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. (Some flashlights have a magnetic holder on the handle and an empty one without batteries is much lighter.)
Place some objects that your child can try and pick-up with a magnet in a shoe box or other container. The size of the objects will depend on the age of your child. For little ones it’s fun to see if the magnet will stick to things like a chair leg, the fridge, the dishwasher, the floor, a blanket, etc. Older kidlets can try a spoon, a metal sponge, a popsicle stick, a pipe cleaner–it’s usually fuzzy stuff on a wire–a key, a pie plate, a cookie sheet, etc. To extend the learning, ask your child to predict if the magnet will be attracted to something before trying. Then, check and see. Predicting uses lots of thinking because children have to remember what has already happened, compare what things have worked and what hasn’t and decide which ones the new object is like. The results give instant feedback.
Science is a terrific activity for helping with kindergarten readiness and, best of all, it’s great fun.
Q. What did the paper clip say to the magnet? A. I’m attracted to you.
Did you have any surprising discoveries with magnets at your house or carecenter?
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