Back To School Preschool Activities Theme

It's that time of year again! This Back To School Preschool Activities Theme page is filled with some preschool activities and ideas for your classroom. Remember that less is more in the beginning of the year. Too many choices overstimulate the children. The goal of the first few weeks is to help them to become comfortable with their classroom, their teachers and their peers. The more child directed activities you have, the more time you can spend interacting with and getting to know each child.

Let the Back To School Preschool Activities Theme planning begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your Back To School Preschool Activities Theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.


Art Activities Block Area

Circle Time Activities Cooking Recipes

Dramatic Play Ideas Easel Ideas

Gross Motor Games Library and Literacy

Math And Manipulatives Activities Music and Movement

Sand and Water Table Science Activities

Writing Activities Miscellaneous Activities

Art Activities

Back To School Preschool Activities Theme Art

Back to School Preschool Activities should typically be a time for the children to be introduced to the materials they will see throughout the year. Unless your children are returning for a second year, keep it basic for them!

Welcome Wreath

Materials Needed: Half of a paper towel roll for each child*, yarn, paint, paintbrushes

*I don't use toilet paper rolls--too many germs!

Cover your table with newspaper or a plastic tablecloth that you can wipe down and reuse all year!

Each child paints a roll. When each one is dry, string the rolls together on a piece of yarn and hang from your classroom door.

Add pictures of the students to their roll!

Chalk and Water

Materials Needed: Colored sidewalk chalk, construction paper (looks great on black paper, but let each child choose their own color) and shallow trays of water.

Chalk looks great on paper when they have dipped the chalk into water first. This is a great way to find out what their favorite color is (by the color of paper they choose) and to assess their motor and drawing skills.

We Are A Sharp Bunch!

Materials Needed: In advance, cut out large pencil shaped white papers; provide sponges and yellow paint.

The children sponge paint their papers. When dry, encourage them to paint the erase side pink. Hang when dry as a bulletin board or wall display.

An Apple To Take Home

Materials Needed: Pre cut apple shapes; pieces of red, yellow and green paper, glue

Have the children use their small hand muscles to tear the red, yellow and/or green paper into little pieces and glue onto their apple shape.

Add this poem:

This apple that you see here,

Was made just for you in my preschool year.

You'll never see another like it in the great, big land,

Because to make this apple, I used my own little hands.

Snack Placemat

Materials Needed: Prior to this activity, be sure to have a picture of each child available; you'll need construction paper and paint.

The makes their handprints onto the paper. Glue their picture on and print their name. When dry, laminate and use all year at snack time!

EXTENSION: Once they have made their handprints, give them plain white paper to continue with the fingerpainting fun!

Preschool Collage

Materials needed: magazines (with preschool items in them such as supply catalogs!) or precut pictures from magazines--lots of them!; glue sticks

The children choose the pictures they like best and glue it onto a large paper to make a group classroom collage of their favorite things in preschool!

Return to Top

Block Area

Back To School Preschool Activities Theme Block Center Ideas

Unit Blocks

For a Back to School Preschool Activities Theme, I like to begin the year with the wooden unit blocks and usually have them out for about a month in the block area. You can add to it by adding cars one week, little plastic people the next, etc. These blocks are great for assessing thier knowledge about shapes, counting, etc.

Return to Top

Circle Time Activities

Back To School Preschool Activities Theme Circle Time Ideas

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your Back to School Preschool Activities theme!

Tour the Classroom

Take the children on a tour of the classroom. Walk to each area of your room and talk about what we can do here.

Example: Here is the easel. We can paint and use what is in this tray. We wear a paint smock to stop the paint from getting on us.

This is the Block Center. Here we build with blocks, etc.

Encourage the children to name what they see in each area and make suggestions about what they can do with those materials.

Classroom Rules

Make up a few classroom rules with the children. Choose only 3 so that they can remember them. Always state rules in the positive (what they can do rather than what they can't do)

Basic rules are:

We use kind words. (No yelling)

Our hands stay on our own body. (No hitting)

Our feet walk inside and run outside.

Find the Item

Name an item in the classroom and have one child find it and bring it to circle. Let each child have a turn.

This will help them to become familiar with what is in the classroom.

Give clues as to where the item is for the child:

Suzy, would you please bring a paintbrush to circle? The paintbrushes are in the art center. The art center is over there.

Why Do We Come To School?

Ask the children why they come to school. Write their answers down on a chart paper. Accept all answers.

Discuss what they will do and learn at school.

Name Tags

We have paper shapes with each child's name printed on one. Take a picture of each child during their first day. Print out their pictures and then tape them to their name tags and laminate the tags. We use these for circle time all year.

Name Game

Help the children--and you and your co-teachers--remember the children's names by playing a name game at circle with a small ball.

You start by holding the ball and saying "My name is Miss Cheryl. I'm going to roll the ball to one of you. When you have the ball, tell your friends your name. Then roll it to another friend.

Connecting Kids

Try playing music and having the children pair up with a partner. You may need to pair them up. Have the children tell their partner their name or tell them their names if they are too shy.

Give directions about how to connect such as "Toe to toe" (they should make their feet touch). Elbow to elbow, etc.

Name Tag Flannel Rhyme

Make a name tag for each child for your flannel board (you can use velcro or a dryer sheet for the back to make it stick. If you don't have a flannel board, simply place the name tags in the middle of your circle area).

Down around the corner in the preschool that's the best.

There were (number of children) little name tages on the teacher's desk.

Along came (name a child) one day. He/she took his/her nametag away. (Have that child come and get their name tag and sit back down).

Continue until all the name tags are gone.

Puppet Time

Kids LOVE puppets, even your shy kids!

Bring a puppet to circle time. Perhaps your puppet can tell the children that he/she is nervous about school because he/she doesn't know anybody. Then have the puppet introduce itself to each child and ask each child their name.

Clean Up Time

Ingredients and Items needed: A bin or box and items from each area of the classroom (enough for each child to have one).

Let the children know that we all clean up after ourselves but also help put everything away before we go home. Let's practice now! John, would you please put this block back in the block center? Suzy, would you please put this book back in the library?

This will help to introduce cleaning up to the children.


Songs are a great way to introduce the children. Scroll down to the Music and Movement section of this page for many songs you can teach the children as school begins.

School Safety Poem

STOP, Look and Listen

Before you cross the street.

Use your eyes. Use your ears.

And then use your feet

Return to Top

Cooking Recipes

Snack Recipe Ideas to Cook Up for Your Back To School Preschool Activities Theme!

Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!


Yup, just toast! Ok, let's have SOME fun with it! Provide cookie cutter in school theme shapes (school, bus, people). The children cut their toast with the cookie cutters and then spread margarine on their slice for snack!

Return to Top

Dramatic Play Ideas

Back To School Preschool Activities Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area


Include an oven, table, refrigerator, etc. A home center is something familiar to the children and allows them to interact with each other by recreating what their family does in a kitchen at home.

Return to Top

Easel Ideas

Back To School Preschool Activities Theme Ideas for your Easel--More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)

Just Painting

Although paint, brushes and white paper may seem boring to you, remember that this may be the children's first time in school so painting while standing up and on such large paper will be novel to them! Keep your Back To School Preschool Activities themed Easel projects focused on basics--paint and brushes--in the beginning!

Return to Top

Gross Motor Games

Back To School Preschool Activities Theme Large Group Games that help build their muscles while they have fun together

Ride the Bus

Set chairs up like a bus. Line the children up and instruct them to follow you around the room until you come to the "bus".

Have them board the bus and give their names to the bus driver. Or put numbers on the bus seats and give them a number to match.

Pretend to come to their stop and ask by name for that child to get off at their bus stop!

Thank you Miss Diane of Tewksbury, MA!

Return to Top

Library and Literacy

Back To School Preschool Activities Theme Ideas for Your Library and Literacy Activities for your Preschool Classroom

Book Suggestions for the Library

Billy's Treasure by Dorothea J. Snow

Dinofours: it's time for School! Steve Metzger

Everybody Has a Name by Richard Browner

The First Day of School and Going To Daycare by Mister Rogers

I Like School by Michael Mantean

Katharine Goes to Nursery School by Jill Krementz

My Nursery School by Harlow Rockwell

School Bus by Donald Crews

Shawn Goes to School by Petronella Breinburg

Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen

Return to Top

Math And Manipulatives Activities

Back To School Preschool Activities Theme ideas to help your Preschoolers develop those small muscles in their hands!

School Day Sequencing

Materials: Laminated pictures of activities at school

Encourage the children to put the pictures in the order that activities happen at school. We usually have:

Arrival (picture of a bus and cars)

Circle Time

Activity Time

Snack Time

Outdoor Time

Departure Time (children with their families).


Show children how to measure items in the classroom such as the floor! The table! The chairs! Etc.

Use your feet to measure "I wonder how many steps long our classroom is?"

Use rulers "I wonder how many rulers tall the chair is? The length of the table?"

Counting and Sorting

Provide sorters for the children to use such as the basic teddy bear sorters or little people.

Encourage the children to sort them by color and then by size. Encourage them to count them. ("How many large blue teddy bears are there? How many red teddy bears?").

This is a great way to assess their counting and one-to-one correspondence skills.

Return to Top

Music and Movement

Back To School Preschool Activities Theme Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

In addition to the songs below, which can be introduced at Circle Time, a Back To School Preschool Activities theme is a great theme to use to introduce songs the children will sing all year! Some of our favorites are Tooty Ta (by Dr. Jean) and just about any Greg and Steve song!

I Like To...

sung to the tune of London Bridges

I like to paint and build with blocks,

Build with blocks, build with blocks.

I like to paint and build with blocks

At my school.

I like to sing and model clay....

I like to ride the trikes and swings...

Make up other verses to go with the activities you have in your classroom!

The Importance of Rules

Rules can be helpful,

rules can be good.

they help us behave

The way we should.

If we can follow the rules,

And keep from doing wrong,

Our class will be a happier place

When we all get along.

Important Rules

sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Here are rules for you and me,

See how important they can be.

Always be honest, kind and fair.

Always be good and willing to share.

These are rules that we should know,

And follow these rules wherever we go.

First Day Of School to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot

Good morning __________, how are you?

This the very first day of school.

I'm so glad to meet you,

others will be too,

Just come in the classroom,

There's lots of things to do!

Brand New Year tune: London Bridge

It's time to start a brand new year,

Brand new year, brand new year.

It's time to start a brand new year,

Welcome new friends!

We'll learn lots of brand new things,

Brand new things, brand new things.

We'll learn lots of brand new things.

Let's Get Started!

Hello tune: Frere Jacques

Hello _________. Hello ________.

How are you? How are you?

We're so glad to have you,

We're so glad to have you.

Here at school, here at school.

Who Is Here Today? tune: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Let's see who is here today.

Who has come to join our play?

Everyone sit close at hand,

Say your name, then you can stand.

Le'ts see who is here today.

Who has come to join our play?

Hello Song tune: Three Blind Mice

Hello ________. Hello _______.

How are you? How are you?

We're glad you're here to laugh and play.

We hope you'll have some fun today.

You're welcome, welcome everyday.

To our preschool!

Have You Met A Friend Of Mine? tune: The Muffin Man

Have you met a friend of mine,

A friend of mine, a friend of mine?

Have you met a friend of mine?

His/her name is __________.

What Is Your Name? tune: Frere Jacques

What is your name? what is your name?

Tell us please. Tell us please.

We would like to meet you.

We would like to meet you.

What's your name? What's your name?

Off To School We Go tune: A-hunting We Will Go

Off to school we go. It's off to school we go.

We'll take our lunch and ride the bus (or take our snack and ride in our car)

With everyone we know (or to see everyone we know)

Off to school we go. It's off to school we go.

We'll learn our ABC's and more with everyone we know.

We Like To Come To School tune:the farmer in the Dell

We like to come to school.

We like to come to school.

Our school is such a happy place.

We like to come to school.

Happy Faces tune: Jingle Bells

Smiling faces, happy faces,

giggling all around.

Oh waht fun we'll have this way

In a happy class today.

He-he-he, he-he-he,


In a happy class today!

Biddely Diddely Bumblebee

Biddely Diddely Bumblebee

Won't you tell your name to me?

(child says name or you say their name)--Cheryl

(Everyone claps the syllables of the name and says the name--repeat twice)

Che-ryl Che-ryl

Clap-clap Clap Clap

Continue for each child.

Return to Top

Sand and Water Table

Back To School Preschool Activities Theme Ideas for the Senses!

Water Table

I know, sounds simple and basic! But remember, it is the beginning of the year. It is all about introductions. Have water and measuring tools and perhaps a water wheel. Teach water play rules about keeping the water in the table (no splashing) and about clean up! Have a child sized mop and paper towels available for them to help clean up spills.

Sand Table

Same advice as with the water table. Have a small broom, dustpan and trash can nearby for the children to help sweep up spills.

Also, sometimes the sand (even play sand) can get dusty. To prevent this, lightly mist the sand with a spray bottle before use. Be sure to keep the table uncovered overnight so that the water can dry up.

Return to Top

Science Activities

Back To School Preschool Activities Theme Science Ideas--for your Preschool Scientists in Training!

Introducing Magnifying Glasses!

Materials Needed: Provide several magnifying glasses and some smaller toys in your science table. The children can practice using them and take them around the room to check out toys! If you don't have magnifying glasses, provide some binoculars!

Color Scientists

Materials: Small cups of colored water and eye droppers. Let the children create new colors by dropping colors into a clear cup. This is best done in small groups because most children will be using eye droppers for the first time!

Return to Top

Writing Activities

Writing Activity Ideas for Your Preschool Classroom's Back To School Preschool Activities Theme!

Name Practice

Materials Needed: One name card for each child with their name printed on it along with their picture. Laminate each card. Provide low-odor, dry erase markers and tissues for the children to practice printing their names.

I suggest printing their names in lower case as well as upper case. Although most of your children will initially learn to print their names in upper case (easier to print block letters than lower case letters), they will never see their name in all upper case in print. It is good to show them how their name looks in lower case as well. By the end of the prek year, most children are trying to use lower case letters!

Return to Top

Miscellaneous Activities

Separation Anxiety Activities

The first few weeks of preschool can create separation anxiety (for both the children and the parents!) Here are a couple of things parents can do to help with that.

The Kissing Hand

This story, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is an adorable story about a racoon who is nervous about leaving his Mom and going to school. It is a great read for families to read together before school starts.

I Love You Hearts

Thank you, Esther, for this idea!

Cut shape hearts (different colors)and give to each parent to write something for their child. Keep the written heart messages in the childrens' cubbies. If the chid misses his parent he can go to his cubby and find his parents message.

EXTENSION: Take a picture of each child and their parent(s) and tape it to the heart in their cubbies.

Return to Top

Go to MAIN THEMES Page from this Back To School Preschool Activities Page

Return to Preschool Plan-It Home Page