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In the kitchen - activities to help your child get ready to start school.

These “ready for school” activities can be done in your everyday routine.
These “ready for school” activities can be done in your everyday routine

When it’s time for a child to go to school, there are lots of practical things to think about like uniform, the school run and after-school care. You can also help your child build important skills in readiness for school, helping them adjust to the new environment more easily.

Some of the activities you can do together at home offer learning opportunities which will help your child with the most typical school expectations – responsibility, reading, arithmetic and writing . These “ready for school” activities can be done in your everyday routine.

Children learn best when they are interested and motivated. Stop the activity when your child loses interest. You want your child to stay excited about these activities and wanting more.

In the kitchen

Responsibility Giving young children small responsibilities at mealtimes will lay the foundation for greater expectations, as they get older. Children also feel a greater sense of family when they are encouraged to help and work as a team.

Folding napkin: have your child place a napkin for each family member on the table. Encourage your child to fold the napkins in different ways (eg: a rectangle, triangle or even a fan) Variation: cut napkin rings from empty toilet rolls, show your child how to roll the napkins and insert them into the napkin rings.

We are learning: responsibility, eye-hand coordination, shapes, fractions, and accomplishment of a task.

Reading Children learn the majority of words by memorising sight words. They learn sight words such as “the”, “a”, “s”, through sight repetition. Children can follow simple directions in a recipe by reading the pictures accompanies by words.

Let’s cook: check out a children’s cookbook from the library or purchase pre-packaged baking mixes like cookies or pizza dough. Have your child “read” the recipe by looking at the pictures to tell you what ingredients you need and what you need to do. Variation: prepare your own recipe for sandwiches or salad. Have your child dictate the recipe and draw the pictures.

We are learning: word recognition, sequencing, teamwork, accomplishment of a task.

Arithmetic Children begin to understand the number “zero”, when they equate it with the familiar concept of “none”.

Eat to zero: give your child a few small pieces of food such as apple slices or Hula Hoops. Count with him/her how many pieces of food s/he has. Count again each time s/ he eats one. When s/he eats all the food, ask “how many are left?” Introduce the number “zero” for the words “all gone’” and “none”. Variation: ask your child how many bananas are in the fruit bowl (or some other common food) and then reinforce the concept of zero by asking, “how many dinosaurs are in the fruit bowl?”

We are learning: arithmetic, numbers, counting, zero.

Writing Children are more eager to write when they are given adult-type papers and forms. Children enjoy imitating adult work and jobs that require writing.

May I take your order? give your child a small spiral bound note book and pencil, ask him/her to take everyone’s drink order for dinner. Your child can scribble, draw a picture or symbol, or try to write the word. Variation: alternatively, make a small chart with boxes for your child to check with a tick, cross or number, for example, water, milk or juice.

We are learning: pre-writing, finger dexterity, memory, connecting spoken word with written word.

These activities are a sample of the advice offered to parents on the “Ready for School” family activity cards compiled by Bright Horizons Family Solutions’ Nursery Group.



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