Part II: School Readiness Activities

The following activities are from the Minnesota Parent Center, MN PIRC, a project of PACER CENTER. The activities are fun, easy to do, and do not require any special materials. They were written for a parent/child relationship but work equally well for any early childhood situation.

Language and emergent literacy activities:
Emergent literacy is a gradual and natural process that happens within babies and children over a period of time. It is already there within the newborn infant, but needs the right conditions to develop and emerge. Literacy refers to the inter-relatedness of all language skills: speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing.

  1.  Start with the feet and working up to the head, ask your child to describe the clothing he/she is wearing. Ask questions about colors, shapes, textures etc. to describe clothing.
  2. Pretend that you and your child are at a restaurant. Ask him/her to tell you what they would like to eat. Take turns placing your orders. ** Next time you are in a restaurant, encourage and support your child as they give their own order!
  3. Go for a walk around the house. Identify things that are small, tall, heavy or light. Use directional words to describe where the item is located (next to, on top of, besides, under etc)
  4. Play a simple game of “I Spy”. Describe something in the house that you both can see. Ask your child to find what you are describing. Reverse the game and let your child describe something they see to you.
  5. Pretend your family pet or stuffed animal can talk. What would you like to ask it? Take turns pretending to be the animal and asking questions.

Math and counting activities:
Pre-math skills include counting, numbering, patterning, measuring, organizing, sequencing and ordering items. These skills help children make sense of the world around them

  1. Have your child count the number of plates, cups, napkins etc used when setting the table for your family. Help your child count the extra plates, cups and napkins needed when guests join you. (skill: counting and ordering)
  2. Count steps with your child as you go up and down stairs in your home and other places. (skill: counting and numbering)
  3. Collect three different piles of objects such as dried noodles, buttons, and milk caps; mix all the objects together in one big pile. Have your child separate the objects into three different piles. Put one item into a group to which it doesn’t belong, then have your child remove it. (skill: organizing and ordering items)
  4. Draw a simple pattern in a line with crayons or markers. Repeat the pattern beneath the first one, but leave out one or two pieces of the pattern. Ask your child to fill in the missing piece. (skill: patterning)
  5. Cut a string the height of your child. Compare the length to the height of other family members, friends, neighbors and objects around the house. Talk about who or what is the tallest, the shortest. (skill: sequencing and measuring)

The more language and math/counting ideas are integrated into everyday activities, the easier it is to become automatic for children.