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Sunday, April 30, 2023


Seal those memories in a positive way with these end of year projects.

Autograph Book
As simple as this project is, the children will be thrilled to have their very own autograph book. (Oh, yeah! And it will keep them busy!) Cut paper in fourths. (I like to use colored paper.) Have children count out 10 pieces. Hole punch and tie with a ribbon. Children walk around the room and get their friends’ autographs.

Friendship Necklace

You will need construction paper, yarn, markers, and hole punches for this project. Cut the construction paper into 2 ½” squares, circles or other simple shapes. Each child will need as many pieces as there are students in your room. Have them write their name and draw pictures on their shapes. Punch holes. Now comes the fun part! Children get to go around the room and give a shape to each of their friends. Encourage them to say something kind they remember about their friend as they pass them out. Finally, children string the shapes on yarn and knot the ends to make a necklace.

Memory Shirt
Have children bring in an old t-shirt from home. (White works best.) Provide them with fabric pens and let them have friends write their names and draw pictures on their shirts.
Hint! Plan several days for this project. It’s “no fun” if you have to do it all at once.

Car Wash

Have students make two lines facing each other. They should stand 2-3 feet apart. Demonstrate how to move your palms in a circular direction like a car wash. Choose one child at a time to walk “through” the car wash. Students should gently pat the friend going through the car wash as they make positive comments about that friend.

Memory Book
Run off copies of a memory book for each child to color and fill in the missing information. Here are some suggestions:
1st page – “My Memory Book” with teacher’s name, school, year.
2nd page – “This is me.” (Child draws self –portrait.)
3rd page – “This is my teacher.” (Child draws teacher’s picture.)
4th page – “Here are my friends.” (Child draws friends.)
5th page – “My favorite thing at school is...” (Draws favorite activities.)
6th page – “Something I’ve learned this year…” (Draws accomplishment.)
7th page – “When I grow up I want to be…” (Draws future self.)
8th page – “This is my handprint.” (Trace around child’s hand.)
You could also have children draw their favorite sport, color, book, song, food, etc.

Saturday, April 29, 2023


How Many Days?
Count down as you sing this song to the tune of “100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall.”
(Number of days) left in the school year.
(Number of days) left, that’s so.
We’ve had fun, we’re almost done.
(Number of days) to go.

Count Down Chain
Let each child make a paper chain with the number of days left in the school year. Each day they can remove one strip.
*Make a bulletin board with balloons for the number of school days left. Pop one balloon each day. (These could be real balloons or paper balloons.)

End of Year Cadence (The children repeat each line.)
School is coming to an end. (Stand, march, and slap thighs.)
School is coming to an end.
Say so long to all our friends.
Say so long to all our friends.

We’ve learned to read and write and spell.
We’ve learned to read and write and spell.
We know our shapes and numbers well.
We know our shapes and numbers well.

We’ve learned to follow classroom rules.
We’ve learned to follow classroom rules.
Getting along is really cool.
Getting along is really cool.

Science, music, art, PE.
Science, music, art, PE.
School’s been great for you and me.
School’s been great for you and me.

Summer’s time for outdoor fun.
Summer’s time for outdoor fun.
Read every day and play in the sun.
Read every day and play in the sun.

And when school begins again.
And when school begins again.
We’ll be happy to see our friends.
We’ll be happy to see our friends.

Time Line
Give each child a long strip of paper or a sentence strip. Ask children to draw what they looked like when they started the school year on the left and what they look like now on the right. They can fill in the middle of the time line with special memories. (You might need to brainstorm or show photos to spark their memories.)

School Is Over
(Tune: Frere Jacques)
School is over.
School is over. (Children repeat each line.)
Time to go.
Time to go.
We’ve had fun learning.
We’ve had fun learning.
Love you so.
Love you so.

Friday, April 28, 2023


My webmaster (Alex May) created a new video to go with my song "We're Great!" It's a natural way to introduce vocabulary words and positive character traits. I hope your class will enjoy it.

Hint! If you're still looking for an idea for an end of year program this might work for you. One teacher said each child decorated a poster with a letter and word. The children came out on stage with their letter at the appropriate time as they sang the song.

We’re Great!
We’re great, but no one knows it.
No one knows it so far.
Some day they’ll realize how wonderful we are!
They’ll look at us, and point at us,
and then they’ll shout, “Hurray!”
Let’s cheer how we’re wonderful beginning with A.

A- We’re awesome.
B- We’re brave.
C- We’re creative.
D- We’re dynamic
E- We’re enthusiastic
F- We’re fantastic.
G- We’re gifted
H- We’re honest
I- We’re imaginative
J- We’re joyful.
K- We’re kind.
L- We’re lovable
M- We’re magnificent.
N- We’re nice.
O- We’re outgoing
P- We’re polite.
Q- We’re quick.
R- We’re responsible
S- We’re special.
T- We’re terrific.
U- We’re unique.
V- We’re valuable.
W- We’re wonderful.
X- We’re excellent.
Y- We’re youthful
Z- We’re zany!

Class Book
On the front of the notebook or pocket folder write “We’re Great!” Write a
different letter of the alphabet on each page. Tell the children that you want them to help you make a special dictionary with WONDERFUL words that describe special people just like them! Use the words from the above chant to start your dictionary. Add words that children suggest.

Thursday, April 27, 2023


Michelle Page told me about this several years ago and it's a perfect way to end your school with smiles and happy memories.

Camp Kindergarten 
We do camp kindergarten the last two weeks in the school year. Every morning we meet at the flagpole for the pledge and camp songs.
*“Baby Shark,” “The Ants Go Marching,” “Banana Dance,” “Chicka Boom,” and “Calamine Lotion” are a few songs we sing.

The parents write letters for “mail call” and the children write back.

We take an ABC nature walk and try to find objects for each letter in the alphabet.

We make s’mores and trail mix for snack.

The children bring blankets, towels, and sleeping bags. They get to take off their shoes to read, do work, listen to a story.

We go fishing for words (plastic pool and words with magnets).

We go on a bear hunt and then draw pictures of our adventure.

To tie in science we study about bugs and worms.

What an amazing way to celebrate and end the school year!

Look at our camp t-shirts with the kids’ names on the back.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023


The end of the school year should be like "dessert" with lots of sweet memories.  Finish those tests and let's party and celebrate with one of these special days!

Sports Day – Enjoy the warm weather with a “Sports Day.”  Children can wear t-shirts and hats from their favorite teams.  Let them bring sports equipment to share with friends on the playground.

Beach Party – Bring beach towels and wear sunglasses, shorts, and bathing suits.  Set up sprinklers or other water activities on the playground.  Play beach ball games, beach music, and have a “cool” snack like popsicles. 

Book Party – Encourage children to dress up like their favorite book character.  Play “Guess Who I Am?” or have children describe why they like a particular character.  Let them bring favorite reading material (books, magazines) from home and sit or lay wherever they want for independent reading.

Talent Show - One of my favorite memories is of a Talent Show we had at the end of the school year.  I just invited all the children to think of a “talent” (song, dance, story, gymnastic stunt) they could do.  We sat in a circle and they all got up and performed!  We clapped and laughed and cheered!

Pajama Party – Have children wear pajamas and bring pillows and stuffed animals to class.  Read books, watch a movie, and eat popcorn.

Career Day – Children come dressed for the career they’d like when they grow up.  After sharing with friends, have each child draw a picture (or take a photograph) and make a class book.

Luau – Make grass skirts from draw string garbage bags.  Cut straws in 1” pieces and alternate stringing with paper flowers on dental floss to create a lei.  Hula, surf, and eat pineapple fruit kabobs for snack.

Toy Day – Children bring a favorite toy from home and share with their friends.

Wash Day – Wear old clothes and bring sponges, pails, and squirt bottles.  Let children wash tables, desks, toys, etc.  (You could tie this in with a water play day.)

Teddy Bear Parade – Children bring in a teddy bear or stuffed animal and parade around the classroom.  Have them write stories and draw pictures of what they like to do with their bear.  Have a “tea party” with your bears.

Board Game Day – Let children bring board games from home.  Set aside the last hour in the day to share games and play with friends.

Take a Vacation (Instead of "Time Out")
Carrie Tibetts shared this brilliant idea.  First, children get to choose a "vacation location."  This is any special place they like in the classroom.  If a child needs a break they can "take a vacation" and go to their quiet spot.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023


A Mother's Day tea, a song, a handmade gift, or a card will all be appreciated in two weeks on May 14th by someone special in a child's life.

A Box for Mommy (Tune: "Polly Wolly Doodle" - Happy Everything CD)
I wish I had a little box (Pretend to hold a box in your hands.)
To put my mommy in. (Pretend to put something in the box.)
I’d take her out and go (Take something out of the box
(kiss, kiss, kiss) and kiss in the air.)
And put her back again.

If my mommy were in my box
Were in my box, then she would always know.
School or play, night or day,
How I love her so! (Cross arms over chest.)

I made this box for mother’s day, (Pretend to hold a box.)
It’s full of love for you.
When we’re apart, hold it to your heart, (Put hands over heart.)
And know I’m thinking of you.

Box of Love Necklace

You can collect small boxes that jewelry come in or use matchboxes for this project. Spray paint the boxes and then let the children decorate them with stickers, glitter pens, etc. Glue a small picture of the child inside the box. Punch a hole and attach a ribbon so it can be worn around the neck. Teach children the song and let them present their necklaces at a Mother’s Day tea, or send the boxes home with the words to the song.

My Mom Can

Let each child make a predictable book about all the things their mom can do.

Hats for Moms

These are adorable hats from paper plates that children can make for their mothers. Cut the inner section out of the plate. Decorate the outer rim with markers. Cut 4” squares out of tissue paper and wad up and glue on the rim to look like flowers. Punch a hole in each side and tie on a 16” piece of string or ribbon. Place the hat on your head and tie under the chin.

Trace around children's hands on construction paper and cut out. Glue to a stem and fold down the middle and ring finger to make sign language for "I love you!"

A Gift from the Heart
Make a flip book and write the following on the flips:
Some gifts are round.
Some gifts are tall.
Some gifts are large.
Some gifts are small.

Monday, April 24, 2023


Goodness Gracious!!! Some of these games are older than me!! Think of these activities as a "history lesson"!

Mother, May I?
Materials: none
Children line up with their backs to a wall. One person is “mother” and stands about 30 feet in front of the others. One at a time “mother” names a child and tells them a different motion they must perform. For example, baby steps, scissor steps, twirls, giant steps, or frog leaps. The child must remember to ask, “Mother, may I?” before performing the movement or he or she is sent back to the starting line. The first one to reach “mother” becomes the next “mother.”

Sneaky Snake
Materials: none
Have the children hold hands and stand in a long line. Hold the child’s hand at the front of the line and move them in zigzags, spirals, and all around as the others follow behind.
*See if the “head” of the snake can catch the “tail.”

Red Light
Materials: none
Two lines are draw 30 feet apart. The children stand behind one line while “it” stands on the opposite line. “It” turns his or her back to the other players and calls out, “One, two, three, red light!” On this signal, “it” turns and faces the other players. If anyone is caught moving, the player is sent back to the starting line. The first one to tag “it” becomes the new leader.

Wolf and Chickens

Materials: none

Two lines are draw approximately 40 feet apart. The children are the “chickens” and line up behind one of the lines. One child is the wolf and stands between the two lines. The wolf pretends to be a chicken and says, “Cluck, cluck” and flaps his or her arms. But when the wolf shouts, “Wolf,” all the chickens must run to the other line. If the wolf tags them, they must become wolves, too, and help the wolf catch the other chickens. The game continues until all the chickens are caught. The last one caught becomes the wolf for the next game.

*A similar game called “sharks and minnows” can be played. Have the minnows get behind a line as the shark tries to catch them when “shark” is called.


Materials: none

Children form a circle and one child is chose to be “it. “It” walks around the outside of the circle saying “duck” as he or she touches each player on the head. Players squat down as they are tapped. If “it” touches a child and says “goose,” that child must chase “it” around the circle before “it” can get back to “goose’s” place. If “it” is caught, he or she must sit in the center of the circle. “Goose” then becomes “it” and the game continues.

*Adapt this game to different holidays. For example you could do “bat-bat-witch” in October.

Materials: none
Divide the children into groups of four or five. Each group thinks of a statue they can make with their bodies. (Let them think of a title for their statue, too.) Groups perform their statue for their classmates, while classmates try to guess what their title or theme might be.

*Increase the size of the groups to see how many people they can incorporate into their statue.

Follow the Leader

Materials: none
One person is chosen to be the leader. The rest of the class marches behind the leader and does just what the leader does. The leader can walk, hop, run, skip, wave their arms, go under something, slide down the slide, and so forth. After several minutes another child is chosen to be the leader.

What were your favorite games when you were a child? Wouldn’t it be fun to teach your students or your own children a special game you remember from your childhood!

Sunday, April 23, 2023


Here are some variations of traditional games that your children will enjoy playing in the spring sunshine.  I bet you played some of these yourself when you were in school.

Hug Tag
Materials: none

Directions: Designate a playing area. One child is “it.” “It” chases other children who must “freeze” when they are tagged. Players hug those who are “frozen” to “unfreeze” them.

*Stoop Tag – Children stoop down on the ground when they are tagged.

*Cartoon Tag – Children must name a cartoon show when they are tagged.

*Shadow Tag – children must freeze when “it” steps on their shadow.

*Sticky Tag – Children must hold the part of their body that is tagged.

Relays are a little difficult at first for children under six. But, like anything else, if you practice and play several times they will catch on. I particularly like relays because they require self-regulation and are a team effort.

Materials: none

Directions: Divide the children into teams with five or six players on each. Have the players line up single file behind a line and run one at a time to a designated point and back. The first player tags the second player, who then runs the distance. The first team to have all players run is the winner.

*Ball Relays– Have the children pass a ball over their heads and under their legs. The last person runs to the front of the line and continues passing over and under. When the first person is in his or her original position, their team wins the game. Relays where children must dribble a ball, kick a ball, or throw a ball into a target can also be played.

*Animal Relays – Let the children walk like crabs (on backs with hands and feet), bears (on all fours), birds (flapping arms), monkeys (scratching sides), or elephants (swinging arms like a trunk.)

*Quick Change – Prepare bags with a shirt, pants, and hat for each team. The first player puts the clothes on, runs to a designated point, takes the clothes off, then runs and gives the clothes to the second person.

*Pig Relays - Move the ball with your nose.

*Movements- Have children hop, jump, skip, gallop, walk backwards, or do other movements.

*Toesie Relay – Have the children take their shoes off, pick up a peanut with their toes, carry it to a basket, and drop it in.

*Potato Relay – Ask the children to carry a potato in a large spoon without dropping it.

*Balloon Relay- Have children run with a balloon to a chair, then sit on the balloon and pop it.

Saturday, April 22, 2023


Why patty cake?

First of all, it's free, simple, environmentally friendly, sugar-free...

Patty cake is a great brain break when children are restless.

When you patty cake you cross the midline which activates both sides of the brain.

It's good for eye-hand coordination.

It's TPR - Total Physical Response - motor skills and oral language.

Patty cake encourages self-regulation and the executive function.

It nurtures 21st century skills - cooperation, collaboration, and communication.

You've got purposeful practice for automaticity (aka repetition) because children will want to do it over and over.

How about INTENTIONAL TEACHING? Choose words or skills you are working on and integrate them into this movement game.

Talk about ACTIVE learning!

Here are some"patty cake" videos my webmaster created:

Note!  I looked a lot younger then and that little boy is headed off to college!!  Just a reminder to treasure every moment!

P.S.  Ask children to patty cake with their parents for homework!

Friday, April 21, 2023


April 21st is "Kindergarten Day" in honor of Friedrich Froebel who started the first kindergarten in Germany in 1837. Kindergarten originated to help children adapt to learning and social interactions in a fun way. Froebel believed in self-directed play, singing, dancing, blocks…a “garden” where children could grow! He’d probably roll over in his grave now if he saw what was going on!!

As I write this I am remembering my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Myers. I LOVED her! I mean, I worshipped her! She was a fairy godmother and the center of my world. She seemed ancient to me at the time, but I’m probably way older now than she was when she taught me. Thank goodness for hair dye and make up!!!

Do you see me? I'm in the center front with the dress my mother
made me for my first day of kindergarten.

I remember playing “The Farmer in the Dell” and other circle games. I also remember the finger play “Here are grandma’s glasses…” We had sugar cookies with a hole in the middle that we would put on our finger as we ate and we also had orange kool-aid. (Oh, my goodness! The sugar police would get Mrs. Myers for sure!!!) My favorite activity was painting. I especially liked to paint princesses. Back in those days the only princess I knew about was Cinderella, but I longed to be like her. One day as I was at the easel I painted a stripe down my leg. It looked so good I painted another…and another…and another…until my legs had beautiful stripes all over them. Mrs. Myers could have squelched my creativity right then and there, but she just laughed and said, “Don’t do it again.”

Another memory I have is learning to tie my shoes. I wore corrective saddle oxfords I feared would come untied at school and then what would I do? Everyone would know that I couldn’t tie shoes!!! Well, one day they came untied and Mrs. Myers said, “You’re a smart girl. Now, you just sit down and figure it out.” And you know what? I did!!!! She knew when to coddle and when to push.

And incredible as it may seem, although all I did was PLAY in kindergarten I can actually read and write now!! I imagine most of the adults running our country, writing curriculum, and running schools actually PLAYED when they were in kindergarten and look at them now. It would be interesting to ask those who preach "rigor" and "instructional time" and "high test scores" what they remember about being in kindergarten.


If you cover every objective in the curriculum, but don’t have time to play outside or take field trips—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you do every page in the workbook, but don’t have time to laugh, do show and tell, or sing a song—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you know all your letters and sounds and numbers and sight words, but don’t know how to be a friend or share—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you score high on the standardized test, but don’t like school—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If you master every skill and have 2 hours of screen time, but don’t have time to play in the block center or housekeeping or do puzzles—
What’s the point of kindergarten?

If teachers are so overwhelmed by the demands, expectations, and assessments they are given that they don’t have time to hug, smile, read, cheer, cherish, and look in the eyes of those wonderful little children in their classroom---
Then what’s the point of being a kindergarten teacher?

But we know that five is a magical time, and children only have one chance in a lifetime to be five. SHUT YOUR DOOR and hold hands, sing, dance, paint, tell stories, make believe, play outside, and continue to give children happy memories! And only you can do that because YOU are a kindergarten teacher and YOU are SPECIAL and AMAZING just like the children you teach!

Here's what I think should be the KINDERGARTEN BILL OF RIGHTS!!

My "kinderoos" in the 1980's.
I'd love to know where they are now.

Thursday, April 20, 2023


Brad McKinney (Kindergarten Teacher at Severn Elementary) emailed this idea to me several years ago and I LOVED it! What a perfect way to end the school year!

Note! You could easily adapt the activities to your school calendar and events already scheduled.

Parents and Guardians,
Believe it or not, the school year is quickly coming to an end. During the last 26 days of school, our class will be participating in an ABC Countdown. Each school day will have a different activity related to the letter for that day. Your child may need to wear or bring something special on some days – those days are underlined. This sheet will help you and your child remember what day of the countdown we are on.

Monday, May 19
Animal Day
Bring your favorite stuffed animal to school

Tuesday, May 20
Bubble Day
We will be making and blowing bubbles

Wednesday, May 21
Card Game Day
Bring your favorite card game to play at school

Thursday, May 22
Dinosaur Day
We will be dinosaur detectives with Mr. D

Friday, May 23
Everybody dress like Mr. McKinney and celebrate his birthday!!!

Wednesday, May 28
Fruit Day
Bring your favorite fruit for snack today

Thursday, May 29
Going to Tanglewood and Harris Hill
Bring a packed lunch!

Friday, May 30
Hat Day
Wear your favorite hat to school


Monday, June 2
I’m going to the library and on an ABC Hunt
Meet your family member at Centennial Park at 11:15 for ABC Hunt on Market St.

Tuesday, June 3
Joke Day
Write down your favorite joke to share with class

Wednesday, June 4
Kick Off Your Shoes Day
You will be able to take your shoes off in class all day

Thursday, June 5
Leisure Day
We will relax outside with a book (weather permitting)

Friday, June 6
Memory Day
We will be writing about our favorite memories from kindergarten this year

Monday, June 9
Nature Day at the Binghamton Zoo – PAPR Trip
Bring packed lunch

Tuesday, June 10
Orange Day
Wear the color orange and bring an orange for snack

Wednesday, June 11
Pinkalicious Day
Wear as much pink as you can and participate in activities based on the book Pinkalicious!

Thursday, June 12
Quiz Your Teacher Day
Bring your hardest question for Mr. McKinney to answer. See if you can stump him

Friday, June 13
Roadrunner Field Day
Field day games and activities outside with entire grade level

Monday, June 16
Sidewalk Art Day
We will be decorating a section of the sidewalk

Tuesday, June 17
Talent Show Day
Share your talent with the class

Wednesday, June 18
Used Book Day
Bring a used book you would like to donate to the class or library

Thursday, June 19
Veggie Day
Bring your favorite vegetable to share with class

Friday, June 20
Wishy Washy Day
Be prepared to get wet!

Monday, June 23
X-change Autographs Day
Make an autograph book and collect as many autographs as you can

Tuesday, June 24
Year End Clearance
Bring a bag to gather all your items from the year

Wednesday, June 25
Zoom Out of School Day
Last day of kindergarten

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


This time of year many of you are getting cranked up for and “end of the year” program. This can be frustrating, or it can be an exciting time for the children to sing and dance. My advice is “keep it simple.” The parents will be entertained and love whatever their children do. Here are a few ideas that might get you going!

Happy Birthday Letters
Have children bring in baseball caps and sunglasses. Make microphones out of toilet paper rolls wrapped with aluminum foil. Turn the caps backwards as you sing:

Yo A, it’s your birthday.
Let’s all read like your birthday.
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
You B, it’s your birthday…

Who Let the Letters Out? 

Staple ovals to a strip of paper to make doggie headbands. Let children decorate large cardboard letters with glitter and bling bling. Punch a hole in the top and tie on a string to make rapper necklaces. Make a large doghouse to pin on the stage curtains. (Square with an arch cut out. Triangle roof.) As you sing the song children come out of the doghouse dancing and wearing their letters.

Who let the A out?
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
Who let the B out…

Alphabet Remix 
Let children wear glasses, caps, letter necklaces as they do this activity.
Sing the regular ABC song. (Fold hands and sing sweetly.)
I say, A B C D E F G! (clap twice) (Dance from side to side.)
H I J K L M N O P (clap twice)
Q R S, (clap)
T U V, (clap)
W X Y and Z.
Now I know my ABC’s.
Next time, won’t you rap with me? (Make rapper hands and dance.)
A (blow out of the side of your mouth)
B (blow) C (blow)….Z
Now I know my ABC’s (blow).
Now you’re ready to read with me! (blow)

*Alphabet Party – Even if you don’t have to do a program for parents, it might be fun to do these songs for another class. Or, have an alphabet party just for your class!

The Very Hungry Class

This is a take off on "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." Choose a song, finger play, or poem that you’ve used for every month in the school year. It will bring back fond memories for your students and will be an easy program to put together for the parents. It might go something like this:

When school started we were a very hungry class eager to learn.
In September we learned our rules -THE RULES RAP.
In October we learned the days of the week – DAYS OF THE WEEK.
November was when we said our letters and sounds – ALPHARDY.
In December we learned the months in the year – MACARENA MONTHS.
January was our Hundreds Day Celebration – ZERO THE HERO STOMP.
In February we learned about money – THE MONEY SONG.
March was time to learn to spell – COLOR FARM.
In April we learned to recycle – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.
May was a time to study (plants, dinosaurs, caterpillars, or another song that reflects your standards).
Now, before we say good-bye,
We’ll sing our favorite song for you.
Please stand up and join along
And you can learn to “Tooty Ta”, too! (The audience stands up and does the “Tooty Ta” with you.)

Author's Tea
After writing and editing original stories, invite parents to a party where each child gets to share her book and read a few pages.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023


What do all these things have in common?
They can all be used to juggle!

International Jugglers Day and World Juggler's Day is April 18th, but you can juggle any day! Common objects jugglers use include balls, clubs, swords, plates, rings, and flaming sticks. You can also learn to juggle at school using wadded up paper balls, tissues, or scarves.

Juggling is fuel for the brain because it requires you to cross the midline, develops eye-hand coordination, and can improve focus and self-control.

Juggling can be a great brain break in the classroom or an activity to entertain children on a rainy day. It can be done inside, outside, or in a small area.

You can uses wadded up sheets of paper, tissues, sponge balls, or juggling scarves. (I made my own juggling scarves by cutting 10" squares out of netting.)

Begin by having children wad up a piece of scrap paper. Can they toss it and catch it? 

Can they play catch with a friend? 

Can they toss it, clap, and then catch it? 

How many times can they toss it without dropping it?

Can they say the alphabet as they toss and catch?

Practice tossing the paper ball from the right hand to the left.

Add a second paper ball and let the fun begin!

Monday, April 17, 2023


ZAP, BOOM, WIGGLE WORMS, AND STARS are all adaptions of a classroom game that your students will love (and learn from) when you've got a few extra minutes.

SKILLS: letters; words; phrase cards; math facts; shapes, etc.

MATERIALS: small can with a smooth edge (such as one from chips,
frosting, etc.), large craft sticks, markers, wrapping paper

DIRECTIONS: Cover the can with paper and write ZAP! on it as shown.

On the bottom of sticks print words or other skills. On several sticks write “ZAP!” Place all the sticks in the can with the words towards the bottom of the can. Have the children sit in a circle. One at a time, children hold the can and pull out a stick and identify the word on it. When a child chooses a stick with “Zap!” on it, they return all their 
sticks to the can. Continue passing the can until there is one person left. 

Hint! If children can’t identify the information on their stick, let them “phone a friend” for the answer.

More! For older students, add sticks that say, “You get two turns.” “Take a peek.” “Loose a turn.” “Skip.”

Write "Boom!" on several sticks and when children choose that stick they jump up and shout, "BOOM!

Write "Wiggle Worms!" on several sticks. Children stand and wiggle like a worm if they pull this stick.

Glue stars to several sticks. If children choose this stick they get to keep it.

*You can also adapt this game for different holidays or units of study. For example, in October you could use skeleton stickers and the children could “shake their bones.” In January glue a snowman and they have to shiver.

Four Corners
Several years ago Ginny McLay told me how she adapted 4 corners for different skills she was working on. She said she wrote skills they needed to practice (sounds, math facts, sight words, etc.) on sticky notes and placed them in a corner in the classroom. She made a second copy on index cards. The kids tiptoed to a corner while the teacher covered her eyes. The teacher then randomly picked an index card and called out that information. If they were in that corner they had to sit down. The game continued as the kids moved to another corner until one student was left.

Sunday, April 16, 2023


This Wednesday, April 19th, is National High Five Day, but you can start any day with a high five and a smile! Wouldn't your kids be surprised if you drew a smile on your hand like this one?

High Five Cheer
Teach children how to give themselves a “high five” for a job well done. Hold up both palms facing each other in front of your chest. Pretend to wave with one hand as you hold up five fingers on the other hand. “Hi 5!” Get it?

Pat on the Back
Trace around each child’s hand on construction paper and let them cut it out. Write a positive comment about each child on the hand and tape it to their back at the end of the day. Parents will be proud when they see their child’s “pat on the back.”

Pickle Tickle Partner Game
Up high. (Give a high five up in the air.)
Down low. (High five down by knees.)
Cut the pickle. (One child touches fingertips horizontally as the other child pretends to slice in between.)
Give a tickle. (Gently tickle each other.)

High Five
Write sight words on hands and tape to your classroom door. Students must "high five" a hand and read a word before exiting the classroom.

Note!  Adapt this activity for any skill you want to reinforce like letters, math facts, vocabulary, etc.

Saturday, April 15, 2023


April 30th is Arbor Day, but every day we should look outside and appreciate trees. These websites have some great information and activities for kids and adults.

Divide children into small groups and let them brainstorm all the products we get from trees.

*THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein is a wonderful book to share, but my little kids always wanted to know, "Why did he have to get old?" (I wonder the same thing sometimes!!!)

TREEmendous Writing
Let children look out the window or sit under a tree and write descriptions. Think about the colors in the tree. Are there animals in the tree? What are the parts of a tree?
*For creative writing, ask children to complete this sentence: If I were a tree I would...

Tree Identification
Download information about leaves similar to the one below.

Take a nature walk and challenge the children to identify the trees on the school grounds.

How are leaves different?

How does the bark on trees vary?

*Hint! Give children a clipboard and let them draw their favorite tree.

*Let them do rubbings of leaves from different trees and compare.

Plant a Tree
Contact your local cooperative extension service, Forestry Services, or National Arbor Day Foundation for free seedlings. Discuss what your tree will need to thrive. Prepare the soil, water your tree, and record its growth.

What's a deciduous tree? What's an evergreen tree?
Sing this song to the tune of "London Bridge" to help your students learn how about deciduous and evergreen trees.

If your leaves fall to the ground,
to the ground,
to the ground.
If your leaves fall to the ground
You're deciduous.
If your leaves stay green all year,
green all year,
green all year.
If your leaves stay green all year,
You're an evergreen.

A Louisiana teacher shared this sweet story about what happened when she let her class "adopt" a special tree on the playground. They named their tree Maggie and hugged her, drew pictures of her in different seasons, read stories and sang songs under her, wrote get the idea. One day as a group of children were playing, one child snapped a branch off another tree. A little boy started to cry because he said, "You're hurting Maggie's friend." I'm not sure "adopting a tree" was in their state standards, but it's a beautiful story about instilling a love of nature in children. And, it's so easy just to take a moment every now and then to focus on trees and all the living things this time of year.

Friday, April 14, 2023


If I were in charge of the world you wouldn't be allowed to test little children!  Unfortunately, I'm not in charge of the world, and even young children are experiencing "test anxiety" this time of year.  How ridiculous for a four or five year old to be worried about a test!  Bless their hearts...and bless your hearts.

Nevertheless, here are some activities that might help children relax and focus before a test.  They might also be a good break between tests.

Deep Breathing
Inhale slowly as you count to 8. Exhale slowly as you count backwards from 8 to 1. Breathe in hot chocolate. Breathe out and blow the candles out on a birthday cake.  

Tighten up your body as tight as you can and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Then relax and let it all go. Repeat several times.
*Starting with the toes, call out one body part at a time for children to squeeze and then relax. For example, toes, feet, knees, legs, hips, back, fingers, arms, shoulders, necks, faces, and then a whole body SQUEEZE!

Rag Dolls and Soldiers 
When the teacher calls out “rag dolls” everyone flops over like a rag doll. When the teacher says, “soldiers,” everyone stands up tall and stiff. Continue calling out “rag dolls” and “soldiers” faster and faster.

“Eye” Exercise
Demonstrate how to hold your two index fingers a few inches from your eyes on either side of your head. Look at the right index finger with both eyes and then look at the left index finger.

Balancing Act
Ask children to stand. How long can they balance on their right foot? How long can they balance on their left foot? Can they balance on their right toes? Left toes? Can they balance on their right foot and extend their left leg in the air? Can they balance on one foot with their eyes closed?
Hint! Classical music is lovely for balancing activities.

Tell your class to give their mouth and their eyes a “vacation” by closing their eyes and mouths. Next, ask them to practice breathing through their noses. You’ll be amazed at how this brings down their energy level and helps them focus.

Lip Sinc 
Make motions as you mouth the words to finger plays and songs. Invite children to join you when they recognize what you are doing.

Silly Dance 
Play some catch music for the children to do the silly dance.  When you stop the music they have to "freeze."  Continue playing and stopping the music as the children dance and freeze.