Teaching your kindergartener about reading, math and science can be a lot more fun if your learning activities are based around a theme. Planning lessons about monsters can engage your little one in learning while being silly and creative at the same time. A monster theme works well around Halloween but could really be used any time of the year.
Kindergarten is a time when children learn about the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. Use your monster theme to study the letter M and its sound. Using a large cutout of the letter M, have your child decorate it to look like a monster by giving it a face, arms and legs using craft supplies such as markers, pipe cleaners or pompoms. Tell your child that this monster only likes to munch on foods that start with the M sound. Brainstorm a list of foods that start with the M sound, such as macaroni, marshmallows or mangoes, that you could feed your monster. For fun, make an M-sound snack using foods from your list.
Story time is a part of any kindergartener's day, so find books about monsters to practice your child's emergent reading skills. "Where The Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak is a classic story about a boy and his imagination, which takes him to a land of monsters. "Go Away, Big Green Monster!" by Ed Emberley is another good choice for young readers as they build a monster piece by piece with die-cut pages. For a little math mixed into the reading lesson, try "Monster Math" by Anne Miranda and have your child practice counting, addition and subtraction as the story progresses. For a fun monster book, read "Goodnight Goon" by Michael Rex, a silly take on the classic "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown.
Build a Monster
Games are a much more fun way to learn about math than worksheets any day, so put together a fun monster-building game to get your child practicing number recognition, counting and drawing. Locate two dice, a few sheets of paper and some crayons or markers. Create a key that will tell your child which body parts to draw on their monster. For example, rolling a 1 means she will draw an arm, rolling a 2 means she will draw a leg, and so on for other body parts such as a nose, eyes, mouth and head. To begin playing, have your child draw any shape on her paper that will serve as the monster's body. Then roll a die, and use the key to determine which body part she is going to draw. Roll the second die to determine how many of that part she will put on her monster. The fun part of this game is that she will end up with a multi-headed, multi-limbed creature.
During kindergarten, children learn about what a plant needs to grow, and the best way to learn is with hands-on activities. You can use encompass the monster theme while planting seeds for a science lesson. First, have your child draw a monster face on a plastic cup using a permanent marker. Fill the cup with soil, and have your kindergartener sprinkle in some small seeds, such as grass or radish seeds. Pat them lightly into the soil, and show her how to add a little bit of water to the soil. Using an eyedropper will help her add just enough water without soaking the seeds too much. Place your monster cup in a sunny window, and watch for signs of growth. When the seeds begin to sprout, the monster will grow hair.