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?