When you are planning an outing with your child, encourage your child to talk about it before, during and after.
Encourage your child to “write” by providing large sheets of paper and crayons or pencils to practice.
Ordering and sequencing in daily routines prepares your child for addition and subtraction.
Point out and encourage your child to compare different sizes.
Track your child’s daily accomplishments—you will both cherish them later.
Help your child understand social skills by talking about feelings together.
When it's time to pickup his toys, encourage your child to create a toy display.
Putting away groceries can be an opportunity for your child to learn sorting and classification.
Opportunities to learn how to sort and classify are all around your house.
Ask your child to sort his toys into different groups.
Help your child develop autonomy and sense of self.
Making her own simple meals or snacks makes your child feel responsible and accomplished.
Supermarkets are full of learning games to play with your child.
Help your child to sharpen her memory skills on your next trip to the supermarket.
Sharpen your child's memory with this anytime, anywhere game that can be played daily.
Show your child that you value his creativity.
Use your child’s love of music to play the classic guessing game.
Help your child express himself through dance.
Discover how your child sees you.
Send your your preschooler a secret messages that only he can reveal.
Help your child learn to write by filling a spray bottle with water and letting him loose! (In the backyard, of course.)
Let your child practice cutting with scissors by cutting play dough.
Give your child lots of opportunities to color, draw and scribble. These activities help coordinate the muscles of the hand to hold a pencil, which is essential for learning to write.
Let your preschooler have plenty of opportunities to squeeze glue.
Supply your preschooler with crayons instead of markers in order to develop hand strength as she draws.
When reading stories or watching TV, talk to your child about the emotions of the characters.
Invite your child to give you the details of his day.
Ask questions that require your child to give more than a yes or no response.
When you read aloud to your child, ask him to name and describe objects and characters that appear in the illustrations.
Ask your child to tell you a story, then ask questions that help your child keep the story going and add details.
Spark your child’s imagination and interest in reading and creative writing.
Shape cookie dough into the letters of the alphabet to give your child practice forming letters.
Test your child by asking her to tell you which of two names sounds longer.
Help your child learn the letters in her name by playing I Spy.
Teach your child letter sounds by helping him come up with words that begin with the same sound as the first letter in his name.
Clap out the syllables of your child’s name, then the names of people your child knows.
Challenge your child to name the beginning sounds of objects around her.
At the grocery store, search for items that begin with a particular sound.
Plan a picnic with your child by thinking of items that begin with the same sound.
Concentrate on the letter H while teaching the parts of the body.
Look for animals at the zoo that begin with a particular letter.
Wherever you and your child go, find ten things that can be tasted and begin with the letter T.
Rhyme is a fun way to reinforce letter-sound associations.
Pick a letter of the day and look for it everywhere.
Have your child complete a list of words that begin with the same sound.
Teach your child simple rhymes to say along with you.
Play this game with your child to create simple rhymes together.
Show your child how rhythm and rhyme can be good memorization tools.
Challenge your child to discover how many ways she can use or identify the assigned letter of the day.
Cooking together is a great opportunity to teach your child new words.
When at a store, teach your child the names of new things.
At different points in a story you read aloud, ask your child to recount what’s happened so far.
Discuss story characters and their actions to help your child comprehend and interpret what has just been heard.
Help your child learn to print his first name.
Set up an area for your child to practice writing the alphabet.
Stretch your child's vocabulary and his acquaintance with colors using a simple box of crayons.
Persuade a reluctant bather by adding an element of fun to bath time.
Raise a reader by providing a home that is rich with books and print.
Does your prereader pretend to read her own books? If so, keep it up!
Draw dots for your child to connect to write his name.
Introduce your preschooler to the world of books and you'll inspire a lifelong love of learning.
Educational, or sexist? Do fairy tales have a place in our modern world?
Break words down into their phonemes, or individual sounds, to develop phonemic awareness.
When reading to your child, state the name of the author and illustrator.
Find a common sight word in a book you are reading with your child and hunt for it on other pages.
Help your child learn to identify numbers.
Look for numbers everywhere you go.
Make counting to 10 part of your child's everyday routine.
Begin a number sequence. Can your child provide the next three numbers?
Use read aloud time as an opportunity to develop mathematical literacy.
This easy chore helps establish early number sense and one-to-one correspondence.
Constancy is one of the more difficult math concepts for your child to grasp.
Ask your child to take inventory of the pantry and help create a shopping list to help him learn how to sort and classify.
Mother Goose and other collections of nursery rhymes are rich resources for math literacy.
Your child can practice number recognition on a shopping trip.
Challenge your child’s number sense by embarking on a number safari.
Use snack time as an opportunity for your child to practice early math skills.
Help your child recognize and name basic shapes.
Help your child expand the number of different shapes he can name.
Give your child practice forming and identifying different shapes.
Help your child develop their sense of volume, space and quantity.
Point out noticeable size differences to your child.
Help your child understand that a numeral can represent a number of objects.
Use unconventional tools to measure things around the house.
Incorporating counting into your daily routines will help strengthen preschool number learning.
Ask your child to read the numbers on a digital clock and say the time back to him.
Teach your child the parts of the body on different animals.
Introduce a new perspective on vegetables that makes them seem like an earned treat.
Use frozen peas to cool down hot soups and add nutrition.
Take a trip into your garden to reinforce the science skills your child is learning in preschool.
Make the question, “What do you think would happen if…” part of your daily conversations with your child.
Your curious preschooler finds learning fun. It's important for parents to nurture this love for learning now, while attitudes toward learning are being formed.
Many preschool teachers agree that a child's preschool readiness depends more on her individual personality and temperament—a combination of mental, physical and emotional traits—than her so-called "academic" abilities. Even so, our developmental checklist can help you and your child get ready for this big step.
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