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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Back To School Theme Ideas for Your Easel! More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Hey there! Welcome to Preschool Plan It! I’m Cheryl, a preschool teacher of over 20 years.
I KNOW, I know, you spend hours of time developing your preschool themes, activities and preschool lesson plans each week. You are commited to planning preschool themes and activities that are engaging hands-on, interactive, fun AND meet the goal of supporting each child’s level of growth and development.
I am commited to providing you, the preschool teacher, with everything you need to develop preschool lesson plans and preschool activities for your classroom all in one place!
You’ll receive a weekly email with planning tips and teaching ideas. You'll also receive (on the 1st of each month) a free theme starter pack with some printables and activity ideas to get you started planning a theme!