Getting ready for kindergarten – having fun and learning too!


There are so many fun things to do – at home and in your community!

Singing, dancing, climbing, building, playing games, pretending, telling stories, reading together, drawing, and painting are all easy and important ways to help your child’s brain grow and develop.

When you’re living, playing, and learning together, give your child lots of choices. Ask, him what he wants to wear, to eat, to play with? Ask if he wants ice in his drink? When there is a choice, ask him which activity he wants to do first? Ask him which color toothbrush he wants to buy? A child who is making choices is a child who is thinking.

Visit the local library, farmers’ market, park, and swimming pool. Check out Connecticut’s children’s museums, and state parks, forests, beaches, and campgrounds. Have fun together and talk about what you’re doing.

Whatever you’re doing and wherever you are….

read, read, read!

talk, talk, talk!

listen, listen, listen!

offer choices, choices, choices!

Spending time with your child doing all these things makes your child’s mind rich with your culture and your language and makes him/her feel special. Home and community experiences establish social, emotional, physical, and thinking skills children need to be successful in school. Children generally learn quickly, at home and at school, especially when their families are involved.

More Ideas for Having Fun at Home!

  • learning nursery rhymes and traditional songs
  • singing and dancing, climbing, building, playing games, pretending and make believe, conversation, reading together, pretend writing, drawing, and painting – all easy and important ways to help your child’s brain grow and develop
  • sharing your special skills – (Are you a carpenter, a mechanic, a gardener, a seamstress, or a cook? You are your child’s first and most powerful teacher. Teach your child simple skills in areas you enjoy or things you’re good at.)
  • enjoying favorite sports and other activities together
  • cooking favorite recipes together
  • collecting rocks, shells, coins, and other favorite or interesting things
  • crafting and teaching your child your favorite pastimes
  • celebrating religious holidays and family traditions
  • going on errands to the grocery, gas station, post office, etc. and  talking about what you’re seeing, hearing, touching, and doing – it’s all learning!
  • talking about and remembering family stories, family history, and family vacations (Your child will love to talk about these things again and again, especially when he/she is the star in the story.)
  • giving your child lots of opportunities to make choices (A child who is making choices is a child who is thinking. Sometimes parents feel like it’s just easier to do it themselves, but when they offer children choices, they are teaching them an important skill and giving them opportunities to think.)
  • providing your child opportunities to spend time with children the same age, so he/she can interact with groups of children and practice sharing, taking turns, self-control, and much more (If your child is not in a pre-school program, try joining a free playgroup, library story time, or plan regular visits with your friends or neighbors who have young children.)
  • practicing reading, writing, counting, and talking
  • setting up a space for your child to do “school work” with crayons, paper, scissors, and books. (This can be at the kitchen table, in the living room, or anywhere that is convenient and where you and your child spend time together. Make it fun. You can start by encouraging your child to draw while you make dinner. Then when your child has school activities, this routine will already be in place)
  • encouraging your child to try writing his/her first name and/or labeling his/her pictures with “words” (Your child’s “writing” might not be clear yet, but he/she is practicing how and why we use writing. If your child is already writing his/her first name, practice writing your last name or other words that are important to your child. In everything, start where your child is comfortable and then add new things as he/she succeeds)
  • using counting in your daily activities (Count how many steps to the mailbox, how many forks to set the table, how many glasses you need to wash, and so forth)
  • asking questions when reading stories like, “What was your favorite part of the story?” “What part did you like the least?” Halfway through the story, ask “How do you think the story will end?”
  • making sure your child knows his/her first and last name, address, and his/her telephone number
  • And don’t forget to:
    • read, read, read!
    • talk, talk, talk!
    • listen, listen, listen!
    • offer choices, choices, choices!

More Ideas for Having Fun in Your Neighborhood, Town, and State!

  • visiting the local farmer’s market (Most families visit the supermarket regularly, but the farmer’s market offers additional, colorful, rich, opportunities to learn about food and nutrition and creates a fun family outing.)
  • going to art fairs and outdoor summer music festivals.
  • visiting parks or playgrounds with climbing equipment, swimming pools, water play, or walking trails (Check out the Top 10 Connecticut Playgrounds every kid should visit.)
  • visiting the public library in your neighborhood (Does your child have a library card? Have you checked out books to read with your child? Are there activities at the library you can sign your child up for – like story hour? All fun and free!)
  • visiting a nearby children’s museum or one that sounds like enough fun for a day trip (You can sign-up for any newsletters or email blasts they may offer to stay aware of their special exhibits and activities. Interested? Go to their web sites and sign-up.)
  • going to the local YMCA or YWCA (Have you been to a community pool where you and your child can cool off in the summer and your child can learn to swim?)
  • visiting state parks, forests, and campgrounds
  • Books for Kids

    Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee

    Books for Adults

    How To Talk So Kids Will Listen – And Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

    View All Recommended Books
  • Did You Know?

    Did you know that Connecticut has a system of Family Resource Centers (FRCs), located in public school buildings, across the state? Connecticut Family Resource Centers (FRCs) provide a wide array of community-based supports and services for families including:

    • quality child care
    • home visiting
    • developmental screening
    • play groups
    • hours of operation consistent with family schedules
    • family support and child care services administered by school or community-based agencies collaborating with schools

    Informational Flyer

    Do you have a Family Resource Center in your community?

    Did You Know?

    Did you know that there’s a phone app that can help you support your child’s learning and development at home and in the community during the year before your child goes to kindergarten?

    Ready4K is free and fun!

    Ready4K texts are for families of preschoolers to help them prepare their children for kindergarten. Each week during the school year, parents receive three texts to support important pre-kindergarten skills. For example:

    • #1 – FACT: Bath time is great for teaching your child important skills for K. Start by asking: What are the things we need for bath time? Why?
    • #2 – TIP: When you’re bathing your child, point out the letters on shampoo bottles. Ask your child to name the letters and make the sounds the letters make.
    • #3 – GROWTH: Keep using bath time to practice the skills. Ask: What rhymes with tub (cub, rub), soap (rope, hope), & bubble (double, trouble)?

    Signing up is easy, just click here to register. Your texts will begin within a day or two.

    Did You Know?

    Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics’ most recent Policy Statement on “screen time” was released in 2016? (Screen time is the time spent on anything with a screen – like a TV, computer, tablet, or phone.) The academy recommends that families:

    • avoid digital media use (except video-chatting) in children younger than 18 to 24 months
    • choose high-quality content and use media together when children are 18-24 months – no solo media use in this age group
    • not feel pressured to introduce technology early – the technology is so intuitive that children figure it out quickly once they start using it
    • limit screen time to 1 hour per day of high-quality programming with children two to five – continue to co-view with your children, help them understand what they are watching, and help them apply what they learn to the real world around them
    • avoid fast-paced programs – young children don’t understand them as well
    • avoid apps with distracting content
    • avoid apps with violent content
    • turn off TVs and other devices when not in use
    • avoid using media as the only way to calm your child
    • monitor content
    • test apps before children use them
    • use apps together and ask the child what he/she thinks about the app
    • keep bedrooms, mealtimes, and parent-child playtime screen free (Parents can set the “do not disturb” option on their phones during these times.)
    • stop screen time altogether at least one hour before bedtime and remove any devices from bedrooms before bed
    • check out the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Family Media Use Plan

    Did You Know?

    Did you know that 2-1-1 Child Care helps families find quality child care using a database of every licensed child care program in Connecticut? That includes the before and after school care you might need once your child is in kindergarten.

    2-1-1 is also the confidential, free, 24-hour a day, multilingual way to find health and community services when you or someone you know needs help. When a human story touches your heart, and you want to reach out and give to those in need, you can call 2-1-1. Whether you want to give or receive help, call 2-1-1!

    Use for help online.


Getting Ready for Kindergarten Checklist
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