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Do-It-Yourself Preschool

Language & Literature

Beginning Fiction Workshop

Hit the children's story hour at the library or a bookstore. Afterward, talk about which books you liked and why.

Homework: Ask your child to read you a book for a change. Actual reading skills are not required: You'll be surprised how much he remembers and what he can figure out from just the pictures.

Foreign-Language Immersion

Next time you're at a Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Thai, or what-ever-type restaurant, talk about the items on the menu (pad thai or parmigiana cheese, for example) and explain how, in other countries, people speak different languages and eat different foods. Teach your child to say "thank you" in the corresponding language: "merci" in French, "gracias" in Spanish, and "domo arigato" in Japanese.

Homework: Check out the Putumayo Kids collection of CDs, including French Playground, African Playground, and Latin Playground, to expose your kid to more foreign languages through incredible music. ($14.98 each;

Old English

Hear ye, hear ye: Head downtown, to the mall, or anywhere else that your little one might be able to spot each letter of the alphabet on signs. Bring a camera and snap a shot of each letter found. The prints--with some hole-punches and ribbon ties--can become the pages of a handmade instant favorite: My Very Own A to Z Letter Book.

Homework: Download printable alphabet pages from and assemble them into a coloring book.