The series of posts I’m doing on this subject matter are expanded from an article I found called 10 Kindergarten Readiness Skills Your Child Needs from 2013. Despite the article being older, the areas it covers are still basic areas of study and behavior that should be paid attention to.
My Credentials (reprinted from my original post):
Let me state up front that I am not a kindergarten teacher nor any other grade teacher. I have a BA in English from Sonoma State University in California and started my teaching credential years ago before my career path took me away from school and into the working world.
My expertise on the subject of kindergarten (and the other lower grades) comes from over four years of volunteering in a kindergarten class at my kids school. I also have seen the end result of kindergarten by volunteering in a first grade class for almost three years before COVID shut down in person schooling in our area.
I wasn’t the typical volunteer. As soon as my children started school, I was in the classroom five days a week splitting between kindergarten and the upper grades as needed. I’ve been put in charge of tech education for kindergarten and have run multi levels of reading groups in first grade. I also worked on reading fluency with emerging readers and became known as the parent to rely on when given an educational task to accomplish in the classroom.
The two teachers I worked with most were seasoned professionals. My mentors were wonderful women who made teaching their life.
- The kindergarten teacher was one of the original teachers at our school which was founded in 1995. She transferred over from another school and while kindergarten is her niche, she also had taught grades higher up into elementary school.
- The first grade teacher I worked with had been teaching longer than I’ve been alive. She knew what kids needed to have in first grade and was great at evaluating how successful a kindergarten year was for a kid within the first few weeks of school in her class.
I might not be considered an expert because I don’t have a degree. I do believe my time in the classroom as well as being a mother myself helps me give a balanced view of things that will help your child succeed in kindergarten.
Area 6: Fine Motor Skills
Setting the Foundation for Kindergarten Success
Entering kindergarten is an exciting milestone in a child’s life. It’s a time of new adventures, friendships, and of course, learning! One crucial aspect of a child’s development that should never be overlooked is fine motor skills. These skills play a pivotal role in a child’s ability to perform everyday tasks, from zipping up a jacket to holding a pencil correctly. In this blog post, we’ll explore some fun and effective ways to nurture and enhance fine motor skills, ensuring your little one starts kindergarten with confidence.
1. Playdough Palooza
Playdough is a fantastic tool for fine motor development. It allows children to squeeze, pinch, and roll, all of which help strengthen the muscles in their hands and fingers. Provide a variety of shapes, tools, and even cookie cutters for added creativity. Not only is playdough a tactile delight, but it also encourages imaginative play.
2. Stringing Beads
Stringing beads is a wonderful activity for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Use large, colorful beads and a shoelace or string with a knot at one end. Your child will have a blast creating their own jewelry or designs, all while refining their dexterity.
3. Scissor Skills
Invest in a pair of child-friendly safety scissors and let the cutting commence! Start with simple shapes and progress to more intricate patterns. This activity enhances hand strength and control, setting the stage for improved writing abilities.
4. Pincer Grasp Practice
Encourage the pincer grasp—the ability to pick up small objects with the thumb and index finger—by providing opportunities for pinching and gripping. Activities like picking up small beads, using tweezers, or even playing with clothespins can help refine this crucial skill.
5. Coloring and Drawing
Provide an array of coloring tools like crayons, markers, and colored pencils. These require varying levels of pressure, which aids in refining a child’s control over their fine motor movements. Encourage coloring inside the lines and gradually introduce more intricate coloring pages.
6. Building with Blocks
Building with blocks not only sparks creativity but also hones fine motor skills. Picking up and placing blocks precisely helps develop hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and muscle control.
7. Finger Painting Fun
Finger painting is a delightful way to engage fine motor skills. The squishing, smearing, and swirling motions involved are excellent for building hand strength and coordination. Plus, it’s an incredibly enjoyable sensory experience!
8. Threading Practice
Threading activities, like lacing cards or beads onto a string, are superb for fine motor development. They require careful hand-eye coordination and precise movements, which are essential skills for tasks like buttoning clothes and tying shoelaces.
9. Cooking Together
Simple cooking tasks like stirring, pouring, and kneading dough provide excellent opportunities to develop fine motor skills. Not only is it a valuable learning experience, but it’s also a fun bonding activity for you and your child.
10. Outdoor Adventures
Encourage outdoor play, which naturally supports fine motor development. Activities like digging in the sand, picking up small rocks or sticks, and climbing on playground equipment all contribute to building strength and coordination.
Remember, every child develops at their own pace, so be patient and celebrate their progress, no matter how small. By incorporating these activities into your child’s routine, you’ll be setting the stage for a successful and enjoyable kindergarten experience.
Here’s to a year full of growth, learning, and lots of fine motor fun in kindergarten!
Find more great kindergarten educational videos on my YouTube playlist: Kindergarten Skills Videos