Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Circle Time Activities

I spent 3 years working at a daycare and it was the best job I have ever had.  Because of that job, I learned a lot about preparing my kids for school.  One of the greatest activities I took with me was Circle Time.

It can be tough keeping the little nuggets occupied during the day.  My daughter is 3, and a little spitfire to boot.  She needs attention.  She CRAVES it.  When I started sitting down with her to have "lessons", she was in her glory.  I knew she needed a steady routine to keep her going, so every morning after she's had breakfast and some playtime, we sit down together. 

Her favorite circle time activity is using her calendar.  We sing a song and then talk about the day, month, year, season and the weather.  It's a simple way for her to learn by putting up the velcro tags herself.

Our song is to the tune of Oh My Darlin' Clementine:

There are 7 days, there are 7 days,
There are 7 days in a week
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Then we work on reviewing a packet that I add to every day.  We have pages with shapes of different colors.  Once she knows them all, I add another.  After a few days, I add another.  The gradual progression allows her to remember what she already knows and build on it.  At three years old, she can identify a parallelogram.  (Don't worry...we are far off from geometry lessons.)

We have one page with numbers up to twenty.  Every day, she points at each number and tells me what it is.  And because she loves Dora, she knows one through ten in Spanish. 

The next pages are letters.  We started with a page that has the whole alphabet and learned how to identify.  Once I thought she knew them well, I would point to them in different order.  Mixing it up assures they know the letter rather than remembering them in their order. 

Just like with the shapes, I added something new each day.  We started with the letter A.  I write the letter at the top of the page in capital and lowercase form.  Then we talk about the sounds it makes while we list different words that start with "A".  Once she understands, we even list a few words that have the letter in them, but do not start with it.  The next day, we reviewed "A" and added "B" in the same manner.  Each day we review the previous letters and add the next one.

While my daughter loves this routine, you might find you need to tweak things to your child's needs.  Try reading books that teach the basics.  Some of my favorites are Bear In A Square and Elmo's Big Lift and Look Book.  Reading these books together can be a great start for circle time activities.

As your child gets older, you can also purchase activity books to help them learn how to write.

Most importantly, remember to praise your child for every success.  The more excited you are, the more excited they will be.

*For more information about how important it is to prepare your kids for school, check out Nickelodeon's program "Beyond the Backpack".


1 comment:

  1. I knew you were a good mom, and this is just more proof. Plus it verifies that I am a good aunt--I picked out a great Christmas gift for her.

    Nice post!