My Home/My Family:
This is a basic Theme Day to help prepare your child for Kindergarten but focussing on the home and family. A basic skill necessary for leaving your child at school is that he/she knows his own address, phone number, and family member names.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
This is a Theme Day aimed at reviewing basic skills necessary for entering Kindergarten. I am less focused on academic skills with this Theme Day as I covered a lot of them in previous Pre-school Theme Days, starting with “Colours”, and then followed with more concrete concepts such as “Shapes”, “Letters” and “Numbers.” I am also in the process of making a few more Pre-school Theme Days that would help with Kindergarten preparedness such as “Emotions” and “Opposites” so pleas check back later for those.
For a simple list of academic skills your child can work on before Kindergarten print out this basic Kindergarten Preparation Check List. This is by no means extensive and each school board has its own curriculum. These are merely skills that I’ve seen are workable for parents to practice with their children at home. You can find your local curriculum easily online by searching for “Kindergarten curriculum” for your State/Province/Country.
There are many learning songs for children but I couldn’t think of one exclusively about family or home. If you can think of one please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check here a website that offers the lyrics for many different children’s songs: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/allsongs.html
One song that would work for this Theme Day (not a children’s song) could be “Our house” by Crosby, Still, Nash and Young
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Family Coloring Pages” or “House Coloring Page,” or you can print out my Family Portrait Frame Coloring Page and have your child draw a picture of your family.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook: Who are the people in your family? What makes your family special? What do you like about your family?
Note: This is a Theme Day geared more for Preschooler/Kindergartener children. To help them with this journal entry discuss the answer(s) out loud first. Then you could either write the answer down yourself on a separate sheet for your child to copy or tell him/her the correct letters out loud for him/her to write. You could also write most of the answer yourself but then leaving one or two words for your child to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books on or about families or houses.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about houses or families.
Go to the library on your own to find books about family and home. You can also find safety books and kindergarten preparation books from the library. Take out these books to have already on hand for your Theme Day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (Search for “Home” or “Family” or “Safety” or “Kindergarten” under “Children’s books). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Here are some fun books about houses and home:
· Let’s Go Home: The Wondeful Things About a House, by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin, Simon & Schuster Books for young Readers, 2002—Not really a story but more of a fun investigation of the various rooms found in a house.
· This is the House that Jack Built, by Simms Taback, G.P Putnam’s Sons, 2002 – based on an old rhyme for children this book uses whimsical illustrations to make it something extra special to read.
· No Place Like Home, by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Vanessa Cabban, Candlewick Press, 2004— A little mole sets out to find a new home but with the help of other animals he discovers that he likes his underground home the best.
· Watch Out! At Home, written by Claire Llewellyn and illustrated by Mike Gordon, Barron’s, 2006 – This book simply review basic home safety with children with illustrations of a child and her teddy bear. Use this as a discussion of what is safe and unsafe around the house (i.e. cleaning products/poison, electrical plug-ins, sharp things, etc.)
Here are some picture books about family:
· Family, by Isabell Monk and illustrated by Janice Lee Porter, Carolrhoda Books, Inc., 2001 – A little girl names Hope goes to a big family gathering and shares her special “dessert” with everyone. This would be a good lead in to discussing extended family – who is in your family, when do you see them, what foods do you eat with them...?
· The Family Book, by Todd Parr, Little, Brown and Company, 2003—This colourful and simple book illustrates how families are different and special.
· Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers: A Collection of Family Poems, poems by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrations by Marylin Hafner, Little Brown and Company, 1991—This collection has 26 poems about different family relationships with illustrations that add to the fun.
· Hold My Hand: Five Stories of Love and Family, by Charlotte Zolotow and pictures by Carol Thompson, Hyperion Books for Children, 2003—This one has five sweet stories of family.
· I Got a Family, by Melrose Cooper and pictures by Dale Gottlieb, Henry Holt and Company, 1993—The rhyming verses in this brightly illustrated book show how a girl feels loved by various members of her family through the different things they do with her.
Here are some books on safety outside the home which are useful to review with your little one as he/she prepares to enter Kindergarten:
· Percy Plays It Safe, by Stuart J. Murphy, Charlesbridge, 2010 – Percy the giraffe learns how to be safe at the playground.
· Play It Smart: Playground Safety, by Jill Urban Donahue and illustrated by Bob Masheris, Picture Window Books, 2009—This book follows three friends as they go to the park and highlights different ways to play it smar/safe while at the playground.
· Please Play Safe!: Penguin’s Guide to Playground Safety, by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand, Scholastic Press, 2006 – This book about animals playing together offers children the opportunity to interact as different scenarios are presented with the questions “Is the right?” and then when you flip the page the correct behaviour is shown.
· Safety at the Playground, by Marylee Knowlton, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2009 – This is a great interactive book as you read about a problem at the playground, then you choose how to solve the problem, and then you learn about the consequences of each choice when you flip the page.
· Safety on the Playground, by Lucia Raatma, Bridgestone Books, 1999 – This is a smaller non-fiction book about basic playground safety including staying away from strangers.
Older Siblings my find this book interesting:
· The Family Tree Detective: Cracking the Case of Your Family’s Story, by Ann Douglas and illustrated by Stephen MacEachern, Owl Books, 1999—This book has great information and also activities for older kids to do to learn about his/her family.
MY HOUSE CRAFT:
NOTE: One of the things your child should know when entering Kindergarten is his/her address. While making this craft teach your child your address if he/she does not know it.
Materials: photos of family members that you can cut up (we did cut and paste on the computer and resized digital photos on a single document page and then printed it out on regular paper), coloured paper, crayons and markers, scissors, glue stick, exacto knife (for parental use only).
Step 1: Cut out the family pictures so you will have an idea of how big to make the windows of your house craft.
Step 2: Cut out simple square, rectangle and triangle shapes from the coloured paper (choose the colour of your house/apartment etc.) and have your child arrange them in the shape of your home.
Step 3: Let your child decorate the house to look like your house (include house number to reinforce your home address which is the point of this craft).
Step 4: (Parent step) using an exacto knife and a cutting board carefully cut out three sides of the door and several windows (one for each member of the family) to turn it into a flap.
Step 5: Flip the coloured paper over and tape the family pictures to the back so that the front of the pictures will be seen when the flaps of the windows and doors are opened.
Step 6: Let your child glue the coloured paper shapes onto another sheet of paper in the shape of your house.
Step 7: Let your child decorate the rest of the paper adding trees, sky, sidewalk etc. You could even help him/her write out the street name at the bottom of the picture.
Step 8: Glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook and use as a review of your address.
PHONE NUMBER BRACELETS:
NOTE: Another thing your child should know when entering Kindergarten is his/her phone number. When we were in the car I’d often have my son practice our phone number. I started with three numbers and then when I felt he had memorized those three I added another etc. until he had our full 10 digit phone number memorized. We used this craft as a review but you could use it as a starting point.
Materials: Various coloured beads (pony beads work best) including white ones that can be drawn on (I couldn’t find beads with numbers on them only letters so I had to improvise and write on white beads), elastic thread (found at craft stores), tape, permanent marker (parent only).
Step 1: (Parent step) Using the permanent marker carefully write each number of your phone number onto individual white pony beads (make sure you write in the direction it will be read once it is on your child’s wrist—with the holes on the side of the number).
Step 2: Cut out a piece of elastic thread that will fit your child’s wrist but is longer (you can always cut off excess if it is too long once it is made).
Step 3: Tape one end of the elastic thread to a table so it won’t move around.
Step 4: Mix up the beads and have your child look at them and read the numbers out loud as he /she tries to find the right numbers in the right order of your phone number. Have your child place them in the right order in a row on the table. If your child already knows his/her phone number you don’t have to help with this step much, but if your child does not know his/her phone number yet help out.
Step 5: Let your child pick some coloured beads to start the design of the bracelet (three or four should do depending on the size of your beads) and have him/her start to thread them onto the elastic thread tape to the table.
Step 6: Now have your child thread the number beads onto the elastic thread in order of your phone number. We used black beads as separators after the area code and then after the next three numbers.
Step 7: Let your child finish the bracelet off by threading a few more coloured beads at the end.
Step 8: Carefully remove the elastic thread full of beads from the tape and tie both ends together to make a complete bracelet.
Step 9: Let your child read out the phone number and then wear it!
NOTE: You could also make another bracelet with your mobile phone number on it for your child to wear when you are at a festival or other large place with a crowd. This would serve as a lost child finder!
FAMILY PHOTO PUZZLE:
NOTE: Another thing your child should know when entering Kindergarten is the members of his family. When making this craft you can talk about family members. Kids should know their parents full names as well as sibling names and ages.
Materials: A photograph you can cut up or you can cut and paste on the computer and resize a digital photo on a single document page and then print it out on regular paper (We did this), coloured construction paper, glue stick, crayons or markers (optional)
Step 1: If you are using a computer print out have your child glue the picture onto coloured paper. This makes the puzzle more durable.
Step 2: (Optional) Write a secret message on the back if you wish to give this puzzle away as a gift or a letter to a relative far away.
Step 3: Help your child cut out various shapes to turn the photo into a puzzle. You could also lightly draw shapes with a pencil to help him/her. My son wanted me to do all the cutting.
Step 4: Put the puzzle back together and discuss your family members once again.
NOTE: This craft makes a fun gift or letter to far away relatives.
MOVEABLE ME PAPER DOLL:
NOTE: Another thing you can review with your child before Kindergarten is the parts of the body. You can review body parts using this craft.
Materials: 4 paper fasteners or brads, coloured paper for body parts (a circle for the head, an oval or rectangle for the body, 2 rectangular arms, 2 mitten shaped hands (or try to cut our fingers as I did), 2 partial oval shoes.
Step 1: Have your child draw his/her face onto the circle (ask your child what colour eyes he/she has). Your child can also draw on hair or you can glue on coloured paper to match your child’s hair as we have done.
Step 2: Have your child glue the circle to the body.
Step 3: Have your child glue the hands to the long rectangular arms.
Step 4: Have your child glue the shoes onto the rectangular legs.
Step 5: (parent step) Gently press as paper fastener or brad through the top of the arms and legs and then through the body.
NOTE: If your child likes this craft you could make more paper dolls—one for each member of the family.
Cracker House: Use different shaped crackers, cut out pieces of cheese, pretzels, raisins, fruit, nuts, cereal etc. and let your child create his/her own cracker house to eat.
Phone Number Pretzels : Help your child review his/her phone number by using pretzel sticks. Arrange them into numbers to create your phone number on the table and then eat them!
Ask your child what his/her favourite lunch is and then make it for him/her. While eating lunch discuss your favourite lunch. You can talk about how different people like different things.
Family Salad: This is a family recipe created by my husband when I was pregnant. It is a summertime favourite of ours. Basically it is a giant salad in the largest bowl we have which we all sit around and eat out of. We’ve eaten this outside on a picnic blanket and also all huddled together on the couch watching a movie. Here is the basic recipe: Tear up assorted types of lettuce and put in large bowl. Cut up cubes of different types of cheese and put in bowl. Cut up turkey, chicken or ham into diced pieces and add to the salad. Cut up a variety of vegetables (carrots, pea pods, cucumbers, avocado …) and also cut up some fruit (strawberries, nectarines, apples). Sprinkle with blueberries. Gently mix. Give every family member a fork and dig in! Because this has so much flavour with the various fruits and cheeses it doesn’t need dressing!
Family Cupcakes – decorate to look like family members.
Serve up your Family’s favourite dessert to share!
MY PHONE NUMBER:
Print out a copy of My Phone Number Worksheet and help your child review his/her phone number. Help your child write the phone number at the top of the sheet. Then have your child colour only the numbers on the phone which are in your phone number. Display the finished sheet on the fridge or glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
Print out a copy of my Family Tree Worksheet and also a copy of the Leaves and Acorns Worksheet. Help your child write in family members names on the Leaves and Acorns Worksheet. Let your child colour the tree and all the leaves and acorns. Help your child cut out the tree and leaves and acorns and then have him/her glue the tree to a sheet of coloured paper. Read out each leaf and acorn and show your child where to place them (glue them) on the tree by reading the various branches.
ALL ABOUT ME WORKSHEET:
Print out a copy of my All About Me Worksheet and help your child answer the questions. Encourage him/her to write the answers down himself/herself (with your guidance). Have your child draw a self portrait or glue a photo of himself/herself to the page. Glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
ALL ABOUT MY FAMILY WORKSHEET:
Print out a copy of my All About My Family Worksheet and help your child answer the questions. Encourage him/her to write the answers down himself/herself (with your guidance). Have your child draw pictures of various family members or glue photos onto the page. Glue into your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
Using sidewalk chalk either trace family member’s shadows or if the sun is in the wrong position have family members lie on the sidewalk or your driveway and trace around their body.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows about family.
Try these cartoon shows about siblings:
· Charlie and Lola
· Max and Ruby
For a show about family try this one:
· The Berenstain Bears
Look at photo albums
Visit a family member and have your child share what he/she learned (phone number worksheet, family tree) or bring over some family photo albums to look over together.
Arrange for a tour of your child’s new school before Kindergarten begins.
Art by the Wright Family
Celebrate your family!
A Family Portrait
“My House” Life the Flap Craft
Phone Number Bracelet
Family Photo Puzzle
“Moveable Me” Paper Doll
“My Phone Number” Worksheet