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The last few days of preschool are exciting for children and teachers. The end of the school year is a time to reflect on friendships made and milestones achieved. It is also a great time to prepare for the long, joyful days of summer. Make some keepsakes of all the fun activities your child did in preschool with the following ideas.
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Remembering the Year
Create a scrapbook that includes a first day of school picture, handprints, journal entries and art samples.
Many preschool teachers use literacy-theme based curriculums. Pull out some of the books you read during the year. Plan a few art activities that relate to those books as a way to remember them. For example, make a bear headband if you read, "Going on a Bear Hunt," by Michael Rosen or "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Read "Mouse Paint," by Ellen Stoll-Walsh, and paint with red, yellow and blue tempera paint.
At the beginning of the preschool year, ask students to draw pictures of themselves. Have them draw self-portraits again at the end of the year. Children's drawings are powerful representations of their social, emotional and fine motor development. You will be amazed at the additional details they add to later drawings.
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Channel Summer Excitement
Children's enthusiasm for summer bubbles over during the last few weeks of preschool. Embrace that spirit with some lively art activities made for summer fun.
Have a watermelon-themed day. Measure and weigh a watermelon, dunk it in water to see if it floats, serve it for snack and make a watermelon craft. Paint a paper plate bright pink and allow it to dry. Fold it in half and staple it so it forms a half-circle. When the plate is dry, cut small black pieces of construction paper to represent seeds. Cut a 1/2-inch strip of green construction paper into a semi-circle, using the rounded edge of the paper plate as a template, and glue it to the plate. This represents the rind. Glue the black seeds and the rind onto the watermelon.
Set out craft sticks, yarn, fabric, googly eyes, sequins and glue. Instruct children to make "popsicle" people in honor of everyone's favorite summer treat.
Set plastic dish tubs filled with washable tempera paint outside. Lay a long piece of butcher paper or a drop cloth on the ground. Take off the children's shoes and roll up their shorts. Help the children step in the paint and onto the butcher paper. Children will giggle as they make a "barefoot painting" together, and you will be left with a charming group painting. Place a tub of warm, soapy water at the end of the butcher paper for children to wash in. Provide a towel, as well. Supervise children carefully during this activity to avoid falls.
Fill spray bottles with tempera paint diluted with 1/4 cup water. Hang an old sheet or drop cloth outside to a fence or wall. Provide paint smocks for the children to wear and buckets of water for cleaning up. Instruct the children to spray paint on the sheet. Children love the brightly splattered colors of this group project. Save the drop cloth and hang it in the school hall as a commemorative group project.
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Have Fun and Make Memories
Although your pre-k's remaining classroom days together may be few, you can use these projects to make the most of them. Enjoy your time together, cement your bonds and send your students off to summer with sunny smiles and warm memories.