During quarantine lockdown I began to rely heavily on workbooks and printables to help keep L&H’s “school skills” sharp. We ended up loving it so much we have continued the routine even though things are more opened up and they are back to school!
I find workbooks to be worth the investment – even though most are a small price. And one of the ways we get more uses out of them is to use a different colored pencil each time we work. That way L&H can retrace the same letters or patterns but it looks different to them and they can see their progress each time.
1) School Zone Little Thinkers (ages 5-6) This book moves beyond pencil grip/control and into more critical thinking – like Does this belong?, Can you find a match?, What comes next?, etc – along with counting skills and shape and color matching. It can be challenging for L&H (they are currently 4) but it’s nice to take them out of their comfort zone a little bit.
2) My Preschool Workbook ( ages 3-4) Just the right thing for a child in pre-k. It’s 100+ pages so there is lots to do, a really good value.
3) Wipe Clean Workbook (Pre-K) I love the concepts in this workbook and I love the idea of a wipe clean workbook so that you can use it over and over again. The work in the book is approachable for L&H. BUT I don’t love the fact that it comes with a small marker that we always seem to lose (or at least lose the cap), AND the marker stains clothes. For those reasons it tends to come out about half as often as other workbooks.
4) My First Book of Patterns & Pencil Control (ages 3-4) This is a perfect first workbook – it is designed for early learners to develop and practice pencil control. There is line tracing, dot to dot, arrows, etc. This is a book we do over and over with different colored pencils!
5) Highlights Preschool Big Fun Workbook (ages 4-5) Highlights can do no wrong in my eyes – and I stand by that even more after getting these workbooks! They feel like a Highlights Magazine – lots of colorful illustrations and fun activities. It’s over 250 pages too so there is a lot to do!
6) School Zone Little Thinkers (ages 3-5) I bought this workbook after the twins started to get a little bored with just lines and patterns. When they do these Little Thinker Books I can see their wheels turning. It’s full of critical thinking exercises and games.
7) Tracing for Toddlers (ages 3-4) This is a very basic but very good workbook! It’s not fancy but don’t hold that against it. One of the first we bought L&H. We use colored pencils to go over the lines so we can reuse it again and again.
8) School Zone Sticker Workbook – Get Ready for School! (PK-K) This is a great change up from pencil holding and grip — L&H get really into the stickers!
9) School Zone Cut & Paste (PK) This book is a HUGE hit with L&H. I love that it gets them thinking, but also exercises their fine motor skills with the pasting. I especially like it for H since his pencil skills are a little behind L’s. He can burn out quickly with other pencil books because he gets tired of holding the pencil – but with this one he wanted to do page after page.
10) Preschool Basics (PK) A great first step workbook. Colorful pictures and lots to do.
11) Big Preschool ABC (Ages 3-5) This is a #1 bestseller on Amazon for a reason. It’s huge (300+ pages) and covers all the bases. It’s a good value.
The world of workbooks is VAST. There are so many out there for the preschool, pre-k and kindergarten ages….and BEYOND. This roundup of our favorites is all for ages 3-5 (since that’s where L&H are right now 🙂 ). If you’re shopping for older or younger ages I recommend going with School Zone, Highlights, or Scholastic. They are standbys in the educational world — you can’t go wrong!
Another great option for educational activities for kids of all ages are printables. I get lots of fun worksheets off of Pinterest. A simple search for “do a dot worksheets” or “line tracing” will yield lots of results. Sea of Knowledge, Teaching Where You’re Called, Teachers Pay Teachers, and TotSchooling are my go-to sites for great printables. They are free but some do ask for you to subscribe to their newsletter to get access to their materials – a small price to pay for a world of activities!