Wondering what to do this summer to prepare your child for kindergarten?

Here are 10 ways to boost kindergarten readiness skills as presented in a Handwriting Without Tears webinar:

1. Let the Music Begin.  Music encourages social-emotional, sensorimotor, and cognitive development. Songs can teach body awareness, positional concepts, sorting skills, and the ability to classify by attributes and connect numbers to the quantities they represent. (Handwriting Without Tears has some great Pre-K CD’s. Check out the Get Set for School CD and Sing, Sound, and Count With Me CD.)

2.  Step Up Social-Emotional Development.  Promote listening, sharing, turn-taking, using manners, role-playing, and imitating during playtime.

3.  Promote Sensorimotor Development.  Do activities to develop fine motor coordination and hand strength. Use little tools for little hands. Breaking crayons in half and using golf-sized pencils help to promote proper grasp.

4.  Start With What is Comfortable.  Meet your child where he is developmentally. If you’re working on writing, begin with capital letters and have him write his own name. Build on what he does well to increase his self-confidence.

5.  Blossom While Building.  Provide opportunities for your child to learn through discovery play. Put out an array of age-appropriate materials and see what he does!

6.  Bring Letters to Life.  Use a variety of sensorimotor strategies to make letters.  Roll out Play-Doh to form letters; finger-trace letters in rice, shaving cream, or sand on a cookie sheet; and draw “rainbow letters,” in which you write the letter in one color and then have your child trace it in various colors. For more ideas check out these 10 Fun Letter Recognition Activities! Provide models for letters your child does not yet know and remember to begin with capital letters. Demonstrate and teach proper letter formation by following these guidelines.

7.  Focus on Phonological Awareness.  While working on bringing letters to life, practice identifying the sounds each letter makes. Use alliteration to help your child identify the first sound in each spoken word. Make a list of names that start with the same sound as your child’s name, your name, etc. Name pictures and identify the first sound in each picture.

8.  Build in Language.  Children pick up vocabulary by listening to speech before using language itself. Read books to your child daily. Ask open-ended questions to encourage the expression of more complex thoughts. Have your child practice following directions by setting up a three- or four-step obstacle course, playing games, or doing the Hokie Pokie. Talk about feelings (keep it simple by using happy, mad, sad, and scared), and have your child provide examples of when he may have felt that way. Encourage the use of words to describe objects, places, or people. Recognize rhyming words (receptive language) and making words that rhyme (expressive language).

9. Math Time!  Count and compare various objects. Use shapes, positions, and patterns. Help your child develop one-to-one correspondence by having him set the table and give each person one of each item. Play Simon Says with shapes. Place shapes on the floor and say “Tickle a circle” or “Jump to a shape with three corners,” etc. Describe simple patterns and have your child repeat the patterns you model or have your child create his own patterns and describe them to you.

10. It’s More than Counting.  Children learn to count before knowing what numbers mean. Teach cardinality by having your child count various things such as the number of objects hidden in a hat or bag or the number of steps from one room to another. Build sets to develop an understanding of the value of numbers. Say or show your child a number and have him count the correct number of objects to match the number you said.

About Skills 4 Life:

Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers a broad range of pediatric occupational therapy services to help your child master age-appropriate developmental skills, become more independent, increase academic success & develop confidence. The experts at Skills 4 Life specialize in handwriting, keyboarding & executive function coaching, but also work with children on social & emotional learning, motor skills, self-regulation strategies & activities of daily living. Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers your child a safe, compassionate environment to learn the critical skills they need to be successful. Learn more about our team & services at www.skills4lifeot.com, or you can contact our office by email at karina@skills4lifeot.com or by phone at 303.351.1828 for a free consultation.