June is summer! Well, almost. But with some schools already out and some counting down to vacation it’s alright to think about summer. No matter where and when your family is planning some holidays there are things that you can do that will help your little ones get ready for kindergarten come fall. Not just this fall, but any autumn, because children need to repeat many of the activities over and over and over, just like we do, in order to learn. Time is a difficult concept because there are so many parts and lots of different words. It’s not an object that we can touch. Nevertheless, just think of how important it is in our lives. So, June is a great month for experiencing time. Talk about how soon you might be going away–or doing a special summer event at home–and count down the days. This simple activity not only helps children create meaning for time but provides an opportunity for practicing waiting strategies, too. (See last month’s blog for helping children learn to wait.) Start the countdown, on our way to summer!
Making Memorial Day meaningful for kids can be challenging. Especially for little children. They are too young to understand the concepts of military service and sacrifice. They can and will remember though what we, the adults, do to observe this day. It’s possible to create your own commemoration that is meaningful for your family and can be woven into your activities. If your family is doing something special today ask your child to draw a picture about it. Let your child know that this picture is important and that you will be sending it to someone else to let them know that you are thinking about them. Cards and pictures can be sent to veterans or those on active duty, especially overseas. Creating a care package is another service that a family can do and little ones can help. Even little actions can have great remembrance. What are your suggestions for other families?
I’ll start today’s blog with a quick confession. I love mystery stories and avoid being bookless. Bookless does not mean I haven’t quite a collection, just that I don’t have one to read next. One that I really enjoyed was Memory Book by Howard Engel. A detective suffers a brain injury and significant memory loss. He can remember how to write but not how to read. His effort to regain his memory and the mystery are interwoven. The author Howard Engel did have a stroke that affected his memory and the book reflects some of his own experiences. It is fascinating reading.
The study and investigation of memory are also fascinating topics. Earlier this week I suggested ways to promote auditory (hearing) and visual (seeing) memory. But those are only 2 of the 5 senses. There is another kind of memory called Kinesthetic Memory, which is the recollection of our body in space and responses to movement and reistance. I don’t know if the finger tap game that I used to play with my children is kinesthetic or touch memory but I do know that it worked to keep a child quiet and calm for a few brief minutes when it was important not to talk. Here’s how it works:
Have your child place his/her hand on a flat surface with the palm down. Tap on one or two of the fingers 2, 3 or more times. Then, your child taps on those same fingers on your hand. I know some of this is patterning but I wondered if it also is a touch memory skill. In any case, it seemed to calm the kids and focus their attention. Now, some days the only way I can remember phone numbers or codes is by the particular pattern of touching. Although, one particulary hectic morning I caught myself trying to enter my bank code on the microwave pad. What are your memory tricks?
No, this isn’t the 99th activity for auditory memory enhancement and it’s not a typo. It’s a humorous way to introduce today’s blog topic–how to do a super quick check of your child’s auditory memory. Auditory memory is a fundamental skill for learning. And for relationships. Just think of how frustrating it is when a friend … Continue reading Auditory Memory Activity #1
Auditory memory involves more than just remembering. It’s a link in chain that includes listening to words or other sounds, processing what it means, storing it and then finding it in the memory banks when needed. Auditory skills aren’t just important for learning to read, they are critical for all learning. To help your child … Continue reading Learning Disabilities and Auditory Memory
Visual memory is another one of those skills that’s important for reading and writing. And visual memory is based on visualizing, seeing something in your mind’s eye. To help your child visualize use lots of words. I know that seems contradictory. After all, to help someone with visual skills it makes sense to use visual … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Visual Memory #3
Who remembers yesterday’s activity? The topic for this week is promoting the development of visual memory skills. Again, use a tray of about 10 small objects (more if your little one needs an increased challenge or fewer if this is not yet a strong skill for your child). These could be a lego block, toy car, pencil, elastic … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Visual Memory #2
While blogging about helping children learn some strategies to cope with waiting I remembered a Eugene Field poem that my grandmother used to recite to me about a toy dog and soldier that waited and waited for a little boy. Because the poem had a sad ending it was never my favorite. But I love remembering the … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – May Memories
Did you happen to see the headlines this earlier this week: First Ladies Play With Kids. The Mexican President’s wife Margarita Zavala accompanied First Lady Michelle Obama to an elementary school where they hopped, skipped and played with the kids. The key word is Play. Play is children’s work; that’s how they learn. When we help … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Don’t Wait to Play
Songs for waiting, stories for waiting, activities for waiting and today some games for waiting. The most recent blog posts have been all about helping children learn skills and strategies for coping with having to wait. Ring around the rosie is a traditional favorite that really young children can do. There is an element of … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Games for Waiting