Back To School Preschool Theme

It's that time of year again--Back To School!  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.

This Back To School Preschool Theme page is filled with activities, ideas and preschool lesson plans for your preschool classroom.

You'll find more themes to help you with your planning on my preschool themes page.

Back to School Preschool Theme

Let the Back To School theme planning begin!

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

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!

Themed Art Activities

Back to School Preschool Theme Art Activity

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.

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Back To School 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 their knowledge about shapes, counting, etc.

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Back To School 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 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 tags on the teacher's desk.

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

Continue until all the name tags are gone.


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

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Back To School Theme Cooking Ideas!

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!

Fruit Smoothies

Have the children help to wash fruit and drop it into a blender.  Add some vanilla yogurt and yum!

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Back To School Dramatic Play Ideas


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.

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Back To School 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!

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Back To School Theme Large Group Games

To help the children build their muscles while they have fun together!

Whose Shoes?

Have the children take off one shoe and put it in a pile.

Have the children take turns going to the pile and choosing one.....they can NOT choose their own!

They need to find whose shoe they have and find out that child's name while returning the shoe!

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Back To School Theme Library Ideas

Book Suggestions for the Library

The following books may be available at your local library or you can purchase them at Amazon by clicking the title links below!

(I LOVE Amazon, and some of the links below will take you to the Amazon website.  If you do choose to purchase yours through Amazon, they do send me a few cents--which supports my coffee habit! )

Elf Book 8560 Billy's Treasure-a Start-Right Elf Book by Dorothea J. Snow

Dinofours: It's Time for School! by Steve Metzger

Going to Day Care (Mr. Rogers' First Experience) by Mister Rogers

Katharine Goes to Nursery School (Great Big Board Books) by Jill Krementz

My First Day at Nursery School by Becky Edwards

School Bus by Donald Crews

Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen

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Back To School Math & Manipulatives Ideas

To help your preschoolers develop their math skills and 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).

I have a set in my store you can check out here!

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.

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Back To School Music & Movement 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 Theme is a great theme to use to introduce songs the children will sing all year!

To start of with, here are my FAVORITE CD's!

Dr. Jean's music is very popular and my absolute FAVE on this one is Tooty-Ta!

Another all-year favorite is ANY and ALL songs from Greg & Steve!

Now for some songs to sing:

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 what fun we'll have this way

In a happy class today.

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


In a happy class today!

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Back To School Theme Sand & Water Table

Water and Sand Table

Just introduce these areas with water or sand and basic tools you use here to introduce them to this center this week!  No need to get fancy.......just let them explore!

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Back To School 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!

Back to School Preschool Theme Science Activity

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!

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Back To School Writing Center Ideas

Writing Tools Introduction

Provide many writing tools and a wide variety of paper.

Include colored pencils, markers (thin and fat), crayons and different sizes and colors of paper.

Add a collection of stickers!

This is a great time of year to introduce them to creating their own stories and "dictating" them to you, as well as practicing printing their names---even if all they can make now is the first letter or a scribble--it is all pre-writing.....encourage it!

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Back To School Theme Miscellaneous Ideas

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.

Send a Letter to Parents

Explain about separation anxiety and how they can help their child settle!  

I have a letter here that you might like!

Back to School Theme for Preschoolers Love You Hearts

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 children's cubbies. If the child 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 cubby.

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