It’s that exciting and overwhelming time of year again – a new, fresh school year. Your child might be starting kindergarten or elementary school for the first time, or going into 2nd grade or higher. You’re busy running around ticking things off the Back-to-School checklist:
- School supplies
- School reading books
- School Bus Sign-Up
- Healthy Food
But what about the important emotional aspects, like motivation? How does your child really feel about going back to school this year? Why not take half an hour to ask them about their concerns and the things they’re excited about. Focus on the positives like:
- Meeting old friends and making new friends
- Playing outside at lunchtimes
- Learning new, exciting things in class
- Doing fun activities in class
Ask your child what their favorite subjects are. Of course these may change constantly but it’s good to know what motivates your child so you can understand them better. Here are some great activity ideas you can do at home, related to your child’s interests. This will help them stay focused in class because they actually enjoy what they’re learning!
- Buy a kids science kit and do some of the experiments with them! Some examples include burning wood with a magnifying glass, growing plants in jars, making a bouncy rubber ball…
- Dye a white flower with food dye
- Study animals near your house
- Make a pinhole camera
- Make a sundial
- Get a big sheet of cartridge paper and trace around your child’s body. Work with them to add labels to the different parts of the body.
- Practice spelling fun words by writing in the air.
- Make play-dough words.
- Create words from natural items outdoors, ie. twigs, grass, leaves, flowers.
- Paint a story: help your child paint a scene from their favorite book.
- Multiplication flash cards – kids can get really competitive when they’re up against the clock! See how many times tables they can complete in 2 minutes.
- Between 2+ people, do the counting cats and dogs game. Count from 1-40, but replace all multiples of 5 with the word ‘cat’ and replace all multiples of 7 with the word ‘dog’! Whoever misses a word loses the game.
- Fold a piece of paper in half and have your child draw something. Don’t look at their drawing and fold the sheet over. Draw something of your own. Now unfold the sheet and see what kind of crazy drawing you made together!
- Play pictionary with just the two of you, or the whole family!
- Make emoji faces out of coloured paper to practice talking about emotions.
- What’s the weather like today? Make a weather chart for the month, then draw and write the weather on each day of the chart.
- Draw and cut out all the world’s continents from coloured paper. Then draw the animals from that continent on the cut-outs.
- Help your child make a poster about their favorite country. Draw and write about things like: landmarks, animals, food, language.
- Play Simon Says, and try to keep it active! Your kids will be having fun and keeping fit.
- Have a dance party! Dress up in colorful clothes, put on some music that your child loves and dance around your living room.
- Go for a walk at your nearby park, forest or mountain. Ask your child questions about what they can see, feel and hear around them.
- Is your child learning a musical instrument? E.g. recorder, piano, violin, drums, flute, trumpet etc… Pick an instrument and try to make a version of it just using items from around the house! Some materials could include: toilet paper rolls, pipe cleaners, cardboard, cartridge paper, string, paper plates and cups etc…
Make sure to keep up to date with your child’s interests throughout the year – this is crucial for motivation, academic achievement and emotional health. Good luck for the new school year. We hope your child enjoys going back to school!