To understand numbers and develop number sense your child needs lots and lots of experience counting, making groups, and talking about numbers. Kids learn best through play, so here’s some ways to play with numbers and boost kindergarten readiness at the same time. Choose a couple of these ideas that match your child’s level.
1. Use a paper bag or other container. Pretend blocks or lego or even bread tags are Halloween treats. Ask your child to put 3 ‘treats’ in the bag. Dump them out and suggest maybe 5 treats. Try a few more numbers.
2. You can put some ‘treats’ in, then let your child dump them out and count how many treats there are. Help your child point to each one and only count each ‘treat’ once. This can be quite tricky for kids, especially when items are close together.
3. For kidlets that have the concept that each item only gets counted once and are accurate when counting up to 10, this activity is more challenging. Count 5 ‘treats’. Give 3 to your child and 2 to you. How many treats? 5 treats. Now, give 3 to you and 2 to your child. How many now? Count them again and it’s still 5. Now, give 4 of those treats to your child and 1 to you. Did it change? Are there still only 5 treats? Pretty wild! No matter how many different ways those treats are shared, it always makes 5! This is called conservation of number. Each number is always that many, no matter how it’s lined up, piled up, shared out, spread out, or squished together, it’s just so much.
On second thought, maybe it’s not so good for kids to be able to accurately count out their Halloween treats. How can we sneak out the good ones? (I like the coconut chews. What’s your favorite?)
Here’s an idea that won’t drive you batty, (pardon the pun). What rhymes with bat? Help your child think of lots of words that end just like bat, such as mat, cat, rat, etc. Spell out the ‘at’ part maybe using magnetic fridge letters. Show your child how putting a b in front makes bat; changing to b to an r makes rat. By changing only the first letter, you and your child can make cat, fat, hat, mat, rat, sat, vat, and…even zat. What is a zat? or a wat? How about a lat or jat? Your child may not be ready for figuring out what the letters say, but you will have introduced the idea that some letters stay the same and some change, just like some of the sound parts of words stay the same and some change. Word play is part of kindergarten readiness.
Did you know that rhyming is used as a quick predictor of children’s readiness for reading? It shows children’s phonological awareness–that is, the notion that words are make of sound bits that can be used in various combinations to make new meanings. How’s zat?
This week, while buying both groceries and gas, I saw some spooktacular Halloween ideas. Most of them had some kind of pattern. A spider’s web is a very intricate pattern. A window border with ghost, witch, pumpkin, ghost, witch, pumpkin is another kind of pattern–in a sequence. Making patterns is a skill needed for more than kindergarten readiness. Language and math have patterns, as do music, time, nature, writing, and more. Costumes have patterns: animal fur patterns, clown polka dots, stripes of black and white, orange and white, or other colors. Some flashing lights are in a regular sequence pattern.
Using some very inexpensive dollar store items, kids can make their own patterns. I bought a bag of different color skeletons and a bag of small jack-o-lanterns. Here’s a simple AB, AB sequence: skeleton, pumpkin, skeleton, pumpkin. An ABC sequence was easy: green skeleton, white skeleton, orange skeleton, green, white, orange, etc. The pattern sequences can be as easy or as complicated as your child can handle. The items and the activity are both appealing to kids making for a double treat.
Does this shake your bones? What’s your favorite pattern?
Are the goblins at your house getting pretty excited? To burn off some of that extra energy, have fun and develop large muscle coordination here is an imaginative idea. It needs a big, safe place for big moving around. How would a witch move and travel? Swoosh and flit in your big, safe place. How would … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Halloween Moves
What color is a pumpkin? A ghost? A bat? Learning the names of basic colors is another kindergarten readiness skill. Many school activities will use colors. Learn-to-read books often use color words, math problems can be made with colors; 2 red legos and 3 blue legos make how many legos? Pattern sequences may use them, too; yellow, red, yellow, … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Halloween Colors
Both Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving–earlier in Canada because there’s snow, not harvest, in November–have echoes of voyages. Voyages of discovery, adventure and celebration. Kindergarten is another voyage of discovery for our children. Today, wherever we are, as adults let’s make an effort to protect their sense of adventure and celebration. Happy Day! P.S. How did … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – 2 Holidays, 1 Lesson
Now that our calendars have turned to October, kids from all over the continent are anticipating Halloween. From October 1st to October 31st seems like such an awfully long time. Speaking of time, time is a really a difficult concept to grasp–and not just for kids, some adults are time-challenged, too. Lots of meaningful experiences … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Halloween Countdown
Start the 4th off with a quick breakfast treat. Easy for kids to make and eat!! Ingredients: vanilla or plain yogurt, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries Method: in a clear, plastic glass layer the colors, yogurt then fruit. Skills: patterning, counting (so everyone gets the same number of berries :)), organizing, creating, nutrition, hand-eye coordination, serving … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – 4th in a Glass
July 1 is the official kick-off for summer. Many communities north of the border start it off with a parade. Kids of all ages love a parade. Being part of a community is important for social development. We all need to feel like we belong. Participating in community celebrations helps to foster this sense of belonging in … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Canada Day
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