A network to share best practices for children with special needs
We all know kindergarten is a big year in children’s lives. They learn to read, write, begin mathematical concepts, use critical thinking, learn life skills and more. Kids also learn to sit in chairs and sit while paying attention for longer periods of time. In addition, kids need to focus and attend to brand new learning tasks. For some children kindergarten comes easy, and, for others, it's the first time a child will experience hard work. At just five- and six-years-old, these little ones already have a lot on their learning plate. There are many activities we can do to get our kids ready for kindergarten. See below for some great ideas to get your kids ready for their big year!
Writing requires fine-motor skills. Babies begin fine-motor skills by using their hands when they point at something or crawl on the ground. Writing is something they will do in all areas of learning from science to math. Writing is an important task that will carry into adulthood so learning the building blocks of writing is imperative. Make sure your kids get many opportunities to hold markers, crayons, pencils and paint brushes throughout the summer. Give kids opportunities for free writing and drawing and discuss their “work.” Use art and activity books for their age. You can use Hi-Write paper for tracing in the lines, to making letters. Have your child trace their name, then copy it onto another paper. Making lines and circles are great building blocks for letters and, most important of all, let them be creative!
Read, read, read…every day! Listening to books (poems, nursery rhymes, etc.). Being read to is an important part of learning to read. If your child asks you to read again, read it in a different voice. Play phonemic awareness games so they can identify sounds in a word. Rhyme words and name objects in pictures. Clap or Snap to find out how many syllables are in a word (example: Kin-der-gar-ten - 4 syllables). One of my favorite websites is www.starfall.com which explains the building blocks for learning how to read. My kids are on this site as early as one-year-old working on the sounds of the ABCs, while my kindergartener is reading the stories.
The building blocks for mathematical concepts include knowing colors, shapes, patterns, counting 1-10, 20, number recognition, sorting and measuring. Practice colors and shapes with your child. Have your child make patterns out of their car collection (example: Red, red, blue, red, red…). Ask what comes next in a pattern. Practice counting to 10 and see if your child can go higher. Also, practice 1:1 correspondence having your child count how many of something there are (example: Can they count all the cheerios you put in front of them? Can they recognize what the number one or three looks like?) Have them sort all of their marbles by color. Also, have your child measure how long their bed is (example: 5, 6 or 7 shoe lengths?). These are all fun activities that are also mathematical concepts and will ultimately help kids understand higher level math concepts.
Soon-to-be kindergarteners can practice other areas of learning such as Critical Thinking like sequencing (example: What comes first, next, last?). Teach your child Life Skills such as buttoning, zipping, and making a knot for shoe tying. Also, introduce them to Science by talking about real and not real, discuss and experience the 5 senses (touch, smell, taste, seeing, hearing). Play I spy and discuss the world around you (example: When you see the stars, sun, and moon, etc.). To learn more about Social Studies, talk about the calendar including the days of the week and months of the year. Help your child learn about their birth date. Help them learn about neighborhoods, their address and street names including community helpers.
Make learning fun and exciting for your soon-to-be kindergartener, and be sure to share with us your favorite learning activities for success!