I never thought a printer would be the thing that got me through a pandemic, but it definitely helped. When our preschool closed last year, we had to scramble to find fun and educational activities for the kids. The internet and the printer became my favorite homeschool helpers. When things get heated, the whirr of the printer and the anticipation of a newly printed worksheet cooled everyone down for a little while.
Much like stickers, activity sheets are important commodities for the preschool set. If you have a preschooler, you know exactly what I am talking about — coloring sheets, counting sheets, cutting sheets, paper masks, that sort of thing!
As many of us are still multitasking these days, I'm guessing you probably don’t have time to comb through a million unicorn pictures on websites rife with popups to determine which offerings are safe to download. So, my gifts to you this week are these tried and tested printables from decent sites that are free (or cheap) and will help you and the kids slay another day. Go get ‘em!
Fun and educational stuff
The Abby the Pup website has a great selection of preschool printables and worksheets in literature, math and general knowledge. All content is free to download and distribute. Abby the Pup was created during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that quality preschool educational materials are freely available to all children.
Learning Resources is a U.K. company that produces fun and educational games, books and learning materials. Check out their page called Learning@Home that includes hundreds of printable activities, workbooks, games and coloring sheets. It's a treasure trove for parents and everything is free!
Education.com offers hundreds of decent educational printables, including worksheets for letter tracing, counting, matching and more. It's free to download the first five sheets and it costs $8 a month (cancel at any time) for unlimited downloads. The $8 monthly subscription option may just be worth it, as there are no pesky popups, the worksheets are educational, and it’s an easy site to navigate and filter for subjects, grade levels and topics.
Great Schools, the outfit that rates schools, rates pretty well itself for worksheets. Get lots of fun materials for early writing practice, rhyming word sheets, tracing, etc. There's some great stuff here, and you aren't required to sign up or pay fees for downloads.
Favorite and famous characters
Get access to your kids' favorite characters in print form at Nickelodeon Parents, where you'll find some neat chore charts, coloring pages, number tracing sheets, games and more.
PBS KIDS for Parents also offers coloring sheets, games, scavenger hunt cards, bingo and more great distractions — all featuring your favorite characters from PBS KIDS shows such as "Curious George," "Daniel Tiger," "Dinosaur Train," "Pinkalicious," "Wild Kratts" and others.
Hats and masks
Little kids love playing dress-up, and what better way to extend the fun than by having them make their own masks and hats? First Palette has a great variety of hats, masks, games and more. All the printables are free to print, with no signup required. There are some nice simple ones, such as bears, bunnies and cats; and then more complicated stuff, like these cool-looking Roman imperial helmets.
Cut and paste
Cutting and gluing doubles the fun and the time, enabling you to get more work done. Check out Kids Can Have Fun for lots of cut-and-paste sheets. This site has scads of other great stuff, including jigsaw puzzles, mazes, book templates, pretend play sheets, photo booth props and more.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in April 2019, and updated in January 2021.