Your child's first day of kindergarten is a truly momentous occasion that is bound to invite a whole flood of emotions. Special activities before and after the first day will give your child memorable moments and a positive outlook on the upcoming year. These activities will help her understand kindergarten as a rewarding new phase of life, rather than a scary separation. You also can help your child embrace the transition by reading sweet tales that get kids excited for kindergarten together.
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- Make a "Me Mural." Doing this project together will help strengthen your child's sense of self. On an oversized piece of paper, create a collage of his strengths, interests, favorite things, friends, family, home, or pets.
- Offer Ownership. As you are shopping for school supplies, let your child pick out the colors and styles she wants and customize them at home with craft materials. (Here are 3 fun ways kids can personalize their school supplies.)
- Create a Launch Pad. Find a corner in your house for your child's shoes, backpack, and lunch bag. Laminate a favorite drawing, and place it on the floor for a fun and reassuring jumping-off point.
- Do a Dress Rehearsal. The first day doesn't have to be a big surprise. Pretend you're the new teacher by introducing yourself, going over the weather, reading a story, and making art projects.
- Build Confidence With Books. Read stories about school or other new adventures. Referring to a favorite character's bravery may help your child pinpoint anxieties and summon his own courage in an unfamiliar situation. These books boost confidence and self-esteem to help kids feel good about themselves.
- Envision the Future With a Customized Calendar. Whether your school district mails out academic calendars or you buy your own, personalize it by adding holidays, birthdays, and other events. Check out the Klutz personalized calendar and gratitude journal that helps kids track important events with a bookmark, sticky notes and stickers.
- Play the Name Game. Names will be an important lesson on the first day of school. Write a poem or make an illustration of with your child's name. Names are important social devices, and the more comfortable your child is giving out his name, the better he can use it to meet other children.
- Make an "About Me" Booklet. Let your child's teacher know who she is and why she is excited about school. Crafting the booklet will let your child envision her new teacher in a friendly light and make her more at ease when they meet.
- Draw a Home-to-School Map. Create a poster of the route to school, complete with photos and illustrations of landmarks. If there are stores or parks along the way, visit them. This deepens your child's understanding of the connection between home and school.
- Keep Confidence High With Photo Mementos. Take pictures of your kindergarten kickoff activities. Or stage a fashion shoot with your child's favorite clothes, friends, school supplies, artwork, and toys to help him remember, in the near and far future, who he is, where he comes from, and the support he has at home.