Before we go over some tips for kindergarten readiness, let's first remind ourselves that none of these skills are required in order for your child to start school. Kindergarten is not university - your child is not "behind" if they haven't mastered their ABCs or 123s.
What these skills WILL do is make your child's transition to full-day school a little bit easier. And it will make their teacher's job A LOT easier. If your child has been in a daycare setting, they have most likely mastered a lot of these exercises (especially if the daycare person is encouraging them to try.) If they're at home with you, this is a great time to begin practicing!
Count to 10
Have your child learn how to count to 10, but also help them to recognize numbers - write out 1-10 on little cards and shuffle them. Then point to a random number and ask them what it is.
Trace a line
Make a dotted line on a sheet of paper, and ask them to trace the dots from left to right. This is the very beginning of reading/writing skills, when we learn to go from left to right.
Holding a pencil
Teach your child the correct way to hold a pencil. They love to grip with all their fingers, but if you get into good habits early, it will help with writing skills down the road.
Draw a variety of shapes on a piece of paper using dotted lines, and have your child trace the dotted lines while naming the geometric shape.
Cut on a line
Have your child practice cutting paper, and then ask them to practice cutting a line that you have traced on paper.
Seems obvious, but as busy parents, we sometimes take the easy way out. It's easier to quickly wipe a bum than to stand there for 10 minutes while they do it themselves (and get feces all over the place.) But when they are at school they will need to pee/poo by themselves with minimal support. Make sure they can easily pull down and pull up their pants, and teach them the best way to wipe. And of course....washing hands for 30 seconds with soap and warm water!
Putting on clothing
Teach your child the "flip" for putting on their coat, and make sure zippers are easy to pull up and down. Teach them to put on their own hat, mittens and boots. You can imagine what teachers go through with 25 little ones who need help with all of this! Your child will learn to love the independence, even though they may grumble through it.
And most of all....we teach our kids to have fun while learning! If your child is getting stressed learning any of the skills above, leave it for a few days and come back to it. If you're starting now, your child has 6 months to learn!
Were there any skills you focused on before your child started kindergarten?