Exploring the sense of touch is a great kindergarten readiness activity for babies to older children. This morning we saw pussy willows and were able to bring a few home to touch and feel. They were so very soft and not just for fingers; I rubbed them on L.’s cheeks, too. To extend the activity we went on a treasure hunt around the house to find more soft things. We talked about how things felt and used other words like fluffy, scratchy, cozy, hard,etc. L. put some soft things on a pillow. (A few toys even got picked up off the floor and put away because they didn’t ‘belong’.)
Making a group of things that are soft involves lots of thinking. Kids have to hold the concept of soft in mind and then objects have to be judged and compared to see if they belong or not. Making groups and categories also makes brain connections.
Touch sensations help children develop awareness of their body. The sense of touch is also important for language and safety and how things feel can also impact emotions. Lovely as the pussy willow feels, a hug feels even better. What does your child like to touch and feel?
Encouraging kids to draw also encourages kindergarten readiness. Wee little ones start out with random squiggles and scribbles that develop later into recognizable shapes and objects. Some kids love to draw and their talent shows at the age of 3 or 4! For other children (and many adults) drawing can be a struggle. Drawing has lots of different kinds of learning.
Pictures and drawing are another form of communication, just like words and speaking. Children are interpreting and representing their view of the world. They are learning how to use tools such as crayons, pencils, paints, either real ones or in the case of this picture, digital ones. As kids explore making images, they are also developing and practicing small muscle coordination. Drawing requires both thinking and attentional skills.
Making pictures is a step before writing and helps reinforce the connection between meaning and print. In addition, making pictures on paper is good practice for making pictures in the mind or what is called visualizing. Even though drawing is very much a visual activity, there is still lots of language as children talk about their pictures, practice the vocabulary for colors and engage others in conversation.
These are only some of the early developmental and readiness for kindergarten learnings. This wonderful picture of spring also shows the care and pride that went into creating it. Does it make you smile, too?
The calendar says today is the first day of spring although the sun crossed the equator yesterday; that gave me the idea for today’s kindergarten readiness activity. The Equator is the mid-line of the planet. Our bodies have an imaginary mid-line too but it goes from the top of the head to the nose, tummy button and all the way down to between our feet. The body’s midline is critically important when it comes to the brain.
We all know that there are 2 sides to the brain, the left and right. When 1 part of the body such as the hand or foot crosses over this mid-line to the other side of the body, the brain also starts to cross-connect. These new brain connections help the two sides of the brain to work and to organize together. When babies are little they will use their right hand on the right side of their body and their left hand on the left side. Soon they can organize their brains and coordinate their bodies to explore moving and crawling. Crawling involves crossing the midline as a hand moves on one side but the knee moves on the other side. That takes lots of brain power and cross connecting. Parents and caregivers can help kids of all ages develop this skill. With babies we can move their arms for them as we dress them, change them and play. With toddlers we can show them how to cross their arms to give themselves a bear hug and how to sit criss-cross applesauce. For older kids we can play clapping games. Of course, crawling and running are two movement activities that help kids develop their thinking so kids need time and space to move. They can do that all by themselves; we only have to reorganize the house and yard so there’s safe spaces for them to move and try not to get tired out just watching them!
Have a great first day of spring. What brain-body activities can you and your child do today that cross the Equator…er mid-line?
Any season has fun activities for kids and kindergarten readiness but spring seems especially appropriate. After all, it’s the season for new growth. And speaking of new, lots of baby animals are born in the spring. Kids seem fascinated with baby animals, even just in pictures. One of my favorite spring songs is all about … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Spring Fun & Learning Activities #2→
Do you remember the blog topic from last week? It was about memory! Memory skills are like many others–they improve with practice and exercise. For young children, memory skills are developing and they often surprise with the things that they remember and older ones, like teenagers, surprise us with the things they forget! Because of … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Memory Skills #6→
Familiarity with numbers can be considered part of kindergarten readiness. In order for children to understand number and the concept of ‘how many’ they need lots of opportunities for counting and exploring numbers. Since we’ve been talking about seeds, they can be used for counting, too. Apples are usually a reliable source of a good number … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Spring Math→
Some regions seem more spring than others, but an ordinary walk is an amazing chance to practice observing skills and extend basic science knowledge, adding to kindergarten readiness at the same time. Put on your shoes or boots, depending on the weather, and head outside. You and your child can put on your special noticing … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – It’s Spring!→
Who remembers yesterday’s activity? The topic for this week is promoting the development of visual memory skills. Again, use a tray of about 10 small objects (more if your little one needs an increased challenge or fewer if this is not yet a strong skill for your child). These could be a lego block, toy car, pencil, elastic … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Visual Memory #2→
While blogging about helping children learn some strategies to cope with waiting I remembered a Eugene Field poem that my grandmother used to recite to me about a toy dog and soldier that waited and waited for a little boy. Because the poem had a sad ending it was never my favorite. But I love remembering the … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – May Memories→