TK/K Tips for Parents

The early years in elementary school build foundational skills for students. The curriculum is based on the Iowa Core standards and focuses on key concepts in mathematics, literacy, science, social studies, and 21st Century skills. Learn more about the Iowa Core standards for kindergarten.

As a parent, the best thing you can do for your child is to stay engaged in their learning. Each day, take time to ask your child about their school day. Ask open-ended questions to encourage interaction. Then, you can build on their daily learning with some of the activities suggested on this webpage.

You can also view suggested learning resources for students. These learning resources offer both digital activities and printable practice materials


How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Play “write the next number.” You write a number, and your child writes the next number.

  • Ask your child questions that require counting up to 20 things. For example, ask, “How many books do you have about wild animals?”

  • Ask your child questions that require comparing numbers. “Who is wearing more bracelets, you or your sister?” (Your child might use matching or counting to find the answer.)

Math Resources for Parents

English Language Arts & Literacy

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Read daily with your child from books such as Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman or Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Ask your child to explain his or her favorite parts of the story. Share your own ideas.

  • Encourage your child to tell you about his or her day at school. Keep paper, markers, or crayons around the house for your child to write letters or words or to draw a picture about his or her day. Have your child describe the picture to you.

  • Play word games like “I Spy,” sing songs like “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and make silly rhymes together.


How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • As you go about your daily activities and during play, encourage your child to ask questions, make observations, and identify patterns.

  • Encourage your child to play with a variety of safe objects/toys and to discover what happens when he/she pushes and pulls those objects.

  • Keep track of local weather conditions, identify patterns, and discuss your family’s plan for staying safe in severe weather.

  • Have your child help with taking care of a family pet or inside or outside plants and observe nature while out on walks or while visiting parks or zoos. Talk about what the pet and plant need to survive compared to what your child needs to survive.

Social Studies

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Read with your child every day. Seek out social studies-related books, both fiction and non-fiction. Check your local library or the National Council for the Social Studies Notable Trade Book List at for suggestions of books to read.

  • Look at family photos and discuss the history of your family and compare life then to life today.

  • Establish and discuss family rules. Talk about why rules are needed.

  • Discuss how your neighborhood is the same and different from other neighborhoods.

  • Discuss the route you use to get specific places.

  • Visit local museums and cultural institutions and compare life today to life in the past.

  • Discuss how what the family buys is a need or a want.

  • Explore the parks and landforms of Iowa.

21st Century Skills

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Read with your child from books with 21st Century skills content. Examples: Jobs People Do series by DK publishing; The Marvels of Money for Kids series by Paul Nourigat.

  • Help your child select physical activities to keep moving and have fun.

  • Show your child how to appropriately use technology to find games, activities, and information.

Source: Iowa Core Parent Guides from the Iowa Department of Education.
Read the
Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish)
Read the complete standards on the Iowa Core website.