Preparing preschoolers for their first day of school is an exciting and important milestone. As parents and caregivers, we want to ensure that our little ones are ready for this new chapter in their lives. In addition to academic readiness, it’s crucial to foster their social, emotional, and practical skills. In this blog post, we will explore ten fun activities that will help make preschoolers school-ready. From learning to ride a bike to practicing writing their own name, these activities are engaging and will set them up for success.
Practice Writing Their Own Name
Writing their own name is an essential skill that preschoolers can practice before starting school. Provide them with writing materials such as markers, pencils, or crayons and encourage them to write their name on a regular basis. Start with tracing and gradually transition to writing independently. This activity not only improves their fine motor skills but also boosts their self-esteem as they see their name come to life on paper. Check on your local educational system (as the preschool staff) to see if your area starts with capital letters or lower case letters.. so your child can slot right in when they start school!
Shop for a Lunchbox or WaterBottle
Depending on whether your child will eat school lunches or take a lunchbox with them.. go shopping for either a lunchbox or a new waterbottle. Engage your preschooler in the process of choosing their own brand new lunchbox/ waterbottle. Take them on a shopping trip and let them explore different designs and options. This will get them excited about the new start and they will have something familiar with them on the big day!
Discuss with them what the new day will look like and what they will eat. If they will be taking in a lunch box, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss the importance of healthy eating and involve them in selecting nutritious snacks and meals to pack in their lunchbox. This activity not only empowers them but also encourages responsibility and ownership of their daily routine. If they will eat school dinners, talk to them about what the school provides and when – e.g. some schools will give the children some milk and a piece of fruit in the morning. Prepare them for the new routine!
Explore SCHOOL Through Story Time
Not only will you nurture a love for reading by engaging in regular story time sessions with your preschooler – but you can use this as an opportunity to choose some books (from the library or the shop) that discuss starting school. Choose a cozy spot, gather a collection of age-appropriate books, and let their imagination soar as you read together. Encourage them to ask questions, predict what happens next, or even create their own stories. Story time fosters language development, comprehension skills, and a love for storytelling.
Make a Pocket Pet
A Pocket Pet crafting session, is a lovely way to spend time together and make some sweet and “useful” for the big day. Whilst crafting, you can spend time chatting together and discuss and worries and concerns. On the day itself, the pocket pet will be a something lovely to hold and remind your little one of you, your home and that you will be waiting for them when they get back. Crafting a pocket pet can be a fun and imaginative activity that enhances creativity and fine motor skills. Using materials such as felt, googly eyes, and yarn, help your preschooler create their own cute and cuddly pocket-sized friend. They can give it a name, decorate it, and carry it around as a companion, fostering a sense of comfort and confidence in new environments.
Practice Counting and Sorting
Introduce your preschooler to basic counting and sorting skills through playful activities. Use colorful objects like buttons, blocks, or toys and encourage them to count and sort them based on different attributes such as color, shape, or size. This activity not only develops their math skills but also sharpens their observation and critical thinking abilities.
Embrace Art and Craft
Engaging in art and craft activities allows preschoolers to explore their creativity and develop their fine motor skills. Provide them with various materials like crayons, paints, papers, and glue, and let their imaginations run wild. Encourage them to create artwork, collages, or even simple crafts related to school themes such as backpacks, apples, or their favorite animals. This activity promotes self-expression and lays the foundation for future artistic pursuits.
Build Social Skills
Preparing for school involves developing social skills to interact with peers and teachers. Organize playdates or participate in group activities where your preschooler can practice sharing, taking turns, and working together. Foster conversations about friendship, empathy, and problem-solving, teaching them essential social skills that will make their transition to school smoother.
Practice Self-Help Skills
Preschoolers need to develop self-help skills to become more independent at school. Encourage them to practice tasks like dressing themselves, putting on their shoes, or packing their own backpack (with in reason of course!). Create a routine that allows them to take responsibility for these tasks with your guidance. This activity not only builds their confidence but also teaches them valuable life skills.
Come up with some family traditions and DO THEM. For example, many people love taking a “first day of school” photo each year, others like to take their children out for a hot chocolate and cake after the first day of school. Some countries give their new starters a “Kinder Cone” etc. Pick something that suits YOU and your family and stick to it!
Learn to Ride a Bike/ TRY THE ROUTE TO SCHOOL
Riding a bike, isn’t really an “essential” for starting big school.. but a big bonus for your little one, if you can manage to fit it in! Riding a bike not only promotes physical activity but also builds coordination and balance. Teaching your preschooler how to ride a bike with training wheels or a balance bike can boost their confidence and fine-tune their motor skills. It’s an enjoyable activity that will also instill a sense of independence and readiness for new challenges. They will also be super proud of themselves and feel confident about their abilities.
Also – as the first day draws nearer – walk/ cycle/ scoot the route to school at least 2-3 times. So firstly the route is familiar to your preschooler, but also, so you and they know how long it takes you to get to school. The last thing you want is to be madly rushing around on the first day!
Preparing preschoolers for school involves a holistic approach that encompasses cognitive, social, emotional, and practical skills. By engaging in these ten fun activities, you can help your child develop the necessary skills and readiness for their first day of school. From learning to ride a bike to practicing writing their own name, each activity fosters a specific skill set while encouraging creativity, independence, and social interaction.
Remember to approach these activities with patience, encouragement, and a focus on fun. Allow your preschooler to take the lead and celebrate their achievements along the way. With your support, they will embrace their new school journey with confidence, enthusiasm, and a readiness to thrive.
As you engage in these activities, cherish the special moments spent together, and enjoy the process of preparing your preschooler for their next adventure. Embrace their uniqueness, celebrate their progress, and continue to foster their growth as they embark on this exciting new chapter of their lives.