Preparing your kindergartener to start school is not only academic, social, or emotional readiness, but your child needs to have fine and gross motor skills consistent with their physical growth and age in order to be successful in the upcoming school year. What skills are needed? How do you prepare and practice these skills before starting kindergarten?

One of the trends I am noticing in kindergarteners entering the school year is the lack of fine and gross motor skills. Technology is ever present in our everyday world and starts at a much earlier age than in years past. Since technology is here to stay, we must compensate and purposely engage our little ones to incorporate fine and gross motor skill activities in everyday life.


Some children entering school have never held a writing tool!! What!?! Never held a pencil or crayon!?! Yep!! Notice restaurants now have computer games at the table for youngsters not crayons and coloring pages? Holding a pencil or crayon is a basic motor skill that must be practiced before entering kindergarten. Your child will begin using a pencil right away. It will take precious academic time away to stop and teach kiddos how to use a writing tool. Introduce and practice using crayons, markers, pencils, and pens on a regular basis. Practice drawing shapes and coloring in the lines. This will get your child ready to begin writing their name, letters and numbers.

Fine Motor Skills

How about scissors? Has your child ever used scissors before? Do they know how to properly put their little fingers into the grips and cut paper? This is a skill that needs to be taught and modeled. We will be cutting a lot in kindergarten and if they have the skill and ability to use scissors, they will be one step ahead.

Some activities you can do at home to help strengthen fine motor skills are manipulative toys. Blocks, puzzles, shape sorters, arts and crafts, pretend food, dolls, construction tools and building blocks are some examples of manipulatives. Not only do these activities help strengthen hand fine movement, but also helps with hand-eye coordination. Exposing your child to as many different toys and activities as possible will enhance their physical gross and fine motor skills thus preparing them for the kindergarten academic year.

Dressing and Undressing

Do they know how to zip up their jacket or pants? Do they know how to fasten and unfasten belts? Are they able to dress and undress? Is your child potty trained? What does this have to do with entering kindergarten? Well, your child must be able to go to the bathroom alone. One year I had a child that had an potty accident every day. This child was potty trained, could dress and undress and made it into the bathroom in time. What happened? The child had a belt on that was not easily and quickly removed. This ended with the child being embarrassed and sent to change until we figured out the problem. Be cognizant of what your child’s abilities are with their clothing choices for school. Make sure they know how to zip and unzip their zippers and undo belts.

Does your child know how to tie their shoes? Teachers do not have time to stop and tie 25 shoes when they become untied!! If your little ones cannot tie shoes–buy velcro or slip ons!!!

Gross Motor Skills

Get outside and play. Running, jumping, sliding, playing tag are a few activities that help develop gross motor skills. There are many indoor games as well. Play kitchens and forts are examples that also help develop imagination. Using all muscles of the body help with gross motor skills, coordination, and increases blood flow to the brain.

The more activities and opportunities your child has to practice fine and gross motor skills, the more prepared they will be for kindergarten.

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