The end of summer is coming! I see memes and GIFS flow throughout my social media threads of parents jumping for joy…It’s time for the kids to go back to school. And it is, but for me, it’s time for me to loosen the reigns, pack up his back pack, lunch box and trust that our parenting the last five years will radiantly shine through him in manners, friendships, education and obedience. My first born is off to Kindergarten! With that – I’m excited! I’m scared! I’m anxious! I’m a total wreck.
To make my last few weeks of having a PreK student seem a little more real, I decided to embark in some activities with just him and I to get ready for Kindergarten. Soon enough, this will be a yearly routine and I guarantee little by little these “school prep” activities will lessen but for now, I’m taking full advantage of both our anxious nerves creeping up as early September is right around the corner. Each prep will be different in each household, according to the needs of your child.
Shopping for school supplies and decorating my locker is always something I looked forward to doing with my mom or dad. A friend recommended buying the school supply packs from the PTA but I wanted to make sure this first time was a special trip to shop the “School Zone” aisles of Target. I feel like my son truly felt a sense of responsibility being able to pick out his own notebooks, pencil bag, erasers (even though they’re ALL rubber pink, it surely took him 3 minutes to complete this task) and then cross each item off the list as he throws them into the big red cart. Surprisingly enough, his list wasn’t too complicated or out of the ordinary aka no, he didn’t need 25 glue sticks or a gluten sensitive water color set.
If your child has been to any day camp or in daycare, you should be pretty familiar with the need of labeling. I was really into buying these cute personalized labels for all his school supplies but opted for just a black sharpie as we unpacked each school item so I didn’t forget later – and way cheaper. However, I did purchase some waterproof peel ‘n stix clothing labels to use for his coat, winter gear and inside of his backpack. This cute company is a family owned mom business too!
My soon-to-be kindergartener absolutely loves reading. We’ve been switching out his baby/toddler books into his sister’s room in place of “Beginner Readers” and chapter books… Stop growing! I thought we’d make a special trip to pick out some books that would seem appropriate for school starting in a few weeks. Topics to keep in mind; Starting Kindergarten, Riding the Bus, Feelings, Friendships, Manners, Beginner Readers and classic chapter books to read together at night. Oh and also… Two words: Wild Rumpus. This place is a hidden Minneapolis treasure complete with the cutest little purple entrance door for kids, new and used books, cozy reading nooks and animals that freely roam the bookstore!
Small Motor Skills (Tying, Cutting, Zipping & Buttoning)!
For the most part, he has the small motor skills thing down. However, I still cringe sometimes watching him nearly bust open his coat zipper so eager to get into the house. When we got ready for PreK, he really enjoyed workbooks that focused on cutting and scissor safety but this year the big one is tying shoes. He was given new shoes for Kindergarten from relatives and quickly expressed his little worries of not knowing how to tie his own shoes. So, we practice! We made this quick and easy project and he absolutely loves it. You can find some rhymes here, we choose the one that goes along with “Splish Splash.”
Back to School Clothes!
This is probably more enjoyable for the moms and grandparents than it is for the kid. Vance really had nothing to do with his back to school shopping besides picking out a pack of Avengers boxer briefs. I think it’s necessary to build a staple school year closet. A lot of his clothes previously have been hand-me-downs or super cheap but this year we’re going with a little more quality over quantity. A few staple items we made sure to purchase:
– New shoes (a pair with laces and slip on or velcro)
– Dress clothes for any song fest, special event
– Basic solid color tees for under button ups, polos, etc.
– Sweatpants (that won’t get holes the first time he slides on the gym floor)
– Jeans (including a black and tan pair)
– Hoodies (and zippies to help master the zipper, again)
Countdown chains are my jam. I grew up making them and even made one in my twenties counting down the days till my due date with Vance. Therefore, it’s likely my kid has and always will make these chains when a big event or holiday comes around. We labeled special days coming up such as student assessment day, open house, first day of school and continued on with the month of September ending at his birthday and new sister’s due date.
A friend of mine that is a first grade teacher gave me this idea. We created an everyday practice notebook for Vance to start practicing main contact information that could come in handy. She was talking about how many kids entering school don’t know how to write their name properly and whoops – that’d be my kid, as he writes in all capital letters! About every 10 pages I have something new that he can practice. So far, this might be his favorite thing and how simple?
Pages we created are:
– First and last name, using upper and lower case. Like I said, he gravitates towards capital letters and doesn’t know much about how to spell our last name… Yet, neither do most adults so I’ll give him that one for now.
– Parent names and phone numbers. (Say it with me – Back in the day when I was a kid, we only had to memorize house phones. Do you know what house phones are?)
The more you learn, the more places you’ll go!”