Kindergarten readiness skills build on children’s early experiences. Lots of variety helps build this foundation for later learning. As well, a great deal of repetition is needed, too.
For children to develop an understanding of numbers, they first need to learn that one number goes with one thing. Usually, one person only carries one backpack at a time so it is ideal to help kids develop 1 to 1 correspondence. As you and your child are able, maybe walking along or going to daycare, check and see how many backpacks each person is carrying. One person = one backpack. This will take only a few minutes and can be incorporated with something you are already doing.
Children who have grasped this idea will be able to move on to some early problem solving skills: if there are 2 people how many backpacks would there be? How about if there are 4 backpacks how many people? Even if children are counting, they still need lots of practice with 1 to 1 correspondence.
How about turtles–would they need any backpacks?
While some backpack colors are certainly more popular than others, any color can help when it comes to kindergarten readiness learning. Learning colors is not easy for young toddlers. Without shape or size colors are an abstract concept. We can’t feel them, buy them or even describe them without referring to something else. Many different objects share a color: grass, leaves, vegetables, and clothing can all be green but not the same green. There are zillions of variations of every color. In order for children to learn a color they need to see lots of things that are that color and lots that are not, gradually figuring out which shades go with which name.
Many readiness for kindergarten evaluations ask if kids know colors because it is a quick way of checking the level of learning. Kids who are struggling with colors may be struggling with other concepts, too. Learning colors needs lots of experiences–and yes and no feedback. Even if your child is not yet starting kindergarten, s/he quite possibly has a backpack already. What color is it? Check out other ones that you see together and color your day with learning fun.
Just in case we didn’t know it’s back to school, the number of newspaper flyers and other ads would certainly clue us in. A favorite item to purchase this time of year is a new backpack. Even if little ones are not yet starting school, a backpack is handy for preschool or daycare, taking a few toys in the car or bus, visiting grandparents or friends, and playdates. It’s also great for readiness for kindergarten learning.
One important kindergarten readiness skill is making groups, such as a group of what belongs in a backpack. Ask your child what things go in a backpack? Can a table go in, can a chair? Could a teddy bear go in or a sweater? Talk with your child about what goes and what doesn’t. Ask your child why some things are a yes and some are a no. Little ones can make a game of putting various objects in and out of a backpack. Older children can discover that there’s a third group: the things that can sometimes go in a backpack and sometimes not, like dishes if you are going on a picnic. Or, a box of cereal if you are coming back from the store.
Categorizing involves lots of thinking about the characteristics of things–their sizes, shapes, uses, etc. To figure out if something belongs in a group or not children have to make comparisons and sort things out. This can be very tricky. And fun, depending on what kinds of silly things there are, like in this book My Backpack by Eve Bunting. What other kinds of learning go in a backpack?