I’m always on the look out for more fun (and even better, easy to make) letter recognition games. Just visit Tired, Need Sleep (don’t we all?) and print off her lowercase letter templates. Then cut out the pieces from foam and away you go! This also works on spatial reasoning, as it’s just like a puzzle and fine motor skills, as those pieces of foam are pretty small. Once your child is ready to move on to something harder, print, cut and paste more letter templates to spell out their name or sight words.
If you want to make this a fun car or airplane game, make the templates and foam magnetic with a bit of refrigerator magnet tape and use them on a cookie sheet.
Here’s yet another idea to work on those fine motor skills. Nikkala from The Crafting Chicks gives you a tutorial on how to make your very own lacing cards. You can buy these at teacher stores but they’re kind of expensive. Plus this has the added bonus of being able to create cards of characters and/or objects your kids love. So cute and pretty easy too! Start lacing away and you’ll have another fun activity that works on fine motor skills!
You may remember a previous post on fine motor skills. Here’s another idea from I Can Teach My Child to add to your list of activities to strengthen and fine tune this skill. I didn’t even know that they made window crayons. So cool! After further research I found out they also have washable window markers.
Why are finger plays and action songs so great, other than the fact that you don’t need any supplies, they’re free, great for any age and fun?
- help kids practice following directions
- lengthens attention span and develops listening skills
- practices ordering, sequencing, number concepts and rhyming skills
- builds vocabulary
Some fun finger plays and action songs to try are:
- The Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Five Little Apples (The Activity Mom has posted this one)
- There Was a Little Turtle
- Five Fat and Speckled Frogs
- Where is Thumbkin?
- This Old Man
- Five Little Monkeys
- If You’re Happy and You Know It
Amy from Let’s Explore guest blogs at Simple Kids and discusses the importance of kids setting goals. Setting goals really is important and having a goal chart like one of Amy’s really helps a kid visualize their progress and become motivated. This is something great to do at the beginning of the school year, and you can bet your child’s teacher will be talking about setting goals in class. It will also likely come up in parent/teacher conferences a little later in the fall. Talk with your child about something they’d like to work on and make a plan for how they’ll accomplish it. Then celebrate it when they do!
I just recently shared about Dr. Ari Brown and her 411 series when I posted about school lunches. Here’s her back to school checklist. Some of it pertains more to the older child but still some good info!
What tasks are Kindergarten children expected to do independently? How long a period of time do kids need to be able to sit down and work independently?
Before I answer these questions, it’s important to remember that the Kindergarten year is all about growth. Well, every year is, of course, but the Kindergarten year even more so! When kids start their Kindergarten year, they are basically just old Preschoolers but by the end of the year they have blossomed into almost First Graders. For this reason, expectations will change throughout the year. Believe me Kindergarten teachers understand that attention spans are short and assistance is needed for even simple tasks. All that will change throughout the year though, and it’s truly amazing to watch!
Independence and responsibility go hand in hand. Becoming independent means an increase in responsibility. As one increases, so should the other. You’ll notice this at home, too!
At school kids will be expected to:
- Unpack and pack their backpacks, including getting out any folders, library books or notes for the teacher without assistance. That will happen pretty much from day one. After the first week or two your child’s teacher will not look through their backpack every morning for them. There’s just not time in the day.
- Depending on the teacher’s preference, children may or may not be in charge of managing their own school supplies. Some teachers like each child to have their own pencil box with supplies inside and some prefer to have shared supplies that the teacher stores. Either way your child will be responsible for cleaning up the supplies and taking care of them. It’s amazing how many marker tops can go missing and how many glue tops can stay open.
- Kids will be expected to remember their lunch boxes and winter clothing items when coming in from recess. This doesn’t mean that if they forget it on the playground all is lost. Yes, your child’s teacher will let them go back and get it, but it’s important that they work on remembering it before they have to go back to get it.
- Tying shoes is another form of independence. Of course, Kindergarten is a developmentally appropriate time to work on tying shoes. I expected my students to be able to tie their shoes by the end of the first semester. After the winter holidays if a child needed their shoe tied, I had them ask a friend.
- Make sure all items that came to school return home. Lunch boxes, coats, notes and folders all need to be zipped in the backpack so you can go through it each night!
Now you can also help your child feel more independent by:
- packing things in their lunch that they can open
- having them wear clothes that they can unzip, tie or button themselves
- including “empty the backpack and bring mom everything in there,” as part of the after school routine