When Jenn was 14 months old, we started “tot school” where I introduced her to colors, shapes, numbers, and fascinating learning experiences. It deepened her understanding of how the world around her worked and fueled her ever-frowing curiosity.
With wide eyes and a few squeals of fear, she learned about suction from a vacuum cleaner.
With common household items, she explored what magnetism meant.
And through repetitive songs and reading, she learned her letters.
… all before the age of 3.
Then she started exploring how letters go together on the iPad.
She learned to add while sitting and waiting for food in restaurants.
And learned about money by going shopping with me and “doing business” along side me.
… all before she entered Kindergarten.
All of this only “cost” me about an hour or two each day and many times was a natural extension of day to day life.
Jenn: “Why is there a cone in the road?”
Me: “Because there’s a hole and it could pop a tire so it’s a warning”
Jenn: “But how do tires pop?”
Me: “Well they’re rubber and are filled with air. Just like a balloon, if a tired gets a hole, all the air comes out.”
All of these intentional steps and actions paid dividends for her confidence when she walked through the door of her Kindergarten class on the first day. And every parents can prepare their child for kindergarten, no matter if they work, stay home, or somewhere in between. And there are 3 big ways we can help our kids feel prepared.
How parents can prepare child for kindergarten
One of the greatest gifts we can give to our toddlers and preschoolers is the confidence to know that they can learn and will learn. Preparing them wth a growth mindset allows them to know any obstacle they face as they enter school is not a road block, rather it’s an opportunity to overcome.
Every parent can teach their toddler and preschooler skills needed for Kindergarten with just a few intentional activities each day or even each week. In fact, I have prepared my kids for kindergarten even without a formal preschool.
I don’t believe in a rigid or formal “prepare for kindergarten checklist”. This is because many parents get caught up in perfection and many kids get caught up in stress rather than getting a good boost of confidence before entering a structured classroom.
Play one board game per day
While there could be a huge long list of toys and games to prepare for kindergarten, I would focus on games. In fact, our family have gone on a toy purge to the point we’re choosing to keep board games over any and almost all toys.
Kids can learn so much from both age-appropriate games as well as by sitting in the laps of parents playing more advanced games.
How do games help toddlers and preschoolers learn?
- Cooperation & Teamwork
- Rule Following
- Basic strategy and critical thinking skills
- Learning Concepts like math without pressure
Start using Reading Eggs
I am thrilled to have partnered with Reading Eggs! They are a multi-award winning online learning program that helps teach children ages 2-13 how to read and develop their comprehension skills. (So it extends far beyond kindergarten).
What makes it worth it is that not only do they also offer math help as well, but overall, you can easily start using it with your toddler or preschooler and continue to use it throughout elementary school to supplement what they’re learning in school.
Which Reading Eggs is right for toddler and preschool age kids? And that is the difference between the programs?
- Reading Eggs Junior is the brand new early learning program for toddlers ages 2–4 that builds essential pre-reading skills.
- The regular Reading eggs program is helpful for children ages 3–7 to learn how to read by building phonics skills, sight word recognition, and more.
- Reading Eggspress has over 2500 e-books in the library and is available for 7–13 year olds to further develop their comprehension, vocabulary, spelling and grammar skills.
- Mathseeds is for children ages 3–9 learn and develop early numeracy skills in a fun and highly motivating way.
Why use Reading Eggs?
Other than the fact that both my 5 and 3 year old work and learn independently for at least an hour when they use the app, it has so many other benefits like have self-correcting learning moments.
In all, it’s something you can take with you on road trips, to doctor’s visits, or anywhere and is perfect to supplement learning in the times when you can’t work one-on-one with your child or even when you can.
How to register reading eggs and get 4 weeks free
Reading Eggs so graciously offered a 4 week free trial to my readers. It’s a whole month to see if it works for you. Just click this link to access with no credit card required or strings attached.
Complete one project per week
This is a great way for kids to learn how to apply what they have learned or are learning into a more abstract context. Beyond application, they are learning to use and familiarize themselves with tools they will be using in the classroom.
And when parents work side by side with their little kids to create projects, there is so much conversation and learning involved!
Why is this important for toddlers & preschoolers?
- Scissor skills
- Introduction to a supply box
- Vocabulary building
Get some extra encouragement before your child starts school.
Get the free printables that you see below. One for the parents and one for your children to help focus on the positives of heading to kindergarten and/or going back to school! They are high-resolutions downloads and beautiful printable affirmations.
Get an instant download in your inbox once you input your name in the subscription box below the photo. Plus, you’ll be signed up for our weekly newsletter to get more parenting resources.
More resources for parents of future kindergarteners
Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!