Preschool Programs Extension Activities That Will Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten
By Rachel Wells
A quality preschool program is warm and inviting, involves a caring and patient teacher, and provides active and hands on play and learning opportunities. The goal of the preschool programs is for students to be prepared and ready for kindergarten.
In a preschool classroom students should be learning how to play, work together, make friends, explore and make sense of their world, and connect new ideas and skills to what they already know.
Every year the bar is raised as to how much academic knowledge kindergarten aged students need to have before they walk into the door on their first day of school. Because of this, preschool programs are becoming more and more important to academic success. Before your child is ready to enter kindergarten they should confidently be able to recognize and name colors, basic shapes, numbers, and many letters of the alphabet. They should be able to count to twenty and write at least the letters in their name.
If you have a child that will be heading to kindergarten next year, rest assured that there are some super fun and easy ways you can practice all of these skills right now that will give your child the confidence they need as they begin kindergarten in the fall. All of these activities are great ways to extend the learning already being done in your child’s preschool programs.
- Play “I-Spy” with colors. Take turns looking around the room and choosing an object. Don’t say the object out loud, but instead say “I Spy something (color of object)”. Have your child guess what object it is that you are thinking of. Make sure to give your child multiple chances to guess the object before you tell them the answer – gives them more chances to practice. Once your child knows their colors let them choose the object for you to guess.
- Sort your child’s laundry by color.
- Go on a scavenger hunt outside. Staple together different colors of construction paper to make a rainbow book (one piece each of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, black, brown, and white), and bring along tape. Take a walk outside and see if your child can find something to represent each color paper in their book. When they find an object they can tape it into their book on the correct page (i.e. Tape a green leaf on the green paper).
- Play “I-Spy” with shapes. Same rules as above, but instead of guessing colors, guess a certain shape.
- Build shapes that have flat sides by connecting pretzel sticks and mini marshmallows.
- Cut and paste magazine pictures onto a shape sorting mat. To make a sorting mat, simply draw different shapes onto a piece of construction paper. You can pre-cut pictures from a magazine or have your child look through a magazine and cut out shapes together as you go.
Number Recognition and Counting
- Count snacks. Whenever you give your child a snack have them count, or count together, the amount of snack pieces they were given.
- Write numbers with a sharpie on bubble wrap. Put one number on each bubble. Name a number, have your child find it and then pop that bubble on the bubble wrap.
- Measure how much water different containers can hold. Give your child a one cup measure. Let them fill different containers with water, counting how many cups each container needs to fill up before overflowing.
Recognizing The ABC’s
- Make alphabet letters out of Play Dough. Write letters on pieces of paper and let your child build the letter on top.
- Create a sensory bin. Fill a small bin with beans or rice. Inside the bin hide letter pieces and objects that begin with the same letter. The bin could include letter magnets, written letters on index cards, puzzle pieces, figurines, cut out pictures from magazines, or household items. For even more fun give your child a magnifying glass while they search around looking for the hidden items.
- Make alphabet letters out of Duplo or Lego blocks.
- Try writing in shaving cream. Cover a cookie sheet with shaving cream. Have your child practice writing their name and other alphabet letters with their finger in the shaving cream. If your child doesn’t want to use their finger they can use an unsharpened pencil instead.
- Go outside and practice writing with sidewalk chalk.
- Fill a gallon size Ziploc bag with hair gel. Remove all the air and seal the bag shut. Have your child press with their finger outside the bag to make letters. This works especially well if the bag is taped on a window.
Preschool Programs Extension Activities
If you have a child enrolled in preschool programs heading to kindergarten next school year, I hope you have an opportunity to enjoy some of these after school help
activities together. Children love to learn, and activities do not need to be complicated to leave a lasting impact – the more the activity feels like play and fun, the more your child will retain.