If I haven’t mentioned this before, I am a big believer in preschool themes, as well as themes for other early childhood classrooms. Below are the various themes on Fun-A-Day so far, as well as some important things you need to know about using themes in the early childhood classroom.
What are Themes, Anyway?
Preschool themes are sometimes referred to as “theme units” or “thematic units”. They are centered around a specific topic — like insects, transportation, or snow. Once the topic has been decided, many of the learning activities are planned around it. Themes are basically a way to tie early childhood subjects together with an overriding concept.
What’s so Great about Kindergarten and Preschool Themes?
I like having themes when I’m planning for my students, as it makes learning more meaningful to them. If I’m teaching a variety of skills/concepts based around the same category, it helps their brains make connections faster.
Themes also allow me to include my students’ interests as I plan. One year, I may have a group that just loves dinosaurs, so I’ll plan around that topic for a few weeks. Another year, I may have children more interested in space exploration, so I’ll include that for a month.
At home, I tend to use very casual themes for our activities. These themes almost always revolve around what my son is interested in. This way, he’s getting meaningful learning experiences that help expand on his interests. He and I do tons of free play, of course, but sometimes we just want to learn more about certain topics!
These themes can also be used with young children at home, as well as in kindergarten classrooms!
Planning Preschool Themes
If you need some help planning for your themes, be sure to grab this free theme planner. It’s set up to help you map out dates, themes, concepts, and special events.
Save Time with Printable Lesson Plans
You asked, and we heard you! We’ve taken our favorite activities from our most popular themes and children’s books, added in some new ideas, and combined them into a full series of playful, hands-on learning activities that you can print and do with your kids at home or in the classroom.
Find individual lesson plans here on Teachers Pay Teachers
Important Things to Keep in Mind about Themes
Yes, I love using themes when planning for my students (and my son). However, there are some things you need to remember when it comes to thematic planning:
The theme isn’t the most important part of planning.
Yes, it makes activities and ideas more cohesive when you’re planning. But mapping out behavioral and learning goals, teaching standards, and meaningful learning activities should take precedence to whatever your theme is.
Every little activity doesn’t need to pertain to the theme.
If you can’t think of a science lesson around one of your themes, that’s okay. Just choose a science activity that is meaningful, engaging, and developmentally appropriate to your kiddos.
It’s not about the “cuteness” factor.
It might seem cute to have a farm theme because the kiddos will look darling wearing overalls in the dramatic play center, but cute isn’t the point. If your class isn’t remotely interested in really learning about the farm, there’s no real point in planning a farm them.
What are some of your favorite themes to teach? I have to admit, my favorite tends to change based on what the kids are into. Their enthusiasm tends to drive my own enthusiasm!
In addition to Fun-A-Day’s preschool themes, I have a treasure trove of thematic unit ideas saved on Pinterest! Pop on over and see what catches your fancy . . .