Foothill Christian School Blog

Decidedly Academic. Distinctively Christian.

10 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

kinder tips rotator

If the adage, “Everything I needed to know, I learned in kindergarten,” is true, then parents and teachers must ensure every child who starts kindergarten is ready to learn. At Foothill Christian School we are less concerned about what a child has learned prior to kindergarten and more concerned that they are ready to learn.


tip1GROSS MOTOR SKILLS – large muscle development that helps with running, throwing, catching and moving through space. Stimulates balance, coordination and a spatial awareness.


  • Have your child hop, skip, gallop, or dance to rhythms of piano or drums.
  • Walk a line four inches wide, eight to twelve feet long, in a heel-to-toe manner
  • Roll, toss, bounce catch a ball. Start with larger balls and gradually change to smaller ball


tip2FINE MOTOR SKILLS – small muscle development that helps children grip a pencil, use scissors and tie their shoelaces.


  • Use clay, playdough, color, weave, fold cut lace and tie activities
  • Fit objects together such as nesting cubes, simple jigsaw puzzles and cut-out stencils
  • String beads in a reproduction of a pattern. String macaroni, sew with yarn
  • Trace, outline, cut with scissors and finger paint


tip3VISUAL DISCRIMINATION – the ability to differentiate between shapes, letters, numbers and other symbols. It is a crucial skill to the reading process.


  • Sort objects by size, color content.
  • Look at 4-5 items that are the same and one that is not. Child finds the one that is different
  • Play card games such as “Slap Jack”, “Go Fish” or “Old Maid”.
  • Cut pictures from magazines and cut off parts of the objects. Have your child draw the missing part.

tip4VISUAL MEMORY – helps children accurately recall information they take in visually which supports the sequence of stories and events and retention of ideas.


  • Play the Memory Game by Milton Bradley or Concentration
  • Show your child a picture in a story book. Close the book and have your child tell you three things he saw in the picture
  • Arrange some items in order. Have your child close their eyes and mix them up. Child puts them back in order from memory.

tip5AUDITORY DISCRIMINATION – provides the necessary skill to distinguish between the sounds of letters, beginning – middle-and ending sounds, rhyming words and more. It also contributes to proper enunciation and speech.


  • Always verbalize experiences with your child. When traveling talk about what you see.
  • Play a game that has two step directions then increase to three and four steps as child shows mastery
  • Have child close their eyes and listen while you perform common sounds like bouncing a ball or snapping fingers. Child then identifies the sound.

tip6AUDITORY MEMORY – the ability to retain information the student has heard. Children need to process and recall information continually in the classroom.


  • Play games such as “I’m packing my suitcase and I put in _____”, and add more items one-by-one.
  • Ask your child to recall outstanding events of the previous day.
  • Clap your hands in a simple rhythm and have your child repeat it.


tip7RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE – the understanding of age appropriate vocabulary, descriptive language and words in various contexts. A large part of comprehension is dependent on this skill.


  • Play “I Spy” (a color, a shape or object) Say “I spy something you don’t see” and describe it. Child guesses the object.
  • Ask child to pantomime activities such as: show me how you wash dishes, drive a car, brush your teeth, etc.
  • Give directions which ask your child to place something on, behind, in front of, between, under and next to.

tip8EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE – the ability for children to verbally express their thoughts, feelings and ideas.


  • Have your child use a play or real telephone and play conversations.
  • Have your child look at photographs/pictures and describe what he sees.
  • Using a storybook, have your child “read” the story by telling you about the pictures.


tip9REASONING SKILLS – are those that help children make good choices; demonstrate comprehension, and understand cause and effect relationships.


  • While reading a story to your child, stop and ask him to make a prediction about what might happen next in the story.
  • Show pictures or talk about opposites…front-back, hot-cold, old-new.
  • Have your child sort items by various characteristics: plastic, metal, smooth, rough etc.

tip10SOCIAL – EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT – is the child’s self-esteem center along with the ability to form positive relationships in both one-to-one and group settings.


  • Give reasonable tasks around the house for which he is expected to be responsible; caring for his belongings, clearing the table, etc. Praise him when he starts and finishes those tasks.
  • As you read to him, talk about how characters in the story might feel.
  • Be an active listener to your child. Giving your full attention allows them time to build their thoughts and express them without being rushed.


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