Are you looking for activities to help your child get ready for kindergarten?
Getting your little one prepared to head to school for the first time is a big step for both them and YOU! My daughter is heading into kindergarten this year, and I am both excited and nervous for her.
Preparing your kids for this milestone is crucial. Working with them even just a little bit each day help them prepare them for kindergarten.
In this article, you will see 30 kindergarten activities that focus on academics, socioemotional and behavioral activities.
When I was growing up, math wasn’t my strongest subject. I think if I were taught to make math fun through play, I would have caught on more.
That’s why I want to provide my kids with hands-on and exciting math activities like the ones you will see below!
Activity #1: Number Recognition
Who doesn’t love post-its? It’s a simple set up, and the kids just go crazy for them!
This is a simple activity that takes only a few moments to get together. I love these kinds of activities the most! Simple to set up but jam-packed with learning.
1. Materials you need: post-it’s
2. Set up: On post-it’s, write the numbers 1-20. Space them out on a wall in your home.
3. Activity: Have your little one put the post-its in numerical order!
*For younger kiddos trying this activity, place numbers 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 in place on the number line already, so they only have to fill in a few.
Activity #2: Comparing Lengths
Being able to put objects in order according to their size is an important skill kindergarteners need to know.
The fantastic thing about this is that you can do it with pretty much anything you have lying around the house! I decided to use counting cubes! They are an excellent manipulative when it comes to learning math.
1. Materials you need: counting cubes
2. Set-up: Separate the counting cubes, so you have a different amount in each set! You can also combine colors to make them longer.
3. Activity: Ask your child to put the cubes in order based on their length from the shortest to the longest.
Activity #3: Counting
Recycle and play activities are easy to pull off at home! Plus, they don’t cost too much money, which is always helpful!
A simple way to practice counting skills is by creating small learning boards.
2. Set-up: Cut the cardboard into squares. Write three numbers to choose from at the bottom of the square and place what object you picked on the cardboard.
3. Activity: Have your child count each item on the board. They should open up the clothespin and place it on the number that matches the amount on each board!
Activity #4: More Than and Less Than
Did you ever chew the gum called Bubble Tape? I remember how much I LOVED that growing up because the gum just kept going and going!
You may have the pickup pack because it can be used in a fun way to practice the skill of less than and more than!
1. Materials: Bubble Tape, magnetic numbers, and your kiddo’s favorite snack!
2. Set up: Empty the gum from the bubble tape, so it’s just the container. Open it up, so it looks like the picture above!
3. Activity: Place a few pieces of your kid’s favorite snack down in two separate piles. Have them count the amount on each side and place the magnetic number that corresponds with the amount below the snacks.
Then, ask them which side has more than the other. Show them that the bubble tape opens up to the pile that has more! You can also pretend that it’s an alligator that wants MORE food.
Activity #5: Numbers Before and After
One thing that I have heard that is on the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) is being able to identify what number comes before and after specific numbers.
Typically, it’s easier to figure out what number comes after but, it’s a harder skill for kids to figure out what number comes before.
1. Materials: Number Bat Worksheet, reusable folders, and a dry eraser marker.
2. Set up: Print out the bat number worksheets! If you grab the reusable folders, you just have to print one, and then you can use that one over and over again with different numbers.
If you don’t have reusable folders, you can print off the different numbered bats worksheets!
3. Activity: Ask your kiddo to identify what number comes before the number in the middle and which one comes after. To work on some handwriting skills, you can also have them write the numbers.
Activity #6: 2D Shape Recognition
Adding some fun supplies into learning always excites my kids! This is important because if your little ones aren’t engaged in the learning, it’s not going to happen.
Shapes are everywhere around us! Kids will be expected to know the most common shapes when they enter kindergarten.
2. Set-up: Print off the shape worksheets and grab whichever supply I mentioned above!
3. Activity: Have your little one identify the shape before they start playing. Then, have them use whichever item you chose to fill in the dots around the shape. If the shape has sides, have them tell you how many sides it has.
Activity #7: Subitizing
Subitizing is being able to identify how much is in a group of objects without counting it out. Kindergarteners should practice this skill for numbers 1-10!
There are several ways that kids will come across numbers ( the number, tally marks, dice dots, ten frames, and finger counting)
1. Materials you need: post-its and a fly swatter.
2. Set-up: on post-it notes, draw a few different ways to make a number (see picture above).
3. Activity: Say a number that you want your child to find. They should use the fly swatter to swat the number that you said. This is a fun way to learn how to subitize!
Do you like the finger counting prints that I have on the post-its? Here’s a link to your FREEBIE!
Activity #8: Make 10
10 Frame activities are an excellent way for kids to learn how to count, subitize, add, and subtract!
Whenever I can, I try to have the kids do hands-on activities. I believe that it makes them remember concepts more and gives them a sense of actually doing it themselves.
2. Set-up: With painter’s tape, make 10 small squares (2 rows of 5 squares).
3. Activity: Choose the numbers or the math facts that you want to review with your little one. Show them that they need to look at the number then put that amount in the small squares below.
Don’t want to do a DIY 10 frame? I have 10 frame worksheets available as well on my Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s Store. Click the link below to check out a preview.
Activity #9: Counting Cube Patterns
Learning patterns is a simple activity to set up and lots of fun for kids to figure out!
1. Materials you need: counting cubes and my FREE counting cubes worksheet
2. Set-up: Print off my worksheets and grab your counting cubes for your little one to give them hands-on experience.
3. Activity: Start with two colors for beginners and have them work their way up to harder patterns. Have your kids match up the counting blocks on the sheet of paper to start then challenge them to do it without the visual. Then, see if they can keep going with that pattern even though it stopped on the paper.
Activity #10: Adding #’s 1-9
My kids are both obsessed with bugs right now—especially the fake ones because some times they can’t handle the real ones outside.
Whenever I pull the bug toys out, they get so excited! So I knew this would be a hit if I brought them into a math activity.
2. Set-up: Print off the worksheet and grab your bugs!
3. Activity: Make up different math problems by using magnetic numbers, puzzle piece numbers, or use the reusable folders with a dry erase marker to create new problems!
English-Language Arts encompasses reading, writing, letter recognition, and much more! It’s my favorite thing to teach my kids!
Below you will find some hands-on activities to teach important concepts as well as worksheet activities!
Activity #11: Rhyming
Believe it or not, rhyming is an essential skill for kindergarteners to know!
The reason is that they help teach kids about word families like pat, sat, cat, mat. Rhyming teaches kiddos how language works and helps kids start their journey into learning how to read!
1. Materials you need: My FREE Rhyming Words worksheet, scissors, a pencil (do-a-dot markers, and crayons are optional).
2. Set-up: Print off my rhyming worksheet and grab the supplies
3. Activity: Work alongside your child as they work on completing these worksheets. Help them identify the objects if they need help. Explain to your child that rhyming words have the same ending.
Are you interested in giving your child a little bit more of a hands-on activity? I LOVE this rhyming puzzle!
Believe me; I am all about making worksheets for kids to do. But, there is just something nice about being able to do an activity over and over again without printing more paper.
Activity #12: Beginning Sounds
Learning how to read starts with being able to identify the beginning sounds of objects.
I like to do this as a hands-on activity! If you bring in your children’s favorite toys into learning activities, they will be more engaged and more willing to participate.
1. Materials you need: Paper and a bunch of different toys that have different beginning sounds.
2. Set-up: On the piece of paper, write down the beginning letters of the toys that you grabbed. Put the toys in a container for your kiddo to pick from.
3. Activity: Have your child pick up a toy from the container and tell you what the object is. Ask them to make the sound of the beginning letter and tell you what letter makes that sound. They should place that object on the letter that you wrote on the paper that matches the beginning sound!
Activity #13: Book Predictions
One of my favorite things to do with my kids is to read with them. They love it too! Kids love listening to stories, seeing the pictures, and learning about the situations the characters get themselves into.
A skill that you can work on with your kindergarteners is being able to predict what’s going to happen in a story based on the front cover.
The best thing about this is, there’s no right or wrong answer! It’s a hypothesis, which means that kids can make an educated guess about what’s going to happen!
1. Materials: Any book!
2. Set-up: None
3. Activity: Pick a book that you haven’t read with your child, so they don’t know what’s going to happen in the story. My recommendation would be to go to the library and grab a few books if you have read through all your books at home. Ask your little one what they believe is going to happen in the book based on the picture they see on the front cover.
Read through the book and see what happens. Reflect on their answer to see if they were correct or not. If they weren’t right, see if they could see anything in the picture in the front of the book that made sense now after they read it.
Activity #14: Reading Comprehension
Being able to recall information from a short passage or book is an important skill for Kindergartners to have!
It shows they can listen and comprehend what is happening in a story.
1. Materials you need: A short book or my reading comprehension worksheets
2. Set-Up: Print of the worksheets!
3. Activity: Read the small book or my short passage to your little one. Read it over 2-3 times, so they really can let the information sink in! Ask them a few questions about the book or passage. If you print off my worksheets, I have questions already made for you. If you want to use a book, ask questions about the names of characters, the setting, and questions about what happened in the story.
Activity #15: Letter Recognition
Letter recognition is something that will be asked during the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment.
Upper and lower case letters are one of the first things that will be taught to your kiddo. If you practice just a few letters each day, they will be off to a great start!
Want to know how I taught my kids the alphabet by the time they were 15 months old? This Melissa and Doug puzzle and repetition each day!
1. Materials you need: Melissa and Doug Alphabet puzzle
2. Set-up: None! You just need the puzzle 🙂
3. Activity: Dump the puzzle pieces out on the floor and let your child explore them. Talk about the letters, and if they are attempting to put them in place, show them where it needs to go. Talk to them about each letter. Do this each day for at least 5 minutes. Kids are like sponges, if you repeat information to them, you’ll be amazed one day that they actually can recognize the letters if you ask them.
Interested in grabbing a puzzle that has both the upper and lower case letters? This Melissa and Doug puzzle is great for preschoolers!
Activity #16: Sight Word Practice
Sight words are my favorite. I honestly don’t know why or how this happened, but it’s the skill that I work most on with my daughter who’s heading into kindergarten this year!
Sight words are commonly used words that typically don’t follow the rules of our English language. So, you can’t sound them out, which means you have to memorize them.
There are SO many fun ways to review sight words. But, before you practice sight words in a FUN way, kids have to learn them.
1. Materials: mini dry erase board, and dry erase marker.
2. Set-Up: Write down 3 words that you want to work on with your child.
3. Activity: Start with two letter sight words (in, is, it, to). Once your child has mastered some two-letter words, start teaching them 3 letters words ( and, the, see, who, why).
Tell them what the word says and say the word in a sentence for them, so they can see how it’s used in a real-life situation.
Want a full list of sight words? This list breaks down the words for each grade level.
Activity #17: Writing Name Practice
Kindergartners are expected to know how to write their name. They will need to write their name on papers when they turn them into their teachers, so this skill is critical.
Handwriting can be a difficult thing for some kids. It takes practice to learn how to form their letters correctly to make them legible.
1. Materials you need: markers and a piece of paper
2. Set-up: Write your child’s name on the top of the sheet of paper. Then, start writing their name but leaving one letter out at a time, as you see in the above picture. In the end, there should be all blank spaces, so they have to practice writing their entire name.
3. Activity: Have your child fill in the blanks of the letters that are missing in their name. This way, they will gradually have to spell and write their entire name!
Activity #18: Handwriting Practice
Since we just talked about being able to write your name, it’s essential to learn ways on how you can practice handwriting skills with your child!
It may take your child a long time to get each number/letter inside the lines and legible. It’s easy to get frustrated and impatient, but they will have negative feelings towards it if you show your frustration.
Option 1 Directions:
2. Set-up: No set-up needed.
3. Activity: Start by having your child trace the letter twice before trying to do it on their own. Have them practice writing the upper and lower case letters. You can practice as many as they want!
Option 2 Directions:
*Fun activity option: I am mentioning this if your child is struggling, you may need to give them some fun options before you head right into pencil paper activities.
1. Materials you need: A tray, sprinkles, a paintbrush and my FREE letter or number traceable
2. Set up: Dump the sprinkles out on a tray and print off my printable!
3. Activity: Have your child look at the number/letters you printed out. They should use the paintbrush to attempt to make the numbers/letters in the sprinkles!
Activity #19: Upper to Lower Case Matching
Play-based learning activities are my favorite. I love them because the kids are interested in learning while they play.
It’s way harder to get them to sit down and listen to you lecture to them for 10 minutes, right? Bringing in their favorite toys is always a hit!
1. Materials you need: Megabloks, labels, and a marker.
2. Set-up: Cut your labels into thirds. Write both the upper and lower case letters on the labels and put them on the blocks.
3. Activity: Focus on one letter at a time. Grab an upper case letter and give your little one three different choices of lower case letters to pick from to try to find the one that matches it. Have them match it up by placing the blocks together and set it aside to work on the next one!
Activity #20: Phonics
Sensory play just makes everything more fun, doesn’t it?
Play-Doh is a supply that I end up using a lot when I am teaching the kids. It’s a great way to tie in some sensory play while practicing an important skill.
2. Set-up: print out my worksheets or create words to build with the magnetic letters on the tray! Make a few Play-Doh balls and put the balls underneath each letter, as you see above!
3. Activity: As your child makes the sound of each letter in the word, they should press down on the ball of Play-Doh. Then, they should try to put the sounds of the word together to say the word!
In all honesty, the following skills are more important than the above information I just provided.
Being kind, learning how to behave in a classroom setting, and keep good personal hygiene are more important than academics at this point. The above information is GREAT and should be practiced, but these activities are ESSENTIAL for kids entering kindergarten.
Activity #21: Taking Turns
Learning to take turns takes some practice. If you have two little ones at home, you know this is a tough skill.
If you don’t have two kids at home, you may not see this come up as much. However, it’s still a skill that needs to be worked on since they will be around lots of other kids at school.
This game is a hands-on way for kids to learn how to take turns! Playing games is a great way to introduce several concepts, which will be discussed a little later in the article!
2. Set-up: Put about 50 pom poms in the strainer. Have your kids put the pipe cleaners through one hole and out another hole on top of the pom-poms. Once the sticks support the pom-poms, flip it upside down on a stack of two books (see picture).
3. Activity: Practice the skill of taking turns by having one person pull a BBQ stick/pipe cleaner out, then the next person will take their turn. See how many pom-poms fall out each time! You can work on counting skills as well! Focus on making a point of who’s turn it is, so they realize that they are taking turns.
Do you remember the game Kerplunk? I used to play it all the time as a kid! If you don’t want to do the DIY, check out the real game!
This is an excellent game for developing fine motor skills and taking turns!
Activity #22: Winning and Losing
As a physical education teacher, I KNOW this is something that kids need to work on.
The ability to win and lose well is an essential skill that kids need to learn. The good thing is that it’s easy to teach at home! Plus, it’s fun to introduce this concept to your kids because you can play any game you want!
You can play outdoor games, sports-related activities, or even board games to help teach the skill of winning and losing. For this skill, I love playing the game Capture the Flag! This is a fun game for kids, it gets both you and your kids active, and it’s a great way to practice this skill.
1. Materials you need: scarves and cones
2. Set up: Split teams up evenly! You can even play this game with two people! Each team will hide their flag on their side of the playing area. Place cones, pool noodles, or several jump ropes together to make a middle line.
3. Activity: On the GO signal, players can cross the middle line to try to get the other team’s flag. If they get tagged by someone on the other team, they go back to their side of the playing area. If a player gets the flag and is on their way back with it and gets tagged, they must drop the flag where they got tagged and go back to their side.
The other team can put the flag back in its spot. When a team successfully grabs a flag and brings it back to their side, that round is over, and you will play again!
Activity #23: Engage in Conversations
Do anyone else’s kids freeze up in front of strangers, or is that just mine?
Sometimes they could be nervous about speaking to adults, or it could even be that they are shy talking to other kids. To be honest, sometimes, it happens to us adults as well.
For this specific situation, I believe role-playing is a great activity that you can practice at home with your little one to get them comfortable to talk to others.
1. Materials you need: Some of your child’s favorite toys
2. Set-up: Set up a play scenario for you and your child. Make it a welcoming area with their favorite toys set up in a new way, so it’s exciting!
3. Activity: Practice a scenario where your child walks into class, and they don’t know anyone in the classroom (because this will happen the first day of school). Pretend you are playing with some of the toys on your own. Have your little one ask if you would like to play along with them. Talk about what you would like to play together and go along with the play idea that they have.
The big point here in this role play situation if initiating play with other kids. This is a skill that will help your child immensely when they get to kindergarten to help them develop friendships.
*I would also consider hosting a play date at your home with one friend from school or a neighbor. If it’s in their environment with only one other child, they will feel more comfortable. This will hopefully help them gain the confidence to talk to others.
Activity #24: Asking Questions
Sometimes I’ll be reading to my daughter, and the book will have some harder vocabulary words that she has no idea what they mean. There are times that she doesn’t ask what a word means.
Asking questions is a tough thing to do for some kids, especially when there are 25 other students in the class.
1. Practice by reading books– when you are reading books with your child, when you come across a word you know they wouldn’t know, see if they ask what it means. If they do, great! If they don’t ask them if they know the word. Then, make sure to tell them if they don’t know a word, to ask what it means. Explain to your child that by looking at the picture and thinking about what they are reading, they may be able to use context clues to figure the word out themselves. Context clues are hints the author may use to help the reader.
2. Work on worksheets at home– Practice doing worksheets at home. Kids will be working on classwork and need to know what the directions are for to complete it correctly. See if they can complete the sheets independently. Make sure to say if they have any questions, they should ask.
3. Praise them for asking questions– It’s important to tell our kids it’s okay to ask questions, so they understand. When your child does ask you a school-related question, make sure to praise them!
Activity #25: Follow Multi-Step Directions:
If you want a snack, grab it from the pantry, open it up, dump it into the bowl, and when your done, please wash out the bowl.
Following multi-step directions is a crucial skill for kindergartners to have! A teacher may give them several directions to complete work in class, so it’s good to practice at home!
1. Materials you need: Building Ice Cream worksheet
2. Set-up: Print off my worksheet!
3. Activity: Your little one will cut out the ice cream scoops and toppings so they can place them on the opposite side. You can follow the order samples that I have on the following sheet, or you can come up with your own! Have your child follow the directions to complete each ice cream order correctly.
Activity# 26: Communicating with Peers Appropriately
Being able to learn kids’ names, make friends, and communicate feelings is a lot to put on a kindergartener’s plate.
Even though it’s a lot, it’s crucial to your child’s development to be able to communicate appropriately to their new classmates.
There may be times throughout the school year that some difficult situations may arise. We need to practice with our kids how to handle tough conversations with their peers.
1. Materials you need: My FREE Socioemotional cards
2. Set-up: Print off my cards or just read through the situations on your computer to your child.
3. Activity: Read through each of the scenarios with your child. See how they answer how they would handle the situation first. Depending on their answer, you will either praise them, or you may have to explain how to handle it more positively.
SPECIAL NOTE: I created these cards to help kids understand how to use their words in a positive and kind way. We need to teach our kids the importance of kindness, sticking up for others, and treating everyone equally.
Activity #27: Sharing
Once your little one steps into that classroom, they will be expected to share supplies, games, and toys with the rest of their classmates.
I am a big believer in learning from books. We use books to teach about a lot of different subjects at my house. The kids connect with the characters in the book, they hear about situations, and they can ask questions to have conversations about the topic.
Here is a list of my favorite sharing books for kids:
1. Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney
2. Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems
3. This is Our House by Micheal Rosen
4. One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl
5. It’s Mine by Leo Lionni
Activity #28: Scissor Skills
During class time, your child will be expected to hold scissors the correct way and use them to perform specific tasks.
It may be for a worksheet for in classwork or a project during art class. Get them prepared for this skill by doing some fun cutting practice! Melissa and Doug have an excellent workbook that we love. It has so many fun activities inside for kids to practice cutting. In this pack, a tape activity is included as well. This is great to improve on those fine motor skills!
1. Materials you need: Melissa and Doug books (it includes child safety scissors and tape).
2. Set-up: No set up required!
3. Activity: Choose one or two activities inside the book that look interesting to your little one. Show them how to hold the scissors correctly. These scissors that are included are for right-handers. If you have a left-handed child, here is a link for left-handed safety scissors.
Activity #29: Personal Care and Hygiene
Personal care and hygiene are more important now more than ever! With COVID-19, I am always telling my kids to wash their hands and not touch their faces!
The concept of personal care and hygiene focuses on skills like being able to use the restroom, washing their hands and brushing their teeth and hair.
I am going to focus on the washing hands specifically for this section. However, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the skills aren’t necessary. Washing hands is just the most critical skill right now that kids need to focus on when going to school.
1. Materials you need: a pen/marker!
2. Set-up: Draw a star with a pen on your child’s hand.
3. Activity: Have them going into the bathroom and wash their hands thoroughly on both sides of their hands to get the star off. This will show your child how long they should be washing their hands with soap and water to get the germs off.
Are you interested in a way to show your child more about germs? Check out the video below.
2. Set-up: Have your little one place their hands on the ziplock bag and trace them with a sharpie. Dump both the hair gel containers into the bag as well at the pom-poms. Zip up the bag and spread the gel all around. Have the pom-poms start on the hands to be the “germs”.
3. Activity: Have your child use the dish brush/ fork to push the pom-poms off the hands! This is a hands-on way to show your child how germs get on the hands and what washing hands can do to get the germs off!
Activity #30: Locomotor Skills
Your child is going to be in a physical education class, and they will be learning how to do locomotor and gross motor skills that will help them with their coordination!
I was a physical education teacher for 10 years, so I have a very BIG passion for teaching kids how to be healthy and exercise. Plus, all of these movements are important for kids to be able to play along with others!
The best thing about these activities is that you don’t need anything special to pull them off. Kids WANT to be active and move their bodies. You don’t need fun supplies to get them involved in this type of play.
1. Materials you need: cones
2. Set up: Set two cones up inside or outside a few feet apart from each other.
3. Activity: Practice locomotor movements from one of the cones to the other! Locomotor movements include skipping, galloping, hopping (1 foot and 2), leaping, jumping, side sliding, walking, and running.
Check out the video below to see how each skill is performed, so you can help your child understand how to do each locomotor activity!
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Getting your kids ready for kindergarten is exciting! We all want to prepare them the best we can so they have can have confidence in their academic skills as well as their social and physical skills!
My 30 kindergarten activities are perfect for getting your kids ready for the school year!
Do you have an activity that you do with your preschoolers or kindergarteners that you love that you want to share? We want to hear about it! Please share your ideas with our community. We all benefit when you share your thoughts!