End-of-Year Preschool Party

Here’s a fun idea for a picnic-themed party if your child’s class can get outside on their last day of school.  (Children will get wet, though, so make sure it’s ok with the teachers first.)

Spray Bottles
At ages 3 and 4, my own two children could amuse themselves for hours with spray bottles of water out in our backyard.  So I bought 16 spray bottles at Dollar Tree and wrote my daughter’s and her classmates’ names on them with Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Pens.  Another mom and I collected the foam stickers and adhesive jewels we already had so the kids could decorate their own bottles.

Bug Spray
I also picked up a cheap white bedsheet and showed my own kids how to draw simple bug shapes.  Using Washable Crayola Markers, we drew colorful bugs all over the sheet.  I wrote “Miss Jones’ and Miss Smith’s Class” at the top, and each child’s name somewhere on the sheet.  We hung the sheet from a fence with cable-ties, close to where the children would have their picnic.

Beach Balls
The kids decorated beach balls with Sharpie markers.  The hardest part was blowing up the balls beforehand.

Bubbles
A few days earlier I’d mixed up homemade bubble solution (6 parts water, 2 parts Dawn Ultra, 3/4 part corn syrup), and I lugged it in a big tub from Target along with giant bubble wands from Learning Express to the party.

After the children ate, they decorated their water bottles, sprayed the sheet (to get rid of the bugs and say goodbye to their preschool class) and played with the beach balls and bubbles.

Made by Kids

A couple of years ago, my son’s preschool teacher assembled work he’d done into a book for him to bring home.  For the cover, she’d had him write his name on construction paper, using a different color for each letter, and then she cut out the letters and glued them onto a piece of cardstock.  It was adorable.

As a Room Parent, I’ve used this technique several times now, as a cover for a collection of notes, cards or pictures from children to their teacher.

At the end of the school year, the parents of the children in my daughter’s kindergarten class elected to give the teacher individual gifts.  So I asked each child to fill out a questionnaire (“I love my teacher because…” and “My advice for the new kindergarteners is…”) and bound them together.  The book gave the children something to present to their teacher as a class at the year-end party.

I especially like it for Thanksgiving, after children have typically spent all of November talking in their classrooms about what they’re thankful for.  Yet it’s unusual for teachers to be honored at this time.

Charmingly imperfect.

And it says – this is from your students, not their parents.

 

Need a Mystery Reader Idea?

Pete the Cat is my all-time favorite book to read aloud to my kids’ classes – pre-school through at least 2nd grade.  I’ve never read it just once, and during the subsequent readings, everyone sings!  Check out the video on You Tube and the artist’s website.  So fun.

Another fun book to read to this age group is Little Pea by Amy Krause Rosenthal.  After reading it to my son’s 4-year-old class, I gave each child a plastic spoon and had them pass around a frozen pea.  Most of them greeted the tiny pea, “Hello, Little Pea.”  One of them asked me where his eyes and mouth were.  I was stumped and the teacher laughed and said, “Welcome to our world!”

Many teachers prefer that parents refrain from bringing in treats or gifts during Mystery Reader time, which I understand.  If I have an idea I always ask first.  I passed around a bag of mini marshmallows to a kindergarten class after I read The Marshmallow Incident by Judy Barrett (a longer book, but the kids were attentive).

When my daughter was in preschool, she and her brother loved the Franklin books, written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Brenda Clark.   In the I-can’t-believe-I’m-putting-this-on-the-internet category, here’s a picture of me in my homemade Franklin costume before going to her school.  I’m pretty introverted, so this was a big leap for me (usually I get ideas like this and talk my husband into it), but my daughter loved it.  Since Franklin loves fly cookies, I also read one of The Fly Guy books by Ted Arnold and gave each child a bug finger puppet from Party City.

I wouldn’t advise going the homemade costume route for kids older than 4, though.

As the scheduled reader for my daughter’s kindergarten class, I noticed  that we owned several storybooks about alligators.  So I took in Zack’s Alligator, But I Am an Alligator (Charlie and Lola) and a girl and her gator.  Before I started to read a girl and her gator- a charming book about a girl who wakes up one morning with a French alligator on her head – I put on a baseball cap to which I’d stapled a giant, green, paper alligator.  One girl, bless her, laughed with delight.  The other 20 kids looked at me like I was a ridiculous grown-up, which of course, I was.  For my own sake, this time, I was glad I’d brought bribes – I gave each child one of those grows-in-water alligators that you can usually find at The Dollar Tree or in the dollar section of Michaels.  I was cooler then.  But not much.

Have fun!