Growing up as the daughter of a kindergarten teacher, a lot of her classroom activities found their way into the home. At the time, I didn't care if they were educational, I just enjoyed playing with them and getting to do the activities that all the "big kids" got to do.
Now, as a parent of a toddler who is growing up faster than I can barely imagine, I know that preschool is right around the corner. I'm home with him, which has been a great experience, but it doesn't give him the school-like experience. When he begins preschool next year, it will be a big change from our daily routine of museums and parks. School might be a scary and difficult experience for him, since for the first time in his life he will be expected to listen to someone else other than family.
School may be hard enough, without even thinking about the educational leaps he'll be expected to do. In trying to prepare him educationally, I've put together a list of eight essential toys to get children ready for preschool.