Parenting Vivian | 25 Sep 2010 08:52 pm

Educational Activities For the Summer Before Kindergarten

This September thousands of children will start Kindergarten. For many this will be their first exposure to formal education. Kindergarten is no longer just a place to play or an extension of preschool. Serious learning goes on in Kindergarten, granted it is hidden within a lot of fun. Naturally you want your child to be as prepared as possible before the big “First Day of School”. Follows are some fun and educational activities for the summer before Kindergarten.

Math Activities - The great thing about five-year-olds is that they are always ready to learn new games and as long as they’re having fun, they don’t realize they’re learning too. In Kindergarten, students learn about counting (forward and backward), counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s, putting things in order (first, second, third), money and telling time to the hour.

Teaching a child to count simply requires repetition. Try to fit counting into every activity. Count pages of books, pieces of candy, number of toys, etc. There are loads of books out there about counting as well as some good games for small children. Cherry-Oh! has always been one of my children’s favorites. The Internet is also a wonderful source of free math activities including free printable play money to practice with.

Science Activities - Obviously five-year-olds aren’t interested in learning boring old lab experiments nor are they appropriate for young children. Luckily science is everywhere in the world around us. Kindergartens will be learning basic facts about plants and animals, sorting objects based on physical characteristics, light shadow, magnets, weather and the five senses. A perfect activity to teach kids about plants is to let them grow their own small plant – sunflowers and marigolds are hardy and easy to grow. A trip to the zoo is a good interactive activity to learn about animals while the library and the Internet can provide information on animals not found locally. During clean-up or crafts activities, your child can practice sorting. Ask your child to put all the round toys away first or all the blue toys. Eventually work up to characteristics like soft/hard, and smooth/rough. Teaching your child about magnets can be easy too. If you have a refrigerator magnets (not fancy ones) or home office magnets, collect items around the house that are picked up and some items that are not picked up by a magnet. Place everything on the table in front of your child. Before your child uses the magnet on each group of objects, have your child guess what will happen. Borrow some books from the library about the four seasons and the weather that goes along with them. Every morning, ask your child to look outside and tell you what the weather is like. You can draw or trace and cut out picture symbols representing each season and ask your child to match the object with the right season. Actually you can probably find print-outs online for each season.

Music Activities - Music activities are the most fun of all. If your five-year-old is anything like other five-year-olds, they love to make noise! Most libraries now let people borrow music and videos as well as books. Borrow some music of famous composers. I’m sure you can also find online clips of classical, opera, folk, jazz, and other types of music. Spend the summer creating your own “orchestra.” Create drums from empty containers, symbols from pan lids; you can make maracas, guitars, chimes and horns. You may need to pick up some basic materials but most of the items you most likely already own.Sharing these activities with your child won’t only better prepare your five-year-old for Kindergarten; it will also make the summer unbelievably fun.

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