As parents, we often want to do everything we can to prepare our children for success. We’ve come up with a list of some terrific, and perhaps, unexpected ways that will aid in developing your child’s brain and body to enter primary school.
7 Wonderful Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten
- Play Ball!
Physically playing outdoors isn’t only great for getting exercise and fresh air. Playing ball and other physical activities that require predicting where to move helps develop visualization, a key component for success in math
- Set the Table
Setting the table is an excellent way to foster deep observation skills. Talk to your kids about how many people will be at the table and break this down into how many forks, how many plates, etc. One-to-one correspondence is a foundational math concept. Count everything you can! Observe when you have more things on the table and when you have fewer. You can apply this outside the kitchen. Discuss when there are more people in the car and when there are fewer people in the car. Notice how many cars you pass that are red and how many are white. The possibilities are endless!
- Nursery Rhymes
When you read nursery rhymes out loud try to play with the rhymes. Listening for similar sounds develops an ear for the phonetic sounds of English. It also introduces the rhythm of syllables and word accents. Get a little silly and think of rhyming alternatives to a rhyme (e.g., Jack, be nimble, Jack, be quick? thick? slick?...) And what does “nimble” mean, anyway (good vocabulary development opportunity)? This is one of many sites that features popular nursery rhymes:
- Sorting Items
Sort everything from utensils, books, clothes, shoes, nail polish colors, rocks, leaves, treasures from an outdoor walk, recyclable materials, kinds of vehicles you see, and even sounds…Learning depends on accessing prior knowledge, and categorizing and comparing are fabulous tools for making that happen.
- Explore the Great Outdoors
It’s time to take a walk and dig in the dirt. Make observations about how it smells, feels, looks, and sounds (save how something tastes for tip 6). Again, you are encouraging your child to categorize, compare, and observe closely using more than one criterion. All of these observations are tools he or she will use throughout education.
- Cook Together
Cooking develops a multitude of skills. Your kids will deepen an understanding for counting, measuring, following a sequence, following directions, and problem-solving…. and it’s even a sneak peak into fractions. Don’t have a clean tablespoon measure? Use three teaspoons. Need to double the recipe or cut it in half? Figure that out aloud. In addition to the creative thinking and linking of cause and effect, these children will start developing independence and self-confidence through the craft of cooking.
- Pick, pick, pick!
Picking petals off a flower, beans out of a bowl, or stickers off a sheet, all help in the development of fine motor skills and a good pincer grip, which is foundational to using a writing utensil well. Get picking!
There you have it! Let us know which of these seven tips is your favorite or if you have any other suggestions.
This article was co-written by Margie Watkins and Jina Park. Margie Watkins is the Educational Therapist at Dominion Christian School. She is in charge of all K-6 academic placement and testing. Jina Park has worked with us as a Kindergarten, First Grade, and Fourth Grade teacher. She has over eleven years teaching Kindergarten and now serves as the Director of Admissions and Marketing.