With every theme, we create a document in response to a special request received. (Open routine-good morning) Print, laminate, and display next to your daycare entrance. Invite one child to greet the group each day. As they arrive, encourage children to pick how they wish to be greeted.
Before children arrive, stick pictures related to kindergarten on items throughout your daycare using adhesive paper. Try to integrate colorful items and let children discover the theme.
Every morning, have fun hiding an object associated with kindergarten in your daycare. The object mustn’t be completely hidden, but finding it must represent a challenge. As soon as children find it, photograph it. Print and display the picture on a special wall. Children will enjoy showing their parents what they found at the end of each day. Name a “child of the day” every morning and be sure to grant him privileges throughout the day.
Sit in a circle with your group and talk about everything they will learn once they are in kindergarten. Present various items that can be found in a kindergarten classroom.
SURPRISE DISCUSSION BOX
Before children arrive, fill a box with ribbons, yarn, bright party balloons, party horns, streamers, and flags. Seal the box with heavy tape and use a bold marker to draw question marks all over it. To present the theme to your group, have an accomplice deliver the box by ringing the doorbell or knocking on your door. Collect the package with your group and invite children to guess what is inside. Open the box together and use the items it contains to create a garland that can be used to decorate your daycare.
Use puppets for their creative aspect. Improvise a theme-related discussion between puppets. Invite children to participate by bringing the puppet of their choice to life. You will find many puppet models in the Educatall club.
Circle time questions:
- Do you know someone who is in kindergarten?
- Have you ever visited a kindergarten classroom? What did you see?
- Can you name things that we learn in kindergarten?
- Can you name a kindergarten activity or game?
- Do you look forward to going to kindergarten?
- What means of transportation can be used to go to school?
A treasure hunt to discover the theme
(Open educa-decorate-Kindergarten) Print and laminate. Display the illustrations throughout your daycare. Have children collect them and invite them to guess your theme.
(Open thematic poster-Kindergarten) Print, laminate, and display where parents are sure to see it.
(Open educa-decorate-Kindergarten) Print, cut out, and laminate. Decorate the walls of your daycare and hang decorations from the ceiling to set the mood for the theme.
(Open stickers-Kindergarten) Print the illustrations on adhesive paper and use them to create an original sticker collection.
(Open educa-theme-Kindergarten) Print, cut out, and laminate. Use the items to decorate the walls of your daycare to set the mood for the theme.
The welcome chart
Your daycare entrance must be welcoming and friendly for both children and their parents. In order to help children develop a sense of belonging within the group and the daycare environment, a welcome chart is important. This chart will be used to identify the children who are present each day. Children can display their picture with the help of their parents when they arrive each morning or with your help later in the day. You may choose to decorate the chart with illustrations associated with your current theme, the season, or an upcoming holiday. It will decorate your entrance and must be set up so that everyone can see it. Many early childhood educators find using the welcome chart quite demanding. If this is your case, simply use it to continuously display children’s pictures and change the decorations when you have the time. Don’t forget to write each child’s name below his/her picture. If you are absent one day, this will help the person replacing you identify the children in your group. (Open model-welcome chart) Print, laminate, and display the chart or create your own.
Create decorations linked to kindergarten. Give each child a tree branch. Invite them to decorate a metal can and fill it with sand so their branch can stand upright in it. If you prefer, fill a bucket with sand and use one large branch to make this a group project. Children can paint the branch and sprinkle glitter on it before the paint dries. Hang the decorations made by the children in your group in their kindergarten tree.
(Open educa-numbers-Kindergarten) Print and laminate the posters. Display them on the walls of your daycare to decorate throughout the theme.
(Open educa-letters-Kindergarten) Print and laminate the posters. Display them on the walls of your daycare to decorate throughout the theme.
(Open garland-Kindergarten) Print. Let children decorate the items with glitter, markers, and arts & crafts materials. Cut them out and hang them within the daycare or near your daycare entrance to form a garland.
The pictures may be used as a memory game or to spark a conversation with the group. Use them to decorate your daycare or a specific thematic corner.
(Open picture game-Kindergarten) Print, laminate, and store in a Ziploc bag or in your thematic bins.
Activity sheets are suggested for each theme. Print and follow instructions. (Open Activity sheets-Kindergarten)
(Open writing activities-K like kindergarten) Print for each child or laminate for use with a dry-erase marker.
(Open stationery-Kindergarten) Print. The stationery can be used to communicate with parents, in your writing area, or to identify your thematic bins.
Use the cards to spark a conversation with your group or in your reading and writing area. They may also be used to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards-Kindergarten) (Open giant word flashcards-Kindergarten) girl, boy, teacher, paint smock, lunch box, toys, circle time, classroom, school playground, school bus, songs, locker
Begin by saying 2 words and increase the number of words per the capacity of the children in your group. Children must repeat the words they hear in the same order. Ideally, select words belonging to a single category (clothing, animals, food, etc.).
(Open word flashcards-Kindergarten) (Open giant word flashcards-Kindergarten) Print many copies of the word flashcards and encourage children to use scrabble tiles to write the words. Manipulating the small tiles represents a great fine motor skill exercise. At the same time, children will notice which letters make up the different words.
(Open felt board-Kindergarten) Print the elements and glue them on pieces of felt. Press 4 pieces of black felt on a piece of cardboard to create a felt board and hang it on a wall. The felt pieces will stick to your board. Children will have fun using the items to create scenes and stories.
Cut several stars out of construction paper. On one side of each star, glue an item associated with kindergarten. Turn the stars over and write the words of a popular rhyme or song on each one. Laminate the stars and insert them in envelopes. With your group, pick an envelope to determine which song or rhyme you will practice.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Purchase small individual chalkboards and write the name of a child at the top of each one. Set the chalkboards in your circle time area. Help children find their chalkboard as they gather for circle time. Have them sit in front of their chalkboard. Invite them to draw something they associate with kindergarten on it (apple, backpack, lunch box, school bus, book, etc.). Use their drawings to discuss the theme.
The ringing bell
Every time you move from one activity to another, ring a small bell to signal an activity change. Explain to your group how, at school, a bell rings to indicate different times during the day. For example, a bell rings when it is time for recess, for lunch, to go home, etc.
I know where to sit…
Identify each child’s chair using the first letter of their name. At snack time or lunch time, invite children to find their chair.
Game-This is my spot-Back to school
(Open game-This is my spot-Back to school) Print two copies. Laminate and cut out the cards. Glue one copy of each card on the table using adhesive paper. Drop the other copies in a bag. Children take turns picking a card to determine their spot at the table for the day. You may also use the cards to determine naptime spots or for your task train.
My path to kindergarten
(Open my path to kindergarten) Print, laminate, and secure the illustrations on the floor, creating a path that leads to various areas within your daycare. The path can lead to areas children visit regularly throughout the day, such as the cloakroom and bathroom or, if you prefer, they can delimit different corners.
Let’s go on an adventure…
When it’s time to move from one area to another, invent a story that you can build along the way. Use your theme as inspiration. For example, you can pretend you are going on a bus ride or exploring the school playground.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES AND MOTOR SKILLS
These activities help children acquire skills they need for reading and writing, such as turning the pages of a book, holding a pencil correctly, tracing letters, etc. To help children prepare for kindergarten, encourage them to practice cutting, drawing, lacing, and manipulating modeling dough. The following activities may be helpful.
My list of school supplies
(Open my list of school supplies) Print for each child. Fill a large bin with school supplies, making sure it contains all the items on the list for each child in your group. Add objects that are not on the list too to make this activity somewhat more challenging. When you give the signal, children must fill a bag with the items on the list.
(Open bowling-Kindergarten) Print and use the stickers to create games. Press them on empty plastic bottles to create alphabet bowling pins. Arrange the bottles on a table and invite children to make them fall using a tennis ball. Give each child three chances.
(Open stickers-Kindergarten) Print and use the stickers to create games. Press them on empty metal cans and use them to build a pyramid. Children will enjoy trying to make your pyramid fall using a frisbee.
(Open playing cards-Kindergarten) Print and laminate. Give each child the same number of cards. They can take turns hiding them throughout the daycare. Each child then tries to find as many cards as possible.
Modeling dough activity placemats-Kindergarten
(Open modeling dough activity placemats-Kindergarten) Print and laminate. Let children pick a placemat and provide modeling dough. Encourage them to use the dough to fill or reproduce the shapes that are on their placemat.
(Open string activities-Kindergarten) Print for each child. Children trace the outlines with white glue and then press pieces of yarn or string to “draw” the items.
(Open lacing-lunch boxes) Print, laminate, and punch holes around the contour of each model. Children can thread a shoelace, ribbon, or string through the holes.
Set a lunch box or empty bin in front of your group. Fill a grocery bag with various food items and objects. Children take turns picking an item out of the grocery bag and stating if it belongs in their lunch box or not. If it does, they toss it in the lunch box. Otherwise, they throw it in the bin. Example: If a child picks a can of peas, he could say that it doesn’t belong in the lunch box because he would need a can opener to be able to eat the peas at school. Note that there are no incorrect answers!
Let’s explore a school playground
With your group, visit a school playground in your neighbourhood. Let children play in the different play structures, discover the various areas, and explore the corners that can be used for relaxation (benches, under a tree, etc.). Practice lining up in front of the school’s main entrance or next to the gate, as if the children in your group were going to get on the school bus.
Watch for the crossing guard
Prior to this activity, cut a stop sign out of Fun Foam and stick it on a wooden stick. Pretend you are a crossing guard and practice crossing the street safely while respecting instructions.
Fishing for letters
You will need a kiddie pool for this activity. Add magnetic letters and make simple fishing rods using old broomsticks, string, and magnets. Invite children to fish the letters out of your letter pond.
The letters in my name
(Open mini alphabet letters) Determine a course that children must complete. Go through the course once with them. Then, pick a letter out of a bag and show it to your group. The children who have this letter in their name must complete the course again.
(Open educa-move-Kindergarten) Print and laminate the action cards. Store the cards in a lunch box. Children must take turns picking a card. Together, they must execute the illustrated action. This is a great way to encourage children to be active.
(Open lacing-Shoes) Print, laminate, and punch holes around the contour of each model. Children thread a shoelace, yarn, or string through the holes. If you wish, you can use these shoes to introduce children to the proper technique for tying their shoelaces.
Set baskets on their side on the floor. Roll apples towards the baskets. The goal is for the apples to land inside the baskets.
(Open letters of the alphabet) Print and cut out the letters. Hide them throughout your daycare. When you give the signal, children must walk around the daycare and collect all the letters they find. The child who finds the most letters wins.
(Open letters of the alphabet) Print and laminate. Set the cards on the table. Write the letters of the alphabet on 26 clothespins and set them in an opaque bag. Children pick a clothespin and attach it to the card with the corresponding letter.
(Open letters of the alphabet) Print and laminate. Pick a card and invite children to use their finger to trace the letter in flour or sugar poured in a platter or in flattened modeling dough. They could also use chalk, poster paint and a paintbrush, finger paint, Wikki Stix, etc.
Ideas involving letters printed on paper
- Use the letters to create an alphabet book with your group. Search for items that begin with each letter in catalogues and cut them out. Glue one letter with a series of pictures on each page of your book.
- Trace the letters of the alphabet using Magic Nuudles, pieces of string, modeling dough snakes, drinking straws, Wikki Stix, etc.
- Have children trace printed and laminated letters using a dry-erase marker.
- Encourage children to trace letters in sand, flour, couscous, etc.
- Ask children to color, paint, or decorate printed block letters. You could also use wooden letters.
- Disguised letters. Encourage children to integrate letters in their drawings. For example, if they turn a C, it can represent an igloo.
Hop, hop, hop
Use adhesive paper to stick letters on the floor in alphabetical order. Encourage children to sing the alphabet as they hop on the letters.
Children search for toys or items that have letters on them. When they find one, encourage them to show it to you. Together, identify the letters or the words.
Let’s represent a kindergarten classroom
Gather all the small chairs, tables, and figurines that you have on hand. Invite children to position them in a cardboard box to represent a kindergarten classroom. You could, if you wish, add a few tiny accessories such as pieces of fabric for curtains and rugs. (Open kindergarten accessories) Print, laminate, and cut out the accessories and let children add them to their miniature classroom. When they are done, they will love playing with the figurines.
Roll and color-Kindergarten
(Open roll and color-Kindergarten) Print for each child. This game can be enjoyed individually or as a group. Children take turns rolling a die, counting the dots, and coloring the corresponding part.
Magnetic letter association
(Open magnetic letter association) Print and glue the items on a metal cookie sheet for each child. Children pick magnetic letters out of a bag and press them on the corresponding letter.
Color by number-Kindergarten
(Open color by number-Kindergarten) Print for each child. Children must use the color code to complete the picture.
(Open educ-pairs-Kindergarten) Print. Children must color identical pictures using the same color or draw a line between them. For durable, eco-friendly use, laminate for use with a dry-erase marker.
(Open educ-trace-Kindergarten) Print for each child. Children must trace each line using a crayon of the corresponding color and then color the object at the end of the line using the same color.
Educ-same and different-Kindergarten
(Open educa-same and different-Kindergarten) Print and laminate for durable, eco-friendly use. Children must circle the item that is different in each row.
Back to school scene
(Open back to school scene) Print, laminate, and cut out the items. Children use them to decorate the scene.
Educ-differences-Back to school
(Open educ-differences-Back to school) Print and laminate for durable, eco-friendly use. Children must identify the differences between both pictures and circle them using a dry-erase marker.
Educ-shadows-Back to school
(Open educ-shadows-Back to school) Print and laminate for durable, eco-friendly use. Children must draw a line between each item and its corresponding shadow.
Educ-math-Back to school
(Open educ-math-Back to school) Print and laminate for durable, eco-friendly use. Children must count the items in each rectangle and circle the correct number.
Bingo-Back to school
(Open bingo-Back to school) Play bingo with your group. Print, laminate, and store the game in a small box or Ziploc bag.
Days of the week
(Open-Days of the week) Print, laminate, and cut out. Children enjoy associating the days of the week to the correct color on the xylophone.
Time of day
(Routine game) Print, laminate, and cut out. Associate each symbol to the correct time of day: morning, noon, afternoon, or evening.
I am learning to count
(Open games-I’m counting worms) Print, laminate, and glue an action that children must execute behind each apple. Have a child pick an apple and count the worms. If he succeeds, read the action that is printed behind the apple. The entire group must mime the action.
I am learning my telephone number
(Open I am learning my telephone number) Print, laminate, and cut out the numbers. Children glue the numbers that make up their telephone number at the bottom of the page and then practice dialing it.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
(Open mandalas-Kindergarten) Print for each child. Children color the mandalas as they see fit.
Turn the lights on and off in a rhythmic fashion. If your group is very active, this can represent a great way to calm children and signal that they must gather around you. Have fun turning the lights off throughout the day to provide your group with the chance to practice following instructions.
(Open photo booth-Kindergarten) Print the various accessories, cut them out, and glue a drinking straw behind each one. Purchase glasses, school supplies, etc. at your local dollar store. Create a school-themed décor using a large piece of cardboard or chalkboard. Invite children to pick the accessories they prefer and pose for you. You can take individual, group, or family photos. Print the pictures and display them on a wall for everyone to see.
(Open picture frame-Kindergarten) Print several copies. Photograph your group and print a copy for each child. Let them glue their picture inside their frame.
We all have our own color
For this activity, you will need a box of crayons. Show children a few coloring pages that you have colored using a single colored pencil or marker. For example, you may have colored one picture using a brown marker, another one using a green crayon, and a third one using a yellow colored pencil. Next, show children pictures that you colored using many different colors. Help them realize how the pictures that contain several colors are much more interesting. Cut a large crayon shape out of a different color of construction paper for each child. Help each child write his name on a crayon. Children could also glue a picture of themselves on their crayon. Explain how, by working together, they can achieve great results, by adding a touch of their own color to each of your activities and projects.
(Open riddles-Kindergarten) Print and cut out the riddles. Glue each one on a brown paper lunch bag. Insert the object represented by each riddle in the corresponding bag. Read a riddle to your group. Let them try to guess what the object is and invite them to check if they guessed correctly by looking inside the bag.
Use alphabet stickers to create silly faces. Simply draw a face outline for each child and invite them to use the stickers to represent the eyes, the nose, the mouth, etc.
Give each child a magnifying glass and have them search for letters within your daycare (on posters, toys, etc.). If you prefer, hide foam letters throughout your daycare and have your group search for them. Just for fun, you can provide butterfly nets they can use to “capture” and carry the letters they find.
Have children use magnetic letters to write words that you have written on pieces of cardboard.
Pick a word before starting to read a story. Children must clap their hands every time they hear the word.
I know my ABCs
Record several different words using a tape recorder (examples: apple, telephone, etc.). Be sure to insist on the beginning sound of each word. Encourage children to identify the first letter of each word using the pictures from the picture game.
I am a student
Offer chalkboards, chalk, etc. Let children try to write the letters of the alphabet. Provide models.
Fill a large bin with items related to kindergarten (notebooks, chalk, bell, lunch box, backpack, crayons, paper, glue, balls, etc.). (Open poster-teacher) Glue the poster on your thematic bin or use it to decorate your area.
SPECIAL ACTIVITY-KINDERGARTEN DAY
Organize a special kindergarten day for your group. (Open perpetual calendar-Kindergarten Day) Print and display.
(Open invitations-Kindergarten Day) Print and give each child an invitation.
(Open schedule-Kindergarten Day) Print and laminate. Use a dry-erase marker to add the activities you have planned.
(Open menu-Kindergarten Day) Print and laminate. Use a dry-erase marker to display your menu for the day.
Special activities: Children pretend to be at school. They take turns being the teacher. Prepare activity booklets they can complete. Organize the daycare so it resembles a classroom. Include desks, chairs, a table and a chair facing the others for the teacher, chalk, a bell, notebooks, pencils, backpacks…You are a teacher for the day. Plan your day like a normal school day with schoolwork, drawing, a craft, a song, recess, lunch, the bus ride home, etc. Use accessories which can often be found in a classroom such as activity sheets or the letters of the alphabet. At the end of the day, present children with diplomas for various challenges they have succeeded.
Sweet chalkboard snacks
For each child, laminate a piece of black construction paper on which you have written numbers 1 to 3 or the letters A, B, and C. Invite children to set miniature marshmallows on the numbers or letters to represent chalk. If you prefer, use red Smarties or cut pieces of red fruit to represent apples. Enjoy!
Print this new page for each child. (Open scrapbook-Kindergarten Day) Add it to their scrapbook.
(Open nametags-Kindergarten Day) Print a nametag for each child and help them write their name on it. You can stick the nametags on their clothing or punch a hole at the top of each nametag and thread a ribbon or yarn through the hole to create necklaces. Children will love wearing their nametag for your special day.
To talk about the various things they will learn in kindergarten, we have prepared an association game. (Open game-subjects) Laminate the game. Each illustration represents a school subject or an item associated with a specific school subject. Keep the smaller cards in your hands and set the subject cards on the table. Show children one card at a time and have them associate it with the correct subject. For example, if you show them a picture of a calculator, they must associate it with math.
Encourage children to complete various challenges.
I can tie my shoes
(Open poster-I can tie my shoes) Print, laminate, and hang in the daycare. Using old shoes or lacing toys, have children practice tying their shoes. (Open diploma-I can tie my shoes)
I am learning how to use scissors
(Open Game-I am learning how to cut) Print and staple the booklets together. Children trace and cut on the dotted lines. (Open diploma-I am growing)
I know my numbers
(Open chart-Numbers) Print, laminate, and hang on the wall at children’s eye level. With Velcro, children associate the correct number of symbols to each number. (Open diploma-I know my numbers)
I know the alphabet
(Open activity sheet-I can trace the alphabet) Children trace each letter of the alphabet. (Open diploma-I know the alphabet)
I am learning colors
(Open Game-I know my colors) Children take turns rolling the die. With their playing piece, they move to the corresponding color. When the die shows a color, they must name it. (Open diploma-I know my colors)
Transform your ride-on cars to represent buses
Glue pieces of yellow cardboard on each side of your ride-on cars. Using a black permanent marker, draw horizontal lines to make them look like school buses. You could also add a stop sign on the driver’s side. Children will love pretending to be school bus drivers. You can draw roads that they must drive along and give them instructions as to where they are to pick up students. This can be a great way to encourage children to explore your yard.
Listen for the bell
If the school in your neighbourhood rings a bell for recess, try to schedule your daily walk around that time so that children can hear the bell and watch children come out to play in the school yard, line up, etc.
MUSICAL AND RHYTHMIC ACTIVITIES
Pick a letter
Fill a bag with letters. To the sound of music, children pass the bag around the circle. Every time the music stops, the child holding the bag picks a letter and names it. The other children can help him if necessary. Ask children if they know any words that begin with each letter.
Glue letters on the floor within your daycare. Play music and invite children to walk around the daycare. When the music stops, name a letter. Children must find it as quickly as possible. The first child who succeeds can pick the letter for the next round.
Gather all your musical instruments and use them to reinvent the alphabet song.
Play music and invite children to find a partner to dance with. When the music stops, children find a new partner. This is a great way for children to get to know their peers.
ARTS & CRAFTS
I will go to school
(Open my school) Print a school for each child. Invite them to color it and cut it out. You will need a picture of each child. Using a hole-punch, make a hole in each child’s picture as well as in their school. Children slide a few colorful paperclips one inside the other to create a chain. Have them insert one extremity of their chain in their picture and the other extremity in their school to represent the fact that they will soon be ready to go to school.
(Open puppets-Kindergarten) Print the various models on cardboard. Ask children to cut them out and decorate them with arts & crafts materials. Glue a Popsicle stick behind each one to turn them into puppets.
(Open models-Kindergarten) Print for each child. Have children color the items and assemble them to create a mobile. They can use a clothing hanger, a sieve, or a paper plate as a base for their mobile.
Wave goodbye to your daycare friends
Trace each child’s hand and forearm on construction paper (color of their choice). Have children cut out their arm and hand and glue it on a large paper banner hung on a wall. Encourage them to add cut party streamer sections, glitter, etc. This mural can be used to say goodbye to children who are starting kindergarten.
(Open stencils-Kindergarten) Print and cut out the stencils. Children can use them to trace and paint items related to the theme.
Left and right
(Open hands and feet) Print for each child. Have them color their right hand and foot using red crayons and their left hand and foot using green crayons. Next, have them cut out the hands and feet and press the hands on the wall and the feet on the floor. Use them to help children differentiate their right side from their left side.
A placemat that represents me
Provide a wide range of arts & crafts materials. Invite children to make a collage that will be used as a placemat. This activity is great for younger children. It will help them remain seated at lunch time. You could also invite children to cut foods they like out of grocery store flyers and glue them on their placemat.
A bookmark for daily journals
Print the model on heavy paper. (Open model-bookmarks) Let children decorate their bookmark with confetti, glitter glue, stickers, etc. Laminate the bookmarks for durability.
(Open game-I am learning how to cut) Print for each child and staple the pages to create a booklet. Throughout the week, encourage children to trace and cut out the different shapes.
(Open creative coloring-Kindergarten) Print for each child. Encourage them to complete the picture.
(Open coloring pages theme-Kindergarten) Print for each child.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO USE THE COLORING PAGES
Identical coloring pages-Kindergarten
Print the same coloring page for each child and an additional copy for your model. Color only certain parts of your picture. Present the model to your group and ask them to color their picture to make it look exactly like yours.
Print and laminate several coloring pages and arrange them in a binder with a few dry-erase markers. Leave everything on a table for children to explore.
Play musical drawing with your group. Give each child a coloring page. Have children sit around a table. When the music starts, they must pass the coloring pages around the table. Every time the music stops, they must color the picture in front of them until the music starts again.
Give each child a picture to color. When they are done, cut each picture into pieces to create unique puzzles.
Complete the drawing-Writing
(Open complete the drawing-Writing) Print for each child. Have them draw the missing elements.
The educatall team