Back To School Library:

Circle Time Activities:

Attendance Check:  Cut out a large yellow school bus.  Draw windows on the bus.  Velcro a picture of each of your students to the windows.  Cut out a large red schoolhouse.  Place velcro dots on the school house.  As the kids arrive each day, have them find their picture and move it from the bus to the schoolhouse.  When they leave to go home, move their pictures back to the school bus.

Name Song: (Sung to "Where is Thumbkin?")  Great activity for picture recognition!
You will need a 2-button communication device.  Have pictures of 2  of your students on the device (depending on the level of your student... some students may even start with only 1 picture choice), Preset the recordings on the device with one button recorded to say "Here I Am, Here I Am."  On all other buttons record a correction message, such as "whoops, try again."  Begin singing the song below.  At the appropriate time, hold the device in front of the student so they can find their picture and push the button to sing "Here I am. Here I am.

Where is (student's name)?
Where is (student's name)?
Here I am.  Here I am. (student pushes his/her picture on device to sing this line.)
We're so glad to have you.
Hope that you are happy.
Let's start our day.
Let's start our day.

Bingo Name Song: (Sung to “Bingo”)
Have large name cards with each of your student's names printed on them.  Sing the song (inserting your student's name) while you or your student (depending on the student's level) points to the letter's of his name.  All other 
student's can clap the letters.

There was a class that had a boy 
And Caleb was his name-o
C-A-L-E-B, C-A-L-E-B, C-A-L-E-B
We're glad you're here today!

Five Little Apples: A felt board counting poem.
Display five apple cut-outs on the felt board.  Insert a student's name into the blanks.  That student them removes an apple from the board.

Five little apples sitting by the door
_____ took one and then there were four.

Four little apples, picked from the tree
_____ took one and then there were three.

Three little apples sweet through and through
_____ took one and then there were two.

Two little apples greeting everyone
_____ took one and then there was one.

One little apple, baking in the sun
I picked him up and then there was none!

Kids on the Bus: A felt board counting poem.
Display 5 kid cutouts and a large bus on the felt board.  As you recite the poem, let a student remove a kid from the board.

1 little kid on his way to school
riding on the bus, he felt so cool.
A kid stepped on, and said, "How do you do?"
He joined the first, and then there were 2!

2 little kids on their way to school
riding on the bus, they felt so cool.
They were going to learn and were filled with glee
Another joined the bus, and then there were 3.

3 little kids on their way to school
riding on the bus, they felt so cool.
The bus driver stopped and opened the door.
A new kid got on, and then there were 4.

4 little kids on their way to school
riding on the bus, they felt so cool.
Another stepped on to give a high-five
He sat down, and then there were 5.

Literature Activities:

School Brown Bear Book:  Make a book based off the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?" Fill the book with names and photos of people the students will come in contact with during their school day.  For example: "Children, Children, who do you see?  We see Mr. Hightower, our principal is he!  Be sure to include yourself and parapros in the book. 

Name Poems: Print a sheet for each student with their name written vertically down the side of the paper.  The students write or dictate one word to describe themselves for each letter of their name.  For students who are non-verbal and unable to write, provide pre-printed choices for each of their letters.  Put the choices on an AAC device and let them choose what they want to write on their poem.  They then glue that picture next to the letter on their paper. (For example: Sandy, give her a choice of sassy, sweet, special, or stylish).

"If You Take a Mouse to School" Activities:

Click here for 2 easy art activities that go along with the book.

Sequencing: Print key picture of items from the story the the mouse asked for.  As you read the story, students sequence the pictures on a felt board.  They can use these same pictures later to retell the story.

"Mouse's First Day of School" Activities:

Click here for an emergent reader printable book to accompany "Mouse's First Day of School."

Art Activities:

Class Puzzle: Cut a poster and give each student a piece of the puzzle. (Be sure to put a dot in one of the corners so that you know which side is up.) The students put their name on it and decorate it. Then put the puzzle together on a bulletin board.

Nameplates: Have enough pre-cut letters for each child to spell out their first name twice. Provide a sheet of cardstock cut to fit their name, and folded in half to form a tent. The students then glue their names on both the front and back of the ‘tent’.

Name Mobile: Have pre-cut letters for each child to spell their name.  Have them decorate the letters in some way (paint, glitter, crayons, etc.)  Punch holes and string together with yarn or attach each letter to a clothes hanger.  Hang them up in the room.

Name Placemats: Children decorate a piece of construction paper with glue, glitter, and markers.  Add their name in big letters at the top.  Have them laminated.  These become placements for snack time.

Smelly Name Plates:  Give each student a cardboard name plate with their name written in thick black marker.  Let them trace name with glue.  Sprinkle dry Jello over the glue.  Let dry and then shake off the extra Jello.

Invisible Name:  Prepare ahead of time... a white construction paper with the child’s name written on it with a white crayon. Press down hard on the crayon and make the name thick.  The children use watercolor paints to cover the paper. Their name will magically appear!

Name Recognition: Prepare a class supply of card stock strips with each child's name with thick black lines. Have children paint their names with glue and decorate them with dried beans.

Name Book: A name book contains one page per letter in a student's name.  So, Caleb, would have 5 pages in his book.  On each page of the book write a letter of their name.  Assemble in the correct order.  The student will illustrate the book by adding a picture to each page that begins with the letter.  Ex. Caleb's book may contain (cookies, apple, legos, elephant, and bunny).  Student's can cut pictures from magazines or if needed, you can provide them with pre-selected picture choices for each letter.

Egg Carton School Bus: Cut the lid off an egg carton.  Paint the lid yellow.  Cut out two black circles for the wheels.  You can have the children cut small images of people’s faces from magazines.  Glue the wheels and people on the bus.  Write School Bus across the top.

School Bus Cut and Paste:  Printable template found here.

Apple Craft:  Have children tear pieces of red tissue paper.  Glue them on an apple shape.  Trace and cut handprint out of green paper for leaf.

Student Work Magnets: Purchase some inexpensive wood pieces, such as stars. Spray paint them if they aren't already colored. Using a sharpie marker, program each star with "(student's name) Work". Allow them to decorate the edges with sequins, stickers, etc. Add a strong magnet to the back .  Let them take these home and place on their refrigerator so they can display their work throughout the year.

“At School I Learn About...” book:  Prepare the pages ahead of time for the children to decorate or let them write the sentence, depending on their ability level.

  • Page 1 – At school I learn about colors.  (Have children color pictures of crayons on the page). 
  • Page 2 – At school I learn about letters.  (Children glue letter cut-outs on page)
  •  Page 3 – At school I learn about numbers. (Children glue numbers on page.)
  •  Page 4 – At school I learn about shapes. (Children glue various foam shapes on the page)
  •  Page 5 – At school I learn about animals.  (Bear, dinosaur, frog, etc.)
  •  Page 6 – At school I learn about plants.  (Tree, flower, vine.)
  •  Page 7 – At school I learn about people. (Santa Claus, pilgrims, MLK, etc.)
  •  Page 8 – At school I learn about places.  (Farm, circus, zoo, etc.)
  • Make your book as long or short as you’d like, changing the pages to fit your class.

Work Activities:

Matching letters in name:  Give student a small baking pan with name already attached.  Give them individual letter magnets and ask them to spell their names using the magnets.  Give them the same letters cut out.

Matching pictures: Make a matching game with pictures of school supplies or objects they see around school (glue, pencils, erasers, scissors, clock, etc.)  I make these using boardmaker pictures and glue the picture on a file folder with small pieces of velcro.  The students them velcro the matching pieces onto the file folder.

Color Matching: Green, Red, and Yellow apple cutouts to sort onto matching construction paper.

Big/Little Concepts: Make cut-outs of big and little school buses for students to sort.

Name Trace: Laminate name cards for students to practice tracing/writing their name.

Matching objects to real pictures: Take pictures of common school obejcts (pencil, crayon box, scissors, toy, book, ball, paintbrush, glue). Print and laminate.  Students will match the actual objects to the pictures.

Assemble erasers and pencils: A great fine motor task.  Give students a basket of 10 pencils and 10 erasers.  They must fit the erasers on the correct ends of the pencils and place in the 'finished' basket.  TIP: If you have a student working on finding locations in the school they can assemble the pencils and then deliver them to the office, etc.

Assemble glue containers: Another fine motor task.  Give students 10 glue containers and 10 tops.  They must screw tops on containers and place in the 'finished' basket.

Play dough shapes: Help students roll, squish, pat the play dough and give them a choice of what to make.  For the Back to school theme you could use common shape cookie cutters (circle, star, square, rectangle, etc.)


Classmate Bingo: Make Bingo cards with your student's pictures.  Place their pictures on an All-Turn-It spinner.  Each student takes a turn spinning for a classmate and "calls" the name either verbally or using an AAC device.  Student's check to see if this person is on their card and marks it with a chip.

Face on the Plate: (sung to "If You're Happy and You Know It")
You will need one small plate per student.  Glue a student's picture to each plate.  Students standing in a circle.  As you sing the following song, throw a plate into the circle.  The student's look to see who's face is on the plate and that student picks it up.

If your face is on the plate pick it up.
If your face is on the plate pick it up.
If your face is on the plate,
Then you're really doing great.
If your face is on the plate pick it up!

Simple Board Games:  I always pull out my simple board games to play during the first weeks of school too.  These games will be revisited throughout the year.  Games include:  Snails Pace Race, Teddy Bear Color Bingo, Lucky Ducks, and Connect Four, etc. 

Cooking Activities:

Bus Snack: Take a graham cracker and cut off one corner for the bus shape; frost with yellow frosting. Add mini-Oreos for wheels, a Teddy Graham for the driver, small Golden Grahams for the windows, yellow M&Ms for the lights, a strip of skinny black licorice for a stripe along the middle of the bus, etc.

Chalk Board Snack:  Printable recipe from Making Learning Fun.  Click here to view and print.