Fun activities, aligned with the PA Early Learning Standards, to help your child have a successful Kindergarten year. 
We Are Learning in November
Now that your child is in kindergarten, there are new ways you can help them learn. Try these activities, then visit your library to check out a book about it. Click here to print this list.

We are learning Language and Literacy
Do it!
Pick a letter of the alphabet and help your kindergartner write it on a piece of paper. Make an outline of the letter with glue and let it dry and harden. Have your child trace the letter with their finger first, then have them write the letter using a crayon.
Read it!
A Mountain Alphabet by Margriet Ruurs. ABC Mystery by Doug Cushman.

We are learning Language and Literacy
Do it!
Play Simon Says with your kindergartner using directional words and a ball. Give directions such as, "Simon Says put the ball on your head," or "Simon Says put the ball behind your back." Teach your kindergartner to take turns by allowing them to give you the directions. Manipulate a ball on their body and review the directional words as you do. Continue to incorporate directional vocabulary words throughout your kindergartner's day. For example, the train track is next to the road.
Read it!
Rhinoceroses Tap: 15 Seriously Silly Songs by Sandra Boynton. Flamingos on the Roof by Calef Brown.

We are learning Language and Literacy
Do it!
Talk with your kindergartner about sleeping words. A nap is a short sleep. What other words describe what happens when we sleep? (Like snore, snooze, doze, etc.) Help your kindergartner find pictures of people sleeping in books and family photos. Demonstrate what each sleep word looks like or sounds like. Use the sign and braille word for each. Explain why their body needs to sleep, and that they grow and recuperate while they sleep.
Read it!
The Big Bed by Bunmi Laditan. It's Time to Sleep, My Love by Eric Metaxas.

We are learning Mathematics Thinking and Expression
Do it!
Help your kindergartner draw or build a house using only the following shapes: square, rectangle, triangle and circle. Develop fine motor skills by practicing manipulating fabric pattern or wooden blocks to create a house with shapes. There are several apps that allow children to manipulate shapes with their fingertip or even eye movements where mobility is a concern.
Read it!
Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald. A Circle Here, A Square There by David Diehl.
The Benefits of Family Mealtimes

Starting a simple habit with your young child, like regularly eating meals together, can have a lifelong impact.

A day beginning with breakfast and ending with dinner as a family is more than a benefit of sharing plates of food. It’s an opportunity to bond as a family, teach children table manners, share stories and experiences, and sample and learn about traditions, cultures and foods. But there are even greater benefits of family mealtimes. Read more!
Little Neighbors Building a Better World Together

The PSEG Foundation and Sesame Workshop have partnered to create bilingual (English and Spanish), multiple media programs that help families prepare for, and respond to, emergencies and provide tools so children can build the skills they need to become resilient.

With Let’s Get Ready, families learn to plan and prepare together for emergencies through simple strategies and tips that can be incorporated into everyday routines.

Here for Each Other provides tips, ideas, and activities that teach families effective and comforting ways to respond when an emergency occurs.

Brave, Strong Resilient helps children build the self-confidence, problem-solving skills, and emotional tools they need to cope with adversity.

The latest joint effort, Little Neighbors: Building a Better World Together, helps children learn the many ways to be a good neighbor and what it means to be a member of a community.
Get Help with Winter Heating Costs

Pennsylvanians who meeting income guidelines can now apply to get help with heating costs this winter. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is now accepting applications online or via a paper application.

LIHEAP helps families who meet income guidelines pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. Households in immediate danger of being without heat can also qualify for crisis grants. The cash grant is a one-time payment sent directly to the utility company/fuel provider to be credited on your bill. These grants range from $200 to $1,000 based on household size, income, and fuel type.

Remember: This is a grant and does not have to be repaid.
Forming Friendships

For Kindergarten students, fall is full of transitions--new schedules, new schools, new teachers, new classmates. These all create the opportunity to form new friendships.

For some children, these friendships will develop naturally over time. But some children may need some support and assistance in finding friends.

Hotline to Assist Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Recipients 

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has launched a live hotline to assist families with the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program. Pennsylvanians who have not received their child’s P-EBT benefits or have an issue with P-EBT can dial 484-363-2137 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

P-EBT is designed to help eligible families cover the cost of breakfasts and lunches their children would have been eligible to receive for free or at reduced price through the National School Lunch Program in child care or school settings that closed temporarily or permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families can use their P-EBT benefits to purchase almost any food item in a typical grocery store, and the program follows the same rules as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
IECMHC Virtual Office Hours:
Help for Families, Child Care Professionals

Are you looking for support with helping a child who is struggling with behavior, attachment, peer relationships or emotion regulation? Need help for teachers or families with self-care, stress, and coping, but not sure what to do next? The Pennsylvania Key Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Virtual Office Hours are here to help.

IECMH Consultants are available by appointment to provide telephone or video conference consultation. IECMHC Virtual Office Hours is a short-term, collaborative, problem-solving conversation to help you find next steps for:
  • Child Social-Emotional Concerns
  • Child Behavioral or Developmental Concerns
  • Emotional Well-being of Teachers and Caregivers
  • Partnering with Families

Services are available at no cost to Pennsylvania families, child care professionals and specialists supporting Keystone STARS child care programs. IECMH Consultation helps adults strengthen their relationships with young children and build capacity to respond to children’s social-emotional needs. IECMHC can help reduce caregiver stress, as well as increase caregivers’ reflective practice skills. Learn how IECMHC Virtual Office Hours can help.
Free Meals Finder

Families who could use help in feeding their children can enter their address to find free, healthy meals being served by organizations in their community on the No Kid Hungry website. The website does not use information for any other purpose than to locate food assistance.

Families can also find these resources by texting the word FOOD to 877-877. Information is available in English and Spanish.
Traveling with Kindergartners

Traveling with a kindergartner can be challenging, especially if you're unprepared. Try these tips to keep your kindergartner occupied and save your sanity this upcoming holiday season!

  1. Plan ahead. If your trip is delayed due to weather, traffic or cancellations, be prepared with enough drinks and snacks.
  2. Start singing! Singing with your kindergartner will help pass the miles. Your library has music to borrow to help keep your kindergartner entertained.
  3. Pack smart. Add a small pad of paper and crayons or colored pencils to a purse or backpack for drawing pictures, creating origami (fold into the shape of a square!), or playing a game (like tic-tac-toe).
  4. Be selective. Set aside specific toys and books for use only while traveling.
  5. Keep it real. Have reasonable expectations of yourself and your kindergartner. Take breaks when needed.
  6. Stay well hydrated and well fed. Travel can be dehydrating, and empty tummies are grumpy tummies, so take travel-friendly snacks like dry cereal and fruit. Pack water or juice boxes.
  7. Fly friendly. Traveling by plane? The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has information for traveling with children.
6 Tips to Help Your Kindergartner Learn to Read

Important literacy skills begin developing at birth and continue as a child gets older.

How to Talk to Friends & Family About COVID-19 Vaccines 

COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out in Pennsylvania, bringing us new hope and a path back to our lives. Every Pennsylvanian who chooses to get vaccinated brings us a step closer to moving past the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we can defeat the virus.

Everyone who chooses to get vaccinated does it for a reason—to protect their family, to protect their children, to be less anxious, to visit their parents, or to get back to activities like seeing friends, resuming work, or returning to school.

Many of us have friends and family who are hesitant to get the vaccine. The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) has some ideas for how to talk to loved ones about their concerns in a safe and supportive way.

This resource from PA DOH has information about vaccine safety. You can also find out when and how to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Health and Dental Coverage Options for Families 

Pennsylvania families have different options for health and dental coverage. Find the best option for your family.

The 2022 Open Enrollment Period for Pennie is happening now! Pennie is PA’s official health & dental insurance marketplace and the only link to financial assistance to help reduce the cost of coverage and care. Pennie’s Open Enrollment Period for 2022 Coverage Runs from Nov. 1, 2021, to Jan. 15, 2022. Visit to shop and compare health coverage plans. Pennie’s plan comparison tool allows you to answer questions about your health status, preferred providers, and even prescription drug needs. The tool will then display coverage options for you to see your total costs for care, including premium, deductible, and total out-of-pocket costs. 

The Children's Health Insurance Program — or CHIP — is Pennsylvania's program to provide health coverage to uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance. For most families, it's free. Families with incomes above the free CHIP limits will pay low monthly premiums and co-pays for some services.  

Safe Vehicle Traveling with Kindergartners 

Did you know your kindergartner should be using a booster seat when riding in a vehicle?

At the website, sponsored by the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, find all types of safety information to keep your kindergartner safe, including car seat loan programs, car or booster seat fitting station locations, and access to a child car seat technician to ensure the correct installation of a car or booster seat in a vehicle.
Helping Your Family Prepare for Emergencies with Ready Wrigley

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created Ready Wrigley to provide parents, guardians, teachers, and young children with tips, activities, and a story to help the whole family prepare for emergencies. Together with your child, join Wrigley as she helps her family prepare for emergencies by staying informed, packing emergency kits, and making a family communication plan.

The activity book is designed to provide an interactive tool to further your child's education and promote disaster preparedness and safe clean-up in your community. You can share this book with your schools and early learning programs, communities, and families to help children learn the importance of being prepared. It is available in English and Spanish.
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The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) provides families access to high quality services to prepare children for school and life success. 
Find more information about Quality Early Learning in Pennsylvania