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.)
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