Once the tent is up or the camper parked it’s time to explore. I often thought that one reason pirates are so popular with kids is because they share this same urge to explore. But this need to discover can be a big help when it comes to readiness for kindergarten.
When kids arrive at school, they need to find their way even just from the door to their classroom. At first, they only need to locate and remember different areas of their class but soon they will learn about going to the library, music room, gym and playground. After a few months, some kids may have memorized the drive to school and will question any changes! But long before that, we can help little ones practice building up a mental map of where they are.
One way to practice is to take a walk around the campsite and see what’s there. Is your campsite in the trees or an open space, by itself or with others? You may need to locate the nearest restrooms. Find the area for garbage and trash. In case your campsite does not have water hookups, where is the water tap or pump? As you and your child walk around, talking about where things are and how to find them helps to focus attention. Notice if there are landmarks like big trees or flags or colors. Far and near are important vocabulary words and easier to understand with experience. Left and right directions are more challenging and need lots of learning.
Exploring and mentally mapping the camping area is great practice for kindergarten readiness. Maybe we could say this is feet-on learning instead of hands-on?
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