What happens at home is EVERYTHING to a preschooler. Preschool family activities can and should be talked about in preschool!
This gives your students the opportunity to talk about the people most important to them and also helps them realize that family, the people we live with, is something we all have in common, regardless of how our families look!
Some families have siblings, some have none. Some have parents, some have none. This theme page is filled with preschool activities and ideas for all areas of your classroom.
Other Themes That May Compliment this Theme for your Classroom!
There are many other themes that may be great for your classroom and go along very well with this theme!
Let the Preschool Family Activities Theme planning begin!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Materials Needed: paper plates (many!), markers, precut yarn in different colors, buttons or googly-eyes, glue, craft sticks
The children use the materials to make the faces of members of their families. Ask questions to help them such as "What color eyes does your Mom have? What color hair? Does your dad have a beard?"
Materials Needed: people shaped sponges, paint in shallow trays, construction paper
The children use the sponges to create their own family. Be sure to write the names of the people they list!
VARIATION: Use playdough cookie cutters (people shapes) to dip in the paint.
DON'T FORGET TO ADD SOME PET SHAPES, THEY ARE PART OF OUR FAMILIES, TOO!
Materials Needed: Paint in various colors (watered down a bit), several marbles, pipettes, boxes or bins, precut house shapes (or pre drawn house shapes and scissors for your children to practice cutting as well!)
Place the house shape in the bin or cover, using a pipette, the children put many drops of paint (they choose the colors).
Place 3 marbles in the paint.
The children shake the box gently back and forth.
Cool looking houses!
Building a Paper House
Materials Needed: Provide precut shapes of all kinds in all colors, glue sticks and plain paper.
The children use the shapes to create a house or to try and recreate what their own family house looks like.
Materials needed: Medium sized rocks, paint and googly eyes.
The children paint rocks to make families.
Print their names on the bottom with a permanent marker.
EXTENSION: Use these rock families, once dry, in your math/manipulatives center for the children to sort by size, family member, color,etc.
Traditional but fun! In advance, have a huge selection of pictures cut from magazines of people, families doing things together etc. The children choose what they want to make a collage of family fun.
SUGGESTION: Ask parents in advance to cut pictures out for you either from magazines you have or ones they have at home.
In advance, ask parents to send in shoe boxes. Cover with contruction paper. The children draw windows and doors on the outside (you can cut them out as well!).
The children can decorate the inside with markers and crayons or by gluing in items from magazines (beds, kitchens, etc.)
Add a dollhouse, cars and little people to you block area.
Be brave here! You will need: A large tree stump, hammer, nails, gloves, protective glasses.
The children help "fix" the stump by hammering nails.
THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A ONE ON ONE SUPERVISED ACTIVITY!!!!
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!
Begin your theme with this activity!
In advance, cut out many, many little people shapes.
Prepare a large chart that has the children's names in the left hand column.
Ask each child who is in their family. The child tapes a person shape next to their name for each person (Mom, me, Grandma). Print the names on their little people before they tape it.
This can be used throughout the unit to compare families at Circle Time for some awesome math activities:
How many of us have brothers and sisters?
How many brothers and sisters in all?
Our Families Idea #2
Use a puppet to talk to the children about their families! Have your puppet talk about their family and, one by one, the puppet asks each child who lives in their house!
Bring a large piece of chart paper and a marker to Circle. Ask the children what types of jobs their families need to do at home and what jobs they can help with.
Sing the song (sung to Mulberry Bush):
This is a job we do at home at home, do at home, do at home.
This is a job we do at home, my family and me!
You may need to start by suggesting a job--perhaps doing dishes, folding clothes, washing the dog, etc.
List the jobs the children name.
EXTENSION: As each child names a job and you are writing it on the chart, sing the above song while the child acts out the job!
Bring a large piece of chart paper and a marker to Circle. Ask the children what types of things their families do together and list them on the chart.
Again, you may need to start by suggesting: We make tacos every Friday night; we have a game night; we visit Grandma at the nursing home, etc.
BE the Story!
Read The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. Read it a second time having children act out some of the parts (such as the bird, being a tree, etc.)
Five Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed
Quite the classic song! You could also have the book available and show the pages as you sing it.
EXTENSION: Choose 7 children to act out the song (5 monkeys, Mama and the Doctor).
I uses this OFTEN as a transition time activity but it is fun in a large group for Circle time as well!
Bring people from your dollhouse to represent families: Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Sister, Brother, Baby, Dog, Cat, etc.
Name each one as you show the children or ask them what family member each one is.
Place them in a row in front of you. Tell the children to close their eyes and NO peaking (I know, some will peak, it's okay!)
Very quickly, grab 2 or 3 people and hid them (I am usually sitting on my legs so I place them between my knees very quickly!)
Ask who is missing.
Play as long as their is interest.
EXTENSION: With our Prek children, I will tell them we are going to practice patience and waiting our turns (after we've played this several times).
I will have 2 children cover their eyes and hide 4 items. Tell them to open their eyes.
Tell the other children to put a finger on their lips to remind themselves that it is NOT their turn and ONLY ______(name of children) can answer.
Who Am I?
Ask questions that describe something a family member does at home. Let the children answer, and remember, there is no right or wrong answer here! Dads might be the ones to cook at home or Moms do the driving!
I am thinking of a family member who cooks dinner; does dishes; feeds the dog, etc.
Who Helps With This Job?
Place items that represent household chores in a bag or box. Frying pan, small broom, cooking utensils, hammers, a pet leash, etc.
One at a time, pull an item out. Ask what job at home can be done with this. Then ask who can help with that job at home. Them? Mom? Dad? Sibling?
Fingerplays, Songs and/or flannel board stories! Adapt them in any way!
My Family (sung to Muffin Man)
Tell me what you like to do, like to do, like to do.
Tell me what you like to do with your family.
Add what each child tells you:
Cheryl likes to walk the dog, walk the dog, walk the dog.
Cheryl likes to walk the dog, with her family!
Here are the windows (make a square)
Here is the door (make a triangle)
Come on in, I'll show you more (wave as though inviting them to come)
Here is the kitchen and the living room, too (point to pretend rooms)
A bathroom, a bedroom and a room for you!
An attic and chimney and a roof above.
My house is a home and it's filled with love!
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Blueberry Muffins or Fruit Salad with Blueberries
Make your favorite muffin recipe with the kids (or fruit salad) as a follow up activity to the book Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Preschool Family Picnic!
At snack time, put out some blankets and have a preschool family picnic style snack or lunch!
If you have cooking ideas to add to the preschool family activities theme section, please use the "Contact Me" link to the left and I'll add it to this page! Please be sure to tell me the name of the theme! Thanks!
Set up dramatic play as a house with your kitchen, babies, a table and chairs, dress-up clothes, a work bag, lunchbox, etc.
VARIATION: Provide a large refrigerator or washer/dryer box and cut out windows and a door and add items for the children to use in their "house".
Dramatic play is a great place to see preschool family activities come to life!
One year, we had 3 children move during the school year. It can be a stressful event! Provide an opportunity for the children to pack and move by setting up dramatic play with lots of toys, clothes, boxes and bins.
They pack and help move (perhaps using a wagon!). Be sure to interact with them and talk about what they think their new house will be like, what their favorite things are that they don't want to forget to pack and perhaps what they might be nervous about (leaving friends, a new school, etc.)
More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)
In advance, have a large supply of precut people shapes for the easel (babies, adults, children, pets). The children choose the family members they want to paint.
Painting My House
Work on mixing colors today! Really---IT IS OK TO MIX THE PAINT! They're kids...let 'em go for it!
Choose a color you have been working on identifying. For example, have you been talking about the color orange?
Provide house shaped paper at the easel, brushes and yellow and red paint. Let the kids "discover" orange!
Family Clothing Sort
Materials needed: boxes, bins, laundry baskets, different sized shoes and shirts.
Place all the items in a large pile. Have the children work together to sort them by type.
Encourage them to sort in other ways (all baby shoes and shirts, etc.)
Provide lots of socks rolled up and baskets.
The children toss them into baskets.
Remind them that THEY can help to fold and put their own clothes away at home!
In a large area inside or as an outside activity, bring your ride on cars/toys outside for a car wash!
Where Shall We Go?
Place many chairs together as a car and let the children take turns being the person driving the family some fun Preschool family activities such as to......
the park, school, work, supermarket, etc.
Provide the driver with a makeshift steering wheel and the others with activities they might do in a car.
My Family Flannel House
Hang a LARGE piece of flannel on the wall that is separated into rooms. Provide flannel pieces in shapes of people and household items for the children to place on the board.
This would work well in your manipulatives center as well on a smaller scale!
Book Suggestions for the LibraryAre You My Mother? (Bright & Early Board Books(TM)) by P. D. Eastman
Are You My Mother?
After reading the story UNDERLINE Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman, provide a matching game to go along with the story.
The bird asks many animals and things along the way if that is it's mother. Make matches such as a dog and a puppy, a yacht and a small tugboat, a large jet and a small plane, etc. for the children to match.
Who Is That?
In advance, cut out pairs of people (adult woman, man, child, baby, grandparent, pets).
Laminate both sets.
Tape one set in a manila folder.
The children match the people shapes.
Provide playdough and people shaped cookie cutters and rollers!
OR, provide clay for the children to manipulate into people. The will probably make their own things with the clay, but it is a GREAT medium for them to explore that they typically don't see in preschool!
Small colored blocks or legos
Blocks don't just have to be in the Block Area!
Provide small colored blocks, legos or other small builders for the children to create houses. Add little people and pets!
In advance, cut out and laminate a large number of people, families and others that go with this preschool family activities theme from magazines.
Simply place them at the table for the children to sort in different ways.
Of course! Have many family puzzles available during this theme!
Provide small bags and toys from the classroom. Have a CD of different tempos of music to play.
Have the children count out some items and put them in their bag. They are moving today! (Suggest numbers you are working on one-to-one correspondence with: choose 3 items).
Play some slow music and they "move" around the room to that beat.
stop the music. They now choose different items.
Play some fast music and they "move" to that beat.
My Family At the Beach
Add sand, little people, little umbrellas and some water (okay, okay, or a spray bottle!), sand toys.
Shaving with Whipped Cream
Okay......again, as in the Blocks area activity, I am asking you to be brave and go a little crazy here!
At a table, provide free standing hand mirrors, whipped cream, a clean brush and tongue depressors.
Let the children shave......and eat! Of course, be sure to talk about the fact that this is PRETEND and that they should never, ever do this at home!
Provide dishes, water, soap and towels to do dishes (and of course a mop and bucket!)
If I Could Paint My House....
Wha color would they choose if they could paint their house?? Find out in the preschool family activities theme science idea!
Materials needed: Provide paint cups with different colors of water in each.
Provide each child with their own clear paint cup and a pipette.
Teach them how to use the pipettes.
Let them create their own colors.
I'd suggest having a few pitchers of water a large bin. They will want to empty their colors and start over many times!
Where's My House?
Make your own mazes for the writing center. Draw a house on the upper write side of a piece of paper. Draw people or a car on the lower left side. Make a wide, curvy path from the family or car to the house.
Laminate. Provide low-odor dry erase markers for the children to trace on the path for some great fine motor/pre-writing practice!
Be creative and make other path mazes--Goldilocks and the Three Bears, etc.
My Family Book
Each day, encourage the children to talk about one family member and draw a picture of that member. Have a conversation starter printed on the page each day. The child draws about that person and you print on their page what they say:
I love my Mom because...
My sister/brother and I like to .......
At the end of the unit, you will have a great family book to send home.
VARIATION: Use this idea for a Thanksgiving or Christmas theme activity or end of the year activity.
My Family Fun Page
Encourage children to draw a picture of some fun preschool family activities they enjoy doing with their families. Print their stories on the page.
EXTENSION: Make this into a class book and read it at circle time.
EXTENSION: If you have the ability, make color copies so that each child can take a copy of the book home. Use their original paper as their book cover.
Another Family Fun Page Idea
In advance, cut family member pictures out of magazines, old books, etc.
Glue one family member on large, plain construction paper. (Make MANY!!)
Provide markers or crayons.
Encourage the children to draw a family picture and write down the story they tell you about their picture.
These also make GREAT classroom books to read at Circle Time!
Preschool Family Activities Banners
Send a note home to families asking them to make a family banner or collage of the people in their families. Ask them to label the pictures by printing the name of each person under the pictures (the banners will go home after your theme is over).
As children bring them in, let them tell their friends about their family at Circle Time and then hang the pictures in the classroom to see during the theme!
A Preschool Family Activities Theme is a great opportunity to involve families in the classroom!
Invite a family to bring a pet in to visit your children. Be aware of allergies and possible state regulations (i.e. some states do not allow birds in classrooms)
We had a family this year bring in their Bearded Dragon on Show and Tell Day!
Invite a parent to bring their baby in and talk about the jobs involved in being a parent.
Invite a grandparent to visit and talk about things they like to do with their grandchildren.