This is the age-old question: Is my child ready for Kindergarten? Will they succeed? Do they have the right skills? I have been asked these numerous times as an OT. There are certain things that a child should be able to do before Kindergarten.
I know you are asking: What are these things they should be doing? By 5 years old, a child should be able to copy a cross, square, and diagonal lines. This will help prepare them for writing letters. They should be able to cut straight lines and curved lines. They should show a hand preference and use it consistently for all fine motor tasks. They should be able to string small beads. They should be putting an 8-12-piece interlocking puzzle together. Lastly, they should be starting to write their name and copying capital letters and numbers.
Now you might be thinking, my child can’t do that. Good news! Here are some easy, fun ways to build up fine motor skills. Playing with play dough is a great way. You can roll it into balls or use toothpicks to make designs on it. You can also cut the play dough with a plastic knife. Picking up small objects (pennies, cheerios, beads) using tongs or clothespins is great for building those finger muscles. Activity books with mazes and hidden pictures are a great tool. Some simple activities that will help build their hand/eye coordination: playing catch, playing balloon volleyball, or throwing bean bags or balls into a bucket or hoop. As always, the best strategy is to practice, practice, practice, especially with copying shapes, letters, and numbers or cutting lines.
Remember to make it fun! Enjoy the last few months before they head off to kindergarten!