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Clothes-- Preschool Unit Study

Updated on August 3, 2012

Clothing Preschool Theme

Preschoolers love to learn more about things which are familiar to them.

Whether your preschooler is just learning their colors or learning to get dressed, here are lots of fun ways to explore a familiar topic!

Picture Books

A good unit study should always be built around quality picture books. Here are a few books that can help you build your clothing unit:

Corduroy: Giant Board Book
Corduroy: Giant Board Book

Even toddlers should be enchanted by this classic tale of a teddy bear who begins to search for his missing button.

A Pocket for Corduroy
A Pocket for Corduroy

Another adventure for this adorable teddy bear-- this time, in search of a pocket! The book also explores the process of washing clothes.

Mary Wore Her Red Dress and Henry Wore His Green Sneakers
Mary Wore Her Red Dress and Henry Wore His Green Sneakers

This delightful story is set to an American folk song. Each verse highlights a different color and item of clothing and the pictures gradually move from black and white to color. Don't miss this one!


Language Arts & Vocabulary

For a preschooler, language arts should primarily focus on building their vocabulary and their experience of the world around them!

According to Dorothy P. Dougherty's book How to Talk to Your Baby, there are five different methods of language learning. Here is how you could incorporate each level into your unit study:

1. Naming-- teach the names of different items of clothing from general (shirt) to specific (T-shirt, sweater, blouse), depending on the age of your child.

2. Describing-- teach your children about colors of clothing, sizes (big, small), quantity (two shoes), texture (bumpy, soft). You could even talk about different types of fabric for an older child (denim, corduroy, cotton).

3. Comparing-- talk about the ways items of clothing are the same or different (daddy's shoes are big, yours are small) (you and mommy both have on red shirts)

4. Explaining-- talk about how we wear different clothing depending on the temperature or weather. Talk about seasons and what types of clothes we wear in the winter vs. the summer. Talk about the order we get dressed in (socks then shoes).

5. Giving Directions- talk about putting things on and off. Give directions such as "put the hat on your head" or "put the shirt over your head". These help children to understand spacial concepts.

Have fun with this and talk naturally with your child about what is happening in his or her day. Enjoy watching your child learn more about the world around him!

Math Ideas

Here are some ideas for developing different early math skills with clothing items or items

* Counting- count items of clothing

* Identifying- identify colors, shape of clothing

* Matching- sort things by color, shape, size, etc. -- practice sorting the laundry or matching socks and shoes!

* Measure- measure shoes, height...

* Comparing- by size, color shade...

* Patterns- make and complete patterns using buttons, socks, or math manipulatives

Big Buttons - A Fun Math Manipulative

Roylco Inc. Really Big Buttons 60/Pkg.
Roylco Inc. Really Big Buttons 60/Pkg.

These are a wonderful theme-related math manipulative. There is so much you can do with these buttons-- count them, sort by color or shape, make patterns, practice sewing, or use them in art projects. Even my daughter, at 1 year old, had fun dropping them into an empty wipes container. They are a wonderful, inexpensive addition to any home or classroom!


Fairy Tale Tie In: The Emperor's New Clothes

Watch or read The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen to share a popular fairy tale with your student(s)!

Motor Skills: Learn to Dress and Sew!

A great fine motor extension would be to practice the skills of getting dressed (practical life skill) or sewing (a fine motor skill which will aid in learning to write). Here are some toys which would help with learning these skills:

Science: How is Clothing Made?

For a preschool level science lesson, learn about how cloth and clothing are made. There are several easy (& fun!) picture books which will walk you through this process:

Pelle's New Suit: Mini Edition
Pelle's New Suit: Mini Edition

In this classic (1912) picture book, a little Swedish boy needs a new suit for church. He shears his lamb for the wool and then enlists the help of his family and community in making the suit. Pelle is very helpful, responsible, and thankful little boy-- this is an educational book with a good example for children to follow!

A New Coat for Anna (Dragonfly Books)
A New Coat for Anna (Dragonfly Books)

The longest book of the bunch, this book is set in post WWII Europe. Anna needs a new coat and her mother trades her valuable possessions at each step in the process.

Charlie Needs a Cloak
Charlie Needs a Cloak

Charlie the Shepherd needs a new cloak. This book follows him from start to finish as he makes one. This book by a classic illustrator is probably the one that will appeal the most to younger preschoolers.

From Cotton to Pants (Start to Finish Book) (English and German Edition)
From Cotton to Pants (Start to Finish Book) (English and German Edition)

This gem is out of print, but it follows the process of manufacturing cotton and turning it into denim. See if you can find it at your library!


How It's Made: Cotton

Take a virtual field trip and watch this 5-minute video with your child to watch how cotton thread is made!

Have you ever done a clothing unit? What other ideas would you like to see?


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