How about more than 100 backpacks? My friend, Adrianna Reo, has a mission to raise funds in order to donate backpacks filled with school supplies to homeless kids. She wants needy kids to feel as empowered as the others at school and writes that the impact is so powerful that it is enough to motivate some kids to stay at school. Could be because these backpacks are filled with more than just books and pencils…they are filled with hope and encouragement.
All month long I’ve written posts about backpacks and readiness for kindergarten learning activities such as counting, rhyming, colors, singing, stories, reading, etc. Even social skills such as sharing and taking turns when taking a backpack to a friend’s house for a playdate.
Another important learning skill is making choices. Just like the rest, this is something that needs practice. While most kids are somewhere in the middle, some have a very difficult time making independent choices and some want to choose everything all the time. If possible when shopping for backpacks–and Adrianna recommends the week after school starts for great sales–let your little one have some input about the choice. Surprisingly, for some color is more important than popular figures. Features like lots of little pockets are appealing to others.
Helping little ones learn how to make choices is another kindergarten readiness skill that will have an impact long after backpacks have been replaced by workbags.
For almost the whole month, blog posts have been all about backpacks and various readiness for kindergarten learning activities. Can you guess what this one is about? It’s about just that…guessing. Round up a few small objects that are familiar to your child and a backpack. If your munchkin is still quite young you may choose to use one item and pop it into the backpack and “search” for it, using lots of langauge such as: where is the…? is it here? no, is it here? yes, etc. If your child is older you may be able to use several items grouped by the backpack. Have your child close eyes, pop one in and then guess which one is missing. 3 or 4 objects may be enough or you may be able to use more. Let your child hide one and you can guess what’s missing.
Remembering is a skill that improves with practice and this simple game will encourage your child to focus attention, too. We can understand some of children’s thinking by watching how they remember. Do they use the positions of objects, do they pick up and feel the ones that are left, or use another strategy?
Another variation is to guess what’s in the bag by asking some questions. Even older children will need guidance with this one. For example, an adult may ask a child to hide an item in the backpack and ask questions such as is it a circle shape, is it red, etc and from the answers guess which of the items it is. Then, the adult may hide one and suggest questions for the child to ask.
Kids even like to play this game all by themselves, even tho they know the answers, as they practice how the game works and cheer when they get the anwers.
While a backpack is not typically a toy or educational tool it nevertheless can be lots of fun and learning for all kinds of kindergarten readiness. Who’s better at guessing what’s missing–you or your little one?
On the weekend at a regional Baby Fair, the award-winning children’s band The Kerplunks performed to an appreciative audience of little kids and big ones, from very new baby bumps all the way to accompanying grandparents. Since my book table was right across from the main stage I got to hear them all 4 times. And now the song” I’ve got my gumboots on, I’ve got my gumboots one, From dusk to dawn with my my gumboots on,” is stuck in my head! Of course, it’s a rainy day song and our weather is very wet but it’s been there for 2 days! To vary the lyrics, I’ve substituted the word backpack. Now the song has another verse:
I’ve got my backpack on, I’ve got my backpack on, From dusk to dawn, I’ve got my backpack on.
The Kerplunks not only sing but they play lots of different instruments. The Backpacks could be the name of a new musical group and the instruments could be made from things around the house. How about a tissue box with elastic bands to strum, or a plastic container with some dry macaroni as a shaker? Pots or pans and a wooden spoon make great drums. Put on some favorite songs that won’t get stuck in your head and let your child move, dance and play along.
Music is an awesome activity for all kinds of readiness for kindergarten concepts including listening, rhythm, body awareness, etc. Both math and music have a similar system of ascending and descending order, notes with spaces and numbers with spaces, etc. so music prepares brain pathways and connections for learning math. Music is very powerful not just for kindergarten readiness but for all kinds of brain development. Help your little one find a crazy costume, strap a backpack on the back, create an instrument for the front and a 1-2-3 we’ve got some learning fun, we’ve got some learning fun…!
Today, “…the rain rain rain came down down down,” to quote Winnie the Pooh. For kids of all ages it was an inside day. Even when little ones can’t go outside they need to wear off some energy. Finding enough things to do in a space that seems to get smaller as the day gets … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpack Rainy Day Fun
What’s in a name? For anybody who doesn’t know the answer to that just check out the size of the lost and found box at any facility with little ones. Boxes are usually overflowing with items that have no names. To help keep backpacks from wandering away–and to have some kindergarten readiness practice– kids might … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpack with a Name
Where do pirates put their treasure? In pirate chests. Where do kids put their treasures? In backpacks. Now, if there isn’t any treasure in the backpacks at your house, it’s time to go find some. For many families, the weekend has better opportunities to spend time outdoors than the weekdays. This weekend, your family may … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpack Treasure Hunt
Remember reading and talking about the monster in the backpack last week? That was so much fun, here’s a kindergarten readiness craft activity to create a backpack monster. Materials needed are any wonderful odd bits and treasures from the recycling. Monsters can be made from practically anything and put together in lots of different ways. … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpack Monster Craft
Pablo Picasso once said “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Paintbrushes and colors are often favorites of children and painting activities develop many readiness for kindergarten skills. Besides drawing about a backpack, your child may enjoy painting about it. One of the most important … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpack Masterpiece
Did you hear the news that doodle art is making a comeback? No wonder–it’s terrific exercise for the brain. Often we forget to encourage the creative and artistic interests of children. To extend the imagination activity from yesterday, have your child draw a picture about the backpack in your story. Drawing helps develop readiness for … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Backpacks in Pictures
Did you know that the human brain is hard-wired for story? George Lakoff, a university scientist, wrote in his book Metaphors We Live By that our minds crave stories and are part of the structure of our brains. What does this mean for kindergarten readiness? That stories are a powerful teaching and learning tool! To … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Once Upon a Backpack