What Your Preschooler Should Know Before They Start Kindergarten

We are about 3 weeks and counting till the new school semester starts.  That means lots of little ones will be venturing off to preschool for the first time. If you have a toddler about to hit the books you might be wondering what wonderful pearls of wisdom they can expect to learn over the next year or so.  Below is a list of the top 17 things your child should be learning in preschool.  These are the things they are now expected to know before they start kindergarten.

1. Naming colors: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, pink, brown, black, and white. My pediatrician actually suggesting practicing in the morning or at snack time by using colored cereal.  For the longest time my son called every color green.  Finally, one day it all clicked.

2. Counting to at least 10.  In my house we actually sing numbers. At night we sing 1 to 100. I know it sounds strange, but it works.

3. Recognizing  numbers in writing : 1 through 10. A fun way to assist them with learning what the  numbers look like  is a good old fashioned game of hopscotch. The added benefit is a little exercise. Oh, and let's not forget the pure enjoyment you get from watching them hop.  Toddler hops are super cute.

4. Counting Objects: 1 up to about 5. Stacking games are perfect for this.  You don't need anything special. Toddlers are content to stack anything.

5. Recognizing the difference between numbers and letters. Let your child help you dial the phone or punch in the numbers on the remote control.  This helps with number recognition.

6. Saying the ABC's. Sing the ABC's! The best part about this is that it's one children's song that doesn't tend to become an annoying ear worm.

7. Recognizing their own first name in print. Consider putting their name up in the house some where so they can see it everyday.

8. The sounds letters make. Leapfrog has a video called the Letter Factory. Talk about an ear worm. The whole family will be singing the songs from that video for weeks. If you think I am kidding you should check out the YouTube clip below.  This little guy is just one of several kids you will finding singing that catchy song.

YouTube Link

9. Recognizing upper case letters. You can make your own flashcards out of a stack of index cards or you can buy pre-made alphabet cards at pretty much any office supply store.

10. Recognizing lower case letters. Matching games that have you draw a line from the upper case letter to its corresponding lower case letter are available for free online.  Of course, you can always just make your own.

11. Recognizing shapes: circle, square, oval, triangle, crescent, rectangle. Play the name that shape game in the car. Objects everywhere are made up of shapes.

12. Holding a crayon or pencil correctly. Get out the art supply and let them doodle. This is skill that just requires practice, practice and more practice.

13. Writing upper case letters. Print out traceable letters. Just make sure they are pretty large  sized font.  Toddlers don't generally have the manual dexterity to trace things that are small.     

14. Writing lower case letters. Lower case letters are a lot harder for kids to master.

15. Writing their first name. Get them into the habit of signing their artwork. At first you will have to help them write their name, but after a while they will master the task and start to write their name on their own.

16. Using scissors. Cutting with scissors requires a lot of hand strength and little hands need lots of practice to master this skill.  My daughter's preschool teacher taught me a great trick for this one.  Let them help cut coupons.  Coupons generally have little lines to follow. This worked like a charm for me. Plus, let's face it kids at this age love helping out Mom and Dad.

17. Listening to a story being read aloud. They say you  should read to your child for at  least 20 minutes a day.  Twenty minutes may seem like nothing, but it's funny how life with a toddler can steal time from you.  One minute it's lunch time the next minute you are shuffling everyone off to bed.  The best way to make sure you read for 20 minutes every day is to just schedule it in and make it as much a priority as brushing their teeth.     

Now that you have successfully gone through all 17 things I say it's time for a nap.

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