Every year, a new group of kids will head to kindergarten, which can be both exciting and stressful! This kindergarten readiness checklist is designed to help you assess whether your little one has the skills he or she needs for the first day of school so you and your child feel more confident leading up to the big day. We’ve also included activities and games you can do at home with your child to expand his or her skill set prior to starting kindergarten.
What Skills Do Kids Need for Kindergarten?
There are several skills your child should master before entering kindergarten. They are all fairly basic, but each child learns at his or her own pace, so don’t be too concerned if they haven’t perfected each one just yet. Take a look at this kindergarten readiness checklist and assess where your child falls.
- Knows first name
- Can write first name
- Recognizes and can name basic shapes
- Recognizes and can name basic colors
- Can say or sing the alphabet
- Recognizes the letters of the alphabet, even when they are out of order
- Can count to 20
- Recognizes the numbers 1-10, even when they are out of order
- Can identify some letter sounds
- Can hold a pencil
- Has basic scissor skills
- Can follow simple directions
- Has bathroom independence (ability to pull pants up and down, wipe own bottom, wash hands, etc.)
- Has basic dressing skills (can put on own coat, shoes, etc.)
- Has good verbal and listening skills (speaks clearly and in sentences, listens to directions. etc.)
- Has basic social skills (can share, has basic manners, can hold a conversation, can express own feelings, etc.)
Other, more extensive kindergarten readiness checklist ideas drill down to specific fine and gross motor skills, and suggest that kids need to be able to zip zippers, tie their own shoes, throw a ball, and ride a tricycle before entering kindergarten. Our experience is that not all kids can do all of these things by the time they enter kindergarten, and that that’s perfectly okay. We prefer to stick to the basics, but strongly encourage you to expand your child’s knowledge and skills where possible.
What If My Child Hasn’t Mastered Certain Skills?
If you find that your child isn’t able to master all of the skills mentioned in the kindergarten readiness checklist above, don’t fret! Each child develops at his or her own pace, and a delay in certain skills isn’t cause for panic.
Your best course of action is to visit with your child’s preschool teacher if you’re concerned. They may have valuable information to help you decide what the next step should be. They can help you figure out if there is a specific reason your child may be struggling and offer tips and ideas to help you support your child at home. Talk to the school where your child will attend kindergarten as well. They will have tons of experience with this and will be able to offer advice and assistance.
Don’t give up easily either. If it’s still several months before the start of kindergarten, you can work with your child to develop these skills. Another thing to consider is your child’s birthday. Many parents decide to delay the start of kindergarten by a year – a process called ‘redshirting’ – so they can benefit from an additional year of preschool. There are many pros and cons to doing this, which you can read more about HERE.
11 Kindergarten Readiness Activities We Love
7 Activities We Do Every Day | Teaching Mama
In this article, she shows you seven different activities that she does with her child every day with the goal of getting a child ready for kindergarten in mind. Your child is going to be more willing to learn when you use amusing and exciting ways to help teach them. They will love their new independence, too.
Alphabet Knockdown | Toddler Approved
This takes learning to an entirely different level of fun! Not only will it help your child check things off his or her kindergarten readiness checklist, but it will also get your child laughing, exercising, and learning without even realizing it. Plus, you will be entertained too!
Simple & Big Connect the Dots Using Letters | Hands On As We Grow
When a child plays connect the dots they have to use critical thinking skills. These are some of the important skills needed for kindergarten. They develop their ability to predict what the end result is, too.
Simple Hands-On Activity for Teaching Shapes for Kids | Homeschool Preschool
Shape recognition can be a blast with this fantastic hands-on activity. Not only will your child become better at recognizing shapes, but he or she can also be creative. This activity will give your child practice following simple instructions as well.
Upper & Lower Case Matching Lacing Cards | Teach Me Mommy
Using lacing cards is a genius way to teach your preschooler about recognizing upper and lower case letters. They will use their critical thinking and fine motor skills in this activity as well.
Alphabet Hunt – Fun Way To Learn Beginning Sounds | Artsy Momma
Such a simple, creative learning tool! Kids learn better when they experience things hands-on and can actually see and touch things. I am certain your child is going to have a blast with this activity and will be well on their way to kindergarten as a result.
Feed the Shark Alphabet Game for Kids | Toddler Approved
This activity is wonderful! Your child can practice cutting, letter recognition, writing their letters, and colors. They will get to do all of this while having the best day ever. This one is so entertaining and a great way to help prepare your kiddo for kindergarten.
Go Outside: Shape Hopscotch | Creative Family Fun
Not all learning has to be done at the table. Take your child outdoors for some hands-on learning and entertainment. This activity focuses on shapes and colors.
Easy DIY Cereal Box Puzzles to Learn to Count | Hands On As We Grow
Puzzles are simply fun no matter how old you are. Your child is never too young to start learning the concept of puzzles and counting. This is a wonderful activity to get your preschooler ready for kindergarten.
Bugs Count And Clip Cards | Fluffy Tots
These count and clip cards are a blast for kids to play with. You can take them in the car, enjoy them while waiting in the doctor’s office, or use them when you’re hanging out at home. Your kids will learn so much too.
Rubber Duck Math Race | Happy Toddler Playtime
Counting will never be as fun as it is with this unique game! This will help your child knock things off his or her kindergarten readiness checklist in no time! The best part is that he or she will be learning and feel good about his or her success, too.
I hope this simple kindergarten readiness checklist, along with these super fun learning activities prove useful to you as you prepare your little one for his or her first day of school. Remember that your child may not have mastered all of the skills in this post by the time school starts. Every child develops at his or her own pace, and this is just a guideline. If you are concerned about your child’s development, speak with his or her preschool teacher and/or doctor.
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