Your students probably already know the story of Chester Raccoon and the family secret his mother shares to give her son the reassurance he needs to confront the first day of school. A teacher favorite, The Kissing Hand is one of the best books teachers can use to help their new students settle in and make the first day of kindergarten a little less scary.

Plus, check out these books to get your kids excited about the first day of kindergarten.

To get the most out of Chester’s story, it’s important to engage your kids in a few fun activities after reading. Here are 3 classroom activities to help you prepare your kids for all the fun and learning you have in store for them this school year!

Chester Scavenger Hunt

Racoons are the ultimate suburban scavengers. That’s why a Chester Scavenger Hunt is the perfect way to help your students get to know their classroom on the first day of school. Before reading, place hearts on important features of your classroom like the hand-washing station, aquarium, library, etc. In small groups, lead students on the scavenger hunt, introducing them to all the areas of their new classroom. Place a heart on their hands once they complete their journey.

Hands Together

Hands Together is a great Kissing Hand activity to encourage your kids to get to know one another. In pairs, ask students to trace the hands of their partners on construction paper, and then cut each hand out. Visit each group and ask students to think of three adjectives to describe their classmates and write them, along with their partner’s name, on each hand. Afterward, glue the hands together and create a class mobile that you can hang in your classroom.

Raccoon Reassurances and “Hand-y” Love Magnets

This ready-to-go Kissing Hand lesson will not only help prepare your kids for kindergarten but will also encourage them to confront and resolve any fear or anxieties they may be having about the first day of school. With Raccoon Reassurances, your students will imagine they’re older raccoons at Chester’s school and will write a letter with you to young learners just like themselves about what they can expect to see, hear, and do in their new classroom. Next, create a “Hand-y” Love Magnet your kids can share with their parents and caregivers to show them that love stays with the adult even when their kids are at school.

Looking for a few more books and activities to welcome your young learners to their new classroom? These Kindergarten read-alouds will help get rid of any first-day jitters and make sure your kids are prepared for back-to-school season.

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