Q. What did the boy octopus say to the girl octopus? A. I want to hold your hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand.
All this month posts have been about different ways that hands can be used for kindergarten readiness fun and learning. Learning activities with hands encourage all kinds of brain connections. Did you know that one of the most powerful tools for brain development is movement? In addition to the 5 senses of taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight we actually have 2 more: the sense of movement and the body’s position in space.
Weekends sometimes have more time for families to play, and parks and playgrounds have lots of space for movement. Here’s a few photos of some fun that hands are having as they do lots of movin’ and groovin’. Can your family do some of these this weekend?
1 little, 2 little, 3 little fingers can all be used for counting which is another kindergarten readiness learning and fun activity. Counting can be done anywhere and at anytime. Not only is counting an early math skill, it is also the base for number sense. As children repeat the experience of counting over and over again, they begin to understand that one number counts only one item. This seems so obvious to us, but remember math is new to their brains and it takes lots and lots of counting practice for little ones to match one number and one object. After practicing counting, they figure out how many objects belong to each number.
Children use their fingers for counting by pointing at or touching objects. Later, they will their fingers to help with mental adding or taking away. Even adults will sometimes still use their fingers. Try adding up how many family members will be at a big meal and you will probably be counting on your fingers.
Aren’t hands handy? So far this month, hands have helped kids with all kinds of learning: singing, developing fine muscle skills, building, painting, drawing, playing in sand and water, talking with puppets, connecting with nature, crafts, exploring humor, and counting. What else can hands do?
Hands inside a puppet make both the puppet and learning come alive, helping with kindergarten readiness in many different ways. Puppets:
stimulate lots of conversation. Children practice using the language patterns of each person having a turn to speak. Asking questions is a development skill and kids can ask their puppets questions and give the answers.
can help children see another’s point of view. The puppet may not like the same things as the child and the child explores this in the dialogue.
encourage use of imagination. There’s lots of interaction with puppets, similar to interactions with friends and others.
invite lots of movement and action, using both fine muscles and big muscles, too.
Puppets can be created from old socks, paper bags, popsicle sticks, fabric scraps, even small styrofoam containers. Although puppets usually go over the hand, rather than it, apparently this plasticine is a puppet. To extend your child’s play, you can ask the puppet’s name. You may want to ask other questions such as what it is doing, if it knows how to sing a song, it’s favorite color, how it is feeling, if it is scared of anything, or if it knows how to be a friend. You may want a turn being the puppet and can use various voices such as low, grumpy, happy, squeaky and very slow. Two or more puppets can have their own conversations for double the fun! Does your child like to play with puppets?
When little hands do crafts they are also doing lots of learning, as well as having fun and playing. These are some of the strategies and skills: organizing, deciding, trying different options fitting, matching, placing, planning cutting, gluing, coloring learning to use art/writing tools talking, explaining, using related words and vocabulary problem-solving, comparing, evaluating, counting … Continue reading Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Crafts→
Hands playing and having fun in water develop brain connections and help kids with kindergarten readiness. And water play can happen at the kitchen sink, in the bathtub or outside with a tub of water. Containers, plastic bottles, spoons, straws and sieves will provide kids with tools so they can scoop, pour, fill, and measure. … Continue reading Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Water Play→
Helping your child with kindergarten readiness doesn’t have to be a puzzle. But puzzles can help with developing skills and brain connections. Usually puzzles are wood or thick paper pieces with an unlimited variety of pictures. As your child puzzles out how the pieces fit together s/he is practicing: sequencing, patterning, visualizing and visual perception, … Continue reading Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Puzzles→
Hands that talk are great fun and can be part of kindergarten readiness learning. Today, hands can say/show about fall. This is an easy one to do: Signing a few words is another way to stimulate early brain development. As children learn to connect a word and an action, their brains are making connections too. … Continue reading Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Talking→
Instead of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, for some kindergarten readiness learning and fun draw on some paper. (You are allowed to groan at that joke if you remember the book by that title.) Drawing can help the development of brain connections and small muscle control. This is a drawing of a … Continue reading Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Drawing→
When we think of kindergarten readiness, all too often academics is the first thing that comes to mind. But emotions is also an important part of children’s early learning. In fact, the brain is most sensitive to the development of emotional control about the age of one year old. For more impact, check out this … Continue reading Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Tickles→
Did you know that telling jokes and sharing humor could be kindergarten readiness skills? A sense of humor is quite a complex series of thinking skills. Children need to recognize the intention, realize that something is different or unusual, and understand what it should be. Then, kids need to figure out the appropriate emotional response. … Continue reading Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Humor→