Summer School at Home with HeidiSongs: Getting Ready for Kindergarten, Week 4!

We are continuing with our series, Summer School at Home with Heidisongs: Getting Ready for Kindergarten. Welcome to Week 4! (Here are weeks 1, 2, and 3.)

And by the way, some friends of mine at Personal Creations are working on a special "School All Summer" Pinterest board, which will be up soon!  As soon as it is posted, I will be linking up with them there.  I think that this will be a great place for parents to get more ideas for activities, brain teasers, games, and other ideas to help children keep learning all summer long.  So watch for that!  Meanwhile, check out my Pinterest Summer Fun and Games board for many more fun and educational ideas to do with your children!

Books About Separating From Mom and Dad

Reading books with children is a great way to spark conversations about feelings and emotions. It also gives them a chance to rehearse how they will handle different situations when they arise.

Here are four great titles that address separation anxiety:

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

A Mama raccoon helps her young son feel safe and loved all day long by teaching him about the kissing hand.

Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen

A Father listens to his son's fears about not having a friend at school and helps him work through them. The son discovers that other children worry about the same things he does.

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

Lillte Llama is starting preschool and is feeling scared. Mama Llama tours the school with little Llama and the other children help make him feel welcomed.

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

The comprehension level of this book is higher than the others listed but we included it because it is a great example of how everyone has feelings of nervousness sometimes. Sarah Jane is dreading the first day of school. She is nervous the children will not like her and worried she will not make any friends. Children will love discovering that Sarah Jane is the new teacher!

Take some time over the summer to read these books together and brainstorm how you both might feel on the first day of school and how you will manage your feelings. This is a good time to talk about how it is not important that they feel just one way and that they might feel happy, sad, scared and excited all at once. Come up with a game plan on what they can do if they feel sad or overwhelmed and take the time to practice when they are feeling safe.

Hello My Name Is

Remember these "Hello my name is" stickers? For an easy and fun way to have your child practice writing their name, grab a stack of these stickers and have them go to town labeling.

Write out your child's name with the first letter capitalized and the rest lower case. Have your little one first trace the letters with their finger and then have them write it out on a fresh sticker. They can have fun labeling teddy bears, little brothers, and drinking cups with the stickers. Working through the stack of stickers will provide plenty of opportunities for practice and having your child get up and label items around the house will keep them engaged and interested.

The Alpha Mat

The idea for the Alpha Mat came to us as a submission to our Idea Contest. The basic idea is that you hot glue the clear plastic sleeves down onto the tablecloth, making sure that they do not fuse themselves shut in the process! (Watch the video below for tips on how to do this and also to see how the mat can be used!) The pockets have to remain open so that you can change the cards in the pockets in and out. This increases the diversity of the learning tool so that you can use it to practice many different things.

The summer is a great time to make the mat or you could take the idea outside and draw it out using sidewalk chalk!

Here are some ways to use the Alpha Mat to increase your child's ability to identify letters and sounds:

- Call out a letter and have them jump to it.
- Make the letter sound and have you child move to the letter on the mat.
- Play musical letters. Play a song and have your child walk around until the music stops. When the music stops have them sing the letter song that corresponds to the letter they landed on.

Hide and Seek Letters

Help your child with letter and sound identification with this easy game that uses the Letters and Sounds material.

First work through all the songs on the Letters and Sounds DVD so that your child has a good understanding of what each letter looks like, what sound it makes and can preform the song with movements comfortably.

Then, write out the letters on post-it notes and hide them around the house. Have your child look for one letter at a time and bring it back to you. When they return have them say the letter name, make the letter sound, and sing the letter song.

Counting Creatures

Looking for a great workbook to help your child practice number formation, counting skills, and number recognition? Check out our Counting Creatures workbook! This is a great resource for learning at home because there are multiple activities all in one place that are easily explained by parents and provide a good challenge for little ones.

Ideas for how to use Counting Creatures at home:

- Work on writing the number that corresponds to the child's age and the ages of all of their siblings or cousins.
- Pick a number of the day and complete all the pages that highlight that number.
- Break out the special markers and let you child work through the hidden number pages.
- Work side by side with your child to read the number poems and then let them color the creature picture.
- Have fun with it! Workbooks are great to take along on long car rides, to appointments, or to siblings' sporting events.

Meal time is a great time for practicing numbers. Here are two ideas to use at snack time.

Snack Time Number Formation

Write out numbers 1 to 10 for your child, index cards work great. Have your child trace the number with their finger and say the name of the number. Then have them place berries, grapes, cereal bits, or even small dried beans on the lines of the drawn number. Have your child trace the number with their finger and say the name of the number again.

Cereal Count Up

This snack time activity that will help little ones understand number concepts. To start write out the numbers 1 to 10 and make a symbol that will serve as a place holder. For example the number 10 has 10 X's.

Have your child tell you the names of each number and count each place holder. Then have them place a piece of cereal on each X. When all the numbers are filled in, a chart is created showing the difference in value for each number.

Number Round Up

Get little ones moving with this fun number game! Start by singing through the Jumpin' Numbers 1 to 10.

Then head outside for some number practice!

Write numbers out on index cards or use the Jumpin' Number flashcards.

Place the number card inside a hula hoop or draw a circle on the sidewalk with chalk. Next sing and do the movements for the number found on the card. Then have your child gather as many small toys as the number on the card says too. Count them out loud as you work together to toss them into the hoop. Sing and do the movements for the number one final time.

Switch the card out and do it all again.

Beginning Sound Hunt

Help your child learn the beginning sounds of words by playing this fun letter hunt game.

Have your child gather 4 to 5 toys that all have the same beginning sound. Write the the names of the toys on index cards and read them together focusing on the beginning sound. Next match the cards to the toys and read them again. Now comes the fun part! hide the toys around the house and have your child find them and match the toys to the cards.

Note: we used capital letters on the cards pictured because we wanted to continue work on recognizing capital and lower case letters. The cards could just as easily be made using all lower case letters.

Looking for more learn at home ideas? Check out our previous Summer School at Home with Heidisongs: Getting Ready for Kindergarten posts for:

Week 1

Click here for Summer School at Home with HeidiSongs, Week 1!

Week 2

Click here for Summer School at Home with HeidiSongs, Week 2! 

Week 3

Click for Summer School at Home with HeidiSongs, Week 3!


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