The lazy summer days are almost over and back to school is in full swing. In most families, the feelings are mixed - on the one hand, it’s a new beginning with a lot of hopes, goals, and resolutions. On the other hand, this means getting back into the routine — homework, packing lunchboxes, taking kids to drama classes, baseball practices, and all that good stuff.
The truth is, some kids just aren’t too thrilled to go back to school, so we have prepared some engaging activities to lift up everyone’s mood.
The beginning of the school year is the perfect time to interview your little ones. Kids into performing arts will love this activity — it’s a lot of fun, a precious memory, and a good practice for auditions!
5-8 questions should be sufficient to keep their interest during the video interview. Here are some ideas for the questions:
• What is your favorite color/book/movie?
• What are you most excited about today?
• What do you want to be when you grow up?
It will be fun to look back at these videos an remember what your kids were interested in and see how much they’ve grown. You can also do this interview in a written format — it will make a lovely keepsake and show how your child’s handwriting changes each year.
Kids who are into acting or modeling love being in front of the camera, so they’ll be excited about a photo shoot! You can get really creative with one:
• Print out “First day of” signs — for example, for the first day of kindergarten or the first day of the third grade. You can also have your child hold a chalkboard with the school year.
• Use simple props, like a stack of books or an apple for the back to school theme.
• Another great idea is to take a photo in the same spot every year, like the porch or by a tree so that you can watch the tree grow with your child!
• If you’re in the mood to start a new tradition, get a large shirt with your kid’s graduation year (e.g., Class of 2030) and take a photo of them wearing it every year!
• Fashion show photos – getting new outfits was the favorite part of going back to school for many of us. Let your kids show off their new clothes with a family back to school fashion show. You can even set up a little runway in the living room and let your kids take turns on the catwalk.
• An alternative to a photo shoot – if your child loves to draw, you can ask them to draw a portrait of themselves.
School supplies — you’ll have to buy them anyway, so why not turn it into a fun activity? We love the idea of a scavenger or treasure hunt. For younger kids, you can use clue cards with pictures, and for older children, you can use printable cards with clues written on them:
For example, if you have 3 children, you can place 3 sets of crayons in the hiding place, and so on. This game is sure to add a dash of excitement to going back to school!
Before the school year arrives with all its hustle and bustle, and everyone is pulled their separate ways, it’s important to set aside an afternoon or evening for the whole family. And who doesn’t love a movie night? To make it more special, you can organize it in your backyard. You’ll need a projector, screen, speakers, seats, and snacks.
We have picked some great back to school family movies that the whole family will enjoy:
Akeelah and the Bee (2006) | PG
Inspiring drama about a young spelling champion.
Queen of Katwe (2016) | PG
A true story of a young Ugandan girl who is a chess champ.
Mad Hot Ballroom (2005) | PG
Enchanting dance documentary with many great role models.
Freaky Friday (2003) | PG
Mother-daughter switch makes comedic chaos.
Dead Poets Society (1989) | PG-13
Robin Williams plays an English teacher who encourages his students to go against the grain.
There is so much emphasis — and for a good reason — on reading, yet so little on writing. Don’t let your joy about kids’ writing skills end once they learn to write their name. We loved the idea of setting up a parent-child journal where you can draw and write notes or letters to each other. With preschoolers, you can ask them to tell you about their day in a drawing to which you can then add a caption.
Journaling can become a part of the bedtime routine — ask your child to list all the good things that happened during the day so you can enter them in a journal. As your child’s writing starts to improve, encourage them to help fill that journal as well. These journals will become precious souvenirs of your kids’ childhood.
Protip: don’t use this journal to fix their grammar! It will suck out the joy of this activity and create a distance.
Back to school can get stressful, but it’s also a special and emotional time for parents, especially those whose kids are getting on that yellow bus for the first time. Think back to your first days of school — which memories do you treasure still to this day? Now you have a wonderful opportunity to create new traditions and new memories for your little ones as well.
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