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When it was time for my oldest to go to kindergarten she was excited. She didn’t have any doubts about what to expect and on her first day of school, she turned around waved a big goodbye and that was it. No tears. Nothing. Four years later when it was Little Man’s turn, his story was a little different. He cried the first week and clung to my hand when I dropped him off but gradually the support from our amazing school staff and his classmates made going to school so much more stress-free for him.
We’re four years past that point and now it’s Baby Girl’s turn and she’s a mix of both her big sister and brother. Unlike the older two, she went to preschool at the same school so I think we won’t have any tears…
but after a three-month long summer break, we never know. So yes, we’ve been prepping her for the year ahead!
Fun Ways to help your child have a great year at Kindergarten
Play teacher-student classroom scenario games.
Baby Girl loves this especially when her siblings join in. Incorporate situations that will happen while your child is at school. Everything from taking a potty break, washing her hands properly after visiting the restroom, avoiding the spread of germs when coughing/sneezing/blowing her nose etc.
On a side note, if you want to be a blessing to your child’s kindergarten teacher, send her with several boxes of Kleenex® Brand Ultra Soft™ Facial Tissues. These 3-ply tissues are America’s softest ultra-soft tissue (among national brands). You know how quickly your child can go through a box of tissues when she has a cold. Multiply that with 18 plus kids and the first month of school germ sharing!
Make a countdown chart with stickers to get her excited for the first day of school.
You could even make a countdown chain. Incorporate fun and learning by encouraging her to practice her numbers when she counts the remaining links after she pulls one off each day.
A month ahead start doing school bedtime routines and eating meals as if on a regular school night.
This is something we do especially to help her get used to finishing her lunch within a certain time limit and not snacking in between. It’s not easy but will make things easier on her when school starts.
If your child will be carrying a lunchbox to school, brainstorm easy and healthy lunchbox ideas with her and make a few sample lunches to see what her favorites are.
You can make lunch at school fun for her!
Psst! These lunchbox hacks will make your life so much easier!!
Prep her for a fun year of learning and play
- Have a “Read-To-Me” time each day, encouraging her to read Easy Reader books to you.
- Invest in kinder-appropriate activity books and learning apps, to introduce/solidify the alphabet, numbers, sight words, basic math etc.
- Consider investing in one of these dry erase easels. We’ve seen having it out in our living room has been so good for Baby Girl. She keeps writing little messages on it, drawing, practicing small words etc.
- Encourage motor skill development with paper cutting activities, stringing beads, making playdough figures.
Oh wait, did you just groan when I mentioned play dough?
I promise you don’t have to buy any more store-bought playdough. You can make your own!
How to make Homemade Playdough
Once you start making your own, you won’t buy any from the store. It’s so easy to make and you know exactly what you put into the mix! (A big thank you to Dottie’s preschool teacher for sharing this with me)
Now there are two ways you can make playdough: the No-Cook version and the Cook version. The first one is easier, your child can help with most of the process but it won’t last as long. The latter definitely lasts longer and doesn’t dry as quickly.
Materials required stay the same for both processes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups salt
2 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or coconut. I use coconut)
2 cups water (Boiling when making the no-cook playdough)
Food coloring (assorted colors)
Glitter (assorted colors)
No-Cook Version: Homemade Playdough
Your child can help you measure out everything.
Yes, it will get messy but then that’s why we always keep Kleenex® Brand Wet Wipes™ Gentle Clean for Hands and Face (flip-top pack, 56 wipes) an arm’s reach away. With no harsh chemicals in the same and being soft, these are great to clean dirty hands and faces.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together.
- Carefully add the oil and gradually add water to the dry. Mix till you’re able to make a pliable dough ball. (Note: at any point if you find the dough too sticky, add more flour to the mix.)
- Separate the dough into as many colors you plan to make.
- Add 1-2 drops (or more if you want a darker color) of food coloring and glitter (and no, you can never have too much glitter!) to the dough ball. Knead the dough ball (preferably with disposable gloves so the coloring doesn’t stain your hands) till the color mixes all the way through.
- There you have it. Easy-peasy homemade playdough but remember this won’t last very long before it dries out.
For longer-lasting playdough, cook your homemade playdough.
- Add all the dry ingredients to a saucepan and mix.
- To this mix add the water and oil. Now switch on the stove, place the saucepan on the stovetop burner, on low to medium heat, nothing higher.
- Keep stirring the mix consistently. The liquid will start thickening like when you make a custard.
- As it thickens, add a few drops of food coloring and mix well.
- As the mix starts thickening you will notice the dough coming together and pulling off from the bottom of the pan.
- Once it mixes all the way through, pulls together as a nice lump and is no longer sticky, take the pan off the stove, quickly add glitter if you want and mix.
- Take the dough ball out of the pan and leave on a wax paper to cool.
- Once cool, knead to a nice big ball and give the same to your excited child to play!
Store the playdough in an airtight container after your child finishes playing.
Need a few more ideas to get her excited about school?
- Involve her in buying school supplies, uniforms/schoolwear, shoes, and her backpack.
- Have playdates with older kids/kids who go to the same school so they can tell her about what all they would do at school
- Encourage her to draw or paint a picture for her new teacher or maybe, even make a cute crayon pencil holder.
And above all, as a family, pray each day for a great year, her new teacher and the friends she will make.
Oh and for a stress-free back-to-school shopping experience, pick up all the essentials via the Walmart Online Grocery service.
Simply pop everything you need into your online shopping cart,
pick a time, and then simply drive up to the designated pick-up area. The team will load your groceries for you and no, you won’t have to set foot into the store, at all.
This school year will be a wonderful one.
It really will be, so don’t worry!