Preschoolers Can Practice Writing Anywhere

WritingPractice

Most printed letters are composed of a combination of clockwise circles and straight vertical lines. Although your child’s scribbles may look like nothing, they show his emerging writing skills. There are activities you can do anywhere to help your child develop these strokes.

Have your child make clockwise circles and up-and-down lines using his fingers. He can draw in the air, on the water in the bathtub, on your arm, in the sand, or on a table. It can also be fun to make these strokes in flour, salt, or sugar. You can also add a small amount of liquid or sand in a zippered plastic bag and let your child make the impressions on the outside of the bag. 

You can also ask you child to use his feet or toes to create the circles and lines. Or you can ask him to draw the shapes in the air and ask you to guess which shape he’s drawing. 

Once your child starts forming letters, you can do the same activities with the letter formations!

Writing photo source: wonderfulyearskindergarten.blogspot.com

Seeing the Signs with Your Preschooler

Square Roots Preschool: Seeing the Signs with Your Preschooler

Square Roots Preschool: Seeing the Signs with Your Preschooler

Before young children can read, they will often read logos on signs for often-seen business or logos on product packages that the family uses. Though your child may not be able to read the word “target,” he likely can read the Target sign as you drive by (or go in and spend way too much money).

This recognition is a great thing, and it means that your child is developing pre-reading skills. There are several activities you can do to encourage this skill.

While you are driving, ask your child to identify familiar signs such as a favorite restaurant or a stop sign. Ask your child, “what does that sign say?” or “can you read that sign to me?” By phrasing it that way, you are letting your child know that she is reading, not just identifying a picture, thus building confidence in the process. If your child knows most of the signs in your neighborhood, you can make things a bit more challenging. Ask your child to find a sign that starts with a particular letter, or ask your child to holler out each time she sees a particular word in a sign, such as “the” or “and.” 

At home, you can provide your child with a magazine and ask him to point out signs (often advertisements) he can read. You can cut the pictures and words out for your child or allow him to develop his cutting skills with the use of safety scissors. Help your child make an “I Can Read” book by gluing the signs he’s identified on sheets of paper and folding or stapling them together. Then he can show off all he knows to other family members and friends. 

Fun activities that provide development of pre-reading skills like these help your child follow directions and work on letter and word recognition. Go out there and see what your preschooler knows!

Help Me Read the Mail

Children will begin the process of learning to read long before they are actually reading. Asking your preschooler to help you sort the mail is a fun, interactive way to boost those pre-reading skills.

Ask your child to sort the mail into different categories. These categories might include magazines, letters, envelope color, type of stamp, size, or person whom the mail is for. This process of sorting helps with sorting, classification, and letter recognition. Experiment with different ways to sort the mail, and your child can even play “postal worker” by delivering the mail to the appropriate person in the family.

Let your preschooler open the junk mail and pretend to read it to you. See where her imagination takes her. You can also have her fill out forms (often junk mail comes with order forms) or circle all of the “red” items in a catalog. All of these tasks help boost reading skills and help boost confidence and enthusiasm for reading.

We recently set up a “post office” in our dramatic play area. The students wrote letters, read mail, delivered packages to each other, sorted mail, made and pasted stamps, and categorized mail by type. They had a fantastic time and didn’t even realize they were boosting their pre-reading skills in the process!

Doing Things in Order

When a task requires one step to be completed before the next step will work, that task provides a wonderful learning opportunity for preschoolers. Learning how to complete steps in proper order is an important pre-math skill.

Making the bed is a great example of a task that requires steps to be done in a particular order and is something that your preschooler can accomplish with a little help, at first, and then all on his own. Show and talk to your child about how the sheet must be pulled up first, the comforter placed second, and how the pillow is placed on top last. Once your child gets the hang of it, allow him to do it himself. Ask him to describe what he did first, second, and third.

Making toast is another activity that requires steps to be done in a certain order. Help your child understand and execute the steps in order. First, get a slice of bread, then put it in the toaster, and last, put butter on it. What would happen if we put the butter on before we put it in the toaster? Talking about that helps illustrate the importance of taking the steps in the proper order.

Think about what tasks you do throughout the day that require steps in a particular order and narrate them for your child. Not only are you helping with pre-math skills, you’re also helping your child feel the accomplishment that goes along with completing these tasks!

Learning with Laundry

Ordinary household chores can easily become fun learning opportunities for preschoolers. Laundry sorting is a great chore to share with your preschooler. Classifying and sorting pieces of clothing by their similarities helps young children with math skills, preparing them for learning addition and subtraction.

Your preschooler can pull all of the socks, for example, out of the laundry basket and match them. He can sort shirts from pants or white items from dark colors. He can also sort clothes that belong to each family member and deliver them to the appropriate rooms. Asking your child about how many socks and how many pairs of socks there are. Knowing the difference between one sock and a pair of socks is an important concept. T-shirts or other items can be counted, supporting the concept of one-to-one correlation.

Learning with laundry supports your preschooler in learning arithmetic, classification, size, sorting, and matching. Not to mention, you might have a lot more fun folding the clothes with a little helper!

Shape Pattern Activity

At the most basic level, Math is the study of patterns. By recognizing, copying, and making their own patterns, children learn that objects can be arranged in particular ways and have a relationship to one another, an essential pre-math skill.

At Square Roots Preschool, we practice patterns throughout the day. For example, when discussing the date and looking at the calendar, our velcro date cards fall into a pattern of colors: blue, green orange, purple…blue, green, orange, purple…blue, green, orange…what comes next? Our students say, “purple!” As we count up together to today’s date, the students learn the pattern and can predict what color will come next.

Studying patterns at home can be done with a variety of objects. Colored paper is quite versatile. First, cut out multiple squares of different colors. Then place them in a pattern for your child. The younger or less experienced your child is, the simpler the pattern should be. Try two alternating colored squares to start.

Once your child grasps the basic concept of the pattern, make things a little more challenging by varying the number of squares of a particular color: red, red, green, red, red, green…As your child masters more complicated patterns, you can then introduce a variety of shapes. Your child will then need to discern that the next item isn’t just purple; it’s a purple circle. You can also ask your child to create his own pattern for you to recognize.

Starting slowly and creating more challenging patterns over time helps build your child’s confidence and develops his sequencing and problem solving skills.

A Commute of Counting

 

A Commute of Counting. Child image source: moms.popsugar.com

A Commute of Counting. Child image source: moms.popsugar.com

Young children learn through every experience they have, and simple games during times that are typically a bit boring for them is a great way to keep them entertained and teach them valuable skills at the same time.

Counting during your commute is a great game that preschool-aged children can enjoy. This activity helps identification of objects, colors, and letters while teaching counting and one-to-one correspondence at the same time. Children learn these concepts through repetition.

You can start with something simple, such as “Let’s count all of the red cars we see. There’s one! That’s one. And there’s another! That’s two! Do you see any red cars?” Depending on where your travels take you, you can count all sorts of things. Signs, bridges, trees…

As your child begins to learn her letters, try counting a letter. “Let’s see how many ‘D’s we can find!” Look on signs and license plates, and see how many you can count. This activity will help with letter recognition and counting.

You can even advance to basic, common sight words, if you are traveling in an area with lots of signs. See how many “the”s you can find. Or how many “to”s you see. You can get creative with your environment and your child’s skill level and count just about anything!

Presenting your child with a variety of exercises that teach the same concept through repetition is a great way to build your preschooler’s skills and confidence.