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Activities That Make the First Day of Kindergarten a Blast

written by: Lisa King • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 9/11/2012

Students will feel welcome the first day of school with proper preparation and some fun, games and activities. The name game, scavenger hunt and a song are a few beginning of school ideas for kindergarten teachers to make children feel calm and happy.

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    When Children Arrive

    The first day of kindergarten can be stressful and scary for children. Reading stories that students can relate to and playing get-acquainted games can alleviate stress and set a positive tone for the school year. Help kindergartners feel welcome, get to know one another and become familiar with the school building while participating in fun activities, games and a song. Before school starts make a goody bag with stickers, a pencil, erasers, and fun reproducibles inside. Place the bag on children's desks. When they arrive, invite them to look inside and complete the activities in their bags.

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    Welcome Song

    Once children have arrived, instruct them to stand in a circle. Welcome students to school and have each child introduce themselves. The teacher will begin by saying her name and one activity she enjoyed during summer vacation. Continue until all children have been introduced. Help nervous children feel more comfortable by singing a first day of school welcoming song.

    The Welcome Song Tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb"

    Welcome, welcome boys and girls,

    Boys and girls, boys and girls,

    Welcome, welcome boys and girls.

    I’m so glad you’re here.

    Let’s say hello to all our friends,

    All our friends, all our friends,

    Say hello to all our friends.

    We’re so glad you’re here.

    We’ll share and be kind yes we will,

    Yes, we will, yes, we will

    We’ll share and be kind yes we will,

    While we work and play.

    Our friendships will grow and grow,

    Grow and grow, grow and grow

    Our friendships will grow and grow

    While we work and play.

    Welcome, Welcome boys and girls,

    Boys and girls, boys and girls,

    Welcome, welcome boys and girls

    To kindergarten!

    By Lisa King

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    Who Is It ?

    Help students learn classmate’s names while playing this fun, interactive game. Children will sit in a circle with their name tags in the center. The teacher describes different attributes of one student. After giving several clues, she asks the other students to raise their hand if they know which classmate she is describing. The teacher will call on a student to answer. The child will say the classmate’s name, find the correct name tag and hand it to the child. If he or she is correct the child will accept the nametag and place it in their lap. Continue until all the name tags are gone.

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    Scavenger Hunt Rhymes

    Students will become familiar with the school building while going on a rhyming scavenger hunt. Prepare milk and cookies in the cafeteria ahead of time. Write several rhyming clues on index cards that lead children to different areas of the building. The teacher will read each clue and the children will try to guess the rhyming word and the correct area in the school. Children will find their treasure of milk and cookies in the cafeteria. Some clues may include the following:

    1. This is the place you dance and sing the word you are looking for rhymes with ring (music room).

    2. Children playing, and running around, there is no better place than the playground (playground).

    3. If you stop and take a look you may find a really good book (library) .

    4. If you like to play basketball this room is right down the hall (gymnasium).

    5. If you have a tummy ache and chill you may be getting sick and ill (nurse's office).

    6. Your treasure is in a room where you will find a yummy, sweet, treat that's good to eat. (cafeteria)

    If rhyming clues are too advanced, easier clues may be used for the scavenger hunt.

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    Friends Bulletin Board

    Help children get better acquainted, with a bulletin board of friends. Before the lesson, review adjectives and describing words with children. Write examples on the board. Give each student a paper plate, different colors of yarn (hair), markers, crayons, and scissors. Children will use the materials to create a likeness of their face. Staple a piece of white paper to the bottom of the paper plate face. Students will write their name and several descriptive words that describe themselves on the paper. The teacher will make one ahead of time and show the example to the children. Display on the bulletin board and invite children to look at their classmate's artwork.

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    Name Alphabet Books and Activities

    name alphabet book 001 Reinforce beginning letter sounds by making an alphabet book using the first letter of the student's name. Have children write the first letter of their name and a word that starts with that letter of the alphabet on a piece of white construction paper. Using markers and crayons, students will draw an illustration to go with their word. For example Scott may write "S is for Sun," draw a sun below the word and color it. When finished the teacher will make sure all the letters of the alphabet have been used, if some are missing, the teacher will assign additional letters to students or create the missing letters and staple the book together. The book can be used to review the alphabet.

    Additional alphabet ideas may include writing the first letter of the child's name in black marker pen. Instruct the students to take home their letter and find a material or object that starts with the first letter of their name and glue it onto the letter. For example Bobby would have the letter B written on a piece of white card stock paper. He would glue buttons on his letter B and return the project to school at the end of the week. Connie may glue cotton balls or candy on her letter and Sandy could use Skittles for her project. When all the children return their letters the teacher will display them around the room in ABC order.

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    Books and Additional Ideas

    Read books to your kindergartners about the first day of school. Before the children are dismissed, read "Never Spit on Your Shoes," by Denys Cazet. This book talks about the exciting events that took place on Arnie's first day of school. After reading the story give each child a piece of white construction paper. Children will write a sentence describing their favorite memory of the first day of school, illustrate with crayons and markers and send them home to share with their parents.

    Starting kindergarten is a huge step for a child especially if they did not attend pre-school. Being away from home and meeting new friends can make a child feel nervous and afraid. Fear and anxiety about the first day of school can be alleviated by helping children become familiar with their environment and developing relationships with classmates with these beginning of school year ideas for kindergarten children to enjoy.
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    Activities, song and photo by Lisa King all rights reserved.

    Cazet, Denys. Never Spit on Your Shoes. Scholastic. September 1, 1993.