Sports reviews of yesterday’s exciting Super Bowl talked about key plays. While kindergarten readiness is not a sports contest some of the strategies are the same: practice, teamwork, using what you already know and having fun. A key play for kids is learning how words work. Just like the players on the field Sunday put together some different plays, when we use words we put them together using different bits of sounds, (think of the ‘at’ family of words-bat, cat, mat, rat, sat, or words that start the same like super, sandwich, snack, etc. ) This is critical knowledge for later learning to read. Here is a fun idea for some practice on word sounds, using the sound at the very start of words.
Valentine starts with the sound ‘vh’ . Together, you and your child can think of some other words that start like valentine, like vacuum, or violin, or vampire. Make up some pairs and ask your child if they start the same or not. “Do vanilla and grape start the same?” “How about vine and video?” Here are some more v words: vein, vulture, van, vent, voice. Oh, and one more–vacation! What else starts with a ‘vh’ sound? Q. What did the Valentine say to the stamp? A. Stick with me and we’ll go places.
Preparation for school isn’t just practicing ABC’s and 123’s. There are many aspects to kindergarten readiness and children all have their own unique gifts and talents. Hopefully your weekend has some leisure time so that you can squeeze in an activity to encourage physical development and encourage another part of readiness. It needs an open space, like a basement or yard.
Blow up a couple of balloons–red for valentines. Where there is space, tap them back and forth, trying to keep them up in the air. Just a few minutes will get hearts and pulses up, too. This is good for heart rates and the time together is good for heart feelings. Have fun and may the little ones tucker out before you! Does this sound like an activity you and your child can do?
Q. Why is lettuce the best valentine veggie? A. Because it’s all heart!
I was reminded today of a great resource for numbers that we hardly every think about anymore. What is it? Cards! (the real ones, not the ones on our computers) Regular, ordinary, made-out-of-paper playing cards. I even remember in the ‘olden days’ making sets of them with my sisters and cousins using the thin cardboard from shirts. Why do we forget to let our kids use real decks of cards? Noticing numbers, counting, matching, sorting, making groups and just having fun with numbers is all part of kindergarten readiness.
If you can find a set, dig them out and have some number fun with your little one. Since it’s Valentines, maybe start with hearts. Look at the number in the corner, count the hearts on the card. Wow, they match! Maybe put the cards in order from 1-10. Little ones may enjoy just finding all the hearts. Here are some games to play. Choose 4 or 5 cards from hearts and another kind. Turn them over to play Concentration or Memory. For older children, they may be able to handle 10 cards from 2 sets or maybe even all 4. (I rarely win this game.) Make 2 equal piles, turn over the top card on each pile and see which one is higher–or lower. For a group game, there’s Go Fish. Give each person 7 cards. Put the rest in the pond. Ask each other for cards to make pairs; if not, choose from the pond.
What’s your favorite way to play cards?
Kids at all ages love to explore. The challenge for adults is making sure what they are exploring is safe! At a small toy store, I found a horseshoe magnet big enough to be safe and light enough for little hands. It’s just right for some valentine science. After all, magnets are all about attraction. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Valentine Science
Q. Why do firefighters wear red suspenders? A. To keep their pants up. Yesterday was a warm-up activity: go for a walk to see red things, draw about it and maybe read the book Red Is Best. Today is an extension of that activity that helps children develop the idea that print has meaning. Using the … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Valentine Countup #1
February and Valentine’s Day are very special highlights for kids. At Christmas, children are excited about getting presents. At Valentine’s the focus changes to giving and kids are excited to be able to create something to share. At Valentine’s they participate just like all the adults and feel quite grown-up themselves. To start a series of … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Valentine Warm-Up