Activities for Incoming Kindergarten Students1. Number Identification
This skill involves your child identifying numbers (being able to read numbers) on signs and other items. To help your child practice this skill…
- Have your child read license plate numbers when you are at a traffic light or in a parking lot
- Read house numbers, speed limit signs, route numbers, etc. when walking, bike riding, riding in the car
- Write down random numbers that you dictate
- Use flash cards for teaching
2. Number Concepts
Children demonstrate this type of knowledge when they are able to tell how many, more, less, etc. Help your child with this skill…
- With games such as “Show me.” Use household objects to have the child “show” the correct number, for example, “Show me 5 crayons.” Or “show me 8 spoons.”
- Counting whenever possible: now many steps in a flight of stairs, canned goods in the cupboard, crayons in a box, puzzle pieces, birds on a wire, envelopes in the mailbox, etc. *Note: It is important for the child to touch objects when counting to ensure one-to-one correspondence as sometimes children can count correctly in sequence but do not show correct one-to-one correspondence.
- Playing “Top It” with a regular deck of cards. Take out the face cards and keep the number cards. Divide the cards equally between the players. Each player turns over a card and whoever has the card worth more gets to keep the cards just played. After all cards in the deck have been played, the player with the most cards wins the game.
- Adding (up to 10). Try to use real life examples whenever possible. For example, “There are 2 chairs at the table. We need three more. How many chairs will there be altogether?”
- Subtracting (from sums 10 or less). “We had 7 cupcakes. Dad ate 3. How many are left?” If your child likes to draw, it may be helpful to have him/her draw a picture to demonstrate understanding of adding and subtracting.
- Sorting: match pairs of socks, shoes; sort bigger items from smaller ones; sort by sets (put lollipops in each baggie).
- Answering questions: “Which box has more toys? Which is less, 8 or 9?”
- Helping with meals to learn about measuring, temperature and time.
To help your child learn to write words, tell him, “Watch my mouth,” then slowly say the word. By looking at how you shape your mouth and where your tongue is positioned, kids can visualize making the sound while they hear it. Always ask your child to guess how to spell a word before you spell it correctly for him. After your child writes her words down, you should do the “adult” writing on the same paper either under each word or in a sentence somewhere on the paper. Point out what letters or sounds were guessed correctly and how close his/her spelling was to the actual spelling. Let the positive praise flow!
Word Writing (continued)
In order to create a writing habit, encourage your child to…
- Learn to write the names of members of the family and pets
- Make a “list” for the store allowing the child to use his/her own spelling.
- Copy words from the titles of books, on a cereal box, out of a magazine or write the names of things he/she is fond of, such as, toys and games.
- Sign his/her own name on birthday cards, etc. and use a capital letter for only the first letter and lower case letters for the rest of the name.
4. Concepts About Print
Knowledge is demonstrated by telling or showing an understanding of books and other print. These activities can be played in waiting rooms with books and magazines. Ask your child to respond to some/all of the following types of cues:
- Show me the first word of the story/on the page. Where’s the last word?
- Find a capital letter. What is it?
- Find the letter “g” at the beginning of a word or in the middle of a word.
- Show me the title of the story or a space between two words.
- Find a word that looks exactly like this one (point to a word such as, the, is, and said, to, go).
5. Alphabet and Letter Recognition
You can also help your child build alphabet skills by…
- Having your child learn the letters in his/her name.
- Having your child identify letters on signs.
- Using flash cards to teach, review or match upper and lower case letters.
- Using magnetic letters for identification, spelling names, or writing a message. (I am 5. I love you, Mom.)
- Tracing letters that you make on unlined paper or a chalkboard.
- Learning both forms:
A “capital” or “upper case” and a “small” form or “lower case.”
6. “Letter Sounds” at the beginning, middle and ends of words
It is important for your child to know that letters represent sounds that form the words we use to talk and write and read. You can help your child acquire sound-symbol skills when you…
- Play rhyming games with your child. I spy something that rhymes with “bee.” Can you guess what it is? (Is it a “tree?” Is it my “knee?” Is it “me?”)
- Sing rhymes and songs and then discuss the words that sound alike at the end. “Our Class Sing Along Songs”
- Teach tongue twisters or alliterative phrases (the children’s library will be a good source for these): Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
- Shopping Bag Literacy: Use 3 paper shopping bags and write one letter on each bag: Bb, Cc, and Ss. Then, use real or play food containers to have the child identify the food product and place it in the bag with the correct identifying letter: cookies = Cc bag, soup = Ss bag, bread = Bb bag
7. Fine Motor Control
This is a list of materials that help children stay involved in literacy events as well as develop small motor skills.
- Books, books, books, books, books!
- Magnetic letters
- Small chalkboard and chalk
- MagnaDoodle or Etch-a-Sketch
- Drawing paper
- Clay or playdough
- Crayons, markers, colored pencils
- Paints and brushes
- Scissors (We use Fiskars scissors in our Kindergarten.)
8. Life Skills
- Personal Info: It is important for your child to know his/her first and last names as well as the first and last names of parents, brothers and sisters. H/she should know his/her address and phone number including the area code.
- Social Skills: Please, Thank you, I’m sorry, Excuse me, May I?
- Sharing: toys, work materials, personal space and attention
- Following directions: Start with 2 step directions and gradually increase to 3 steps. If your child has difficulty have him/her repeat the directions back to you before carrying out the task.
- Learning to Listen: Do not allow the child to interrupt others during dinner time conversation or when someone is on the phone. Teach him/her to wait his turn and to speak in turn.