Helping Your Child Succeed in School: Ages 5 to 7
Activities I -- Helping Your Child Succeed in School
What follows are activities that you can do with your child to help build the skills, attitudes and behaviors needed for school success. There is no one "right" way to do the activities. You should make changes and shorten or lengthen them to suit your child's attention span. You might want to use them as a starting point for some activities of your own. If you don't have some of the resources listed for an activity, remember that most public libraries offer free use of books, magazines, videos, computers and other services. Other things that you might need for these activities are not expensive.
Age levels for the activities are indicated at the start of each activity:
Keep in mind, however, that children don't always learn the same things at the same rate. You are the best judge of what your child may be ready to try, so use the age levels as guides as your child learns and grows, not as hard and fast rules. For example, an activity listed for children ages 7-9 may work well with your 5-year-old. On the other hand, the same activity may not interest your child until he is 9 or 10.
As a parent, you can help your child want to learn in a way no one else can. That desire to learn is a key to your child's later success. Enjoyment is important! So, if you and your child don't enjoy one activity, move on to another. You can always return to any activity later on.
Can You Top This?
For children ages 5 to 7
Learning to take turns helps your child build spoken language skills as well as learn to work with others.
What to Do
With your child, make up a story for the two of you to tell together, taking turns saying one sentence at a time.
- Begin by deciding on a topic, such as pirates.
- Say the first sentence: "Once upon a time a pirate lived in . . ."
- Continue taking turns with your child making up and telling parts of the story until you decide to end it—maybe after eight or ten sentences.
Take turns beginning and finishing a story. Ask other family members and friends to join in.
For children ages 5 to 7
Listening to and giving directions helps your child to sharpen listening and speaking skills.
What You Need
- Any small object, such as a ball or a photograph
- Objects that can make noise, such as keys, water glasses, spoons and decks of cards
What to Do
Hide a small object. Give your child directions to find it such as, "Take five steps straight ahead. Turn right. Keep the lamp to your left. Bend down and look to the right." Next, have your child hide the object and give you directions to find it.
Have your child close his eyes. Use something to make a sound, such as rattling your keys, tapping a spoon against a glass or riffling a deck of cards). Ask your child to guess what's making the sound.
Clap your hands to tap out a rhythm. Have your child listen and then clap that same rhythm back to you. Make the rhythms harder as he catches on.
Take a walk with your child. Find a place to sit for a few minutes and both close your eyes for 30 seconds or so. Tell each other what you hear: a baby crying, an airplane, a bird singing, cars on the street, leaves rustling.
Take a walk with your child. This time, take turns telling each other what to do: cross the street, turn left, look down.
Reprinted with the permission of the U.S. Department of Education.
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