Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: Developing Kindergarten Language Skills {Getting Ready for K Through Play}

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Developing Kindergarten Language Skills {Getting Ready for K Through Play}

Kindergarten readiness involves many different academic, social & emotional and physical skills. This week we are focusing on Language Skills as part of our 8 week Get Ready for K Through Play series.

Language is a big part of kindergarten. Beginning kindergarteners do not have well developed reading and writing skills so much of their learning (and informal assessments) occurs orally. Being able to answer questions in sentences, fully express their ideas so that others can easily understand them and tell or retell events and/or stories are essential skills for kindergarteners.

Helping your child build their oral language skills doesn't have to require tons of prep or scheduled time. In my experience, it's actually best to incorporate language building activities into your every day. One of the best ways to do this is by having descriptive conversations with your child. Talk about anything and everything. While you are out on your family adventures this summer take some time to focus on building language skills. By doing this you will not only enrich your child's vocabulary, you will also be actively building their background knowledge base.

Take a trip to your local zoo, aquarium or wildlife center this summer. Discuss the animals you see. Name them. Learn some interesting facts about them. Compare and contrast them. Then discuss your outing. Share what you enjoyed and what you didn't like. The important thing is to get your child to express themselves fully. I do this for every outing we enjoy with the Lil Divas. We always discuss our favorite thing. I do not just accept answers like "I liked the monkey". When given a simple answer like that, I ask a follow-up question - "Why did you like the monkey best?" This gives the child the opportunity to really think about their experience and express themselves fully - "I like the monkey because he was swinging from all the trees and it was so funny." The more time you spend on these types of conversations, the easier it becomes for your child to express themselves. They will build their language skills and learn the social skills required for holding a conversation. By developing your child's vocabulary you will also help them develop as both readers and writers.

In kindergarten it is also important for children to be able to articulate their feelings versus act on impulse or emotion. This type of behavior is very common in preschool - think of all the aggressive behaviors that run rampant in 2-4 year olds: hitting, biting, pushing, etc.  By kindergarten children are under a much greater expectation to keep those impulsive behaviors in check. It is essential for children to have the proper language skills to express themselves when confronted with a problematic situation. Be sure to encourage social situations this summer. Let your child spend time with friends. Take them to the park to interact with children they do not know. It is inevitable that problems will arise. Take them as teachable moments. Encourage your child to express their feelings, to talk it out or if the situation calls for it to simply walk away. This is an area where I still have to work with the Littlest Diva. She is always determined to have her way and tends to be quite bossy, especially with her sister. I have to take the opportunity to remind her that sometimes she has to compromise and share in order to play and/or work with others. This component of your child's language development will have far reaching impact on their socialization in school.

 Another huge component of kindergarten language skills is the ability to follow verbal directions. A fun and informal way for children to practice their listening skills and focus on following verbal directions is by playing - Simon Says Draw! By making it a game, children don't even realize they are practicing essential kindergarten readiness skills. You will be having fun family time while helping them prepare for K through play! You can't beat that.

For even more Language Building ideas check out these awesome posts shared by my series co-hosts:

and be sure to follow our Get Ready for K Through Play Pinterest Board for lots of awesome Kindergarten Readiness resources, ideas and activities. We are pinning lots of fun and easy language building ideas like puppet play, listening games, following directions activities and more.

Thank you to My Cute Graphics for the use of the superhero kids graphic.

Join us next week as we share ideas for helping children develop the Social & Emotional Skills needed for Kindergarten in week 2 of the Get Ready for K Through Play summer series. 

Have fun playing to learn!


  1. great tips....It is just as important for the parent to be ready for kindergarten as well!

  2. i am really excited about starting this program, we live in Australia so my son starts next janurary and we just had his preschool interview. So was starting to look for things i could assist him with and found your blog link on pinterest last night.. Even this weeks language guide has really excited me. Really looking forward to reading your blog and following along.. So do i go to the other blogs to get their tips aswell or will you be posting everything from everyone..

    1. Amy, I have linked to everyone in my post so you can check out their ideas. Everyone is coming up with a different activity so each week you will have 5-6 different ideas to put in your arsenal for the summer, plus we are pinning even more on the Pinterest page. You get to choose what works for you but we are hoping to supply our fab readers with lots of options! I'm so glad this will be helpful to you and that you will be following along. This is exactly why I wanted to do this series :)

  3. I love this series, and its focus on the importance of play in learning! I am looking forward to following along with all of you!

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