Oh that I could go back in time and tell myself that these would be the best purchases for Emma’s Kindergarten year. I would have saved some money and time. But since I can’t go back in time, I’ll do the next best thing – share what I learned with you!
This is a simple list. It’s short and sweet because I waaay overbought for Kindergarten – and I didn’t need to. You don’t need much, I promise you. And if you decide you need something extra, you can always buy it mid-year!
Please, don’t do what I did and get everything everyone recommends for Kindergarten! (My last plea.)
So listen up, Buttercup. These are the things that I bought that I was GLAD I bought because they were the most useful and made things fun and simple.
P.S. Some of these are my affiliate links.
Rewards & Prizes
This is key. If you want to motivate your child (and you will), provide incentives! Emma was one of those kids who excelled when she knew there would be a reward for her best work, and I happily took advantage of this. Edible rewards were received with so much enthusiasm that I stocked up on small, healthy snacks that were to be eaten only during school time. I didn’t do this every day, but on those days when she needed a little extra encouragement I would pull out the fruit snacks, yogurt-covered raisins, or Smarties and she would get 2 or 3 every time she finished a subject. Just enough to make her want to continue working for more. It worked so well! She flew through her school in the mornings.
Sticker rewards were appreciated, too, so I bought a bunch of them and would put stickers next to her nicely formed letters during handwriting practice, or on finished math pages after she had completed all of the problems correctly.
Abacus Instead of Counters
I loved using the abacus for teaching counting, addition, subtraction, and other math concepts. I prefer the abacus over counters for this age because:
- I like that I don’t have to keep track of and store little pieces,
- It’s easy to find because I always slide it in next to the math book in the bookshelf,
- It’s color-coded in groups of 5’s and 10’s so you can teach number grouping and counting by 5’s and 10’s simply,
- There are 100 little beads to slide back and forth, so you’re not limited by not having enough counters,
- Kids like to play with them more than counters, and they learn through play!
Chunky Pencils Instead of Regular Pencils
For the little one just beginning to learn to write the alphabet, these pencils are perfect! They are much easier for small hands to grasp than the standard thin pencils. I learned through trial and error that pencil grips wouldn’t help Emma in correcting her grip at all – when I switched to chunky pencils, she was less frustrated, didn’t complain about her fingers hurting, and her handwriting improved immensely because she had a solid grip around the pencil. I’ve ordered these pencils from Amazon.com before and they were the best.
Draw and Write Journals
When it came to practicing handwriting in Kindergarten, Emma’s favorite handwriting pages were the ones I made myself using highlighters and lined paper. I bought these notebooks with lined paper that leaves room for kids to draw pictures on the page and used a yellow highlighter to write letters of the alphabet, her name, her phone number, anything I wanted her to remember. I encouraged Emma to take time to draw a picture that began with the letter she was tracing/writing and she loved it! If you have a little artist on your hands, give this a try.
This Particular Online Learn-to-Read Program
Dry Erase Board and Dry Erase Markers
There were days when Emma was frustrated with handwriting practice with pencils – because it involved erasing. When I saw that the frustration was at its peak, often I would switch to a mini dry erase board and dry erase markers with erasers built into the lid. These tools are great for letter formation practice, illustrating math concepts quickly, writing and memorizing sight words, and of course drawing just for fun.
More Kindergarten Fun…