Summer School at Home with HeidiSongs: Getting Ready for Kindergarten, Week 2!

Welcome to Week 2 of Summer School At Home with HeidiSongs!  Here is another set of activities to help your child prepare for Kindergarten at home.  I hope you are enjoying your summer with your little ones!

And if you do not have any children at home to play with this summer, then maybe you will be able to use some of these activities in the future!  I would love it if you would help us out by passing this post along to any mother's groups, preschools, or other organizations that serve families that you think might benefit.  Thank you!

And here we are, sooooo long ago! Krissie is the one in the pink pants trying to climb the tree. She now works as our HeidiSongs office manager filling orders and customer service. Our oldest, Katie, is in the back. She does graphic design for a company in Orange County. And Kimmie, who is below and behind us, is teaching TK!

My own children are all grown up now, and all three have flown the nest.  Our oldest, Katie, is now 29, and our twins, Kimmie and Krissie are now 27.  (Yup, they were only 14 months apart! Yikes!  Check out that photo below!)

Here is a picture of our oldest daughter, meeting her little twin sisters, Kimmie and Krissie, for the very first time. She was only 14 months old! (Oops!)  Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see what they look like now!

Oh, how I miss those wonderful summers filled with fun, educational activities!  So I thought it would be fun to include pictures of my own family as I suggest activities that will help your child prepare for Kindergarten and beyond.  Enjoy!

Developing Good-bye and Hello Routines
Routines are key to helping little ones learn how to separate and return to Mom and Dad. A good-bye routine could include singing a special song on the way to school, hugs and kisses before the bus comes, or having breakfast together. This should be something that can be done everyday, so simple is best. The goal of a good-bye routine is to help children understand that you will be apart from each other, but just like yesterday you will be together again at the end of the day. Hello routines help children to make transitions from school time back to family time. This can be really helpful if rules at home are different than they are at school. This is as a good time in the day to review what the rest of the afternoon and evening has in store for the family. A hello routine could look like hugs and kisses at school pick-up, a review of the days highs and lows, and a review of the evenings events. This helps children to know what to expect at home and allows them to share their day.

This is our oldest, Katie, at the beach.

Don't forget:  The first letter should be capitalized ONLY.  After that, the rest should be lower case.  This is very important!    Do not allow your child to write the letters all in capital letters!  He will just have to try to break that habit later.

1.  Practice Writing Names in the Sand

What could be more fun than playing in the sand at the park or at the beach?  Take your kids out for a day of fun and while you are there, have them grab a stick and try to write their names in the sand.  If you are at the beach, it is especially fun to try to write it in the wet sand before the waves come in and wash it away!

2.  Practice Writing Names on a Dark Paper with SUNSCREEN!

I saw this little science experiment on Pinterest:  Kids can write something on a dark piece of paper with a little bit of suntan lotion and then lay the paper in the sun. After a while, the sun will bleach out the dark pigment on the paper wherever there is no sunscreen!  It's a great lesson in how well sunscreen works and also on how the sun can damage our own skin and hair.  Who knows, maybe you'll get a little more cooperation next time you need to apply that sunscreen?  :)

This is a sunscreen experiment from the Kids Activities Blog. Try having your child write his name instead!  I pinned this picture here.

3.  Practice Writing Names in a Box with Sand (or Salt) in It

When I taught Kindergarten, the "Salt Box" for writing practice was a staple that we always had on hand.  To make this useful tool, all you need to do is get a box that is large enough for your child to write his name in and fill it with a small amount of sand or salt.  A shoe box would probably work!

In my classroom, we used salt instead of sand because we felt it would be more sanitary.  Also, the picture below shows that the salt has been colored.  Another way to approach this is to spray paint the inside of the box black so that the white salt stands out well.  But if you would like to color your salt, this can be easily done by putting the salt in a small dish and stirring it with oil pastel chalks that you can purchase at a craft store.

I did not have a picture of our homemade salt boxes, but I found this one on, which is an EXCELLENT site for all things Pre-K!  I pinned this picture here.

1.  Collect Shells or Rocks and Make Letters Out of Them

Collecting sea shells, pretty rocks, flower petals, or other natural objects is a favorite activity whenever children are outside.  Have them try to form some letters out of them!  Find out which letters your child does not know, and ask your child to make those letters especially.  Children usually prefer to "work on" the letters they already know, so keep in mind that the goal is that they learn some new ones rather than just practice the old ones!  And if your child already knows the alphabet, then have him or her make some new words instead!

This is a picture of my two nephews Keaton (left) and Alex (center). My niece Chelsea is on the right. All three are grown up now! I love how the photographer captured “the moment” in a completely candid way!

2. Sing an Alphabet Song and Find That Letter!

Spread out some alphabet cards on floor or a low coffee table.  Then put on the HeidiSongs Letters & Sounds DVD and play one song.  Have your child sing and dance along.  When each song ends, pause the DVD and have your child find that letter and tell you its name and sound.  If he doesn't know it, replay that song and try again!

3.  Go On a Letter Hunt

Have your child hide his or her eyes.  Then take those letter cards (or even plastic letters) and hide them all around the house or the yard!  Have your child go on a letter hunt and try to find all of them, calling out the letter names and sounds as they find them.  Fun!

4.  Do Some Alphabet Worksheet Pages

Your child will need to get used to doing a little bit of old fashioned paper and pencil work, and now is as good a time as any to get started!  The workbooks shown below are available in print or as downloads from  I recommend one worksheet from each book per day, four times per week in the summer.  Make sure you ask your child to write his name on the papers!

The Alphabet Workbooks from HeidiSongs are a great way to help children practice what they know, build fine motor skills, and confidence in themselves.

1.  Collect Shells or Rocks and Count Them in Sets of Ten

I don't know about you, but when my children collected shells or rocks, etc., they usually wanted to count them and see how many there were.  Have your child make piles with ten objects in each pile and then show him or her how to count them by tens, if that seems appropriate (especially if there are a LOT of objects to count!)  If not, then just help your child count them out correctly.

When my children were in Kindergarten, their teachers used to take them to the beach on a field trip! This is a picture of Katie’s trip. She is the one running at the back of the photo. Kimmie is the one on the right of the photo, and Krissie is not pictured.

2.  Sort Those Shells or Rocks, etc. Into Groups and Tell How You Sorted

Have your child sort the objects by color, shape, or size and then tell you how he sorted them.  This is an important skill that children will need to master.  Another activity is to have the child watch while you begin to sort them, and then try to "guess your rule" as far as how you are sorting.  Ex.  If he sees that you are putting all of the dark ones in one pile and the light ones in another pile, he might guess that you are sorting by color.  If he sees that you are putting the smooth ones in one pile and the rough ones in another, then he may guess that you are sorting by texture, or how they feel, etc.  It is GREAT for kids to develop the associated vocabulary for these types of activities, because this kind of thing can prove to be quite a stumbling block for some children!

3.  Count Out Five Shells for Number Five, and Four Shells for Number Four, etc.

Take that collection of objects (the rocks or shells, etc.) and some number cards.  Have your child put one shell on number one, two shells on number two, three shells on number three, and so on.  This is called Matching Sets!

4.  Go On a Shape Walk and Take Some Pictures!  Then Make a Shape Book.

Go for a walk and bring along your Smartphone, if you have one.  See if your child can find objects that are different shapes in the world around them.  Then, (if you are brave enough!) let your child use your phone or camera to take the picture!  Or, take a picture of your child standing next to that shape.  Here are the shapes to try to include:  circle, square, rectangle, triangle, hexagon, which is a shape like a stop sign (octagon) but with six sides.  More advanced children can look for the solid shapes:  sphere (a ball,) cylinder (a can,) cube (a square block,) and a cone (like an ice cream cone!).

Then print out each of your photos onto a piece of paper and have your child tell you what he sees on the paper.  Example:  "I see a rectangle door."  Or, "This is a cone shaped hat."  Either you or your child can write the words on the paper, and then staple it together to make a book!

5.  Practice Writing Those Numbers and Counting Objects on a Worksheet

Number writing is important, and children that can do it effortlessly have a big advantage over their peers in Kindergarten.  Kids also need to figure out how to transfer their counting skills with real objects to counting objects on paper.  So make some time during the week to have your child practice both of these things!  The Counting Creatures Math series is a fun one and one that I usually start with in Kindergarten.

6.  Sing and Dance Those Numbers!

Put on that HeidiSongs Jumpin' Numbers and Shakin' Shapes DVD or our animated Number Jumble DVD and have your child sing and dance as many of those songs as you can!  This is the quickest way I know of to help your child learn to recognize each of the numbers and basic shapes.  The Colors and Shapes DVD is another really fun one- and THAT one has a hexagon song on it!

1.  Beginning Sound Clean Sweep

Sometime when it is time to put toys away, have your child try to identify the beginning sound of each toy that he or she picks up to put away.  First pick up the toy.  Say the name of the toy slowly, and try to isolate the beginning sound.  When your child gets it, then he or she can throw it into the toy box!

2.  Silly Rhyme Time

Think of a silly rhyme for the names of everyone in your family, and see if you can use those new names this week (with each person's permission, of course!!)  Example:  If the name is Jimmy, your silly rhyming name could be "Jimmy Wimmy."  If the name is Kayla, the silly rhyming name could be "Kayla Wayla."  Try this with pets, too!  Our dogs all respond to their rhyming names:  Our Chihuahua Ruby responds when we call her "Ruby Dooby," and we used to have a dog named Winnie that was often called "Winky Dink."  LOL!

Check back next week for more ideas for your third week of Kindergarten Prep Summer School with HeidiSongs!  Sign up for the email blog updates so that you don't miss a thing!  And if you missed last week's post on Free Summer School at Home, Week One, you can find it here.


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Here we are at Sea World, San Diego, SOOO long ago! From front to back: Kimmie, Krissie, Katie, and Heidi.

(June 2012) From left to right: Katie, our oldest, Kimmie, who now goes by Kim (the bride,) and Krissie, her twin, who now works at HeidiSongs in our office as our office manager and order filler. 

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