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Eight Great Preschool Activities At Home


Q. I'm looking for anything I can do to get my daughter to quit watching so much TV. What are some things that will be helpful to get her to concentrate in school and enjoy reading?

Great goals! With your attitude, you should have no problem whatsoever.


You might consider putting that television in storage, or moving it to your bedroom for a few years. Out of sight, out of mind! It's a powerful rival for your child's attention and engagement that you don't need to be fighting in these important preschool years.


It's nice to do one "educational" thing with your child every day, whether it's a walk in the park talking about the names of the different trees and plants, or a trip to the zoo, or just folding laundry with you and counting socks and buttons and so forth for early math experience. It certainly doesn't have to cost anything, and doesn't have to be elaborate. Just be intentional about being your child's first and best teacher - and you will be!


Here are eight great ideas from the book listed in "Homework," below:


  1. Read to your child every night for 30 minutes or more. Don't get too "teachy" - don't ask your child to read letters or words. But do interact: ask your child, "Hmm. Wonder why he did that?" or "Hmm. Wonder what will happen next?" Let your child turn the pages or lift the flaps; young children LOVE to be active. Don't worry if it's the same story over and over; kids love repetition. Rejoice if your child can read the words he or she already knows; that's how reading gets started!


  1. Take your child to the library every week to check out books, especially if you can time it for story hour, and have a chance for your child to do finger plays and crafts.


  1. Give your child colorful markers or colored pencils and blank paper. Always tape one piece of paper up on your refrigerator, to show your child you value his or her work. Scribbling builds hand muscles for writing later, and kids need to know that the marks they put down on paper are important.


  1. Give your child a blackboard and chalk. You can sometimes get a free easel blackboard at the end of the year from a school that's going to throw it away, anyway, or check garage sales.


  1. If you're going to be away, write a message or poem to your child and leave it in his room or lunchbox. If your child can't read yet, he or she can have the babysitter or teacher read it. You need to be showing your child constantly that words are important, useful and fun.


  1. Label everything with your child's name - clothes, toys, the hook where the jacket goes, etc. Children love to see their names on everything and the first word they usually write is their name, so give them a head start on it.


  1. Check out alphabet books from the library, and make your own. Staple together 26 pieces of blank paper, write a letter on each page, and give your child markers or old magazines and catalogs with scissors. Your child can draw a picture that starts with each letter, or cut a picture out of a magazine and tape it in place. She can write her name or the names of her friends on the various pages, too, and draw their pictures.


  1. Put magnetic letters on the refrigerator, and in your spare moments, have fun arranging them into names and words with your child.



Homework: Book, Read to Me: Raising Kids Who Love to Read by Bernice E. Cullinan.


By Susan Darst Williams Ages & Stages 122 2008


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