At five years old, most children are heading into Kindergarten to begin what will become a lifelong educational journey. As parents, it is our job to prepare our children to begin this journey with enthusiasm and passion. One way that we can do this is to start instructing our children at home before they step foot in Kindergarten.
The average five-year-old has an attention span of between ten to twenty-five minutes. Every child is different, but you can gauge your child’s attention span by watching them as you work together.
- You have certainly exceeded your child’s attention span if:
- Your child begins fidgeting or becomes restless.
- Your child begins to stare off into space or just stare blankly.
- Your child interrupts you.
- Your child begins asking multiple questions that veer away from the topic at hand.
Once your child has hit their attention span limit, further teaching is only ignored and increases your child’s frustration. Repeatedly pushing your child past their attention span limitations can create negative learning associations and influence your child for the rest of their life.
8 Easy Activities To Teach Your 5-Year-Old
We have put together eight easy but fun activities designed to teach your 5-year-old without exceeding their attention span. These eight activities focus on various subjects that are important for your kindergartener to know, including:
- Letter sounds.
- Beginning and end sounds.
- Categorizing and sorting.
- Color separation.
- Fine motor skills and dexterity.
- Sequencing and pattern recognition.
1. What is the Missing Letter?
On a piece of paper, draw four objects that interest your child. For example, if they love animals, draw four animals. Beside each picture, print the name of each object, but create a blank space where the first letter should be. In a column to the right of the object names, jumble up the missing first letters of the objects and place one letter beside each. Have your child identify each object and match the correct first letter with each blank space.
Skills: Phonics, letter sounds, reading, beginning sounds.
2. Sorting Beans
Combine a bag of dried black beans, dried pinto beans, black-eyed peas, and dried red beans in a large bowl. Set out four large mason jars. Ask your child to sort through the beans and separate them by color (with all the black beans in one jar, all the pinto beans in one jar, all the black-eyed peas in one jar, and all the red beans in one jar.)
Skills: Categorizing and sorting, color separation, fine motor skills, and dexterity.
3. Alphabet Treasure Hunting
Lay out alphabet flashcards in a line on the carpet or the dining table – if you do not have any, you can make your own with a marker and notecards. Ask your child to treasure hunt for things in their room that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Have them bring each item back and set it on the correct letter of the alphabet.
*It may be a clever idea to limit the search area to your child’s toybox.
Skills: Letter sounds, beginning sounds.
4. Color Sequencing and Patterns
Using colored construction paper or colored Post-It Notes, create a horizontal pattern.
Create five horizontal patterns. Set a pile of spare pieces of construction paper or Post-It notes to the side and ask your child to complete each of the five patterns.
Skills: Sequencing and pattern recognition.
5. Tracing and Sorting
Have your child find various round objects in the kitchen and trace around them on a piece of paper (for example, a tumbler, a dinner plate, a side plate, a cookie tin, etc. Have your child cut out each circle using child-safe scissors.) Have your child organize the different circles in order of smallest to biggest.
Skills: Sequencing and organization.
6. Shape Recognition
On a piece of paper, draw a circle, a square, a rectangle, an oval, a diamond, and a triangle. Ask your child to find objects around the house that fit each shape. Alternatively, if you do not want your child searching for things, you can fill a Tupperware bin with differently shaped items and ask your child to match each item to the right shape.
Skills: Shape recognition and matching.
7. Rhyme Time
Buy a pack of notecards or cut some paper squares and write out ten words on ten notecards or paper squares. On another ten notecards or paper squares, write out ten words that rhyme with the first ten words. Lay the first ten words out in a column on the floor. Mix up the second ten words and lay them out in a single column beside the first column. Help your child to read out the words on each notecard. Now, have your child search for the rhyming words in the second column and match the two cards together.
Skills: Letter sounds, reading, end sounds.
8. Opposites Attract
Cut out pictures of opposite items from a magazine and lay them out on the dining table or floor. For example, you might cut out a picture of someone looking sad and a picture of someone looking happy. Try to find ten pairs of opposites. Put all twenty images you cut out on the floor and jumble them up. Have your child match up the pairs of opposites.
Other Skills To Emphasize For Your Kindergartener
If you are looking for more games and activities to play with your kindergartener, some skills to practice include:
- Putting puzzles together.
- Cutting with scissors.
- Building with blocks.
- Following multiple-step directions.
- Shape identification.
- Sequencing pictures to create a story.
- Counting to ten.
- Recognizing colors.
- Drawing shapes.
- Holding crayons, pens, and pencils in a pinscher grip.