After reading aloud “It Looked Like Spilt Milk” have the children take torn paper or cotton balls and glue to paper. Have then write “Sometimes it looked like…..” Then, place all the pages together to bind and make a book or place on wall or bulletin board. I always have the child present and read their finished page to class or family to build speaking skills.
The beginning of the school year is the perfect time for children to discuss and write about what friendship “looks” like. This is a great writing activity and a way for classroom teachers to start creating the community of friends and learners they desire for the rest of the year. In a classroom, these pages could be collected and copied into a recipe book for each to take home or just to keep in the class library. The same thing could be done for a family, small group organization such as Girl Scouts etc.
Each year, the first Sunday after Labor Day is the official day to celebrate Grandparent’s Day. There is nothing wrong with celebrating every day (as my mom would say) but this official day has the purpose of honoring grandparents, giving grandparents an opportunity to show love for their grandchildren and helping children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer. If your children do not have grandparents, there are many elderly people that have no family around that would love to be a foster grandparent!
Many books can be found about grandparents. A few of our favorite picture books are Grandpa’s Teeth, The Song and Dance Man, Grandpa, Grandpa and The Gifts of Being Grand.
A writing and literature activity that can be done at home or school is to read a book and then design your own story using the same theme. We read Grandpa, Grandpa in my multi-age classroom and then each child made there own page. We then put the pages together to make our own class book. At home these pages could be used as a gift for grandmas and grandpas.
As the children head off to school you may feel relief or sadness. Either way, make the first day a special and memorable time for them! Start the tradition of a first day celebration. Invite a few children over after school for a small get together and yummy snack.
Bake cookies: Prepare cookie dough ahead and have children cut out shapes, letters and numbers. Bake, frost and enjoy!
Homemade popsicles and swim or run in sprinklers:
Use popsicle molds or ice cube trays to freeze any juice or nectar. Make a creamy treat by adding ice cream. Use one cup juice (we like orange) and 1C vanilla ice cream, stirred together until runny but not liquid, and pour that into the mold to refreeze. For a yogurt treat, blend plain yogurt and fruit (you can add powdered sugar to taste) and pour in molds to freeze. There are many popsicle recipes, that include sugars and gelatin to make the popsicles not melt as fast, but we just keep the ingredients simple.
Design a scrapbook for the school year. Have everyone design a cover page and a first day page. Take pictures at school to add later. Use pre-made scrapbooks or use a binder with page protectors to add to throughout the year. This is a good place to keep school papers, pictures, and report cards.
Design a frame: Make frames and decorate. Take a picture of child and friends to place in frame.
A mellow evening with just the family. Order pizza and eat a picnic style dinner outside, give each child journal or new book to read that night as a family.
This recipe is a good one for the little ones, just in case they feel like tasting it!
2 cups flour
2 cups water
2 TBLS oil
1 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
Food coloring and/or glitter, the color you desire to make.
Stir ingredients and place over medium heat in a pan. I like to use my large fry pan, it seems to cook more evenly. Cook until the dough pulls away from the side of the pan and is not sticky. Cool the dough and then knead thoroughly. Store in plastic bag or airtight container. The dough will keep for about three months unrefrigerated.
I like to double the recipe if we are planning for playdates or classrooms.
The play dough can be used for free play, making letters, shapes and number or small gifts for friends.
Retelling Through Drawing
When children retell a story they increase their reading and listening comprehension. This activity is fun for all ages, especially non-readers. This is also a good lesson for teaching a new language, small groups and young learners.
1. Read a story out loud. (Readers can read a story on own.)
2. Have child draw one or several pictures that will be used to retell the story.
Depending on age, children may number the sequence of the pictures to help them recall the story.
3. Have child share the pictures and retell the story.
As the child retells the story write their words onto paper.
Make the words and the pictures into a book by cutting out pictures and words and gluing onto book (sheets of paper that have been folded and stapled together, remember to put tape over the staples to protect little fingers).
Pretend you are writing a letter to someone who has not read the story. Tell them the story and what you liked or did not like about the story.
An easy to make and fun to read activity. You will need a ring, any size, hole punch and paper (index cards, sentence strips, or cut card stock.) Write words appropriate for your child’s reading level on each paper, punch a hole in each corner, put onto the ring and you have an instant activity that can even be used in the car!
This ring is for beginning readers and holds the high frequency words. I add one or two each time.
Word ideas for beginning readers: High frequency words (the, is, was etc.), word families (cat, hat, mat, rat), names of friends or family, colors, numbers (one, two), compound words (pancake, sunrise) and any words from a story they may be reading.
Fluent Readers: Vocabulary or spelling words from school, states and capitals, countries, most common misspelled words (believe, definitely, restaurant) and any dates they may need to remember.
The link below will take you to a list of commonly misspelled words.
This is a fun activity for children learning to alphabetize words. Cut out clothing shapes like socks, pants and shirts or if you want to keep it simple use index cards. Write words appropriate for your child or just the ABC’s for the young children.
Tie string from one chair to another (or what works in your house or classroom) and have child use clothespins to hang the words in alphabetical order.
Other ways to use the Hanging Out activity:
Number Order: 1,2,3,4…
Sentence Order: Mix a sentence up and have child hang in correct order.
Place Dates from a Time Line in Order. This could be an informal assessment of history lesson.
Fun and simple activity for one or a group of children. A great activity for when you are traveling to keep the little ones busy. Just put all of the supplies into a plastic bag and when you are at grandmas, the hotel or even on the plane, take it out for an instant activity. Hint, put masking tape on end to avoid spilling especially while traveling!
What you will need:
String or thin licorice, cheerios, fruit loops, marshmallows, and any other food you can place on a string.
Thread the food on the string and place around neck and tie ends in a knot.
Make this into a learning experience for the little ones by making patterns, counting the amount as you string the necklace, simple addition and identifying colors.
Are you sending off a child to kindergarten or a new school this year? Prepare your child for this exciting day.
Get the Layout
First, find out if you can tour the school with your child before the first day of school. Most schools have a “Meet the Teacher” event and I highly recommend taking advantage of this time to meet the teacher, look at the room and get a chance to get comfortable.
If possible, get the class list of names to start practicing the first week. This will help out the nervous children to remember names and make a friend or two the first week. You could write them out on paper and draw pictures to match, play name bingo, or just discuss the children at the end of the day.
Make A Friend
If you do not know anyone in the class make an effort to set up a play date the first couple of weeks to help develop friendships.
Making Friends Skills
Use a tennis ball and play catch. Whoever has the ball gets to talk and ask a question, then toss, the next person answers and then asks a question. This will develop simple communication skills.
Make a “Making Friends” book. Fold some paper and make a cover, then each page have your child draw or write how to make friends. This will be fun to read the first week or two of school. A good way to start discussions about the school day.
The Kissing Hand
Is your little one still apprehensive? Then a great book to read is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. This will send your child off feeling loved and warm inside!