GR4K’s Daily Kindergarten Readiness Tips:

Today’s GR4K Kindergarten Readiness Tip is:

11/11/2018: Family Focus Day! Read a book together as a family. Follow a character through the story. Your child will need help doing this until she/he gets used to looking at a story as pieces instead of a whole. If your child is not ready to do this, no worries. Help them see the character’s journey through the story, let’s go back to the “Three Bears”. Baby Bear’s porridge is way too hot, so to keep him occupied while it cools, the Bear parents decide to take Baby Bear for a walk to distract him. “What do you think Baby Bear sees during his walk in the woods?”  Then the family returns and Baby Bear … Follow the action through the pictures.

11/10/2018: Family Focus Day! Do you have leaves in your yard? Work together as a family to get them raked up, then take turns jumping in the piles! The trick is to get all the leaves you don’t need for the jumping pile into bags first, then use what’s left for jumping. Just be sure to get the help before you give the reward!

11/9/2018: Play “Who is this?” with your child about family members and friends.

Here’s what this could look like:

  • Get out some family and friend pictures and sit together as a family. Pick a picture and ask your children  if they know who it is.
  • Pick pictures of houses if your child as been to the house. Special memory? Show your child the picture and ask who it is, what you’re doing, what do they remember?
  • You can  also do this with pictures on a cell  phone. Holidays are a good time to do this family connection  activity.

11/8/2018: Work with your child on position words today. Start with up and down, over and under.

11/7/2018: Encourage your child to read the labels on food they eat today.

Here’s what this could look like:

  • Are they drinking orange juice? Point to the label on the bottle and name it as orange juice. Talk about orange juice being orange. What else can your child think of that is orange? Is there a picture of an orange on the juice bottle label? Point to it and tell your child it is an orange or orange tree.
  • Cereal for breakfast? Name the cereal and point to the label on the box. Ask your child which box the shredded wheat or wheat chex or cheerios comes in. When the box is empty, cut out the label and keep it in a bag in the kitchen for kitchen table reading practice.

11/6/2018: Review numbers and numerals 1- 5.

Here’s what this could look like:

  • Download the numeral cards on our website:
  • Review numbers 1-5 with your child. Count to 5 as you lay down the number cards in order. Now have your child point to the card while you count. Have your child point to the number while counting out loud.
  • Lay the 5 cards upside down on the table. Have 5 each of 3 different items to work with, like blocks, toy cars, stuffed animals, cans of soup. Turn over a card. Have your child name it, then show you that many of one of the items. Turn over a different card and have your child name the number, then show you that many of a different item. Take turns going back and forth. Your child is getting practice with the number by checking your work as well as by doing it themselves.

11/5/2018: Ask your child “What is your favorite ___?” Then ask them to tell you why. Encouraging your preschooler to talk  about their thoughts and feelings and ideas.

Here’s what this could look like:

  • An easy way to start this practice (which we hope will continue  for the rest of their life)  is to ask about a favorite something – fruit? ice cream flavor? stuffed animal? video game?
  • Then ask them why it’s their favorite.
  • What makes it better than another?
  • Why they like red apples more than green apples is an easy and unemotional topic to get them started.

11/4/2018: Family Focus Day! Read a book together as a family. Work with your child on following the story; you can do this with a preschooler in several different ways . You can  follow the action in the pictures, you can follow a character, or you can follow the story as a whole.

What does this look like in “The Three Bears”? Let’s  look at it:

  • Read the story once to enjoy the story itself.
  • Now go back and tell the story of the bears through the  pictures. “Once upon a time, a bear family decided to go for a walk before breakfast while their porridge cooled. (while you skip through the pictures of Goldy rifling their house) And as they walk through the woods, they are doing “bear stuff” like gathering berries to put on top of their porridge. And when they have enough berries for their porridge, they come back home and notice that the front door is open so they go inside very carefully. And they see that… “some one was tasting our porridge …”
  • Or you can tell the story of Goldilocks whose parents let her wander around in the woods by herself and have not warned her about going in strange houses and how someones food belongs to them, but that’s a topic for another day!

11/3/2018: Family Focus Day! Make breakfast together as a family! One person could set the table. or fix fruit, or make toast. When my granddaughter’s make pancakes with their grandfather, one is the “dry” girl and she measures and sifts all the dry ingredients. The other is the “wet” girl and she breaks the eggs and measures the buttermilk and whips those ingredients together. Then they both help mix the wet and dry together!

11/2/2018: Work on following a story line when you read with your child. It’s an important part of reading comprehension and is easy to teach if you start directing your child’s attention to following the story now.

Here’s what this could look like in the story “The Three Bears”:

  • Read this story once to enjoy the surprise of what happens next
  • Then go back and reread at least twice. Once to follow the character of Goldilocks and once to follow the three bears. They have very different experiences in this story.
  • When you start with a simple story at a young age and you follow the different story lines in a book, it helps your child realize (over time) that there are many different ways of looking at the same thing and that different people look at the same thing differently. We are led to follow Goldy through this story by the storyteller, but the bear’s story is just as interesting and important. Help your child  see more than one view of the books you read to them.

11/1/2018: Welcome to the craziest day of the year for classroom teachers all over America! Classrooms of children who ate too much Halloween candy last night find it very difficult to focus on learning today. If your children were trick or treating last night, dump the candy out on the table and turn it into Math materials! Your child can sort that candy in so many  ways: by color of the package, bars or not bars, by size, one piece inside the packet or many pieces inside, etc. Your child can make A/B patterns by  size and color. Your child can probably “read” the more traditional kinds of candy labels! Sort by kind and see which one is most popular in  your neighborhood. You  could even sort by Mom’s favorites, Dad’s favorites, Uncle  Vernon’s favorites. You could face time a family member and share your Halloween candy math work. And now that we’ve turned all that sugar into Math materials, you  can feel good about  putting it in the freezer until you all forget it’s there!

10/31/2018: Building our children’s social skills is an important part of helping them make friends and learning how to work with others. We can get our children moving in the right directions by encouraging them to be polite in social settings. Trick or Treat is a good place to practice! Teach them to say “thank you” when they get a treat and you can think of trick or treating as a “learning practice lab” and not just a sugar grab!

10/30/2018: Look for circles and squares today! Name them when you find them.

Here’s what that could look like:

  • Waking up time? What shape is the window? Bed? Rug? Your child’s head as you brush hair? Teeth? Rinse cup?
  • Breakfast time? What shape is the cereal  bowl or plate? Waffles? Toast? Cereal? Milk or juice cup?
  • In the car? What shape are the tires? Steering wheel? Seat belt latch? Street signs? Buildings you pass?
  • And as you go through the day, you’ll be surprised how many times you come across shapes in your life. Geometry was useful!

10/29/2018: Encourage your child to explain their thoughts and feelings. This adds the word why to your conversations. Which  is  your favorite stuffed animal? Why? What’s your favorite color? Why? Keep the questions simple and unemotional. This is all part of building a base for talking about EVERYTHING! And we start with simple, easy to talk about stuff, like toys and vegetables.

10/28/2018: Family Focus Day! Read a book together as a family. Find a “silly” place to do that: under the kitchen table? in the tub? in a tree? in a pile of Fall leaves? what other silly reading spots can you think of?

10/27/2018: Family Focus Day! Take a Family Fun Trip to a Pumpkin Farm! Get a pumpkin to carve or cut open and examine. (Small pumpkins are adorable, but they are usually sugar pumpkins and are grown for baking not for seeds and carving.) Roast the seeds for a snack! Use salt or cinnamon sugar to flavor the seeds!

10/26/2018: Have your  child  sort toys  by shape and color. Encourage them to name the shape and color.

10/25/2018: Encourage your child to “read” food labels at the grocery store.

Here’s what that could look like:

  • Ask them to find their favorite breakfast cereal. Then ask them to “read” the name to you.
  • Is there a sign above the apples? Tell them it says “apples” and point to it.
  • When you pull in  the parking lot, ask your child where you are. Ask how they know that. Point to the sign,

10/24/2018: Show your child a 2  color pattern (red/green/red/green) of blocks (or apples) and ask them to copy it.

Here’s what that could look like:

  • Do you have Halloween candy  to give out? Use some of it to build a/b patterns.
  • Is your  child setting the table for supper?  (Your 3 or 4 year old should be.) Have them build ana/bpattern with the silverware.
  • Making veggies and dip for lunch? Arrange it in an a/b pattern like carrot/celery/carrot/celery and ask  your child to tell you about it.

10/23/2018: Look at your calendar every morning with your child to draw attention to how we use them.

Here’s what that could look like:

  • “Let’s see what we have on the calendar for today. Where’s today? Here it is. We have the dentist at 2:00. So we need  to walk the dog this morning.” or “We’ll drop off our library books on the way to the dentist.”
  • “Grandma’s birthday is next week, here’s today and here’s grandma’s birthday. Let’s make her  a card.”

10/22/2018: Look for 5 of different things today. Count and label them as “5 ___”.

Here’s what that could look like:

  • look for signs of fall and find 5 orange leaves, 5 acorns, 5 sticks
  • sort laundry together and find 5  socks, 5 shirts, 5 towels
  • when eating cereal for breakfast find 5 of each kind you have, then compare them for size, shape,and color. If you have oatmeal, take out 5 flakes and add them to the comparison.

10/21/2018: Family Focus Day! Read a book together as a family. Focus on building vocabulary from the pictures.

10/20/2018: Family Focus Day! Take a family bike ride. Don’t forget water and a snack.

10/19/2018: Go to the library and get new books for the weekend! Look for pumpkin books!

10/18/2018: Look for squares and name them with your child. How many can you find in just your kitchen?

10/17/2018: Read a book with your child today and talk about what the characters are thinking or feeling.

10/16/2018: Look for 3 of different things today. Count them and label them as “3 ___”.

10/15/2018: Look for triangles today. Label them as triangles for your child. “That sign is a triangle shape.”

10/14/2018: Family Focus Day! Read a book together as a family and focus on what the characters do in the story. Read through the book first to enjoy the story. Now go back and look at the pictures; find the character you are going to follow through the story. What are they doing on the first page? Now, move to the second page and so on. When you read  this story tomorrow (Yes, tomorrow. Reading the same story over and over is important to your child’s future reading comprehension.), focus on another character.

10/13/2018: Family Focus Day! Go for a walk together and look for signs of Fall!

 Here’s what that could look like:

  • Start in your own yard! Look down, look out, look up! What do you see?
  • Move down the street and repeat…
  • Move to the park and repeat…

10/12/2018: Look for circles. Name them as circles.

10/11/2018: Look for 4 of different things today. Count them.

10/10/2018: Point out labels on boxes and familiar signs to your child.

10/9/2018: Today, we’re working on social skills and our skill is: taking turns, politely and independently (eventually).

So what does this look like?

  • Try out story hour at your local library. They will often let parents sit in the circle on the floor with their children and that give you excellent access to their ear to whisper hints and encouragement.
  • A playground with a teeter totter and one other child is such a good place to work on this! Both children are engaged and using the teeter totter, but they “take turns” being up or down. This is a verbal exercise for parents, “now it’s YOUR TURN to be up, now its MARC’S TURN to be up”. Very un-threatening.
  • Play a simple board game as a family.
  • Be patient. Sharing is not easy. Many adults still can’t share politely.

10/8/2018: Set up a reading shelf or bookcase for your child to keep their books on. Teach your child to put books away when finished with them.

10/7/2018: Family Focus Day! Read a book together as a family and focus on the way the characters act! How do they treat each other? Find a picture that shows how a character acts and talk about it with your child.

10/6/2018: Family Focus Day! Make breakfast together as a family!

Clean-up is a full family activity, too! Here’s what that looks like:

  • Take some time to think of all the tasks that need to be done to cleanup the kitchen after making a special weekend breakfast together. (This is a before the event activity, so spend a little time and think this one out carefully.)
  • Once you have the tasks figured out, write each one on a separate card.
  • Find a nice container for the task cards so you can use them each time you make a special family meal together.
  • Everyone picks out a card and that is the task they are accountable for before anything else happens.
  • Start building the idea that prep work and clean-up are all part of eating a meal. No one’s food appears on the table by magic! (If you have trouble getting this idea across in your family, read “The Little Red Hen” together and talk about who the hen is in your family and what the family can do about that.)

10/5/2018: Stop at the library and pick up new books for the weekend!

10/4/2018: Review the numbers 1, 2, and 3 from last month. Find lots of things to count today!

10/3/2018: Find orange things and name them as orange ___.

10/2/2018: Show your child a circle. Look for circles all day today and name them as circles.

10/1/2018: Follow print from left to right when reading to your child today.

So what does this look like?

  • run your finger under the words when you read one page out of each book
  • track the last line on the left hand page to the first word on the right hand page with your finger for one page in each book, also
  • don’t draw attention to doing it, you’re just laying the groundwork for later reading instruction

9/30/2018: Family Focus Day! Read a book together as a family and focus on the setting!

9/29/2018: Family Focus Day! Ride bicycles together. Take apples and nuts for snack. Look for squirrels carrying nuts in their mouths!

9/28/2018: Show your child that paper money and coins are different.

So what does this look like?

  • What’s in your pocket or change purse? Show it to your child, let them examine the coins. Ask them what they observe or see when looking at them. Take out a paper bill and add that to the money pile. Ask your child what’s different about the bill.
  • Maybe they would like to sort the different kinds of money some way: paper/coins, round/rectangle, brown/silver/green.
  • When you get change at the store, show it to your child. ask them what they notice about the change. That’s it for now, just noticing that not all money is the same.

9/27/2018: Work with numbers 1-3. Look for things that are green and name them.

So what does this look like?

  • Start with breakfast: Can you combine numbers 1-3 and green? Can you have 2 pieces of green apple or kiwi fruit for breakfast? Pick 3 green Fruit Loops out of the box? You could have green eggs and ham in September!
  • Go for a walk: Grass, leaves, evergreens, houses, cars – all green
  • Count clouds that look like dogs while lying on the grass or a blanket or a slide – 1, 2, 3

9/26/2018: Celebrate Johnny Appleseed’s Birthday!

So what does this look like?

  • cut open an apple and look carefully at all the different parts
  • wear a saucepan on your head and walk around barefoot
  • make an apple recipe and share with someone you love

9/25/2018: Find 1, 2, or 3 of lots of things around the house. Count them all!

So what does this look like?

  • getting dressed – pick from 1, 2, or 3 shirts if you have time this morning
  • how many toothbrushes in your bathroom?
  • How many cereal bowls at breakfast? bananas? Waffles? Count 1, 2, or 3!
  • How many cars in your driveway or parking spot?
  • How many backpacks by the door? Books before bed? Apples for snack?

9/24/2018: Practice turning the pages of a book one page at a time, back to front.

So, why is this helpful? Something as simple as turning pages one at a time while you are reading shows your child that when you read, you are careful when you turn the pages showing respect for the book, that you read every page because you find value on every page of the story, and that the story flows front to back in the book. Everything you do as a parent is important to your child just because it’s you doing it!

Keep looking for those signs of Fall!

9/23/2018: Family Focus Day! Read a book together as a family and focus on the action!

9/22/2018: Family Focus Day!

Take a family walk to look for signs of Fall arriving tonight!

So what does this look like?

  • squirrels with food in their mouths running back to their nests
  • leaves starting to change color
  • changes in the sky color and clouds
  • high school football games
  • pumpkins on porches or balconies
  • go pick apples if you have time today!


9/21/2018: Work with the number 3. Show your child what it looks like, say its name, show your child 3 of something,ask them to do the same.

So what does this look like?

  • take 3 cheerios out of the box at breakfast
  • teach your child to fold 3 washcloths and put them away
  • have your child pick up 3 toys at a time for clean-up
  • cut lunch time sandwiches in 3 pieces
  • put 3 meatballs on a plate of spaghetti for dinner

9/20/2018: Find one or two of lots of things around the house. Count each time.

So what does this look like?

  1. Breakfast: 2 boxes of cereal? 2 cheerios? 2 chairs? 1 cup of coffee? The best examples are the simplest, every day things that are part of your life routine.36496129 - action portrait of shouting african kids playing on swing in neighborhood.out of focus houses in background.
  2. Getting dressed for the day: 1 toothbrush? 1 hairbrush or comb? 2 hair ties? 1 sink, 1 bathtub, 1 shower, 2 faucets? 1 dresser or closet? 2 shirts to choose from? you can count forever!
  3. At the park? In the car? Preschool drop off? so many places and so many  ideas. Encourage your child to count things, also. If the items are small, have them touch each one as they count.

9/19/2018: Look at and name book covers. Look for and name “yellow things”

So what does this look like?

1. When you settle down to read with your child, point to the book’s cover and say “this is the book cover”. Then point to the title and say, “this is the title, the title of this book is _______. The title is on the book cover.” That’s it! Just draw attention to the book cover. We’ll go deeper into the cover later on this year.

2. 20170603_143439Work on yellow today! Try and have a yellow food or encourage your child to wear yellow clothes, you could wear yellow, also. Point out yellow cars or flowers or leaves. There are yellow apples and squash and bananas at the  grocery. Yellow lines in the road, yellow traffic lights, yellow warning signs. Point out the yellow school zone signs and tell your child they help keep children safe while walking to school. Look for a big, yellow school bus!



9/18/2018: Work with the numbers 1 and 2. Show how they look, say their name, say “show me 2 (or 1) ___”

So what does this look like?

1. Download and print the number cards under resources if you don’t have a set of cards to work with at your home. Here’s the link:

2. Grab a couple pairs of different items from around the house: 2 spoons, 2 shoes, 2 books, 2 Barbie shoes, 2 action figures, whatever you find will work. Picture3

3. First, do this like an experienced early childhood teacher and give your child a few minutes to play with the stuff you collected. They want to play with the math materials because that is what kids do; the trick is in figuring out the sweet spot of when they are ready to stop playing and start learning. One clue is they will start to line things up  or sort it somehow. If you don’t see any interest in moving on to work time, give them a 2 minute warning and then stick to it.

4. Show your child a number card, say the name of the number, ask your child to show you that number of one of the items you collected. Change numbers or items and do it again. Continue with this activity for about 3 minutes. Clean up and move on!

9/17/2018: Use words to express thoughts, ideas, feelings. Encourage your child to do it, too.

So what does this look like?

  1. Talk about everything! Simple directions, like: “It’s time to go potty.” Can be turned into a word experience by naming things involved in using the bathroom. “Time to go potty, let’s head down the hall towards the bathroom.” “First we pull the step stool over to the toilet. Then we lift the lid…” Talk about washing hands, using soap, rinsing, faucet, sink, drain, towel color, etc. Remember, your child needs to hear around 8,000 words per day to be developing along expected guidelines for language readiness in kindergarten. 8756601_s
  2.  At breakfast, talk about what they are eating. Are they eating a scrambled egg? Talk about eggs, how we get them from hens, how hens live on farms, how we buy eggs in boxes at  the store. Are they eating a pancake? Talk about how it’s round, or brown, or hot, or “swimming in syrup” – how can a pancake swim? Does your child like to swim? What would it be like to swim in syrup? Where do they like to swim? Beach? Pool? What are some swim safety rules to always remember? Why do we have lifeguards? Does a pancake need a lifeguard if it is swimming in syrup?
  3. When something happens that makes your child happy, talk about it. How does it feel to be happy? What makes us happy? How can they make someone else happy? We often focus on what makes a child feel sad or bad, but seldom focus in on what makes them feel wonderful inside. Let’s change that! How many of those 8,000 words a day can be happy ones?