Kindergarteners love to play. However, for many children, as they enter school and start their academic lives, play frequently takes a backseat to structured learning. Personally, I think this is tragic. In the grand scheme of things, life is so short that I think kids should be allowed to be kids for as long as humanly possible. They can catch up on their sight word recognition any day, but for how long will they be able to find pure joy in activities such as using stepladders, shoe boxes, and a plastic plate “steering wheel” to pretend that they are a delivery person.
Additionally, it is my belief that children learn the most when they don’t realize that they are learning anything at all. When they participate in activities they think are fun, they are wholly invested in the experience. They don’t hold back. If they are pretending to be a waiter, they will happily take your order and write letters (nonsensical or otherwise) on a pad of paper without giving a second thought about the educational nature of the experience.
Kindergarteners (and other young children as well) should spend most of their lives having fun. There will be plenty of time when they are older for drudgery and mundane tasks. My goal with my oldest child, who is 5, is to nurture his natural enthusiasm for experiences he finds enjoyable. If I can incorporate some learning into planned activities when possible without him feeling like I’m lessening his fun, even better, but if not, I’m not going to worry about it while he’s this young. Below are some activities that provide homemade fun for kindergarteners.