Review: Usborne Little Children’s Drawing Book

My littlest gal is so happy. She got to review something for the blog. Timberdoodle sent us Usborne Little Children’s Drawing Book ($6) for us to review. It’s a good thing too. With her big sister taking on Artistic Pursuits this year, she’s going to want some art lessons of her own. Long story, short, she didn’t want to stop doing her art.

What Is Little Children’s Drawing Book?

The Little Children’s Drawing Book has fun activities that build your child’s fine-motor skills. Make spots on a giraffe, draw lines to show falling rain, jellyfish tentacles, and more. The book says ages 2+, and Timberdoodle includes it with their Complete Preschool Curriculum Kits. It is 48 pages long, and the paper is a smooth, matte surface upon which to draw.

What We Thought

Little Miss Ladybug LOVED it. WE did two pages – the giraffe page (pictured) and a page with rainclouds (not pictured). Well, to be honest, SHE did two pages. I just read the directions for her.

We chose to use colored pencils because we had them handy. The pages are not glossy, so the colored pencil showed up well. You could use crayons, and the pages are sturdy enough to be able to handle markers if your little one prefers to use those. I did not do a bleed test with markers, but I would be surprised, unless a child heavily saturates the page, if the color ran through on the other side.

(She was really intense). There are samples on each page to illustrate the idea that preschoolers are to copy in creating their own art. I like that the activity is structured while still being open-ended. It gives preschoolers a sense of control while also encouraging skill-development.

The pictures are bright and colorful, and that’s great for preschoolers. She didn’t want to stop, so I let her continue to the next page. I think she probably would have sat and completed the whole book if I’d have allowed her to do so. It was definitely a big hit, and now she’s very excited about starting her “learning” as she and Mr. 4 call school time.

Ideas for Using This Resource

As you know, I like to create a list of suggestions for stretching the resource. You can, of course, use Little Children’s Drawing Book as it stands. Here are some ideas if you’d like to stretch it a little bit:

  • Prior to starting the page, practice making the shape/lines on a separate piece of paper to demonstrate (especially if your child is younger).
  • Have your child create their own picture inspired by the page in the book they just completed.
  • Use the animal/image on the page as inspiration for a unit study (i.e. learn about giraffes when doing the giraffe page – read giraffe books, make giraffe crafts, watch a video with a giraffe, etc.
  • Practice counting – “Can you make 5 spots on the giraffe’s neck?” or “How many spots have you made? Let’s count them!”

This is a fun resource for those who are homeschooling younger children or for those who need something for younger siblings to do when older siblings need instruction.

Purchasing Information

You can purchase Little Children’s Drawing Book at Timberdoodle on its own for just under $6 or you may purchase the preschool curriculum that it is part of.

Review: Timberdoodle’s Farmland Math Mat Bundle

Recently, I had the opportunity to try a preschool resource I’d been wanting to try for a long time. I received a special discount for Timberdoodle’s Farmland Math Mat Bundle in exchange for an honest review. This preschool math resource is available both on its own for $43.50 or as part of their 2019 Preschool Curriculum Bundle.

What is the Farmland Math Mat Bundle?

The Farmland Math Mat Bundle is a combination of resources. It’s a tub of counters, a large play mat, and then a guided manual that takes parents and students through 36 weeks of hands-on math activities. It’s suitable for ages 2+, but I reviewed it with my 3-year-old instead of my 2-year-old.

Learn By Doing

I love resources that get the pre-k set learning while they play (let’s be real here, I love resources that get anyone learning through play). The animal counters are just the right size for little hands to grasp (plus they’re cute). There are five different animals in six different colors – for a total of 30.

The book has a script for what the instructor can say to the student – this is great. Not only because you don’t have to come up with a script when you play with the farmland mat, but also because the script leads the student through mathematical thinking – from counting to grouping to basic adding and subtracting.

Our Verdict

Mr. Three really wants to “play with my farm animals” again soon. He really enjoyed it, even though he’s been counting past 30 for some time now. It’s always good to reinforce those basic math concepts, but it’s also good for kids to get hands-on experience with the counters. While we did activities, his older sister looked on to make sure he was having a good time. I will definitely use this with the 2-year-old as well. I thought of some fun activities that older children can participate in using the counters, as well. I’ll share a few suggestions for that at the end.

Additional Activities

There are 36 weeks worth of activities in the book that is included in the Farmland Math Mat Bundle from Timberdoodle, but if you’re looking for a way to extend the activities or adapt them to older children, here are some ideas:

  • Sorting – young children love to sort. You can have them sort by color, by animal, by animal characteristics (fur vs. feathers, perhaps)
  • Graphing – older children can use graphing skills to depict what is in front of them on the mat
  • Multiplication – if there are 3 of each type of animal, how many animals are there? If there are four four legged-animals, how many legs are there all together?
  • Skip-counting – counting by 2s for pairs of legs or 4s with the four-legged animals
  • Number shapes – get some colored popsicle sticks – have students make shapes and place an animal in each corner.
  • Open-ended play – let your child take the counters and play with them – either with the mat or without it. Imaginative play is vital to healthy development.

What ideas do you have? Share your thoughts in the comments.

How I’m Teaching My Preschooler

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I don’t know about your kids, but my 3 year old has to do whatever his sister is doing, so we’ve been at this homeschooling thing for a bit. I was using just a hodge-podge of Dollar Tree workbooks and coloring books with him (after all, $1 is a very reasonable price for things when he goes through these books as fast as he does), but this month, we’re starting some more formal lessons. He already knows his letters, shapes, numbers, and colors, so my goal is to work with him on his fine motor skills and solidify what he already knows. I don’t want to do a lot with him, but just enough since he insists. Here’s what we do, it takes less than an hour a day (with the 20 minutes of reading books factored in.

Pre-Reading: All About Reading’s Pre-Reading Program

I liked the level one books so much, I made the decision to order the pre-reading program for him as well. He loves that his “learning activities” look like his big sister’s, and I like having things laid out in a lesson plan. We’re still also doing various things we’ve picked up from the dollar store as the extra practice.

Mathematics:

I’m using a couple of things – Critical Thinking Company’s Mathematical Reasoning Beginning 1 and Kumon Numbers 1-30 are the two main resources I’m using. I have other things that I pull out from time to time, but these are quick and simple.

Art & Music:

Mr. 3 is taking an art class that meets once a month, and he’s always coloring or painting something. We listen to a variety of music and talk about the composers and artists.

Literature, History, Science, STEM etc.

We’re members of the Amazon STEM toy of the month club. We also use What Your Preschooler Needs to KnowWe read a large variety of books in addition to what we do for reading. Mr. 3 also does a basketball class, zoo class, and a dance class.

Mostly, he plays, as well he should at this age. The only reason we do anything formal is he’ll be all up in my face begging me to do something when his sister is learning if I don’t give him his “work” first.

What do you do for preschool?