31 of the best (FREE) online learning resources for preschoolers

Over here in Singapore, there is tremendous pressure on children to excel academically, and many of Little E and J’s preschool classmates are enrolled in various expensive enrichment classes.

Although I am trying my best to avoid hot-housing my children, both J and Little E have a innate love of learning and I like to find ways to nurture and encourage them in their educational journey. Now with the June school holidays on the horizon, I find myself actively looking for meaningful home activities to keep them gainfully occupied during the day!

Here is a list of 30 of my favourite (free!) online learning resources that I find myself returning to again and again!

Phonics and Early Reading

With most schools returning to phonics to help children to learn how to read, these are some brilliant websites which will help you to reinforce what your preschooler is learning!

  1. Reading Bear – there are some very lovely videos to help capture your kid’s interest
  2. Progressive Phonics – this has some great e-books and worksheets too
  3. Starfall Phonics – the animations may be rather crude, but the songs are pretty catchy!
  4. Phonics4free – this is a series of videos and guides for empowering parents to teach phonics
  5. ABC Fast Phonics – A very simple no-frills guide to the basics which is good for parents who want to help their kids at home

Mandarin

Bilingualism is very important in Singapore with Mandarin chinese offered as a second language in most preschools. We speak very little Mandarin at home, so I have to find creative ways to expose my children to the nuances in both the spoken and written word. These websites have really helped me to keep my kids interested and engaged!

  1. Chineasy – This is a beautiful website which focusses on the pictorial nature of the chinese written script and helps kids (and adults) to remember chinese characters using gorgeous illustrations and beautifully animated teaching videos.
  2. CCTV Learn Chinese – This is an extensive library of videos aimed at teaching conversational chinese and touches on aspects of chinese culture and daily living as well.
  3. Fun Fun Elmo – Sesame Street has most recently developed a preschool mandarin programme featuring the ever-popular Elmo in a series of 10 minute vignettes! This first season is available on Youtube – and hopefully Sesame Street will release their subsequent episodes online too.
  4. Semanda  – These are some free printable flashcards which cover some basic concepts (such as colours, fruits, animals, vehicles etc) as well as some multiple choice style quizzes
  5. Hanlexon Chinese – This is a useful website for printing out writing practice worksheets. You can alter the worksheet to show the stroke order or allow tracing of the characters

Math

  1. Khan Academy – This site is brilliant for kids who already know how to count. J loves this because he can unlock achievement badges and trophies when he has achieved mastery of a new concept!
  2. Math Worksheet Wizard – Here is a simple worksheet generator to help reinforce simple counting, addition as well as subtraction.
  3. ScootPad – This has a basic free system for individuals as well as a subscription service for classrooms. The basic free system has both Math as well as Reading practice pages (but the Math pages are prettier), as well as some really fun math games!
  4. Math Game Time – this is self explanatory, but helps kids to reinforce their rote counting and number recognition skills
  5. Soft Schools – Here you can find some great free printable worksheets and online games to help grow little mathletes.

Art

These art sites are more for parents who are looking for simple, foolproof art projects for preschoolers as well as lesson plans to introduce kids to art history!

  1. Mrs Brown’s Art Class
  2. Teach Kids Art
  3. Art Projects for Kids
  4. KinderArt
  5. Museum of Modern Art NY

Science

These are a collection of brilliant websites that include some very impressive science demonstration videos as well as projects and simple experiments that you can set up at home!

  1. Science For Preschoolers
  2. Ellen McHenry’s Basement Workshop
  3. The Kid Should See This
  4. BrainPOP
  5. SESL Writing Wizard

Other Useful Resources

There are plenty of awesome sites out there that will inspire your kids to learn more about the world around them! Here are our current favourites that include everything from World History to Astrophysics :

  1. Typing Club
  2. Learning with Fun
  3. Crash Course World History
  4. NASA Kids Club
  5. The Good Stuff
  6. Smarter Every Day
Advertisements

Wax-resist Easter egg decorating craft (and 15 more kid-friendly projects!)

Easter is just round the corner! If you are scrambling around for some last minute Easter or Spring-themed projects, or you are planning to throw an Easter Egg hunt and are looking for ideas, here is one simple egg decorating craft for you which can be done with your preschoolers (or kids and grownups of any age!).

HOW TO MAKE WAX-RESIST EASTER EGGS

First, colour patterns or draw pictures over cool boiled eggs using wax crayons. Pick bright or light colours like yellow, orange, pale green and pink. Younger kids can just scribble lightly over the eggshell. If you use brown eggs (which is what we did), don’t be worried if you cannot see the patterns right away – they will show up later, as you will soon see.

Scribble away

Step 1: Scribble with wild abandon

Prepare the egg dye in a deep bowl. We used 1 cup of plain water and a 1/4 cup of plain white vinegar, along with half a teaspoon of liquid blue food colouring. I chose blue because it would contrast with the yellow and orange crayons that we used.

Step 2: Prepare the dye

Step 2: Ensure that fingers are perfectly manicured

Using a spoon, we dropped each egg into the bowl until they were the desired colour. The longer you soak the eggs, deeper the resulting colour will be and the more brightly your wax design will show up. We used a long handled spoon to rotate the eggs in the dye to give it an even colour.

Step 3: Drop in the eggs one by one

Step 3: Create Egg Spa with Spoon Massage

Don’t be afraid to put the eggs in the dye for a second round if the colour isn’t deep enough. We used brown eggs, so each one came out a slightly different shade of turquoise, but if you use white eggs, the colour will be more even. Experiment with different patterns and let your imagination be your guide!

Step 4: Make different patterns

Step 4: Oooh and Aaah

J and Little E really liked how the food dye made their patterns appear as if by magic! J made a few eggs inspired by the Lego Movie’s Good Cop-Bad Cop character, whilst Little E was much more abstract in her designs.

Good Egg-Bad Egg

Good Egg-Bad Egg

If you need some more ideas, here are my 15 favourites from around the web! These are all kid-friendly projects so you can do them alongside your kids too.

Picture credit: Scissors Paper Stone

Picture credit: Scissors Paper Stone

1. Resurrection Eggs tutorial and free printable from Scissors Paper Stone This is a very simple tutorial – kids can practice their scissor skills to cut out the ovals from the free printable designed by Jasmine of Scissors Paper Stone, and you can even string the eggs together to make a bunting decoration! You can put your own messages on the paper eggs or print out the accompanying symbols and Bible verses to teach kids about Easter. There are also a ton of really simple tutorials for very pretty Easter decorations on Jasmine’s blog that you can do together with your kids!

kids-easter-bunny-celebration-face-paint-fun-1

Picture credit: Sakura Hakura

2. Easter Bunny face painting from Sakura Hakura I really like this creatively done Easter bunny costume! The bunny ears are simple to make and the bunny face paint can be achieved with simple blusher, eye shadow or powder and eyebrow pencil – so you don’t have to rush out to the store to buy special face paint. 7055478635_65ab1a9141_z 3. A brilliant list of Easter book recommendations and colouring pages from Princess Dana Diaries With the symbols of Easter – eggs, bunnies and chicks – plastered over every store window, kids may wonder what it all means. It’s worth checking out some of the books from the Princess Dana Diaries booklist – which are all available at any public library in Singapore! There are also some free colouring pages on there – great for keeping kids occupied if you’re planning an Easter party this weekend.

easter resurrection

Picture credit: Olimomok

4. Hot Cross Buns from Olimomok Debra and her kids made those delicious looking hot cross buns together. They seem rather straightforward and easy to do – and I bet they taste REALLY good when smothered in butter and jam!

kids-craft-bunny-rabbit

Picture Credit: A Juggling Mom

5. Upcycled Easter Bunny Tutorial from A Juggling Mom I have a soft spot for upcycling things around the house and turning them into fun toys for the kids and this craft is entirely made from bits and pieces around the house! I especially like the use of the shoebox – you can decorate the lid and then turn the whole lot into a portable playset.

6. Suncatcher Eggs from Life is in the Small Things This is a really quick and easy craft and is perfect for Easter Egg Hunt parties. This tutorial features little foam shapes and stickers on laminating paper, but I think it would work just as well with torn up coloured tissue, crepe paper or cellophane which would give a really pretty stained-glass effect!

Picture Credit: Sew Country Chick

Picture Credit: Sew Country Chick

7. Yarn egg garland from Mod Podge Rocks This particular craft uses regular 12″ balloons to make giant Easter eggs, but you can also made it using tiny water balloons filled with sweeties – pop the balloon afterwards and the sweeties will remain inside the yarn egg, making it a cute candy gift for kids.

Picture Credit: Artists Helping Children

Picture Credit: Artists Helping Children

8. Easter lily handprint bouquet from Artists Helping Children This is a very lovely paper and pipecleaner bouquet which kids can make themselves, using a rolled up handprint on plain white paper! I think it would be very pretty and meaningful as a Mother’s Day gift or even a Teacher’s Day gift!

Picture Credit: Glooshmoo

Picture Credit: Glooshmoo

10. Towel bunny from Glooshmoo I really like this cute little towel bunny – my 3 year old can make it too! Use a very thin, short pile face towel to make it easier for little fingers to manipulate. The tutorial calls for coloured push pins to make the eyes and nose, but I think you can get an even cuter effect with googly eyes or paper eyes stuck on with double sided tape – and you won’t run the risk of getting pricked in the fingers either.

Picture credit: Home stories A to Z

Picture credit: Home stories A to Z

11. Easter Bunny Bunting tutorial and free printable from Home Stories A to Z I like the idea of making this into an edible bunting with chocolate eggs. That would be just yummy. Just make sure you hang it in a cool area so that the eggs don’t melt! If  chocolate eggs aren’t your thing, you can even replace the eggs with a fluffy cotton ball tail  or turn the bunting into a ‘pin the tail on the bunny’ game for your Easter-themed party!

Picture Credit: Spoonful

Picture Credit: Spoonful

12. Cotton Ball Lamb from Spoonful This is a great one for preschoolers, using just cotton balls and a paper plate – simple and straightforward and it looks really cute too! Download the template from the link so that you can trace and cut out the sheep’s head and legs onto black or pink paper.

Picture Credit: Willowday

Picture Credit: Willowday

13. Clucking Rooster and Bunny from Willowday This is a really brilliant toy – which doubles as a rattle! Willowday even has a short tutorial video to show you how to put it all together.

Picture Credit: Dagmar*s Home

Picture Credit: Dagmar*s Home

14. Clothespin hatching egg from Dagmar*s Home The picture is pretty much self explantory!

Picture Credit: Inhabitots

Picture Credit: Inhabitots

15. Leaf print easter eggs from Inhabitots I really like these very pretty nature themed egg decorations! The edible dyes used to make these are all homemade from various vegetables and the recipe is included in the link.

ENJOY YOUR EASTER WEEKEND!

35 Simple Christmas Craft Tutorials and Free Printables

If you are looking to make something special for the Christmas season (and you want to get your kids involved), here are a bunch of super-awesome, super-easy craft tutorials and printables from all over the web!

These crafts are simple and pretty, and they don’t require complicated materials, so they are perfect to do together with the little ones.

If you’ve got an awesome Christmas-themed craft that you’d like to share – feel free to link to it in the comments section below!

free-christmas-crafts-kids

Awesome Advent Calendars – Free printables and tutorials

1. Welcome to Christmas Street! Printable by Mr Printables

2. Advent activity calendar by Whaddayalookingat

3. Advent Calendar icecream stick tree with origami boxes  by Crafty Nest

4. Snowflake activity advent by Eighteen25

5. Bunting Advent Activity Calendar by Lily Jane

Free printable Christmas cards, templates and tutorials

Free printable Christmas cards, templates and tutorials

6. Reindeer Christmas Card by Stephanie Locsei

7. Hand Drawn Christmas Card by Mufninc

8. Two Turtle Doves by Slug & Bull

9. Easy and Elegant DIY Christmas Tree Card by Rita Shehan

10. DIY geometric Christmas tree card by How About Orange

11. Pressed Christmas Print by Pressed in Brooklyn

12. Printable Christmas Card Kit by Shery K Designs

13. Customisable Christmas Photo Card by my.craft.affair

14. Last Minute Angel by Kirsty Neale

15. Joyeux Noel by Super Nattura

Free printable Christmas gift tags and labels

Free printable Christmas gift tags and labels

16. Yuletide Christmas Gift Tags by Kelli Murray

17. Letterpress tags by Shanty 2 Chic

18. Customisable Gift Tags from The Celebration Shoppe

19. Christmas gift tag printables from myheartcreative

20. Fine Print Holly Jolly gift tags by Avalon

nativity-scene-christmas-craft-colouring-kids

Nativity Craft Tutorials and Printables

21. Colour-in printable Nativity by Scrapbookscrapbook

22. Print and Build Nativity Set by Marloes Devee

23. Ice-cream stick Nativity Craft by MamaScientist

24. DIY Minimalist Nativity Set by Curbly

25. DIY Nativity felt puppets and printables by Pretty Prudent

recycled-upcycled-christmas-craft-kids-decoration-decor

DIY Christmas Wreath Tutorials

26. Easy Christmas Ribbon Wreath Tutorial by Shelterness

27. Toilet Roll Holly and Berry Wreath Tutorial by Lavender Girl (Website in Hungarian!)

28. Paper Loop Christmas Wreath Tutorial by Crafts ‘n Coffee

29. Newspaper Scroll Christmas wreath by EcoEmpire

30. Vintage Paper Leaf Wreath by Emily Morris

holiday-craft-kids-easy-fun

Easy DIY Christmas decorations – tutorials and printables

31.DIY Modern Paper Ornaments by Design*Sponge

32. Macaroni Snowflakes from Katy Elliott

33. Printable Christmas Bunting by Love Mae

34. Happy Christmas Party Flag Bunting by Team Kitten

35. Christmas star garland by Activity Bucket

P.S. If you’re looking for something more in the ready-made-with-heart variety for Christmas (or for any other special occasion), check out these gorgeous handmade paper cards from Little Blue Bottle! Every cent will go directly to charity and you can even have them personalised!