August is "Get Ready for Kindergarten" month for almost two million American kids who will be entering kindergarten in the fall. Today's collection of websites include a mix of online and offline activities for parents to do with their preschoolers. But remember, although worksheets and online games are fun, reading out loud to your child is the single best way to prepare your kids for school and learning.
"A is for antelope, B is for Bison, C is for crab. " An amazing typographic adventure awaits you at Bembo's Zoo, as you watch each letter of the alphabet transform into a wild animal right before your eyes and ears. This Flash animation for all ages is based on the book of the same name, by graphic artist Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich. Don't miss it!
"How many M&M's do you think are in this bag?" "How many buttons does Daddy have on his shirt?" Math can be integrated into nearly any everyday activity you do with your preschoolers. To jumpstart your own ideas, CoolMath4Parents organizes dozens of math-learning opportunities by daily activity such as dressing, driving, snacking, etc. The last category, Good Family Games, recommends half a dozen card and board games, including UNO, Yahtzee, and bingo.
This collection of fifteen number games from the Australian Broadcasting Company is terrific; I only wish they had more descriptive titles, and some sound or music. For counting beginners, games one, five and eight are my favorites. All the games are available for free download, so they can be played offline on either a Mac or Windows computer. For a description of each game, click on the yellow "games" menu item.
Beyond the Backpack is an educational initiative from Nickelodeon to help parents prepare their preschoolers for kindergarten with interactive Dora the Explorer games. Start by taking the quiz rating your child's readiness in four areas: language, social/emotional, math, and physical/wellness. Based on your answers, you'll then get a customized learning plan for your child which includes multimedia video and interactive Dora games. As your child progresses through the games, they'll earn virtual stickers to keep them motivated.
This two-page checklist for preschool parents starts twelve months before kindergarten, with the suggestion to visit kindergarten programs in your community to find out what's available. It continues through the first couple of weeks of kindergarten with this advice. "Take your time making the transition. Every child will respond differently. Work with the teachers to help yours adjust."