Helping kids get ready for kindergarten includes supporting their need to PLAY and develop their confidence and social skills. Academics are not the priority, even though that’s what most of us think of first. Having some familiarity with letters is important, but this can happen as part of other everyday activities.
As we read and share books with young children, they can’t help but notice letters. Even though children can not read the words yet for themselves, their brains have become familiar with letter shapes and patterns. This makes learning the names of letters much easier.
Other ways we can help kids with letters are to point them out on signs, asking kids to find certain letters on a page, noticing them on toys, and having some foam or magnet ones to play with. You can include letters at the table, by drizzling syrup letters on pancakes or squirting a letter with ketchup. Kids can dip their fries in a letter.
As your child plays with playdough, roll out a few letters and see if your child can make some that look the same. Draw some with sidewalk chalk for your child to walk around. Kids may also like to try and make letters when painting, or with sticks and rocks and mud. They can sing the alphabet song as they are playing.
An easy place to start are with the letters in a child’s name. Letters have names too. Tell you child the names of the letters and what they look like. Kids can look for the letters in their name in other places, like the store or on signs. See if the two of you can notice other letters. This park bench has a letter X on the end.
All of this incidental learning will add up and help your child develop a knowledge and familiarity with letters. When they are introduced at school, then your child will feel much more comfortable and confident.
For a play-of-the-day, is there a way that your child can have some fun and learning with letters?