written by: Stacey Crespo
• edited by: Donna Cosmato
• updated: 6/26/2014
Educational learning activities for preschoolers don't have to be boring; they can be fun and interactive projects that make learning fun. Try these easy but effective to help your children make a smooth transition into kindergarten by keeping their skills sharp during the summer break.
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Summer is the perfect time for young children to be curious learning investigators. Summer learning packets are an invaluable resource for both parents and pre-k children. Learning packets should include open-ended hands on activities that foster what children experienced in the classroom during the school year. The activities described in this packet may easily be adapted to meet the individual needs of children and only take a short amount of time to complete.
Hide alphabet flashcards around the living room. Call out letters for your child to hunt for. If your child needs a little help, print out a second set of the flashcards. Hold up one letter at a time so your child has a visual reminder of what the letter looks like that they are searching for. You may extend this activity one step further by asking your child to say the sound that each letter makes when each letter is found. The simple book about lost alphabet blocks, “The Letters Are Lost" written by Lisa Campbell Ernst goes very well with this activity.
Alphabet Memory Game
You will need two sets of the alphabet flashcards. Choose 8 to 10 letters you would like your child to work on. Pull those cards out of each deck. Place the cards face down. Take turns turning over two cards at a time. If the two cards match, then pick them up. If they do not match, simply turn them back over. Continue in this manner until all of the cards of been paired up with the respective match.
Children love to arrange alphabet cards in order from A to Z. Simply ask your child to line up the flashcards in order from A to Z. Again, some children may need a visual reminder; therefore, you may need a second set of flashcards in order from A to Z. Children simply match up the letters in order from A to Z according to the example set before them.
Shaving Cream Writing
Squirt a small amount of shaving cream on a table surface for your child to use to practice writing her name or alphabet letters. Provide the flashcards as a visual cue if necessary.
Read and discuss various books that interest your child. Use the printable provided in the link above for your child to illustrate their favorite part of the story. Take a dictation from your child as to what their favorite part of the story was and why it was their favorite part.
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Counting and Numeral Recognition
Give your child a paper plate to use as a work mat. You will also need a collection or set of objects of some kind. Jars of pennies or old buttons make for wonderful math manipulatives, and you most likely have these around the house. Print out the numeral cards below. Place one numeral card on the paper plate at a time. Have your child place the corresponding number of pieces from your collection to represent the numeral on the flashcard.
Numeral Memory Game
You will need two sets of numeral flashcards. Set this game up as you would for the Alphabet Memory Game described above. Choose 8 to 10 numeral cards for your child to work on. Pull these cards from both sets of flashcards. Place them face down. Take turns turning over two cards at a time. If the two cards match, then pick them up. If they do not match, simply turn them back over. Continue in this manner until all of the cards of been paired up with the respective match.
Modeling Clay Numerals
Give your child a ball of modeling clay. Encourage him to make snake numerals by rolling out the modeling clay to look like a snake. Shape the snake into various numerals. Your child may only need the flashcard as a visual cue to form the numeral. However, some children may actually need to place the modeling clay snake on the flashcard to form the numeral.
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Summer Learning Helps Transitions to Kindergarten
Throughout my classroom teaching experience, I have observed children choosing these types of activities again and again. Activities such as these are fun and motivating to children. It is important for early childhood educators to provide hands on summer learning packets to pre-k families in order for children to make a smooth transition into kindergarten.