It's already time to go back to school. With each new school year, children are introduced to new skills and concepts to build on from the previous year. Although it may seem difficult to get back into a school routine, especially if the new year might seem intimidating to your children, it's not impossible. We have put together a list of some super cool and easy to do activities that not only help with introducing and teaching certain concepts to children, but also help them get better prepared for school.
1. Counting and adding (with pencils)
This activity is a fun and basic activity to do with your children, to help them practice their counting and addition skills. The new school years usually means back to school shopping. You can use this as an opportunity to get all their supplies together, while getting them excited about how they can already start utilizing them.
Things you will need:
-A pack of pencils
- A marker
Start off by gathering all of your children's pencils. It can help if they have different designs on them. Next, grab a couple sheets of paper. Finally, find a large work area.
- If the children are younger, and just being introduced to their numbers, have them practice counting with the pencils one by one. You can give them a handful of pencils, and ask how many they have altogether. We recommend counting to at least 5-8.
- Once they get those numbers down, you can start to count the pencils separately. You can use tape to hold down each pencil going in order; (one pencil for "one", two for "two" and so on.)
- For older children, using a marker, have them try to write out their numbers in order. We recommend having them count to at least 10-15 if they know how.
- Next, pick a number, and have them count out that number with pencils. This helps them to have a visual of the number
-Once they have their numbers down, have them practice their addition. Use a sheet of paper and place a certain number of pencils on two sides. In the middle with a marker write a plus sign, and then an equal sign at the end. Your children can practice adding with this method by placing more pencils of the sum that they got, or even moving pencils from one side counting them altogether on the other side.
2. School vocab (younger kids)
If you have younger children who are jut starting school, and you are worried about them grasping their vocabulary, here is a helpful activity. All you will need is a small dry erase board, as well as markers. Everyday before and after school, pick 1-3 words to go over. This can include words that are already included in their homework, readings and lessons, or something they have observed during the day. This can also help in explaining words that they may periodically ask the definition for. Once you have picked out your certain words, write them out on the board. Go over how to sound out the word, and it's spelling. Afterwards, ask them if they have an idea of what the word means, as well as providing a basic and clear definition. You can even have them draw out the word if that helps to remember as well. If they have trouble grasping the word, you can make it the word of the week instead of day. Make it into a game of whether they can use the word in a sentence, or if they can with practice spelling it on their own. Eventually, they will have picked up new words that they know and understand, as well as build onto their previous vocabulary.
3. Construction paper school
This is a fun hands on activity, that involves children building their own paper school. If your children are nervous about attending a new school, or uncomfortable with the idea of having a new class, this activity can help them to get familiar with their new surroundings.
Things you will need:
-Construction paper (multiple colors)
-tape or glue
Start off with talking to your children about their school. If they are still attending the same school, ask them about describing their school and what it looks like. If they are attending a new school, try to see if you can visit the school and see where their class will be. If they are just changing classes, have them try to describe their other classes.
- Pay attention to certain places such as where the bathrooms are located, the art, music and computer rooms, and the lunch room. After they are finished describing the school start having them make their own.
- If they are younger, and just starting school, you can ask them to make their own idea of school. They do not have to pay attention to detail, so much as grasping the idea of what their new environment is. You can also make it a game by having them build their school, and then asking them when school starts, to pay attention to see what the school has, and where it's located. When they get home, they can have a better idea about their school, and be excited about all the different things they saw and interacted with.
- For older children, have them build their own school. See if they can remember what the classes and buildings look like, and even label what they do in certain parts. You can also include things such as where they might get dropped and picked up from, and where do they go in emergencies such as if they need the nurse.
4. Sorting, Counting and Graphing erasers
In this activity, children will learn how to graph, sort and count all while using erasers.
- Start off with gathering a lot of erasers. It helps if you have many of different designs, shapes or colors.
- Next have the children sort the erasers into groups. They can group the erasers based on either similarities or differences. This can include things such as all the red erasers in one pile versus all blue erasers.
- Ask the children about the grouping as well. Some questions can include:
"how many different color erasers do we have"
"how many eraser tops do we have versus large erasers"
- Once the children have grouped and sorted out all the erasers, now they can practice adding them. You can ask them to count how many erasers are in each group, making sure to write down their answers. Similar to our pencil activity, they can practice addition with each groups by adding groups together. If they're older, they can even practice mixing the erasers, such as "if they have two purple erasers and add 3 green how many do they have altogether".
- Once you've written down the answers it's time to graph. Use a medium sized paper to make your graph. In our example, we've made a bar graph. Have the children draw the graph with numbers going along the left side starting at o ups towards the highest number they had within their group of erasers. Next on the bottom starting from the left going towards the right, have them write each type of group of erasers they had. Have them fill out the number with each group until they complete their graph.
5. End of the summer journal reflection
For this last activity, children can reflect on their summer by creating their own journal about their experiences. All they will need is a journal and things to help decorate it. Have the children sit down and try to remember their summer. This can include asking them questions about some of their favorite activities, memories, and even places they traveled. Be sure to have them include other concepts they might have learned along the way. Let them be as descriptive as possible, even suggesting concepts such as numbers colors and shapes of their summer experiences. By creating this journal, the children not only have a fun way to remember their time, but also gain great practice in writing, story telling, and reflection.