Tag Archive for: preschool

By Christine Sikorski, 2016 Bartow Camp READY! Teacher

Camp Ready Bartow LRC Polk
We first saw ridiculously adorable and compact, little Maddox with messy sandy blonde hair, camouflage t-shirt, jean shorts and cowboy boots clinging to his dad’s leg with a sheepish grin spreading across his muddy face that first day of Camp READY! on June 20, 2016. His family lived a half-hour away. Maddox had never been to preschool before. Dad brought Maddox faithfully every day so that Maddox could get ready for kindergarten and have an awesome first year in school.
The teachers and counselors at Bartow’s Camp READY! agreed that Maddox was a bit reluctant to participate at first. In fact, he confidently declared on the first day of camp, “I am not going to sing in the show, and my dad is not coming!” We assured him that he would have a great time singing for the parents and we would make sure his dad would come! Having never been to preschool, he had trouble writing his name, which looked more like he wrote it with an alien alphabet. He could name a few shapes, but could not name any colors. He did not know any numbers between 0-21 and could only identify the letter “W”, which was the first letter of his last name. He also had not spent much time socializing outside of his family and church, so camp was a nice, gentle exposure into getting along with all types of friends at school.
camp ready bartow lrc polk
In 20 days, we immersed Maddox in letter sounds, shapes, colors and numbers through play and fun movement activities, readiness, art and cooking centers. He was bombarded with literacy as he listened to dozens of high-quality books in all three classes throughout his morning. He was exposed to all sorts of new vocabulary in positional words with movement activities. While in cooking, he learned science, measuring and dividing food to share. He practiced his letters and their sounds through daily singing of the alphabet song, “Learning Letter Sounds”. Maddox did like to sing, after all. In fact, he was the star of the show, belting out the alphabet song.
After the show, we overheard Maddox talking to his buddy Kyle.

“I think I’m ready for school now. I can spell my dad’s name!”
“Oh yeah? How do you spell it?,” checked Kyle.
Maddox proudly spelled his dad’s name, “D-A-D!”
“That’s how you spell my dad’s name too!”

Kids say the funniest things.

Related Posts:

Summer camps drive steady increase in school-readiness


School is out, and winter break is here! Don’t let boredom get you (or your child down) this holiday season. Check out these ideas for students of all ages and levels.


– Help bake cookies.
– Build a fort.
– Read your favorite book.
– Write a letter to a friend.
– Create a holiday craft.
– Stop by the library for activities, story-time, or to pick out some books together
Additional ideas

Elementary School:

– Play a board game with family
Make your own board game, and play it with family
– Write a poem about Christmas
Participate in winter indoor fun activities
Conduct science experiments
– Cut paper snowflakes & make DIY decorations
Make a magazine collage
Make a lava lamp
– Bake cookies
– Create a gingerbread house
Read and discuss a book
Go on an alphabet hunt
Create a snowman snow globe
Go on a neighborhood photo safari
Ring in the new year with STEM activities
Additional ideas
Even more ideas
And more ideas

Middle School:

Indoor activities
– Make ornaments
Try STEAM or STEM activities
– Make a gingerbread house (and possibly enter a local contest)
– Create your own Christmas cards, and distribute them
Conduct science experiments
Ring in the new year with STEM activities
Additional ideas

High School:

– Host a party with friends & DIY decorate
– Organize a holiday gift exchange
Read a holiday novel
– Have a Christmas movie marathon
Participate in indoor activities and workouts
– Clean out your closet, and donate items to the less fortunate
– Read Christmas books to kids (ex. family, library, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club)
– Work on college plans/applications
– Look into jobs
– Search for scholarships
– Throw a friend’s New Year’s Eve party


– Learn to cook
Try your hand at baking
– Make goals for the new year, and set a plan for achieving them
– Try new restaurants
– Make DIY gifts for personalized presents
– Give your room a makeover
– Clean out your room and donate items, to the less fortunate
– Road trip
– Catch up with old friends or friends from home
– Host an epic New Year’s Eve get-together
Additional ideas
Even more ideas

Ideas for all ages:

– Visit a museum:

Explorations V, Polk Museum of Art, Mulberry Phosphate Museum, Polk County History Center, MOSI, Tampa Museum of Art, Henry B. Plant Museum, The Dali Museum, Ringling Museum of Art, Orlando Museum of Art, Online museums

– Volunteer

Library, nursing home, hospital, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, community center, church or nonprofit, toy and canned-food drives, holiday events
Local volunteer ideas
Additional local volunteer ideas

– Ride around looking at Christmas lights while playing a scavenger hunt game
– Visit a park
– Stop by a local attraction

Bok Tower, The Orlando Eye, theme parks, shows, movies, ice skating, etc.

Check out holiday events
Make a 2015 time capsule with memorable items from the year.