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
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!
Young children love pretending to be adults. They often imitate adult behaviors and jobs and enjoy doing so, so why not put that drive to good use?
Dinner time provides many learning opportunities in which young children can help and feel a sense of empowerment. Provide your preschooler with a paper and pencil and allow him to take the family’s drink orders. This activity will help with pre-writing, memory, and creating a link between the spoken word and written word.
Your child may just scribble something down, may draw a picture, or may write the first letter of the word. Older children can try their hand at spelling out the whole word. You can also make a chart for your child with the words or pictures of the drink options with check boxes.
Next, have your child count how many glasses of each type of drink are needed. Allow him to help pour and serve the beverages.
With practice, your chid will know how to read and write new words and will gain confidence.
Square Roots Preschool–Learning Addition in the Pool or Bath with Sponges. Sponge photo source: pan-prom.hr
Children first learn addition and subtraction by using real objects to count and group together. You’ve seen the worksheets, right? So instead of worksheets, let’s bring this concept to life in the pool or bath, keeping it fun!
• Cut up sponges to make small pieces.
• Make a floating circe (you choose how large) with a piece of yarn tied together at the ends.
• Place a group of sponges inside the yarn circle, and ask your child to tell you how many there are, an activity that helps develop one-to-one correspondence.
• Create another circle with another set of sponges and ask your child to count how many there are.
• Overlap the circles so that all of the sponges fit inside and ask your child to count them again. You’ve just introduced addition practice in a fun way!
Start with small numbers and work your way up to larger numbers. Next, you can purchase or make sponges in number shapes, then choose numerals to represent numbers in the group. This activity will help develop the skills of one-to-one correspondence, counting, grouping combining groups, and addition. Early math should be lots of fun! This activity is a sure-fire way to get your water-loving preschooler thinking.
Organizing the Toy Box Can be a Learning Opportunity. Photo source: prweb.com
Preschool-aged children learn by doing. Cleaning out their toy box or closet may seem like drudgery to them, but if given an objective, the job can give them a sense of responsibility and pride. Giving your child this summer chore means they can start the school year off in an organized manner.
Have your child empty her toy box or closet. Provide her with three boxes for sorting. One box should be a box “to keep,” one should be “to donate,” and one should be “to throw away.” Explain to her that some children don’t have many toys and would appreciate the toys she doesn’t play with anymore. Knowing that the toys she is parting with can make someone else very happy can often encourage a giving spirit. Explain, also, that broken toys and pieces should be thrown away or recycled.
Allow your child to sort her toys herself, without your input. You can always review everything later, but giving her that responsibility will make her feel empowered. You can even set aside toys that you do not want your child to donate ahead of time.
Once your child has determined what should go in each of the boxes, help her organize everything she kept. Let her do most of the work so she feels a sense of responsibility for her own things. Take her to a shelter so she can see where her toys are going. The closer you can get her to the actual person who will receive the toys, the better.
This simple task of your preschooler cleaning out her toy box or closet helps develop her sense of responsibility, sorting skills, sense of generosity, and organizational skills. Plus, she’ll have a cleaner, more organized room for the start of the school year!
Why not start your child at Square Roots Preschool this fall?
The most effective way to avoid illness and infection is frequent, thorough hand washing. But, let’s face it, proper hand washing is not the forté of most preschoolers, nor is it their favorite thing to do. The abstract idea that germs they can’t see might affect them or others adversely is a tough one to communicate. So what can we do?
The first step is to teach your child how to wash her hands properly. Use warm water, soap, and scrub all areas of the hands, remembering the nails and between the fingers. How long should you wash? Try a simple song to help your child time herself. Things to Share and Remember highlights a great one:
Remind your child to wash her hands before eating or preparing food, after going to the bathroom, after outside play, or after coughing or blowing her nose.
Preschool-aged children love to create and admire their art, so work with your child to create your own reminders for your bathroom mirror. Small signs attached to the mirror that remind the family to wash their hands and the proper steps in order to do so. Your child can draw a picture and/or copy the words “wash hands.” Consider laminating the sign(s) so it holds up to bathroom moisture.
Allowing your preschooler to “own” their hand washing skills and feel confident will help them remember to wash their hands, and this activity helps teach word recognition, labeling, and proper hygiene.
A Lesson in Hand Washing
Our Roll-Call Tree: Pre-reading and Name Recognition–Square Roots Preschool
Every morning at the beginning of circle time, we sing our welcome song and do roll call, which is also in the form of a song. We sing for each child present while that child plays the tambourine.
Ms. Taryn holds up a name and asks the class who’s name it is. With a little bit of practice, not only can the students recognize their own name, but also the names of other children in the class. And we know they’re not cheating by recognizing only the first letter because multiple students’ names begin with the same letter. They’re reading!
Once the students determine whose name is on the card, they get to carry their own name to our roll-call tree. All the names on the tree represent the students present in class that day.
This activity helps with letter recognition, name recognition, and builds reading skills. Plus, each of the students feel confident and welcomed by being the superstar with all of the attention for a brief period as everyone else sings to them and they hang their name on the tree.
And we all know who’s present!
Taking Charge of Chores Helps Develop Reading Skills
Learning Measurement by Splishing and Splashing–Square Roots Preschool
When preschoolers are given the opportunity to experiment with part/whole relationships, they begin to understand measurement and basic fractions, as well as building toward addition and subtraction skills. A fun activity to help them learn the concept of measurement can be done in the bathtub or water table or–during hot summer months–in a pool.
Give your child a set of plastic measuring cups (these sets can often be found at the dollar store) and a small bucket. Let him experiment filling and pouring the water. This act is often a favorite of young children and can keep them occupied for long stretches of time. Ask questions such as “How many small cups does it take to fill up the big cup?” and “How many big cups does it take to fill up the bucket?” Your child will begin to understand that a whole has many parts.
Ask your child to put the cups in order from largest to smallest, or vice versa. Ask “Will it take more of the small cups to fill the bucket or more of the large cups?” and “Can you predict how many big cups will go into the bucket?” Then count together and see.
This activity helps children learn arithmetic, prediction, counting, estimating, and part/whole relationships. You and your child can continue to reinforce this concept in other ways, such as with apple or pizza slices.
When children are having fun, they learn concepts faster and better…they don’t even know they’re learning!
Teaching the Concept of Volume
Caution: Young children should never be left unattended around water.
Measuring cup image source: eco-friendlycookware.com
When preschool-aged children see that everyone in the family contributes to chores and has a responsibility, they feel part of the family and a sense of pride by being part of the team. You can take this a step further by allowing your child to be “in charge” of the chore chart, developing pre-reading skills at the same time.
Help your preschooler make a simple chart of responsibilities, such as cleaning up toys, setting the table, feeding the family pet, or doing the dishes. Cut out a photo of each family member and label them with their names. Let your preschooler place the picture next to the chore that each person will do. Each chore can have a picture and a name, as well. Your child will feel pride in helping to designate who will do what and will develop her reading skills, name recognition, and classification.
You can then ask your child to hold one of the family member’s photos and talk about all of the jobs that that family member does. (This is a good one to help with appreciation of others, too!) Then ask your child to read the names of the family members without their photos.
Soon your preschooler will know how to read all of the family members’ names as well as some basic household chores!
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!