Get Your Child Ready for Kindergarten with these Activities
Summer is the perfect time to get your child ready for the next step into kindergarten. Whether they’re coming from a daycare program or simply time at home with you, it can be a big transition. Here are a few things you can do at home over the summer to help them get ready.
You can help build your child’s vocabulary simply by interacting with them. Trips to the grocery store or the park, or walks around the neighborhood are excellent opportunities to talk with your child, exposing them to new words. The more words your child knows, the better they’ll do academically.
Letting them have experiences such as going to the zoo, visiting the farmers market, or taking a trip to the beach are also vocabulary-building opportunities that build children’s background knowledge.
Research has shown that reading is incredibly important and beneficial to a child’s development. Build a love of reading by letting your child see you enjoy the activity. Also, be sure to read aloud to them regularly to develop basic skills such as how to hold a book and left to right reading. Kids also learn how to make predictions by wondering what will happen next and build their vocabulary.
Practice Independent Tasks
It can be a big shock to your child if he or she goes from always having Mom or Dad there to help take care of themselves. If they haven’t established these skills yet, take time over the summer to let them practice:
- Going to the bathroom (including unbuttoning and fastening pants)
- Eating lunch
- Following two-step directions
Summer is also a good time to practice being away from parents, so that separation anxiety is minimized. Your child should also be taught his or her full name and phone number.
Do Dress Rehearsals
Teach your child what to expect in kindergarten. Tour the school and talk about what happens in a school day. You can also have play dates and play “kindergarten” at home to get them acclimated to that environment. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be enthusiastic about the coming school year.
Play and Learn
Children learn through play. They build their vocabulary, develop problem-solving skills, and learn social skills by playing with others. Your child will need to know how to share, take turns, listen, and work with others to be successful in kindergarten. Playtime is the perfect opportunity for them to learn about feelings and acceptable behavior.
Practice Facts and Figures
Of course, your child will learn things such as how to do math and how to read and write in school, but you can prepare them by teaching basic skills at home. It’s helpful if they go into school knowing things such as how to count to ten, recognize written numbers, as well as basic shapes, colors, and sorting. Knowing the alphabet, how to write his or her own name, and at least some letter sounds can also give them a boost in their school year.
Focus on Big and Small Movements
Children will need to develop both their fine and gross motor skills, which takes intention and repetition. Cutting and drawing lines (squiggly and straight) help build fine motor skills while actions such as hopping, jumping, running, kicking, and catching develop gross motor skills, improving your child’s balance and coordination.
Remember the Importance of Sleep
Five-year-olds need 11 to 12 hours of sleep a day to be ready to learn, so about a month before school starts, put your child on a schedule that syncs up with the school schedule, with the appropriate sleep and wake-up times. This will make things easier for all involved when fall comes.