Off to School Toolbox: Following Instructions

An important tool in anyone’s toolbox, not just kids, is the skill of following instructions. It will certainly be helpful for all kinds of learning.

following instructions

Instructions are a part of life, no matter our age. They are everywhere and anytime. Some are quick and easy to follow and some not so much, like the one in this parking lot. For children, instructions and following them, can be very challenging.

No matter if your child is off to daycare, preschool, or kindergarten, teachers will want to know how your child copes with instructions. Being able to follow instructions is quite complicated. First, kids need to be listening, then they have to understand all the words used, remember them, figure out what they need to do, and finally, go do it. All that requires a lot of brain connections.

For young children, we should start with giving only one-part instructions first, such as, “Put your book on the shelf.” As kids are able, we can add in another part, “Pick up your sweater and put it on the chair.” Too many instructions at a time can be confusing.

following instructions for kidsKids need a variety of experiences and situations to develop the skill of dealing with instructions. There are some fun games for kids, like Simon Says and Follow the Leader. Instead of only being Simon, kids can choose a different character to give instructions. They might want to be a robot  or a dragon, a royal prince or princess, a pirate or a superhero. They could even be The Teacher or maybe The Boss.

Follow the Leader uses actions instead of words. Watching is part of instructions, just like listening.

Cooking is another super activity for following instructions, and for doing them in the correct sequence too. Crafts and science experiments will have instructions. For lots of fun, kids can give instructions to adults.

For a play-of-the-day, are there some other games or activities for having fun following instructions?

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