We had only half-day kindergarten. We went outside at least twice a day. During the day, we sang songs, did water coloring, played with clay, construction paper and scissors, the sandbox, sock puppets. There was lots of arts and crafts. There was always story time, where our teacher would read aloud to us. The only academic work I can ever recall was studying the alphabet, learning how to count to ten, how to count money, and learning how to write our name.
I still work in a school, in Minnesota, and now kindergarten is full day. Kids are expected to learn how to read. They do lots of worksheets, spelling tests, spend time learning how to use computers, and learn basic adding and subtracting. There's also lots of social behavior practice (how to stand in lines, how to be quiet and raise your hand, how to take turns, not interrupt others, etc.) And writing...lots and lots of writing. Long story short, what I covered in 1st grade 30 years ago is now what is expected in Kindergarten. Play is a thing of the past.
At this rate, expect them to be bringing home Algebra textbooks by the turn of the century.