From birth, parents begin teaching their children all the things they need to know to get by in life and when you think about it, it's kind of like the beginning of your children's preschool. As they reach the age of two and beyond, their curiosity is non-stop. Their little brains are like dry sponges, eager to soak up knowledge about the world around them. Some kids ask "why" so many times in a row, it can drive you crazy sometimes. Why not take advantage of this period in their lives and actually begin teaching them some basics that will help in their schooling later on.
Begin talking to them while they're still in the crib. Talk while you are changing them. Sit down beside their playpen and read a book. Give them an old book they can play with and tear up. Get them used the feel and smell of a book. When they begin to talk, don't speak baby talk, use grownup language with them. Help them try to understand why you do certain things a certain way like cooking and cleaning chores. Get them interested in listening to you and talking back or repeating what you say. This is all designed to get them to understand words and sentences and how they're used together. It will help them learn reading later on. Studies have shown that children from houses where no one talks very much can have difficulty learning to read.
Depending on the child, around the age of three or four, get some beans or marbles or toothpicks together and start showing them how add and subtract. For example, have six beans in a pile and take away two and ask how many are left. Say, four and get them to repeat it. Now add some beans and ask them how many are there now. Tell them the answer and get them to repeat it. Before long they will be enjoying this game and giving you the right answers.
Buy some alphabet blocks and a copy of the old standard, "The Alphabet Song". Play the song over and over and get them to sing along with you. Show them the blocks with the letters on them and go through the alphabet over and over. They will catch on fast and soon know their letters.
Continue the reading, gradually progressing from picture books where you will point to the pictures and telling them what each one is to longer books with no pictures. Read for a while then stop and ask them questions about what you just read. They will begin listening closely to be able to answer your questions. Read both the picture books and other books repeatedly. If this drives you a little batty, record your voice reading the books on a recording device that would be safe for them and let them play the stories over and over. Believe it or not, experts claim that repetition breeds literacy.
This may all sound simple-minded, but experts in the field of education claim it imprints their little brains with the tools that will let them learn to read, write, spell and learn math quickly at a later time. With these exercises you will successfully conduct what can be called a children's preschool.