As a mom, a teacher and a daycare provider I find it interesting to read up on pre kindergarten or kindergarten readiness skills. These skills are the things that a child should be able to do or should be working towards doing, as they are preparing to enter school. These skills cover many areas: social, emotional, math, reading readiness, writing readiness, gross motor and fine motor. There are many resources available online if you are also curious about what skills your child should work on to prepare for school. Click here to see my pintrest board on this topic. For a very detailed and comprehensive list you should check out this blog I can TEACH my child and their list of 71 things your child needs to know before kindergarten. Before you visit this link be warned that there are a ton of detailed skills here and the list may seem daunting at first. But as the writer says, they won’t be denied entry into kindergarten if they can’t do everything on the list and that school teachers are able to help them get up to speed. There is much to know about these skills and how you can help your child master them. Some people prefer to have their children attend a formal pre-school type environment with worksheets and school type “work.” Others prefer to teach their children in a more natural or hands on approach. I lean more towards the natural approach where the child gradually masters these skills through real life experiences though I agree that there is some benefit in exposing preschoolers to periods of time in a school like setting.
Here is one activity that blends both perspectives. The activity is intrinsically fun so kids naturally enjoy doing this therefore it doesn’t feel like work. But it’s also a sit down activity that has a pre determined end point (when the necklace is done) which gives the child experience with the idea of seeing a task through to the end.
This activity is also a great fine motor exercise. Fine motor skills involve using the small muscles in the hands to pick up small or delicate objects, to control their grasp and to manipulate objects with their fingers. Fine motor skills are needed for independence for things such as unbuttoning clothing, doing up zippers, tying shoes and opening packages. Being able to do things on their own provides a sense of self sufficiency but it is also quite important for school. Once your little one heads off to kindergarten they will be expected to undress and dress to use the washroom or change into their indoor / gym shoes. They will also need to be able to open all of their food items at lunch. But arguably even more importantly, fine motor skills are essential for writing or typing!
For this activity you will need
– Cheerios or fruit loops
– Optional dried apples
– Ribbon or string
– Twist tie to make a needle
How to make a cheerios necklace
Use a thick string or ribbon and tie on a cheerio to one end. On the other end tie a twist tie, bend the twist tie in half and twist it on itself to form a needle. The rest is up to the kiddos though you will probably have to model how to string a cheerio. From there just give them a bowl of cheerios and dried apples and let them go for it!
This activity will take between 10-20 minutes to complete and is an excellent practice for threading. Some kindergarten readiness checklists list being able to string 4 1/2″ beads in 2 minutes so this activity is a fun way to practice and for you to be able to assess their ability. The opening to the cheerio is small enough that it is a challenge to string onto the “needle” but large enough not to be frustrating. The cereal is also fragile so you have to be careful not to crush them giving a little extra challenge.
Besides being a fun thing to do J was excited to be able to eat his creation. For this snack to be an appropriate daycare snack, be sure to use whole grain cereal and add some apple slices for stringing to cover your minimum 2 food groups.