What it shows: Numbers, personal safety
What you need: Nonworking and working phones, index cards
What to do: Make up index cards with students’ names on one side and their home phone numbers on the other. Place the cards in a basket at a center with one or two nonworking phones. (Ask for donations from parents or a nearby business.) Allow students to practice dialing their own phone numbers. As a group, discuss how to talk on the phone, what a dial tone is, and how to leave a simple message. After a few weeks of practice, ask individual students to show off their skills.
Encourage them to either recite their phone number to you or find their index card without looking at the names. Now, allow students to actually call home on your classroom phone. Let them talk to a parent or leave a message to demonstrate they know how to use a phone!
What it shows: Alphabet skills
What you need: Sentence strips, cardstock, glue, alphabet soup, bowls, spoons, cups, audio version of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
What to do: Make simple cards inviting parents and grandparents to ABC Day in your classroom (let students color them in before taking them home). Begin the celebration with a student performance of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, with the audio version providing narration.
For costumes, students can wear sentence-strip headbands with a letter cutout glued to the front. Staple or tape a paper coconut tree to the wall. Attach one end of a “rope” to the top of the tree (use string or a length of ribbon). Students can grab on to it as their letters are called so it looks like they’re climbing the tree. Serve alphabet soup and “H2O” as refreshments.
What it shows: Color recognition
What you need: One cylindrical plastic tub, eight green pipe cleaners, and eight 5"x5" squares of different-colored construction paper per child; address labels, markers, contact paper
What to do: Practice colors and create special Mother’s Day gifts at the same time. Cover the plastic tubs in white contact paper and let students decorate with markers or crayons. Make flowers by rolling up the squares of paper into cylinders, securing one end with a staple. Beginning at the other end, cut strips to make petals, leaving a 1-inch base. Bend the strips back, and tape the base to a green pipe cleaner. Write the colors of the various flowers on small address labels. Have students match the labels to the flowers and stick them to their bases, then arrange their bouquets in their tubs to take home and present to Mom!
Big Dog, Little Dog
What it shows: Matching skills
What you need: Index cards; magazine cutouts, clip art, or stickers of adult and baby animals
What to do: Have students affix stickers or photos of adult and baby animals onto index cards—one per card—and label them underneath with the name of the pictured animal (dog, puppy, cat, kitten, etc.). First, match adult and baby pairs as a whole group, letting students practice saying their names. Then they can use the cards to play a memory game in pairs and bring their decks home to practice and play with their own adult!
Our Best Moves
What it shows: Gross motor skills
What you need: Video camera
What to do: Parents love to see their kids in action, so what could be better than to create a video of all their best moves? Turn on some music and find a well-lit, nice-looking setting (outdoors is ideal). Put kids into small groups of three or four. Give them a start and finish line by drawing on the pavement with chalk or placing two yardsticks in the grass. Then place yourself halfway between the two lines and ask them to do different physical activities, such as walking, running, galloping, skipping, hopping on one foot, doing the grapevine, crab walking, and going backward on all fours. After they’ve practiced a few times, roll camera! E-mail the video to parents or show it off at the end-of-the-year party.