Sequencing helps little ones begin to recognize patterns that are in the world, which they will need as they grow and learn. These patterns and sequences are what make the world make sense and understandable. While it might not seem to matter too much, being able to recall and place events of the story in the correct order, is vital to their development. Sequencing events in the correct order is something they will use through high school and even in life.
Sequencing is something they will use in everyday life. For instance, science and history rely heavily on sequencing. Being able to recall historical events in the correct order is necessary for tests, studies, and reports, as well as relating it to what happened around the world at the same time. Sequencing is vital in conducting science experiments too. Doing things in the wrong order could spell disaster.
Another area where you need sequencing is learning to cook or bake. There are step-by-step processes and one that needs to be followed in a specific order or it won’t turn out right. And if you’re making food for a large gathering, you need to cook in a certain order to ensure things complete at the same time so nothing is served cold.
Learning to sequence events takes practice. Some kids pick it up quickly and easily, but others struggle. Either way, there are some fun and easy ways to help them learn and understand sequencing. And yes, even your preschoolers can learn to sequence.
Start with Patterns
Over the years, I have noticed that while my little ones love stories, they are not able to jump right into sequencing stories. Even when they know the stories and can tell you all about them, they often get the order mixed up. So start with a pattern of colors – red, blue, red, blue, _____. This is a fun and easy way to help them recognize colors as well as establish patterns.
Use Sequencing Words
It is important to use sequencing words and terminology with your little ones. Numerical (first, second, etc.) and transitional (in the beginning, next, last, etc.). So when you do simple tasks at home, start using these terms. Whether they are helping with laundry, doing the dishes or learning to cook, these words can easily be used.
Little ones need short and sweet. So start with just a few instructions to help them understand how it works. You could do a pattern of three simple parts of the story. Take the Three Little Pigs for instance. Have three cards – one with all 3 pigs, one with the wolf blowing on a house and one with the brick house standing. Mix them up and let them put them in the correct order.
Read and Repeat a Story
As with most things we learn, repetition is key. Your little ones will need to hear the story multiple times. We love reading with our little ones, so I suggest reading your story a couple of different times. Each time you could add some sequencing. Start with having them tell you what happened first, next and last. Then you could ask them to put their cards in order. And finally, ask them to retell the story in their own words. This is a great way to increase the “difficulty” as it were.
Add more steps
After they have mastered three-step sequencing, its time to increase the steps! Go to four, and once they’ve mastered that, move to five steps and so on. This is the fun part and where you can start making some games out of it.
Play Sequencing Games
As your little ones start mastering more and more sequential steps, you can begin playing and even making games to practice and improve. One you can play right at home is giving your kids a list of 5 things to gather in a specific order and bring them to you. My kids love “playing” this game. And I may or may not use it to get them to clean up their toys.
Sequencing comes in many forms, from baking and stories to teaching children other life skills. For instance, when you give your children a set of instructions they need to be able to follow more than one at a time. And oftentimes they need to be done in a specific order. This is something we stress with our kids – even as they get older.
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This adorable Gingerbread Man Sequencing Pack is a fun and simple way to help little ones work on their sequencing skills. In this 4-page pack, little ones will work on cutting skills, handwriting, sequencing and more.
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