It’s that time again! I can’t believe this is my third time joining in with Young House Love & Bower Power‘s Pinterest Challenge. My previous projects were a homemade kindle case and a magnetic message board. This time around, I Pinterest Challenge’d myself to make a dry-erase busy binder filled with fun, educational, and reusable preschool activities.
We love activity bags and this preschool busy binder seemed like a nice addition to our collection of work that Beach Girl (who’s almost 3 1/2) can do independently so she can learn and have fun, even when I’m trying to get something else done. A busy binder also seems great for waiting at a restaurant, for car trips, or for during church.
Since she’s shown a lot of interest in learning to write letters lately, I mostly chose activities that let her practice drawing lines, curves, shapes, and even letters. Each page offers some other educational (and fun) value too – like learning about animals, drawing silly faces, or discerning different sizes. But my main goal was to let her practice her fine motor skills and develop her hand muscles to get her ready for writing letters. It must be working because yesterday as she tried it out, she told me: “Man! My hand is getting tired!”
For this project, I was inspired by:
- Dry-Erase Busy Bag Ideas from All Our Days (pinned here) – Includes two of my favorite activity ideas.
- Make Your Own Kids’ Dry Erase Activity Book (pinned here) – Info about DIY erase binder and lots of links to websites with free printables.
- Paging Supermom’s Worksheets (pinned here) – This site has some great worksheets, including ones for holidays and seasons.
- Kids’ Activity Binder from Family, Home, & Life (pinned here) – One of the first places I read about this idea.
Like Family, Home, & Life recommends, I used sheet protectors to hold all of the worksheets so that I can swap them out over time (Bonus: Those are cheaper & less frustrating than laminating pages!). Here’s a pack of 25 for $5.88. I also laminated a few smaller parts, but the page protector idea saved me lots of money & frustration.
One of my friends recommended dry erase crayons because they don’t smear or stain as easily as dry erase markers. Writing with them feels just like writing with a crayon, but they erase off the page protectors/laminated sheets easily enough that Beach Girl can do it herself. My friend has tried a few brands and said these LeapFrog ones are her favorite, so I got those. We’ve been happy with them so far!
I also found some other websites that have great printables. There are so many wonderful, free printables, it seems like we could do preschool for 10 years and still not run out! I had fun searching for my favorites (it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the awesomeness though!). In case you’re interested in making a similar binder, here are the ones I chose:
- I Spy With My Little Eye page – the page is from here, but I got the idea to print two and cut one up & laminate the little pieces here. I wish I’d written the words on each like she did. (I made this one first, so we’ve already spent a couple hours on this activity alone and Beach Girl loves it!)
- A couple connect-the-dot pages from this this Crayola Count & Connect activity book. (I got mine at Target for $1. Keep an eye out around back-to-school time for some great activity books!)
- Shape Detective from Super Mom Moments – Find shapes that match in each row.
- More or Less from TLSbooks.com – “Look at the sea creatures in each box. Color the group that has more.”
- What Do Animals Eat? from TLSbooks.com – Match each animal to the food it eats.
- Missing Shoes from TLSbooks.com – Match each person (ballerina, fireman, etc.) with their shoes.
- A Perfect Picnic from TLSbooks.com – Find 10 things that are different between two nearly identical pictures.
- Can You Draw These? from Crayola – Draw a square, circle, and triangle like the ones pictured.
- Letter Matching from Paging Supermom! – Match the uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Back and Forth Lines from Crayola – draw lines that look like the ones pictured (short & wide or long & narrow, zig zag, wavy, or wiggly)
- Crazy, Silly, Happy Faces from Paging Supermom – Draw faces on the heads (There’s also space for writing adjectives to describe each, but we’re not ready for that yet!). This was such a cute activity! Check out “happy” and “cranky”:
- Bear Tracing Activity from TLSbooks.com – Complete the picture of the bear.
- All Kinds of Weather from TLSbooks.com – Match the children to the appropriate weather for what they’re wearing/doing.
- Day and Night from TLSbooks.com – draw lines to match up the pictures of what the children are doing to whether the activities happen at day or night
- Shape tracing – I outlined an oval, heart, star, square, rectangle, triangle, and diamond on a couple pages and labeled them
- Count and Circle from TLSbooks.com – “Circle the correct number of objects in each row.”
- Counting Crustaceans – “Count each group of crustaceans. Circle the number that tells how many.”
- Marine Life Shadow Match – Match each marine animal to its shadow.
- Draw a line to connect the matching cats (although it says they’re rabbits haha)
- Writing skills cards (I also found this from All Our Days) – I cut these up and laminated them separately and then stuck all the sheets in a page protector in the binder.
- Same size worksheets (vegetables, fruits, toys, & animals) – Color the items in each row that are the same size.
- Mazes from Raising Our Kids – I liked these because there are two on one page, but I think one bigger, simpler maze would be better for a first maze. Beach Girl keeps drawing lines through the “walls” and saying “Look! Jonah got out!” haha
- Map of the United States from MrPrintables.com – This map is so fun. If you have a color printer, I especially like the look of the color version, but we’ve had fun drawing different road trip routes on the black & white map & coloring places we’ve lived or traveled.
- Personalized handwriting practice page – This is the part of the book I’m most excited about (idea also from All Our Days). On this website, you can create and print a personalized handwriting sheet with your child’s name, address, etc.
These are pretty quick activities, but the page protectors let us do them over and over again (and I can easily swap them out or add more as she gets older). I’m hoping this busy binder will even last through multiple children!
Please make sure to check out more posts from the Pinterest Challenge at: Young House Love, Bower Power, Decor and the Dog, and The Remodeled Life. And, if you’re interested in other activities for preschoolers, here are some of my most popular posts about preschool:
- Homemade Activity Bags
- Counting Frogs
- Our Favorite Musical Instruments for Kids
- The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have with A Caterpillar
- Why we’re doing Montessori preschool and why we chose to do it at home.
Thanks for stopping by!
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