It’s summer! Even though we’ve been having a great time swimming and playing every day, there is one question my oldest has already been asking me: “When does kindergarten start?” Yep, my sweet boy is going to be in kindergarten next year, and he can hardly wait! Even though he’s been in preschool for three years already (through our district’s early childhood special education program), we are working hard to make sure he is as ready as he possibly can be for kindergarten. To that end, I’ve put together a list of activities for us to do every day of summer (apx. 90 days = 90 activities). Would you care to join in the fun? I sure hope so!
Some of these might be below your child’s skill level, and that’s okay. It is always good to review! Some of the activities might be beyond your child’s abilities, and that’s okay too. I have a three year old who is simply itching to go to school, so you’d better believe she will be included in these, even though she won’t be able to do a number of the activities without lots of assistance. And some of the things on the list aren’t really a one-time activity—you just might want to practice them every day! The point of this is to give you lots of ideas to help your child get ready for the big day—his or her first day of school!
Because the list of 90 is pretty long, I’ve decided to break this up into three parts, enough to get you through a month at a time (I know, July and August have 31 days each. But we’re already 10 days into June, so it evens out, right?). I hope you’re ready for part one, because I sure am! Let’s get to it!
Day 1 – Fun with shaving cream day! Put some shaving cream (I like plain ol’ Barbasol best) on the table and have your child practice writing each letter of the alphabet in the shaving cream using their finger. Work on uppercase and lowercase letters. Have your child write his or her name.
Day 2 – Practice one-to-one correspondence. Give your child a pile of buttons, pennies, stuffed animals (or whatever). Ask him to give you a certain amount, “Can you give me five buttons?” and have him count them out and hand them to you. (Practice 0-20 to start out with and build on that). For more great one-to-one correspondence ideas, check out this blog.
Day 3 – Manners day! Work on saying “please” and “thank you” and asking and answering questions using full-sentences (“May I have a snack please?”) This is something you can work on every day! Make the activity fun by having a special dinner in the evening with a tablecloth and maybe even candles (if you feel confident your kids won’t knock them over!) Practice using manners and talking politely during the dinner.
Day 4 – Color of the day: RED! Dress your kiddo in something red and go on a red scavenger hunt and look for as many red things as you can find. Have something red for a snack and/or make red punch.
Day 5 – Discuss what an author and an illustrator do. Talk about what a title is and where you can find it on a book. Before you read any books, go over the title of the book as well as who the author and illustrator are (continue this practice throughout the summer).
Day 6 – Practice counting to 100. Don’t get frustrated if your child can’t do it all at once. I like what this mom had to say about it. Here is another resource as well (I like the idea of using the chart, and that’s what we did with my son).
Day 7 – Match letters with their sounds. Have 26 letter cards scattered throughout the room (each card should have one letter of the alphabet on it). Make a letter sound and have your child see how fast they can grab and bring the right letter card to you! For letter card printables, you can visit this website.
Day 8 – Shapes of the day: Circle and Sphere. Talk about the differences between two dimensional and three dimensional shapes. See how many circles and spheres you can find and then have a circle and sphere snack! For a fun example, look here.
Day 9 – Motor skills time! Practice balancing and hopping on one foot. Make it into a (friendly) competition. Who can balance on one foot the longest? Who can get the highest number of hops on one foot?
Day 10 – Play Candy Land together as a family. Everyone who draws has to identify the color on their cards!
Day 12 – Color of the day: Blue! Dress in blue, do a blue scavenger hunt and have some blueberries for a snack. Does your child think blueberries are blue, or do they look more purple? (That is a constant debate in our house—ha!)
Day 13 – Start identifying high-frequency/sight words. (For one list, you can look here). Pick one word (such as “the”), write it on a card, and have your child practice reading/writing/saying it. Read some books together and see how many times he/she can spot the sight word of the day! I’m embarrassed to admit this, but my son has learned tons of sight words from these DVDs. They seem pretty lame to the adult viewer, but my kids love them and have actually learned from them! Here is another great blog post with more ideas for teaching these types of words, and a different one for those who struggle with learning them.
Day 14 – Practice listening/following directions. This is something we’ve had to really work on with my son. This blogger has a cute card game with ideas. Another simple game that you could make would be to have your child roll a dice. Each number corresponds with a set of directions of your choosing (make sure your child identifies the number that they roll). Your kiddo gets a point for following the directions correctly. If you have more than one, whoever gets the most points wins! This blogger has more great listening ideas.
Day 15 – Art time! Have your child draw a picture of himself/herself. Help him add as many identifying details as possible. Does she have long hair? Is he wearing a distinct t-shirt? Maybe he wants to include a favorite toy in the picture or she wants to depict herself engaging in a favorite activity. The point is to get them to start adding lots of details in their drawings!
Day 16 – Practice doing jumping jacks! If your child is a wee bit uncoordinated (or a lot, like mine), take the time to show her how to do a jumping jack and then practice doing them slowly (and then quickly!)
Day 17 – Bake something together and have your child count the number of ingredients and practice measuring together. Compare the amounts (which is more, 1/3 or 1 cup?). Count the end total of what you’ve made (we made 36 cookies!)
Day 18 – Shapes of the day: Triangle and Pyramid. Review the differences between 2-D and 3-D shapes. Practice identifying triangles and pyramids in your environment, books, and maybe even the computer. You can find some free worksheets to help teach 2-D and 3-D shapes here. You can also use this as an opportunity to show them some of the pictures of the pyramids in Egypt and talk to them about the history behind them! (Age-appropriately, of course!)
Day 19 – In the evening (perhaps at dinner), have your tell you about his/her day. This is to help your child develop sequencing skills, which is an important part of learning! Ask your child talk about events in the order that they happened and gently help him/her if they get things out of order. For more information about sequencing and ideas for working on it, look here.
Day 20 – Have a favorite author day! Does your child have a favorite book? Or do you have one that you want to introduce your child to? Take them to the library and find multiple books by the same author. Read the books together and see if you can find similarities and differences in the stories. Use this as an opportunity to reinforce what an author does. Many times authors use the same illustrator as well. Are the pictures in the books done in a similar style? Compare and contrast the pictures together. Some of my (and my children’s) favorite authors are: Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Doreen Cronin, Kevin Henkes, Arnold Lobel, Margret & H.A. Rey, Margaret Wise Brown, William Steig, Ezra Jack Keates, and Laura Numeroff.
Day 21 – Reinforce sharing today. If your child doesn’t have siblings to share with, invite some friends over to come play. When you see sharing, reinforce your child’s good behavior! Play games turn-taking games together.
Day 22 – Have your child stack as many blocks as he/she can. Count the blocks together as they stack them. You can also use this as an opportunity to start teaching simple addition/subtraction. Start with a set of 10 blocks. Point out that the more they stack, the fewer there are left in the set. “You have five blocks on top of each other, and five more in this pile. If you put more on top, how many will be in your tower? How many will be left in this pile?”
Day 23 – Practice coloring a picture in the lines and using different colors for different parts of the picture.
Day 24 –Does your child know how to hold a pencil correctly? Check to make sure he does! If your child needs help, Jenae has some great tips. I’ll be honest, though, my son needed lots of assistance with this skill and nothing helped until I found this nifty little tool. It looks a little wonky but holy cow, it worked! Now he holds his pencil like a pro! So if you’re really struggling, you might want to give it a try.
Day 25 – Count the utensils at dinner. Count the forks, knives, and spoons separately and then all together.
Day 26 – Practice bouncing a ball! If possible, take your kiddo to the park and play basketball. Show him/her how to dribble/pass.
Day 27 – Practice cutting and using glue. Have your child create a picture by cutting out shapes and gluing them to a piece of paper. Help as little as possible! (Hard to see, but this is a sun my kiddo made. He was so proud!)
Day 28 – Watch a new movie/television show together. Ask your child to re-tell the sequence of events that she saw take place in the show.
Day 29 – Cook spaghetti noodles together and practice making letters out of the noodles.
Day 30 – Pick a few different careers and talk about what people in those occupations do. Show your child pictures of people in these occupations and if possible, take them to meet someone who does a job that interests them!