Counting with Playing Cards

This post may contain affiliate links.

Counting is a skill that young children need to master in order to become proficient in addition and subtraction.

Here is a fun activity to practice counting using playing cards and checkers.

First gather your materials.



Next, create simple rules.


Since my twins were playing together, one was red and the other was black. I separated the cards and the checkers into their own decks.


Then they flipped the cards and chose one. They can use one card to count the number.


For more advanced fun, have your children count the cards together.

How My Daughter Started Kindergarten at a 2nd Grade Level

Although I was a teacher for 10 years, I never could quite understand the need for the district to constantly label children and put them into groups. It always was about academic or behavior. I thought our goal was to help all children succeed despite of what label they were given, so I never paid attention to a student’s label.  In second and third grade, that I taught, it was easy to see which children weren’t at grade level.

But imagine my surprise when I found out that kindergarten students could be labeled as well. Just think for a minute, a child can be behind in their first year of school!

As a mom, I definitely did not want my child to be labeled behind in kindergarten. So I started to figure out what skills she would need to succeed in school. Although we think that it’s just learning colors, and the alphabet, it is much more than that.

Wow, this really helps me teach my daughter to prepare her for kindergarten readiness! This is so easy for preschool activities at home and for my preschool homeschool curriculum.

Children should know skills such as:






Fine Motor

In my Free Homeschool Preschool Planner, I have listed all of the skills that preschoolers needed.

Plus, if your child doesn’t go to preschool then they might miss out on all of the necessary skills to prepare them for school.

So my plan with my daughter was simple, work with her by playing learning games daily. Every day we would play a learning game even if she didn’t understand it. The more that I played with her, the more she learned.

We would do counting games, letter games, and alphabet games. I also taught her social skills such as sharing and being polite. Although many parents focus on academic skills, the behavior skills are equally important for academic success. Children who are well-behaved do better at school, even if they aren’t as high academically. Why? Because well-behaved children know how to listen and follow directions. They are easier to work with and really want to succeed.

By the time my oldest daughter started school, she was already advanced. Since I made learning fun, she was excited to go to school. There were no tears on the first day of school. She was able to easily adjust to being at school all day. Even to this day, she will be in 3rd grade this fall, she continues to be two grade levels ahead.

Once I had my second daughter, I knew I had to repeat the process. I would spend time playing academic games with her and making learning fun.

Here are her STAR test scores:  

Kindergarten Reading: 4th Grade Level   

Kindergarten Reading: 4th Grade Level   

Kindergarten Math: 2nd Grade Level

Kindergarten Math: 2nd Grade Level

Anything you do is easier if you have the confidence, and by working with my daughter I was able to give her the confidence so she could go to school and excel.

This is why I created the KinderStar Course. I wanted parents to be able to help prepare their children for school. Even if your child is one years old, you can start working with him.

In the KinderStar Course I have included:

90 page Parent Activity E-guide, this includes activities for each skill necessary for kindergarten success

15 Video Modules- you will see how I use these same techniques to teach my three year old twins

100 Sight Word Cards- that will help your child learn how to read

46 Printable Worksheets- practice tracing and writing the letters of the alphabet, as well as learning shapes

Activities: Alphabet puzzles, rhyming cards, and number clip cards


Everything is downloadable so you can get started today.

The early school years are key predictors of future academic success. This is why it is important to begin teaching your child at an early age.

4 Reasons Why You Must Prepare Your Child for School

Even if your child is only one years old, it is very important to NOT wait until she turns 4 or 5 to prepare her for kindergarten.

Studies show that the first five years of a child’s life is critical for brain development so it is important to begin to teach your child at birth. Even when your child is in the womb, you can begin to read to your child. Once your child is born, you can give him an academic headstart by doing developmental appropriate activities and continually advance your child as they get older.

Kindergarten is not how it was when you were a child. It is not even the same that it was 10 years ago! With ever-changing academic standards, new laws, and school district policies; it is imperative that you teach your child at home so they will be prepared for school.

Wow, I didn't even know that kindergarten readiness skills was so important! I'm going to make sure that I do preschool activities at home with my son to prepare him for kindergarten readiness assessments. pinning for later!


There are four main reasons why you must teach your child before kindergarten.

1.      Preparation is key for early success.

When your child enters school, they will be in a brand new environment with other children and a teacher. It is important to prepare your child for their new environment so that it won’t be a traumatic experience. Many children cry and have a tough transition into school (preschool or kindergarten) simply because they don’t know what to expect. You can prepare your child simply by getting him used to sharing and interacting with other children at the library, playdates, or other child-friendly outings.

2.      Avoiding unnecessary labeling of your child.

As a former public school teacher, I saw many children that were labeled or diagnosed for one reason or another. Many schools have assessments that they use at the beginning of the school year to determine where a child stands academically. This child can then be labeled behind or needs improvement, because they aren’t on the same level as the rest of the class.

Unfortunately, even when the teacher provides lower work for a child, the assessment is still standardized, which means it’s the same for everyone. So the child who doesn’t pass the assessment will always be playing catch-up because they are behind. You can begin to work with your child so they are ready for school. Your child doesn’t have to know everything, but if they have background knowledge of a topic, once they are introduced to it, the lesson will be easier for them. For example, a child that knows most of his sounds will learn how to read faster than a child who doesn’t.

3.      School has a lack of one on one time with students.

No matter how good of a teacher your child has, it is impossible to sit down and work with each child one by one every day. Kindergarten classes range anywhere from 20-27 students, sometimes without an aide! Each child has their own needs and abilities, and the teacher has to figure out how to reach them. Not to mention that if your child is not at the level of the majority of his peers, he will have a hard time catching up in a large group.

As a parent, you can work with your child to make sure he knows what he is supposed to know. There are so many things that a kindergartener needs to know from math skills to reading skills, that is imperative as a parent you expose your child to these skills.

4.      Build Your Child’s Self-Confidence

I don’t know about you, but I feel great whenever I am doing something that I already know how to do. So imagine how great you child will feel to enter school, already knowing the alphabet, letter sounds, and how to count?

To develop a positive attitude towards school, it is first necessary to build your child’s self-confidence. Even if she doesn’t fully know everything, she will feel comfortable with the knowledge she does have and be able to better perform in school.

These are the four main reasons why you should definitely teach your child before kindergarten. This is what I did with my oldest two girls, and they have excelled in school ever since. I work with my preschool twins daily, and at three years old they know almost 100 sight words, can count to 30, and can do simple addition and subtraction.

In my KinderStar Course I show you exactly what you need to do in order to prepare your child for school. KinderStar includes a 90-page Parent Activity E-Guide, which gives activity suggestions for each kindergarten objective. It also includes 15 video modules where I show you the same activities I do with my twins, that will show you how to teach your child. I also included printables so your child can practice their new skills.

Learn about KinderStar now.

How do you prepare your children for school? Leave a comment below.

10 Tips to Prepare your Child for Kindergarten

Kindergarten is coming and there are things that you might not have thought about. These are the activities that you can begin practicing as young as 1 or 2 depending on your child’s maturity level. By starting early, your child will be more prepared and have more practice when entering school.

Here are ten tips to prepare your child for kindergarten readiness.

Wow! I didn't know my child needs to know all of these for kindergarten readiness! tip #5 is great! It will definitely help my child pass all the kindergarten readiness assessments.

1. Read Daily

Read, read, and read some more! Take your child to the library and allow them to pick out books. Try to read a story to your child at least once a day. Choose a time that works for your family that you can stick to. While reading, focus on enjoying the story with your child. Also, you can attend storytime to help your child practice sitting on a carpet and listening to a story.

Reading daily to your child helps her learn new words, understand that words have meanings, and begin to understand comprehension.

2. Practice Using a Crayon/Pencil

Using a crayon and a pencil is a skill that your child will do constantly in school. I personally just use regular sized crayons and pencils to help my children learn how to grip properly. Writing

3. Practice Opening Lunch Box

Once you have bought your child’s lunch box and food containers, it is important to show them how to open them. It is very frustrating for a child to be hungry and not be able to open their food containers. Yes, there will be a teacher there during lunch who can help your child. However, you don’t want your child to have to wait to eat because they needed the teacher’s help to finish their food.

4. Sit Down Quietly

If your three year olds are anything like my twins, that means they are very, very active. However, in school they will have to learn how to sit down quietly for at least 15-20 minutes at a time. Give your child practice sitting down at a table while doing an activity such as coloring or playdough. You can also take your child to the library or activities that give them a chance to practice sitting quietly.

5. Name Writing

Name writing is something that your child will be doing many times during the school day. In many kindergarten readiness assessments, name writing is one of the things that children are tested on. Even if your child can’t write all of their letters, at least focus on their first and last name. A simple way to practice name writing is to write your child’s name on a piece of paper with dotted lines. Then have your child trace over it. Once they start being more comfortable then you can have them write their own name. By teaching your child to write his name, even if the work is difficult for him at least he can feel confident in knowing that he wrote his name.

There are also free websites that you can put your child’s name in and print free name tracing worksheets.

6.  Practice Shoe Tying

Tying shoes is such a difficult task for young children. If you plan on having your child wear shoes with laces, now is the time to begin practicing tying their shoes. I have used the Melissa and Doug Lacing shoe to help my children all learn how to tie their shoes. Of course you can use a regular shoe, I just don’t want my children to play with dirty shoes or leave them around the house.

7. Make Friends

If your child is always by themselves or only with siblings, it is a good idea to practice making friends and being social. In school your child will be around many children they don’t know (probably at least 20), so it is important to help your child learn how to make friends and talk to other children.

Sign your child up for a class at your local recreation center so they can practice being around other children.

8. Talk in Complete Sentences

We all can understand our own children and their needs. However, when they enter school their teacher will not know them at first, so it is important that your child can talk in complete sentences. Practice talking with your child such as, “May I have a snack?” This will help your child talk

9.  Handle Emotions

Since your child will be experiencing a new time in their life, it is important to help them handle their emotions. So if your child gets frustrated easily or has a hard time with change, NOW is the time to begin practicing emotions. Read books that talk about emotions and talk about how the characters handle their emotions.

You can also use toys or stuffed animals to role play situations that your child might be in. Practice transitions such as bedtime or playtime, through counting down or a timer, so that your child can be able to handle transitions smoothly. In school, activities change often (every 20-30 minutes), so it’s imperative that your child can understand how to handle the transitions and their emotions.

10. Complete a Printable (Worksheet)

Once your child has practiced using a crayon and a pencil, start working with him to complete “work”. This will get him used to doing schoolwork in class and it won’t be a difficult time. Read my post to find the best websites for free preschool printables or check out all of the free preschool printables available on my website.

These are just ten things that you should practice to help your child prepare for kindergarten readiness. By practicing kindergarten readiness skills early, you can help your child enter school more prepared, more confident, and make school a fun time for your child.

Kindergarten should be a fun transition and exciting time for your family. This is just a few of the skills that your child will need to know before entering school.

If you would like to have more activities to prepare your child for kindergarten, check out the KinderStar course.

What other ways are you preparing your child for kindergarten? Leave a comment below.

How to Make the Right School Choice for Your Child

Let me tell you a secret, I have taught for 10 years and I had no idea about the school choice until my daughter was being enrolled in kindergarten.

As a parent we want what is best for our children so let me tell you I was surprised to know how vicious it is to get into kindergarten. It is literally like getting into college. There have even been documentaries about this!

So why now, this early in the year? Well because if you haven’t already, you have to look at the deadlines for enrolling your child for school in the fall. Many charter and magnet schools have lotteries so they have strict application deadlines. Or maybe you want to go to a particular school. You may have to move to that zone in order to be guaranteed a spot.

So what is the right school for your child?

That is a choice only the parent can make. Look at the options and make the decision that would be the best fit for your family.

  • Unschooling
  • Homeschooling
  • Online School (usually public funded and free for parents)
  • Public School
  • Private School
  • Charter School
  • Magnet School

When I choose a school, I look at many factors including:

  • Curriculum- what curriculum do they teach?
  • Electives- what activities do they offer?
  • Population- what are the demographics of the school? Is it diverse?
  • Class sizes- small? Large?
  • School Culture
  • Administration- how are the principal and vice principal? Approachable?  Friendly? You may have to talk to them so you want to know how they will act.
  • Schedule- does my child have time to be a child? Recess? Nap time if you have a kinder?

Many schools offer open houses in the spring so that you can tour the school and meet with the faculty. I like to get a vibe of the school before making my decision. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you go on a tour. You and your child should be comfortable at the school.

Whatever choice you choose, know that is not permanent. Maybe you tried homeschooling and you didn’t like it. Maybe you go to one public school then try a charter. Do what is best for your child.

Download the free printable 10 factors in choosing a school.

Regardless of whatever school you choose, remember you are your child’s first teacher.

I know that regardless of what school I chose, I will still have to review skills with my children and may even have to reteach them. They will be in a class of many, and at home they will have the personalized attention they need.

Tell me a comment on what school environment you chose for your child and why.

Why You Have to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

When I talk to parents many don’t realize there are certain expectations that the school already has on entering kindergarteners, regardless of whether or not they went to Pre-k. The truth is that there are actually a list of things that your entering kinder should know in order to succeed in kindergarten.

It is very important to begin preparing your child for kindergarten, because there are certain expectations that are put on children to know before they enter school.

Kindergarten should be a fun and engaging experience not a frustrating one.

School is easy when children know what is expected of them. –Mommy is My Teacher

Kindergarten readiness skills are not just knowing sight words, and letters of the alphabet. The kindergarten readiness skills include audiovisual skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social, and emotional skills, and more.

When I teach my children, I do a lot of engaging, hands-on activities. Yes, we do worksheets, printables, and workbooks. But not for long periods of time, and not every single day. Also, kindergarten readiness skills aren’t just knowing all 50 sight words, and all the letters of the alphabet.

There are many skills that you need to do to prepare your child for school and in order to cover it all, you must start early.

Some of these skills include:

Social Skills

  • Does your child play well with others?
  • Can your child share toys and materials?
  • Does your child easily separate from you?

Physical Skills

Can your child sit in a chair or on the carpet to listen to a story for 20 minutes?

Can your child walk in a line without touching things?


Can your child express their needs?  (I need to go  to the bathroom)

Does your child say please and thank you?

Of course getting ready for kindergarten is also getting your child prepared for the academics that will be required of them.

Some skills Kindergarteners will have to know include:

All letters of the alphabet (upper and lowercase)

The first 50 sight words

How to write their name

Directional Words

Numbers 1-20

These are skills that can be introduced through many fun learning activities, and then reinforced with a workbook when your child is ready.

It is important to teach your child how to hold a pencil and a crayon properly, because they will be using crayons on the first day of school.

Getting ready for kindergarten is assisting your child to be in an environment away from you. He will have to be able to listen to other adults, play with children he doesn’t know, and begin learning independence.

It is important for parents to begin early preparing their child so that the transition on the first day of school is a smooth one, not nervous or anxious.

Start preparing your child for kindergarten today! Learn more now!