When children arrive in kindergarten and throughout the year, they will be doing all kinds of alphabet activities with their teachers. Children who have some familiarity with letters and sounds even before starting school are much more capable to tackle these tasks. Some programs assess children’s alphabet knowledge as part of evaluating readiness for school. For the next few days, I’ll highlight some alphabet activities that you can do at home as part of whatever you are already doing. These will help you prepare your child for kindergarten.
Here is a super easy idea to get you started. Sing the ABC song. Now, add some fun and reinforce the learning–sing it using a Papa Bear voice, deep and growly. Squeak it in a baby bear voice. Try a robot voice and march all stiff like one when you sing it. Make scary faces and use a cackly witch voice. Take a deep breath and let it out like opera. Imagine an air guitar and jump around like a rock star–isn’t that right, Mr. Craig Duswalt? Dance around and let the letters fly in the air. At bathtime, bubble and sing. Adding a few yawns and a sleepy voice can even turn it into a bedtime lullaby. This doesn’t all need to be done on the same day!! The intent is to learn and have fun at the same time and maximize your child’s chance for kindergarten success.
Motivating children to want to learn about all those squiggles on a page and what they mean can be done by cooking together. Here’s a fun recipe to make mud that good enough to eat! Measure into the blender 1 cup of milk, 1/2 banana, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, and 2 or 3 ice cubes. Blend, pour and slurp. (from Pretend Soup).
A task that uses reading helps reinforce the concept that reading has meaning. While this is obvious to us, it is not so evident to little ones. Experiences like these help children figure out what reading is all about. Enjoy your muddy treat. Do you have any great mud recipes? Add them in the comment section for some more meaningful reading.
Writing experiences can start before children are independently reading. A fundamental concept for learning to read is the understanding that print is a kind of talking written down. The squiggles on the page carry meaning.
The earlier mud activities, walking in the rain to see puddles, talking about them, playing with muddy-colored play-dough, listening to ryhmes and stories have given children lots to think about. Now, it’s time to let your child express his/her own ideas. Provide some brown and other colors of crayons or markers and let your child draw a mud puddle. Now, talk about it and help your child make up a story about the mud puddle. Once upon a time there was a mud puddle. One day it….You may write out some of the story and ‘read’ it a few times. This activity will help your child associate print and meaning which is essential for reading success. (The little brown dots are the puddles above.)
Playdough is a super learning tool. It is inexpensive and can be made right at home. My favorite recipe is the cooked kind but I have successfully made the dough that uses boiling water. Mix up a batch. Combine yellow and red coloring to make orange and add a drop or two of blue to … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Batch of Mud
Of all the activities that parents and caregivers can do to get children ready for school, reading books and stories with them is the most important! Since we’re talking about mud, here are a few of my favorite muddy books. Pigs in the Mud, in the Middle of the Rud by Lynn Plourde Puddleman by … Continue reading Mud Books
Yesterday, we walked outside to observe puddles. Today, those same puddles will help kids learn some new vocabulary. Were the puddles deep or shallow, big or small, wide or narrow? What other words will tell us about puddles? Splishy and splashy, murky or flashy. Here’s a poem about puddles: Rain, rain, falls on the street. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Puddle Vocab and Poetry
After April Showers, the rain leaves great puddles. Yes, puddles can be another learning opportunity–but stay out of the road so you don’t become part of one! Next time it rains, go for a walk and check out all the different shapes. Are puddles round or square? Maybe, their shapes look like something else: a … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – April Showers and Mud Puddles
With the family coming home for Easter, I dug out some of the decorations that the kids, almost in theirthirties, expect to see. I remembered some of the things that I used to do, too. Growing up on a farm, there was lots of family members that gathered and where to sit everybody was a … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Early Writing
Using the theme of Easter, kids have been able to practice some basic math, explore movement and enhance big muscle development, and enjoy an art activity and tradition this week in just minutes a day. Here’s another quick and easy idea but one of critical importance for learning to read. Those of you who read … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – What Rhymes With Bunny?
After discussion at school and in the family about April Fool’s Day needing to be over at noon, I had a few ideas for the blog and fun tricks to play on family members, like putting a bread shaped slice of paper in lunch sandwiches, slicing a banana that’s still in the peel, putting one … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – April Fool’s Noon/Midnight