5 Creative Alternatives to Preschool: Why We’re Keeping Our Kids Home

child lying on floor coloring; 5 creative alternatives to preschool

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Are you looking for an alternative to preschool? 

The traditional route isn’t the only option available, as there are plenty of creative ways to help your little one learn and grow. 

From homeschooling to nature programs – here are a few great ideas on how you can provide stimulating educational experiences without enrolling in preschool. 

Why I’m not sending my 4 year old to preschool 

Preschool is unnecessary. 

I would rather my daughter be learning things she’s interested in and getting first-hand experience rather than sitting in a classroom.

Studies have shown that play-based education is more effective than academic-based education.

African American toddler coloring while lying on the floor

Dale Farran, an early childhood education researcher and a professor emerita at Vanderbilt University says, “kids are not being encouraged to think and problem-solve and to be curious and to trust themselves to figure things out. Those are the kinds of skills that are going to be lasting and predictive of school success.”

This was a downfall we saw with schools in our area. They focused heavily on memorizing colors and numbers while sitting at a table doing worksheets.

We also want her to know these things but learn them in a fun way like getting outside and seeing the different shades of green on the tree or playing hopscotch.

My husband and I both quit our jobs so we could start businesses that allowed us the freedom to travel and spend our time however we want.

We don’t want to wake up early, race out the door, and fight traffic to get her to school on time.

Plus the preschools we liked all cost more than our mortgage so we decided that was an unnecessary expense.

My daughter was also diagnosed with Autism when she was 2.5 years old and I don’t feel comfortable sending her somewhere when she’s unable to tell me what happened while she was away.

5 creative alternatives to preschool 

1. Homeschooling

Homeschooling is an increasingly popular educational option for families with young children. 

It allows parents to customize their child’s education and provide a more personalized learning experience than traditional schools can offer.


Homeschooling provides the opportunity to tailor your child’s curriculum to their individual needs, interests, and abilities. 

Parents have complete control over what topics are covered in each lesson and how much time is spent on each subject. 

Additionally, homeschooled students often have access to more resources than those attending public or private schools since they don’t need to wait for approval from a school board or district before purchasing materials or supplies.

Mommy and Me Preschool


Some states require additional paperwork when registering as a homeschooler which may add extra stress for busy parents who already have plenty on their plate.

Homeschooling is a great way to provide an education tailored to your child’s individual needs and abilities. 

It can be time-consuming for busy parents, so online learning may be a better option for those who are looking for an alternative to preschool.

A few preschool curriculums to consider include:

  • Mommy and Me Preschool (this is the play-based curriculum we use)
  • The Good and the Beautiful 
  • Charlotte Mason
  • Montessori 

The type of curriculum you decide depends on what you believe is important for your children to learn and the approach you want to take.

Key Takeaway: Homeschooling provides parents with the opportunity to customize their child’s education and provide more personalized learning experiences than traditional schools. 

2. Mother’s Day Out Programs

These programs allow parents to drop their children off at a designated facility while they take some time away from childcare responsibilities.

These programs are designed to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for kids, and often include activities such as story time, playtime, supervised outdoor play, and arts & crafts.

The benefits of these programs include socialization opportunities for young children, as well as respite for parents who need to tend to other matters during the day.

Additionally, Mothers’ Day Out Programs may be more affordable than traditional preschools.

They provide flexible scheduling options that can easily accommodate working parents and their unique needs.

All in all, Mother’s Day Out Programs are a great alternative to preschools that provide both safety and peace of mind for parents and plenty of fun activities for young children!

Key Takeaway: Mother’s Day Out Programs provide a safe, enjoyable environment for young children and respite for parents who need to tend to other matters during the day. These programs are also more affordable than traditional preschools and provide flexible scheduling options.

3. Online Learning

Online learning is an increasingly popular option for parents looking to supplement their child’s education. 

Whether you’re homeschooling or seeking an alternative to preschool, online learning can provide a convenient and engaging way to teach your little one new skills.

There are many platforms available that offer educational content tailored specifically for children. 

Happy little child, adorable blonde toddler girl enjoying modern generation technologies playing with tablet pc sitting comfortable indoors on a white rocking chair with her feet on the table

Khan Academy Kids

Khan Academy Kids is a great example of this, offering activities in math, reading, writing, and more. 

The app also includes stories and games designed to help young learners build essential literacy skills while having fun at the same time.


Another platform worth checking out is ABCmouse Early Learning Academy which provides over 9,000 interactive books, educational games, and puzzles as well as art activities and songs all designed with early childhood development in mind. 

It even has its own virtual world where kids can explore different places like farms or zoos while playing mini-games along the way.

PBS kids

PBS Kids has educational shows and games that can be enjoyed on television or an app.

Your child can learn from Curious George, Wild Kratts, or Rosie’s Rules (my daughter’s favorite).


There are tons of channels dedicated solely towards educating children through videos featuring everything from nursery rhymes to science experiments.

It’s a great resource for finding age-appropriate content that will keep your little one entertained while they learn something new every day.

A few channels my daughter enjoys are:

  • Ms. Rachel
  • Blippi
  • Alphablocks
  • Gracie’s Corner

Online learning can be a great way to give your child the education they need, and playgroups are another option for socialization and development.

Key Takeaway: Online learning is a great alternative to preschool, offering educational content tailored specifically for children.

4. Playgroups

Playgroups are an important part of a young child’s development. 

They provide socialization, learning opportunities, and help to build relationships with other children and adults. 

Portrait of three cute Caucasian and hispanic latin toddlers babies children sitting in sandbox playing with plastic colorful toys. Little girls and boy friends having fun together on playground.

This helps them learn how to:

  • Share
  • Take turns
  • Communicate effectively
  • Develop friendships outside of their family circle

It also gives you as a parent time to relax while your child plays in a safe environment.

Another great benefit is that many playgroups offer educational activities such as storytime or art projects which allow kids to explore different topics in fun ways while developing skills like problem-solving and creativity. 

These activities can also help introduce concepts they may not have been exposed to yet such as colors or shapes.

Finding a local playgroup isn’t always easy, but there are several resources available online where you can search for groups near you by zip code or city name. 

You could also try asking around your neighborhood if anyone knows of any existing groups or even start one yourself. 

Once you find one that works best for you, make sure to check out what kind of rules they have so everyone feels comfortable participating; some might require pre-registration while others may just ask for donations towards supplies before each new session starts.

Playgroups can be a great way for moms to connect with other parents and give their little ones some social interaction. 

Key Takeaway: Playgroups provide a safe environment for children to socialize and learn concepts such as sharing, taking turns, and effective communication. 

5. Nature Programs

Nature programs are a great way for parents to get out of the house and explore the outdoors with their little ones. 

Not only do these programs provide an opportunity for learning, but they also offer physical activity and socialization opportunities that can be hard to come by when staying at home with a baby or toddler.

Many nature programs are designed specifically for young children, offering hands-on activities such as scavenger hunts, animal tracking, and nature crafts. 

Adorable blond boy  planting seeds in vegetable garden

These activities help foster curiosity in your child while providing them with valuable knowledge about the natural world around them. 

Additionally, many of these programs include educational components such as stories and songs that help reinforce concepts like counting or identifying colors.

In addition to educational benefits, participating in outdoor exploration offers numerous health benefits as well. 

According to Child Mind Institute, spending time outside can:

  • Reduce stress levels
  • Improve mental wellbeing
  • Increase activity 
  • Improve confidence 
  • Promote creativity and imagination 

Being able to take part in physical activities as parent and child is also beneficial.

It helps build strength and coordination skills while promoting bonding.

If you’re looking for local nature program options near you, start by searching online or asking friends who may already be involved in similar groups nearby. 

Many cities offer free classes through their parks departments or other organizations dedicated to teaching kids about nature—these are often easy ways to get started without having to commit too much money upfront. 

Tinkergarten is a program specifically designed to get little ones learning while incorporating outdoor activities.

You can also check out websites like Meetup which list dozens of different types of events happening all over the country every day—including plenty related to outdoor exploration.

No matter what type of program you choose, getting outside is always a great way for moms (and kids) to relax and enjoy some quality time together away from screens and everyday distractions. 

So grab your hats (and sunscreen) and head outdoors today.

Key Takeaway: Nature programs offer a great alternative to preschool providing educational and physical benefits while also helping to reduce stress levels.

Is it OK to not send your child to preschool?

Absolutely. It’s up to the parent to decide whether or not their child should attend preschool. 

Every family’s situation and needs are different, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer. 

Preschool can be a great way for children to learn important social skills, but it isn’t necessary for all children. 

Parents should consider their own goals and objectives when making this decision. 

Friends with toddlers playing on the floor in sitting room

If you feel that your child would benefit from attending preschool, then you should explore options in your area. 

On the other hand, if you prefer to provide an at-home learning environment for your child, that is also perfectly acceptable.

Is preschool really necessary?

Preschool is not mandatory in the United States.

It can be a beneficial experience for young children, providing them with the opportunity to learn social skills and explore their interests in an educational setting. 

However, you may find that other activities such as playdates or homeschooling are more suitable. 

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to send your child to preschool should be based on what works best for your family.

Quick recap…

Homeschooling, spending time with others, online learning, playgroups, and nature programs are all great options for providing your child with the education they need while still allowing you to spend quality time together as a family. 

Whether you choose one of these alternatives or come up with something else entirely, remember that there is no right or wrong way when it comes to finding an alternative to preschool. 

If you want to focus on a play-based approach I recommend Mommy and Me Preschool. You get 20+ weeks of educational activities using items you already have lying around your house.

You also get fun bonuses like:

  • A Kindergarten Readiness Checklist
  • Progress Tracking Chart
  • 5 Biggest Preschool Mistakes and Fixes
  • Your Preschool Schedule By Age

If you want a simple way to teach your preschooler that won’t drain all of your time and energy then grab Mommy and Me Preschool.

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