How to Build Planning Skills for Your Child

July 3, 2014

If you subscribe to our newsletter, you may have been following my epic move to the Bronx while getting some exclusive #FreshSkills tips on working with your children. If you haven’t been following along, join in on the fun!

The focus for next week is organization as an executive function skill. What goes into organization beyond the act of organizing itself? You have to be able to see the end and plan all the steps to reach that goal. Organization is the planning of the steps—especially when, how, and what to do.

I took to my research skills and rounded up some age-appropriate activities for you to do as a family to boost these skills.

If you have a Pre-K to K Student:

The classic game of recall helps you plan what move to make next. This is the beginning step of organizing. Hey, one must crawl before they walk, right?

You can play Memory with playing cards, make characters on Post-its, or play the actual game. I personally like the version in which you can pull the sheets out and choose what to match without a fuss.

1st-2nd grade:
Thanks to the joy of the common core, it has never been so important that children of this age can tell a story in sequence. One way to learn how is playing with sequence cards. This allows visual learners (which includes the majority of us) to tell a story in sequence using pictures. You can increase the length of the sequence by adding a part of the story. Have your child put cards in the first, second, and then last piles. Make sure you check their thinking.

3rd-4th grade:
Garbage was taught to me by one of my students. It has to do with place value. The dealer deals either three, four or five cards. The first number should be facing you. You then take turns picking from the deck of cards. If you have a number in the first place value, you put it down and throw it out. Then turn over the card next to it. And you go on until you have all the numbers in the respective place value. When you are done, you must say the number correctly to win.

4th-5th grade:
Venn diagrams are tools to organize things into categories. The two separate circles contain things that do not share a common trait while the items in the section formed by the overlapping circles do share traits. The inner circle usually shares all the traits you are looking for in the request given. You can organize people, items, and numbers using a Venn diagram. The possibilities are endless. It’s best to start simple and then go crazy. I like to take hula hoops and make it into an active learning experience. If the words are written on index cards, they can describe the common traits. You can also add a twist with differences. Then add a timer and see who can finish the Venn diagram the quickest.

We’d love to hear from you about what game you played, or if not, what games you like to play to help improve your child’s organizational skills.

Happy Summer Learning,


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