10 Things Your Child Should Know Before Kindergarten

Your child is learning through everyday actions. As the parent you pose an important role as the first teacher in your child’s life. You can give them the best start to help them gain the skills they’ll need and use when they start school. It may be a little too early to start practicing mathematical equations and literature, but you can teach your children valuable lessons through a variety of activities and encouraging imagination. Here we have listed a few tips and activities you can do with your child to enrich their development.


There are few things that your child should learn before they start kindergarten. Children all learn differently but the best way to teach them is through hands-on activities. You can help guide your child with Pre-K exercises they will love doing and learning the things they need to know by the time they begin Kindergarten. By teaching them these skills they will be well prepared to succeed.

1. Social and Personal Development
Your child should be able to interact and play well with other children as well as adults. They should show interest and curiosity in learning new things. When they encounter a problem while doing a task they should seek the help of an adult. Give your child the opportunity to play with others close to their age through play dates or groups. You will need to teach and show your child the concepts of sharing, how to take turns, and problem solving.

2. Listening & Speaking
An important skill your child needs to have before they begin school is the concept of listening. They should be able to carry out one-step directions when instructed. They should also have good verbal skills to speak clearly in perfect sentences. They should be able to express their feelings and ideas clearly without using contextual clues. You can encourage your child’s verbal skills by asking questions like what they want, identify people by name, and how they feel.

3. Knowledge of the Alphabet
By the time your child reaches age 4 they should be able to recite or sing the alphabet. Most children will be able to do this well before their 4th birthday. They should also be able to identify their letters. Alphabet magnets are a great learning method to teach this skill to your child. Point out letters and name them to your child as you spell out different words. Another valuable lesson pre-kindergarten is teaching them to match and identify upper-case and lower-case letters.

4. Patterns
Your child should be able to recognize patterns and copy them. They should also be able to distinguish and categorize shapes and colors. Make a learning game using shapes or colored items in a pattern and encourage your child to guess what the next shape/color in the sequence is. They should be able to identify up to 10 colors which include red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple, black, brown, pink, and white. I would use 3 different items to make it easy, for example using colored blocks – blue, yellow, orange, blue, yellow, orange, then ask your toddler what color should come next and let them place the block in the sequence.

5. Number Concepts
Your child should be able to count up to 20 and actually count out objects up to 10 with understanding. This is super easy and can be taught anywhere. When I would count with my daughter we would count on our fingers so she could visually see as she was counting. Then we worked on simple addition (i.e. 5+5=10). You should also use numbers or write them out as well so your child can recognize and match numerals 0 – 10.
6. Gross Motor Skills
Mastering gross motor skills is something your child should definitely achieve by the time they are ready to start Kindergarten. Activities they should be capable of doing include the following:

  • Catch, throw, and roll a ball
  • Jump in place while landing on both feet; jump up to 7 jumps consecutively
  • Skip and hop
  • Correctly ride a tricycle independently (pedals and steers)
  • Climb (on a playground ladder or playground equipment)

7. Fine Motor Skills
Children must be able to build and develop the small muscles in their hands to master fine motor skills. Before your toddler starts Kindergarten she should be able to hold a pencil, color, cut, and paste. You can help them fine-tune these muscles and develop those skills with fun and easy arts and crafts projects.

  • Let your child color a picture, showing them how to correctly grasp a crayon
  • Give your child stickers to peel and place on a sheet of paper
  • With supervision and child-safe scissors, let them cut out pieces of paper and show them how to neatly glue pieces
  • Give them 4 ½” beads or cut up a straw into one inch pieces for them to string on a strand of yarn.
  • Draw vertical/horizontal lines, basic shapes, and easy letters (such as ‘V’) and have them copy them

One activity my daughter loves that is a great activity for building strong fine motor skills is lace-up projects. You can buy these in most stores or make your own with a cardboard cut-out and punch holes then give your child a string or shoe-lace. In addition to these, your child should also be able to stack up to 10 blocks, button their jacket, and assemble a puzzle.

8. Creative Arts
Creativity and imagination are important skills for your child to acquire that will help them when they start school. Music plays a part in this as well. Your child should be able to sing, play with a musical instrument, dance or move rhythmically to music, and can play pretend. Dancing with your child is a great way in to incorporate some of these skills and it gives you both good exercise. Encourage their imagination and pretend play by using stuffed animals to have a tea party with or make a cape with a towel or blanket and let him play super hero.
9. Health & Wellness
In addition to being capable of self-dependent actions, your child will need to learn preparedness for getting ready. Start your child off early with a morning routine for getting ready and let them try to do these actions on their own:

  • Brush their teeth
  • Wash face and hands
  • Knows the proper procedures for going to the restroom
  • Can dress themselves
  • Can pick out healthy and non-healthy foods

10. Self- Knowledge
This is not only an important skill needed by the time they start Kindergarten, but can also be very beneficial in the event of an emergency. A child should know their full name and can tell you their birthday as well as their address where they live and phone number. The earlier your child can learn these things, the better. Be sure to explain proper actions in the event of an emergency and how to go to someone for help. Also teach them about not talking or giving out information to perfect stranger!


  1. Great list. Thanks for sharing

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