Connecting hockey to kindergarten readiness activities can be a bit of a stretch. But it’s kind of fun, too. If you and your child are watching Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals this evening, there will be opportunities to talk about what’s happening. This conversation uses and develops lots of language skills: describing something, answering questions, hearing the different sentence structure when someone asks a questions, how to refer to people and more. Young kids often start sentences with her or him instead of she or he: Him skate fast. Her is watching, etc. Children need to hear adult conversations over and over so they can imitate correctly and they need adults to talk to them.
Not only is language development taking place, but there is social learning, too. In any conversation, the talkers take turns talking and listening. Kids like to feel included; this boosts their feelings of self-worth. For some families, where watching the hockey game is not the choice of everybody on a Saturday evening, there is some consolation that watching may be helping develop readiness for kindergarten. Oh, but be careful of the language!
I’m discovering that hockey jerseys can be a really useful kindergarten readiness tool! Some kids not only use them to learn numbers but the sweaters can also be used for learning colors. Let’s see, the Devils and Red Wings are red; green and blue for the Canucks, Dallas Stars are green, the Bruins have some yellow, the Flyers some orange, the Kings some purple and lots of teams have black and white. Using hockey sweaters to practice colors would not have occurred to me but it can be very appealing for some kids.
Colors are an abstract concept. They have no shape or size; they are not a thing. We can’t feel a color or go to the store and buy it. Many different objects share a color: an apple, a car, a shirt or a cut on a finger can all be red. In order for children to learn a color they need to see lots of things that are that color and lots that aren’t. Plus, there are zillions of variations of each one. Colors are not easy to learn. Many readiness for kindergarten evaluations ask if kids know colors because it is a quick way of checking the level of learning. Kids who are struggling with colors may be struggling with other concepts, too.
The score for hockey and kindergarten readiness is up to 2. Can you suggest some more ways that hockey can be used for learning?
With the start of the finals for the Stanley Cup, hockey is a topic of discussion in many places–but preschool, too? Apparently! I will admit I hadn’t thought of hockey as learning tool for little ones but this parent said that her son learned numbers from hockey jerseys!
Well, kids learn in lots of different ways. In this case, the child was very motivated from something in his experience and built his learning on that. To help your little one with kindergarten readiness use whatever is important in the child’s world. Readiness for kindergarten does not come from workbooks and flashcards but from ordinary, everyday living. Score another one for kindergarten readiness!