Kids have fun getting things and themselves messy and dirty and they also have fun cleaning up. Cleaning can be both fun and learning, too. The list below is only a few of the ways that kids can ‘spring clean’.
- Small plastic toys spend a lot of time on the floor. With a small cloth and some warm, soapy water in the sink let your child wash a few cars, trucks, trains, blocks, toy dishes or whatever else may need a rinse.
- It’s easier for kids to wriggle under beds than adults. Turn your child into a vacuum that will reach any lost items that are hiding there in the dark.
- Transformed to be a giant machine and armed with a laundry hamper send your child around a room to pick up anything off the floor or that needs to go somewhere else.
- Tongs are fun to use to pick up duplo and lego or other small toys off the floor and pop them back into toy bins.
- Vacuums come with built-in sounds. Mops can also be dirt vacuums and kids can supply the sounds. What sounds can a mop make? Vroosh?
Figuring out where something belongs uses lots of deep thinking. First kids have to match an item to its category and then remember where things go. Good for brains. The activity and exercise are good for bodies. Social skills include learning how to be part of a team and cooperate with others. Emotionally children gain a sense of accomplishment and pride in their efforts.
Teacher Tom has a very popular blog and over 10,000 FB likes. On a recent post, he wrote:
“I tell our parent-teachers that I consider clean-up time to be the core of our curriculum. This is the most concrete way that the children begin to make the school their own in the only way that anyone ever truly takes ownership of anything: by assuming responsibility for it.”
While he is talking about school, the same dynamics happen at home. What are some activities that your child can do for spring-cleaning fun and learning?
Our first-day-of-spring walk for some kindergarten readiness fun and learning while connecting to nature had to get shortened to a quick dash. Actually, the weather here was more like all 4 seasons in a day. The cool, crisp spring morning became a sunny, wonderful noon, warm enough to hint at summer. The afternoon turned colder and windy more like fall, followed by a dark hail storm that made us hurry inside and cuddle up with a winter hot chocolate. Brr.
Last year on a walk, we were able to see so many signs of spring. But the weather-filled day was good for talking and learning about nature, anyway.
When the weather cooperates, you and your child can take a walk to look for signs of spring. This will give your child an opportunity to practice some observation skills and encourage noticing details. Kids are usually pretty good at seeing little things that we might miss, like bits of new grass in the rocks. There’s lots to talk about too such as how plants need sun and rain. Look around for other plants that are starting to grow and maybe there are some birds in the area. Is there anything that smells like spring? Some colors of spring?
There are lots of things for kids to discover, ways to connect with nature and to combine fun and learning. What are some other signs of spring?
Reading and sharing books with kids is a powerful kindergarten readiness activity. Did you know that kids who have been read to at home have a “brain-bank account” of about 5,000 books by the time they enter school? Just picture how much that will help in learning to read. These kids already know:
- how a book works. There’s a front, back and middle.
- what books do. Books tell us stories and explain things.
- pictures match the story and information.
- story structure. Usually stories have a beginning, middle and end. Sometimes there is a problem that gets fixed.
- letters and squiggle marks tell us the story. Books have talking that’s written down.
Since these posts are about rocks, I’ve been looking for some titles to suggest. I can hardly wait to check out this one at the library and share it with some eager little ones: If Rocks Could Sing, a discovered alphabet, by Leslie McGuirk. This is an alphabet book, but each letter is a real rock and so are all the objects. It took the author over 10 years to find and collect all the rocks! For b there is a b-shaped rock and one that looks like a bird, and so it goes for every letter. This sounds like a fun book to read and families can start their own stories with rocks that they find anywhere.
Reading and sharing books and stories for a few minutes a day, a few times a week is all it takes. Kids who do not have exposure to books and stories are almost at rock bottom in comparison. Or to put in another way, think of Olympic athletes and how much training they need to do to be at the top. Sharing stories and books with your kids is like training for learning to read. The brain is a ‘muscle’ and it needs exercise, too. In the spirit of the Olympics, do you and your child have some time to read together today? What books and stories for learning and fun can you share?
As our children play and learn they develop more than kindergarten readiness. This month, I’ve been highlighting learning activities with rocks; physical development, language, colors, sizes, shapes, science experiments, collecting, counting, patterning, art and other skills. But this is a rock activity that goes even beyond and into developing business skills. Bella has turned ordinary rocks into … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Young (Very) Entrepreneur
The ingredients of this bottle are rocks plus kindergarten readiness learning and fun. Just a minute or two on Pinterest is all it takes to find many super ideas for discovery or sensory bottles for kids. Since this month’s posts are learning activities with rocks, how about filling a bottle with rocks, stones and pebbles? … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks in a Bottle
Chalk is a soft porous rock that can be used for some kindergarten readiness learning and fun. I just discovered on Pinterest (some hours ago) several new ideas to add to old favorites. Drawing on the sidewalk, or driveway when the cars are safely out of the way, is great for really big pictures or giant letters. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Chalk is a Rock
It’s almost the Opening Ceremonies and time for some kindergarten readiness and Olympic fun. I remember 2 years ago at the Winter Olympics when one of the symbols was the Inukshuk. This figure is made out of rocks and is used to point the way to others. The inukshuk is an ancient form of communication … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks & Goes To Olympics
Have you wondered why kindergarten readiness and other developmental assessments sometimes ask kids to name shapes? This basic information gives an idea of the level of children’s learning. For instance, shapes belong together in groups so they can be used to tell if a child can categorize using similarities and differences. There is a great deal of … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rock Shapes
Encouraging kids to draw, color and make pictures helps with all kinds of brain connections and kindergarten readiness. Instead of crayons, this activity uses rocks. During a play-date afternoon, a 3 year old, 7 year old and 11 year old all made rock pictures. Creating pictures can be considered play because it is very much an internal … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rock Art
During the week it’s sometimes hard to find time for kindergarten readiness activities outdoors, but the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Q. What’s a sunny day called that follows 2 days of rain? A. Monday. If possible weather-wise and you live close to rocks and water, did you know that throwing rocks–safely, of course–is a good … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks and Water