Kindergarten Readiness – Exercise Pit Stops

Vacations can mean time in the car, a bus, a plane, or a train. Besides pit stops and breaks for bathroom visits, kids need to move their bodies. Besides needing to wear off some energy, kids also need exercise for their bones. Childhood is the most important time for a healthy skeleton. Activity makes children’s bones stronger and can even change the shape of bones, (Dr. Heather McKay, The role of exercise on healthy skeletal development, 2010). So, just for the bone of it:  jump, hop, skip, run, walk, climb, roll, wriggle, twirl, twist, crawl, bend, stretch, push, pull, dance…

And if you’re  staying home, here’s an adaptation of an old campfire song to take an imaginary  trip.

(Based on Goin’ on a Lion Hunt) Leader:  We’re going on vacation. (Everyone else echos each time.)

L: We’re  ready to go. (Repeat)   L: We’ll pack a bag. (Repeat ) L: Pack. (“)  make packing motions
We’re going on vacation. (“) We’re ready to go. (“) We’ll run to the store.  (“) Run. (“) running motions 
We’re going on vacation. (“) We’re ready to go. (“) We’ll load the car.  (“) Load. (“)  loading motions
We’re going on vacation. (“) We’re ready to go. (“) We’ll drive down the road.  (“) Drive. (“) driving motions 
We’re going on vacation. (“) We’re ready to go. (“) We’ll stop for gas. (“)  Gas up. (“) filling up motions
We’re going on vacation. (“) We’re ready to go. (“) Oh, oh, bridge out.  (“)  Swim. (“) swimming motions

Add as many more verses as you can think of, detour, climb up the mountain, rough road, bumpy bridge, etc. To finish off: We’re there at last. (“) Ah, relax!! (“) Relaxing motions!

Car Fun

TGIF and on Fridays lots of families prepare for weekend getaways. If your weekend involves travel with kids chances are you have things in the car for them to do. Here is an in case that is both fun and promotes all kinds of learning. Materials needed: 1 clipboard or plastic tray to hold paper, paper and pencils, markers or crayons–not wax crayons, tho; they melt in hot cars!  Tell your child that it’s okay to copy down anything that looks interesting. It could be highway numbers, road signs, names, cool shapes and colors on billboards, licence numbers, pictures from trucks and vans, the shapes of buildings and houses, bridges, trains, rivers or lakes, letters, windows, things they see on ads to eat or wear or buy, whatevers.

Kids notice the oddest, tiny details, especially of things we would prefer that they didn’t see, which does prove that they are watching. Observing, naming, wondering, making connections, letters, numbers, shapes, colors, vocabulary, language, fine-motor skills, visual focussing, recording, and questioning are only some of the skills and strategies children use in this activity. This may only appeal for a few minutes but those minutes done a few different times add up to a whole lot of learning for a child. More deposits in their learning brain-bank accounts.
Could this be fun for your family?

Kindergarten Readiness – Clipboard Math

Vacations often have little spaces of time to fill, especially when travelling. Whether it’s by bus or car, kids sometimes need something else to do. Years ago, I picked up a plastic covered clipboard at the dollar store with just a small paper holder. Though it was inexpensive it has been really valuable. One little activity was to draw 3 columns on a sheet of paper: one for red cars, one for blue cars and one for white cars, but any colors will work. We watched the cars and marked a tally line each time we saw a red, blue or white car. Although I thought the kids would only be interested for a few minutes, they really liked having a reason to watch the cars that passed. Often, a child will notice that there is another color that seems to be more popular, so a new sheet of paper is needed.  

This also works when just standing by a window and checking the cars that go by. To make it easier, just 2 columns can be used, one for cars and one for trucks. Or use 4 or 5 columns for quick munchkins. The clipboard and paper can also be used for just drawing when needed. It also works when sitting on airport chairs and counting how many people are males or females. This may be a simple counting activity, but it also helps kids learn to focus and pay attention to what is happening around them, to sort and categorize, and to collect information. That’s a lot of skills for a paper, pencil and clipboard. Surprisingly, it’s even kind of fun. Happy counting!

Kindergarten Readiness – Vacation :) or :(

Some new research was just released that studied children’s recognition of facial expressions. It was previously thought that even infants could recognize expressions for the emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. Dr. James Russell’s study questions this and he says that at age 2, kids can identify happy but they categorize all negative faces as … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Vacation 🙂 or 🙁

Kindergarten Readiness – Pack Imagination on Vacation

The news today announced the death of Hiram Brown, a radio drama legend. He called radio ” the theater of the mind” and talked about ” the magic is the imagination”. One of the most powerful tools that kids have is their imagination. Today, reflecting on his insights, here are some ways to use children’s … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Pack Imagination on Vacation

Kindergarten Readiness – Pack a Book

This month the blog topic is readiness ideas for vacation. Does your child have a special interest in a particular topic? Dinosaurs, cars, trucks, trains, boats, farm animals, different countries, fish, whales, knights, castles, ballerinas, cats, dogs, bugs, and more are some of the more common ones but I’m always amazed at the variety and scope … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Pack a Book

Kindergarten Readiness – Vacation Songs

Singing is another terrific way to help kids learn. Not only do they practice musical skills but also important ones for learning vocabulary,  rhythm, word order and language patterns, but it also strengthens their auditory memory and provides good listening practice. There are some fabulous children’s entertainers with simple and catchy songs but plain, ordinary, everyday singing … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Vacation Songs

Kindergarten Readiness – Vacation Numbers

Pardon the pun, but practicing numbers on a vacation just adds to the fun. No matter the age of your little ones, just pointing out all the places where there are numbers helps kids learn how important numbers are. Road numbers, prices on signs, hotel room doors, addresses, elevators, clocks, money and menus are just a few … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Vacation Numbers

Kindergarten Readiness – Vacation List

Before heading off on the the family holiday, there are some super fun aspects just in the planning. Activity #1, counting down the days, incorporated math skills. #2, looking at photos and reading about where you are going links meaning and print. #3 tip is making a list. Talking about what you might need and … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Vacation List