexity as your child ages. These aren’t random activities set at a random point in time. Playing Preschool follows a clear line of progression: skills build and grow.
This is a unique feature to Playing Preschool from other online homeschool preschool options. The lessons grow as your child grows.
For example, math activities in Year 1, Unit 1 focus on numbers 1-5. In unit 19, the focus is on numbers 1-12. The following year, they’re counting groups of 20 and joining numbers together.
This program as a clear scope and sequence. The Unit 19 activities are a lot more challenging than Unit 1 activities – and they should be!
A note on Year 2
When you start the second year of Playing Preschool, the skills pick up right where you and your child left off. And just like in Year 1, the skills continue to grow and increase in complexity as your child develops.
Don’t skip Playing Preschool Year 1 because your child is on the older end of the age spectrum or because they “know” their alphabet.
The learning done in Year 1 is a “prerequisite” for Year 2; Playing Preschool Year 2 assumes you and your child already completed Playing Preschool Year 1.
Year 2 is NOT for older children, but rather for children who have completed Year 1.
Year 2 is built on knowledge learned in Year 1, and these aren’t easy concepts like letter names or counting to 10. These are concepts like how to sequence events, how to classify data, using a ten-frame, measuring with non-standard instruments, and predicting events in a story (just to name a few).
Sample of Playing Preschool
I put all my teacher skills to use designing this one-of-a-kind homeschool preschool program. Each year is broken into 19 units. Each unit is two weeks long.
A week is 5 days of learning activities. Here’s what each day looks like:
- Start the day: calendar, song/poem, and an introduction to the topic
- A read aloud perfect for the theme
- “Things to Talk About”: a conversation to have with your child about the book/theme
- A learning activity – this is an activity usually done by parent AND child to develop a targeted skill (but still fitting within the theme)
- An easy activity – a quick & easy themed activity that the child can typically do independently
“Susie, you have allowed me to not get discouraged by other homeschool preschool programs, handouts, print outs, curriculum etc. You spell everything out so easily and make homeschooling young children fun versus daunting! I was able to start this just a few weeks after moving and it doesn’t feel overwhelming at all.” -Kristin, Mom to a 3.5 year old and 2 year old
Each week comes with a unit overview (so you can see what the week looks like) and daily lesson plans (complete with full written direction, some photos, and pre-made questions to ask).
There’s also a simple supply list, suggested book list, song and poem for each unit.
A different kind of homeschool preschool
This is not a traditional homeschool preschool curriculum.
I designed this program to be something you can do quickly – each day is only about 45 minutes to 1 hour long. Don’t have time for that? Break it up throughout the day (this program is flexible!).
Playing Preschool can be done while the baby is napping. It can be done with a baby on your hip. It can be done all day long in short 5 minute bursts. It can be done in a playroom, in a school room or on the floor of your family room (that’s where I teach my kids!).
What age group is homeschool preschool for?
I designed Playing Preschool Year 1 for ages 2.5 – 5 years old.
It’s an incredibly open-ended program designed to meet the needs of a wide range of children. When I wrote Year 1, my kids were 2.5 and 4 years old. BOTH my kids love these activities and BOTH have learned so much from this program.
I also built in a lot of extensions to lessons so it’s easy to see how to bump up the challenge level.
Year 2 assumes that the child has completed the FULL Playing Preschool Year 1 program. Once your child has finished Year 1, they are ready for Year 2.
“Playing Preschool works. When I say “works” I don’t just mean it’s an effective teaching method (it is absolutely is), I also mean it works for US—it’s doable, it’s manageable, it’s ENJOYABLE! I taught preschool for 8 years before becoming a stay at home mom—I wanted to teach my own children, but I didn’t want it to be a chore for me— this has made it so easy and fun. I have seen so much growth in my kids development since starting this program, but it has also helped us develop a daily rhythm and provided a framework for our day that has been invaluable to me.” -Serenity, Mom to a 4 year old
A list of the targeted skills in Playing Preschool
I didn’t pick every skill in the world for your child work with during Playing Preschool Year 1 or Year 2. I picked a few – ones I believe can be easily taught at home and will build background knowledge for entering school later down the road.
Skills for Playing Preschool Year 1:
- Sorting: learning to sort, classify, and work with groups of objects
- Predicting: asking and answering questions
- Alphabet Knowledge: an introduction into each letter of the alphabet, seeing letters in the world around us, building a deeper relationship
- Recall and Retell: learning to retell a book, information, or sequence of events
- Shapes: introducing simple shapes and their defining/identifying attributes
- Measurement: learning measuring vocabulary, working with capacity, etc.
- Number Sense: learning about numbers (one to one correspondence, number recognition, quantity, counting) and how we use them (to value, measure, and order objects).
Skills in Playing Preschool Year 2:
- Reading Comprehension: predicting, cause and effect, compare and contrast, vocabulary, and sequencing skills
- Alphabet Knowledge: learning more about letters with a focus on letter sounds and sounds in print / environment
- Math Skills: measurement, sorting, graphing, patterns, and shapes
- Number Sense: understanding value, joining numbers together, comparing numbers, and recognizing numbers in various arrangements
- Recall and Retell: continuing the work from Year 1 on retelling information
- School Skills: exposure to cutting, gluing, folding, and tracing
…and that’s not even all. Both programs are full of science, fine motor skill, gross motor skill, art, and sensory based activities too.
We want to teach the “whole child” and honor the fact that children learn in various ways. By exploring topics through different subjects and activities, our children will glean and learn even more.
Holy cow – that seems like A LOT!
Each day in each program, you’ll focus on TWO skills with your child. Just TWO.
And the best part is: you’ll get into a routine with these skills because they repeat each week on the same day (think fish sticks Friday but teaching style). Every Tuesday is always alphabet knowledge and number sense, Fridays are always recall and retell.
You’ll get comfortable. You’ll become an expert at teaching measurement because every Wednesday in Year 1, you’ll do a measurement activity with your child.
“My daughter (turns 3 years next month) gets so excited to do “school” each day! She has enjoyed every activity so far. I love it because the prep for the lessons is so quick/simple, the materials used are mostly things we already have around the house, there are scripts/question prompts included to encourage conversation, and I like the variety of activities offered each day.” -Rachel, Mom to an almost 3 year old
“But my child knows their alphabet and numbers already, is this program right for them?”
I hear you and that’s great! Alphabet knowledge continues to grow through elementary school and number sense skills develop throughout their life (high school algebra is still number sense!).
What we are working on in both Playing Preschool Years 1 & 2 is moving beyond memorizing.
We want kids to understand letters as a building block and tool for reading, to see letters in the world around them and to form a base for when they are ready to read. We want our kids to really know their letters.
There is a large emphasis in both years on building phonemic awareness, which is a critical skill that has a direct impact on a child’s future reading success.
“What about numbers? My kids knows how to count!”
There’s so much more to numbers than counting.
It’s about understanding value, joining numbers together, comparing numbers, and recognizing numbers in various arrangements. We dig deep with numbers in Playing Preschool. Throughout the program, children will use numbers, create with them, explore their purpose, and expand their understanding of how numbers interact in our world.
This is more than how high they can count.
Remember: Repetition and practice are a good thing. LeBron James still goes to practice each day and takes simple shots. Another way to think about learning? When kids learn to ride a two-wheeled bike, we don’t put the bike away and say,” Good job mastering that skill, now let’s learn something else.” Can you even imagine? That’s what learning is like in these early years. We must keep practicing!
“I have a toddler (2 1/2) and a baby (6 mo.) and I originally bought the program to have something to do with my oldest. I had looked at Pinterest a million times but often forgot to check it or got overwhelmed by putting things together. Your program is what I wish I could have done myself! I feel so much better equipped to teach my daughter and communicate with her. This program has proved to be a wonderful balance between wanting to teach her academic concepts and letting her learn her best way.” -Brooke, Mom to a 2.5 year old and 6 month old
Things you won’t find in Playing Preschool
Long stretches of sitting and doing seat work. You won’t find that here. There’s none of that.
This is a vibrant, hands-on curriculum. Your child will be active, moving, and engaged as they learn and explore the world around them.
You also won’t find any worksheets in Year 1 or Year 2.
Why this is a doable homeschool preschool program
This isn’t an overwhelming program.
When you get down to the guts, this program is a book and a few activities each day with your child. It’s just that these activities aren’t random. They’re in a well-thought out, sequenced design and placed in fun thematic units.
And just think: you’ll know what you’re doing each day for the next 9+, and another 9+ months after that with Year 2. Two full school years worth of activities at your fingertips!
I wrote each lesson with you in mind – with tips for teaching it, extensions for your child, and explicit instructions so you feel comfortable.
“I purchased Playing Preschool year 1 for my son (4 years old, now 5). My son as autism spectrum disorder and ADHD so although he goes to kindergarten four days a week I wanted some ideas to help boost his learning and the hands on activities are fantastic for that (as is a good sensory bin).” -Amy, Mom to a 5 year old
“My kids are 4 years and 21 months old and I love that Playing Preschool can be adapted for different ages! It’s great to have them work on fun activities and learn valuable skills at the same time.” -Allison, Mom to a 4 year old and a 21 month old
It’s time to start this easy homeschool preschool curriculum
I’m ready for you to dive in and get your hands on the Playing Preschool Years 1 & 2 ebook.
You can buy Year One here: the entire first year of the program – 38 weeks of learning – with the Start-Up Guide for just over a $1 a week. That’s a lot cheaper than traditional preschool.
You can buy Year Two here: just promise me you’ve already finished Year 1 so I know you’ll be ready to tackle all that is Year 2 (wink wink).
You can buy BOTH YEARS here in a bundle and of course save some money! It’s a screaming deal to buy the programs together.
Not ready to commit? I get it. I’m a convicted visual learner. Let me show you part of the first week of Year 1 for free. Just follow this link and you’ll see a preview of Year 1, Unit 1: Apples.
You won’t have the luxury of my amazing Start-Up Guide, but you’ll at least get an idea of how this program is laid out.
Let’s start this homeschool preschool journey together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Preschool is a relatively new concept to American schools… and the idea of doing multiple years of preschool is even newer. The goal of preschool (any preschool) is to expand a child’s knowledge base and continue their skill building. As a former kindergarten teacher, I can attest to what a mixed bag kindergarten is: some kids from daycare, some competitive preschool, some from co-op, homeschool, or no schooling. It was often hard to tell which kids came from which schooling background into kindergarten.
That depends. If your child’s needs are being met through a daycare or other preschool setting, then you probably don’t need an additional homeschool program. Enjoy your time together after work. Let them play. Read to them. Enjoy conversations. But, if this is really on your heart, your struggling with a routine during non-working hours then this may be a good fit. I encourage you to try Unit 1 for free and see if it works before purchasing.
I do not. The cheapest way for me to offer this to families, and make it accessible around the world, is to keep the program as an ebook. You’ll receive the files via email. You are absolutely permitted to print one copy of Playing Preschool (and directions for printing can be found here).
First, I have an entire FAQ page dedicated to Playing Preschool. Second, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please! I’d love to help you with any questions you may have.
Susie Allison, M. Ed
Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 2 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.
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