By: Angy Talbot (School Readiness Instructor/ECFE Blog Writer)
There are so many ways you can continue summer learning for your little ones when school is no longer in session. As a preschool teacher, I am often asked what types of things can be done over the summer to prepare children for kindergarten?
Here is a list of some things you can practice over the summer to help make your child’s kindergarten experiences more successful.
Practice Letter Names and Sounds: Learn letters in fun ways by playing alphabet games, letter match games, reading books with letter names and sounds, point out letters everywhere, play ABC Bingo, make letter flashcards and have a letter search, listen to alphabet songs or play ABC puzzles.
Writing Name: Your child should know the letters in his/her name and be able to identify their name. They will need to write their name in kindergarten. Get a notebook or writing paper that they can practice printing their name with a pencil. It is helpful to guide them in the proper way to hold a pencil. They don’t have to write their name perfectly, but it should be legible.
Numbers and Counting: It’s helpful if your child can count to 10 and recognize numerals 1-10. Practice counting to 20, put written numbers in order from 1-10, and count objects. Read and sing songs with numbers and count whenever possible. Your child can count how many goldfish they have in their snack bowl or they can count the apples while putting into a bag at the grocery store.
Practice Self-Help Skills: Practice tying shoes, putting on a jacket, zipping, buttoning and bathroom needs. Give your child opportunities to do these types of activities by themselves.
Memorize Full Name, Telephone Number and Address: Children should be able to recognize their full name in print and recite their phone number and address in case of an emergency.
Chores or Household Tasks: Give your child some chores that they can help around the house with from watering plants, setting the dinner table, helping at meal time, feeding the pet, helping with wiping up messes, putting their dirty clothes in the hamper, folding laundry, picking up their room or cleaning up after themselves (putting away supplies or toys after each use).
Time With Friends: Plan play dates or take a summer preschool or ECFE class, so your child can have social experiences with other children. It gives them opportunities that will teach them how to get along with others, share, express themselves, build friendship skills, and to encourage positive interactions with other kids.
Practice Fine Motor Skills: Let your child cut with scissors or draw. Give your child opportunities to use scissors to cut out magazine pictures or written shapes. Have your child use many school tools from pencils, markers, crayons, glue sticks, to explore drawing and art materials.
Practice Physical Development Skills: Engage your child to do many large motor skills from hopping, balancing, pedaling bike/tricycle, throwing and catching a ball. Join your child in active play, especially outdoors.
Practice Eating Out Of A Lunch Box: Let your child pick out a lunch box that they would like to use for school. A few times this summer, go for a picnic and have your child use their new lunch box to practice eating from their lunch box.
Give Your Child Some Independent Space: Give your child some time to do things on their own, to play in their room by themselves, and to have some free time to let them play whatever they like without a schedule.
Talk About Strangers And Safety: Discuss with your child the concept of strangers, people they can trust, and teach body safety.
Read, Read, And Read: It’s still important to read to your child daily. A wonderful time is before bed. During story, ask your child questions about the theme, characters or predictions of the book. You can always go to the library and pick out books for story time. Also, let your child see you reading books, newspaper, or even cereal boxes. Read as much as you can out loud so your child can hear you reading.
Talk To Your Child About Kindergarten: Talk to your child about what they should expect at kindergarten. Keep it light and breezy. Share your favorite memories about your days in school. You can also drive by your child’s school pointing it out to them.
Summer is a fun time to spend with your child enjoying all the joys of the season. Summer is for playing outside, baseball games, swimming, camping, and lazy days. These months can also be used to help guide your child and give them a little head start before their first day of kindergarten.
Here are some great resources and articles to help get your child ready for kindergarten:
Preparing for Kindergarten – Scholastic/Parent and Child Magazine
33 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten
How Can I Prepare My Child For Kindergarten?
Kindergarten Readiness: Help Your Child Prepare – Mayo Clinic
How to Talk to Your Child About Interacting With Strangers
What to Teach Your Kids About Strangers