spring activities

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rock Shapes

Have you wondered why kindergarten readiness and other developmental assessments sometimes ask kids to name shapes? This basic information gives an idea of the level of children’s learning. For instance, shapes belong together in groups so they can be used to tell if a child can categorize using similarities and differences. There is a great deal of thinking to be able to match shapes to other shapes and to the correct words.

Like so many other readiness for kindergarten concepts, the key to learning shapes is exploration and repetition, and play. If your child is past the stage of putting everything into his/her mouth, rocks are a fun way to practice shapes. While most will be round, there will be some that are square, some pointy, etc. How much you can do will depend on kids’ age. For wee ones, you may only be able to say “round” and guide little hands to feel the shape. Older toddlers may be able to compare and name other shapes. Rain or shine, you may want to go for a rock walk around to block or to the park to look for other shape rocks.

In a study just published last month from the University of Chicago, understanding shapes and how they fit together is important knowledge for problem-solving, and for material presented later in school such as maps, graphs and diagrams. As the old saying, what goes around comes around and the learning that kids do from the ages of new to 5 or 6 years old, comes back around when they go to school. Do you have any comments to round off this kindergarten readiness and rock learning activity?

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rock Art

Encouraging kids to draw, color and make pictures helps with all kinds of brain connections and kindergarten readiness. Instead of crayons, this activity uses rocks. During a play-date afternoon, a 3 year old, 7 year old and 11 year old all made rock pictures.

Creating pictures can be considered play because it is very much an internal activity. Children interpret and represent what they see around them. Not only are pictures another form of communication, just like words, they are a form of writing and help reinforce the connection between meaning and print, or in this case meaning and art. Making pictures, on paper or table, is good practice for making pictures in the mind or what is called visualizing. Even though art is very much a visual activity, there is still lots of language as children talk about their pictures, practice the vocabulary for colors and engage others in conversation. Plus, there’s lots of creativity and imagination involved, too.

Some other skills and brain-connections include eye-hand coordination as children learn to manipulate tools and growth of attention-span as kids focus on what they are doing. Each artist has to make decisions about what to use and how to use different materials. Size and shape and how things fit together require thinking about, as well. This rock art was both a fun play activity and a brain-challenging one, the best way to develop kindergarten readiness. Have you and your child ever made pictures with rocks?

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks and Water

During the week it’s sometimes hard to find time for kindergarten readiness activities outdoors, but the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Q. What’s a sunny day called that follows 2 days of rain? A. Monday. If possible weather-wise and you live close to rocks and water, did you know that throwing rocks–safely, of course–is a good activity for thinking? Not only is it exercise for muscles, it’s also exercise for brains. The sense of movement is tremendously important for all learning.

On the surface, it would seem that helping children learn to be calm, relaxed and still would be helpful but physical rocks-beachmovement is the most powerful tool for encouraging the growth and development of brain connections. Both strong bodies and strong brains need movement. The 2 senses of movement and the body’s position are developed as kids learn to sit, push, crawl, stand, walk, etc. The skills of talking and thinking are interwoven in motor coordination.

Throwing rocks is one way for kids to develop some movement and body position skills. Kids also like to be able to impact their environment. As they toss a rock into the water, they create both noise and ripples. Ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans are big enough that most rocks do end up in the water. Older preschoolers can learn that they need to carefully watch for people and animals before they throw. Only a few places in cities will have appropriate spaces for throwing rocks, but often on vacation there will be some safe spots. Sometimes, grown-ups like to play, too, and see if they can make flat rocks skip across the water. I think once I got up to 5, but I could never match my dad.What’s your record for skipping rocks?

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rock Talk and Reading

Rock talk is lots of fun and can help kids with kindergarten readiness. In case you hadn’t guessed rock talk is words and rhyming. Being able to rhyme words is a skill that develops about the age of 4, but in the meantime kids need to hear many, many words and be exposed to rhymes. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rock Talk and Reading

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! 1 to 1 Correspondence

Rocks may not seem like an educational material for early learning but just a few stones are needed for some kindergarten readiness math fun. As children sort out that numbers mean ‘how many’, they begin to count. Have you ever noticed that as they learn, they count somethings more than once, sometimes over and over? In … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! 1 to 1 Correspondence

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Choosing Rock Treasures

Over the weekend, a tub of rocks of all colors, shapes and sizes was both super fun and super learning for kindergarten readiness. The rocks were sold by the bag, as many as could fit in the bag and the top still close were allowed. Several children and families filled bags and it was interesting … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Choosing Rock Treasures

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Making Rock Groups

Sorting and categorizing items is an important kindergarten readiness learning skill. Making groups helps the brain deal with large volumes of information. It’s much easier to look at a strawberry, cherry, apple, clown nose, rose, part of a flag, and tongue and remember them altogether as things that are red rather than a long list … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Making Rock Groups