The Jackson 5 said it best. “ABC, it’s easy as 123.” Hopefully as a parent you know that there are a few things your child is expected to know by the time they start Kindergarten. The days are long with these kids. If you are at the point where you just do not want to turn on another show, want to interact one-on-one, or don’t have the energy to think up another creative activity or clean up one more mess of toys, now is the time to check out these five learning activities that are simple to do at home.
Letter Anchor Charts
The alphabet is the most fundamental part of your child’s early education. If you don’t teach them anything else, be sure to spend a good amount of time on the ABC’s. Without the proper understanding of the alphabet kids cannot read, write, or spell. All of which are required in school. By age two your child can most likely sing the alphabet. By age four they should be able to identify all the letters and their sounds. We know that your day is filled with errands, making meals, cleaning up messes and infinite loads of laundry, but with these letter charts everything is spelled out for you. No pun intended. These letter anchor charts are made by teachers and are designed to be interactive with your child. The learning model behind it ensures that your child will not only learn but retain all the letters of the alphabet and learn multiple familiar words associated with that letter. You can feel confident your child will be ahead of the learning curve and will have made lasting memories with you in the process.
In true Jackson form after ABC comes 1,2,3. This activity is meant to use supplies you probably have laying around your house. We will go over two suggestions in case you are missing a few items. For the first number matching game you will need a muffin tin, a paper and marker, scissors, and something to fill the tins with. Cut out circles that will fit in the bottom of the muffin tin and label them 1-12 or however high your child can count. You could use beans, craft poms, beads, or anything that is safe and appropriate for your child’s age. Have them match the number of i.e. beans to the number written in that spot. Another easy number matching activity uses clothespins and popsicle sticks. Place the popsicle sticks horizontally and label it 1-5, 5-10. Label the clothes pin with just one of the numbers on the stick and have them clamp the pin over the corresponding number.
DIY Musical Instruments
It is no secret that children learn well through music. With anything that you teach, if there is an associated song they will be much more likely to retain that information. Music is also fun for kids, and stimulates many of their senses. Musical instruments can be made out of everyday household items. The classic bowl and spoon could expose a future drummer in your family. An empty tissue box with a few rubber bands could spark an interest in guitar. An empty water bottle or a couple of plastic spoons filled with rice are a fun way to shake along to the beat. Rhythm and nursery rhymes are often used in early childhood education because they are proven effective.
Learning shapes helps with math and science curriculum and gives kids an opportunity to organize visual information. Regardless of what type of flooring your home has, you can pick up some painters tape for cheap if you don’t already have it around the house. You could make a few simple shapes like triangle, square or hexagon depending on your child’s age and learning level. Once you have completed the shapes you can have them stand on the shape you choose or have them try replicating the shape with their own tape.
You know you have a good learning activity when your child thinks it’s playtime. Colors are intriguing to children and can naturally be a lot of fun. You know all those tupperware that don’t have a single matching lid? Before you throw them in the trash, use them for some simple color sorting. If you don’t have something like buttons or balls laying around that naturally have color differentiation you can dye some rice or cotton balls. Another easy way to practice color around the house is finding something in one room and taking it to something of the same color in a different room. If it’s warm weather outside then color a few pieces of paper a solid color and take them outside to match in nature.