Guess what time it is? Time to share the last 30 activities of the 90 Summer Activities to Help Your Child Prepare for Kindergarten! (Cue bells and whistles or whatever fanfare you deem appropriate.)
I hope by the time the third month of summer rolls around, you and your kiddo are really excited for that big first day! Even though we are still in June, my little guy talks about kindergarten just about every day. I can’t imagine how he’ll feel in August!
Note: I use “he” and “she” throughout the list of activities, but all activities are appropriate for either gender.
Day 61 – Discuss what a character is (in a story). Read several new stories to your child and have her identify who the characters are in the story. Characters are generally defined as people or animals (or sometimes objects) that do or say something in the story.
Day 62 – Introduce skip-counting. This skill is a bit advanced and your child should be able to count to 100 before you work on this. But if counting to 100 is old hat, skip-counting is a good next step! We started skip counting by 10’s first. We used a hundred board like the one discussed here and had my son circle the numbers counting by 10, and then we reviewed and “quizzed” him, just like this blogger talks about. This blogger also has links to 10 awesome skip-counting ideas. If your child isn’t getting it right away, don’t stress. Just introduce it to him and practice. It isn’t something he’ll need to know entering kindergarten, but it is good to introduce it if he’s ready!
Day 63 – Help your child get into the habit of cleaning up after himself if he isn’t in the habit already. One thing that works well for our family (when we enforce it) is allowing one game/puzzle/activity out at a time. If a kiddo wants to play a new game, they have to clean up what they were playing with previously before we get the new game out. If they’ve been playing and want to go out and go swimming, they have to pick up their toys before we go out. We don’t get super-crazy with this. If our kids are having fun and being creative, we definitely allow them to play with as many toys as they feel like. The main idea is that before they abandon the toys for a completely different activity, they have to clean up. Here are some good ideas for teaching kiddos about cleaning up and I really like this mom’s ideas about having a “ransom box” for loose toys!
Day 64 – Review the days of the week and start talking about months of the year. It is a good idea to get a 12-month calendar for your child to keep. You can mark special days in their appropriate months so they get a general idea of when these days are. In my son’s very first preschool classroom, they taught him this song along with the Macarena dance movements to go with the lyrics. It was super-cute and funny to see my then three year old (who could hardly talk at the time) dance and try to sing the months. This blogger also has some fantastic ideas as well! My son learning the months of the year has been extremely beneficial to me as a mom. It really helps with his concept of time as well as his patience in waiting for “big” days (such as his birthday and Christmas). It is nice not to have to keep explaining that Christmas isn’t tomorrow and it won’t be for a long time! If he is wondering when a big day is coming up, we talk about what month it is and go over what months we need to go through before the special day. For example, if he wants to know when it will be Halloween, I’ll say, “We are in June and Halloween is in October. So we have June, July, August, September, and then October. Halloween is at the very end of October.” We’ll do this with a calendar and it helps him conceptualize just how much waiting he’s in for!
Day 65 – Make homemade bubbles with your kiddo! This is a really fun science activity. Have your child help you count the ingredients and measure them. Before you blow the bubbles, ask some questions such as, “Do you think you can blow a square bubble?” and see if he can blow a square bubble through a square-shaped pipe-cleaner. This website has good tips and several recipes for making bubbles (we like the Crazy Deluxe recipe) and this website has several good science experiments that you can try with your bubbles!
Day 66 – Do a geocache activity at home. Hide several geocaches around your house. Instead of using a GPS to locate the geocache, the kids will have to listen to your instructions (do two-step or three-step instructions such as, “Go up the stairs and look in the hall closet,” or make the instructions longer/more complex to match your child’s skill level). One fun way of doing this would be to record your instructions for each geocache on an iPod or some other device that your child can operate. The child will listen to your instructions, follow them, and (hopefully) locate the geocache. Once they’ve found the geocache, they can move onto finding the next one. To make it more difficult (and to test their listening skills), impose an instructions limit: your child can only listen to each set of instructions once!
Day 67 – Play, “What’s the next number?” Write a variety of short number sequences on your sidewalk or patio using sidewalk chalk (a short number sequence would be something like, “19, 20, ___”) and have your child fill in the blanks.
Day 68 – Play kickball or soccer as a family. If you don’t have enough people to make it work, just practice kicking a ball around! See who can kick it farther or into a homemade goal (you can just use a box turned on its side.)
Day 69 – Practice sequencing with your child. Print out pictures of a story or activity (such as baking cookies) and have your child put the pictures in order and tell the story of what is happening as they are placing the pictures in order. For lots of sequencing card freebies, check out this website as well as this one.
Day 70 – Play some dice games with your child. Dice games are great for young children because it teaches them about counting and recognizing small groupings of numbers automatically (this is called subitizing, or, “instantly seeing how many” and it is an important foundational math skill). There are tons of fantastic, fun, and, age-appropriate dice games here!
Day 71 – Play old-fashioned hop-scotch! Have your child help write the numbers in each square and say the numbers aloud as they hop on each one. If they have a hard time hopping from square to square on one foot, let them jump with both feet.
Day 72 – Help your child practice writing short sentences with correct capitalization and punctuation. A short sentence would be something such as, “The car is red.” Talk about how sentences begin with a capital and end with a period (or other punctuation mark). The point is for your child to practice writing and to learn about punctuation, not to master these skills. If you would like to make a customizable worksheet, check out this site.
Day 73 – Practice buttoning with different-size buttons—use your shirts for practice if you child doesn’t have any (or many) button-up clothes.
Day 74 – Discuss the meaning of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. This is another important calendaring/time skill. Use specific, concrete examples that your child will be able to relate to directly. For example, say things like, “Yesterday we went to church, today we are going swimming, and tomorrow we are going to grandma’s.” Re-iterate these concepts on a daily basis. Also start working on understanding how these concepts relate to the days of the week, “Yesterday was Sunday, today is Monday, and tomorrow will be Tuesday.” This file also has some good ideas.
Day 75 – Talk about negative feelings and how to deal with them. Have your children share what “bugs” them. To facilitate this discussion, you can have them make a paper bug:
and write their feelings about what “bugs” them on it. You can then talk about how to appropriately handle the things that bug them. Just as there might be a right way and a wrong way to dispose of bugs (you might want to put a cup over a bug, but picking it up with your bare hands is probably not a good idea), there are right ways and wrong ways of dealing with negative feelings The important thing is to open a discussion of how to handle those hard feelings appropriately!
Day 76 – Check out some new books from the library. Introduce the concept of the setting of the story. Have your child identify where the story takes place. My son is really into some early reader books right now and in Gus Gets Scared, the setting is Gus’ back yard. Keep it simple! The idea is to familiarize your child with basic concepts.
Day 77 – Have a rainbow day. Help your child identify each of the colors of the rainbow. Then see if you can find objects in your house for each color of the rainbow (an apple, an orange, a lemon, etc, although it doesn’t all have to be fruit!) Serve a rainbow fruit salad for a snack. If you are feeling really ambitious, make some rainbow Jell-o. This is a super-special dessert we usually only have on Thanksgiving and Christmas (we use soy yogurt for my son), but it would be a lot of fun to serve for a rainbow day as well!
Day 78 – Help your child draw a detailed picture of her family. Help her draw identifying details of each family member (if sister has long hair, include that. If daddy is really tall, help her depict that!) Again, the idea is for your child to learn to observe and be able to describe and depict details.
Day 79 – If your child has her phone number mastered, it’s a great time to start working on her address! We did the same thing with teaching my son his address as we did with teaching him his phone number. We wrote down his address like this:
(Not our real address, btw)
Then we removed the last word:
And then the numbers one at a time:
Until he got it. It took a long time for him to learn it, and we review it with him often so that he doesn’t forget (which he does if we let it go for too long). One thing that we also did with my son was take him to the cross streets on the corner nearest our house. We had him read the street sign at the cross street intersection is and look at the numbers. That really helped him “get it.”
This blogger also has a lot of fun and useful ideas for helping your child learn their address!
Day 80 – By now you should be getting pretty close to the first day of school! If your child’s sleep schedule has gotten a little crazy during the summer, start working on getting him on a more consistent sleep schedule. Kids need lots of sleep to perform their best and you don’t want things to be difficult the night before school if they’ve gotten used to staying up late.
Day 81 – Have your child help sort your clean laundry! Have a pile for mommy, daddy, brother, sister, etc (for whomever is living in your house). Have your child help put the clothes in the correct pile and ask them how they know which item of clothing belongs to which person (daddy’s clothes are the biggest, baby brother’s clothes are the smallest, sister is the only little girl, etc).
Day 82 – Play tag as a family!
Day 83 – With your kiddo, put together a puzzle that you think is just at or maybe slightly beyond your child’s skill level. For instance, 100 piece puzzles seems to be the upper-limit for my almost-kindergartner (he loves puzzles!) To challenge him, we’ll put together 100-120 piece puzzles. Let your child work on his own, but of course assist if he asks for it! If he gets frustrated, talk about how to handle the frustration and how to ask nicely for help when needed. This is an exercise in problem-solving, frustration-tolerance, and requesting help.
Day 84 – Practice skipping and teach your child if she doesn’t know how.
Day 85 – Make homemade play dough with your kiddo! Let them count the number of ingredients, help them measure the ingredients and mix them together. Help them divide up the play-dough and add the colors. Then, play with it together and see what things you can make together!
Day 86 – Break out some magnetic letters! Have your child spell her name with the letters and see what other words she can spell. See if your child can re-create the alphabet in the correct order. Then, once the alphabet is completed, have your child cover her eyes while you remove a letter—then see how quickly she can determine which letter was removed! Next, switch roles (have her remove the letter and you figure out which one is missing!)
Day 87 – Talk to your child about what to expect at school and, perhaps more importantly, what you expect of him at school. Review rules of behavior as well as manners, being friendly to the other students, etc. Talk about what your child should do if she encounters some sort of problem at school. And discuss what kinds of consequences she can expect at home if you get a negative report from her teacher. Hopefully that won’t ever happen, but it doesn’t hurt to set some ground rules!
Day 88 – With your child, pick out her first day of school outfit!
Day 89 – Go and pick out school supplies together! School shopping with my son has always been one of my favorite parts of getting ready for school.
Day 90 – Make a visit to your child’s school. If possible, make arrangements for your child to visit her new classroom and meet her teacher. This is something I’ve done every year since my son started preschool, and it is a really great way to help with what can be a scary transition. If your child will be riding a bus, talk about what the bus will be like and show him where the bus will pick him up and drop him off. If you are taking your child to school, show her where you will drop her off and pick her up. Even if you aren’t able to meet your child’s teacher in advance, drive by the school anyway so she can get a look at where she will be going!
I hope that you have enjoyed this series and that you and your child have a great time doing these activities together. And I hope that your kiddo has a fantastic, and memorable, first day of school!
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