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Inside: The first day of school is an important milestone for every child! Help your child prepare for kindergarten with an easy and fun idea: a countdown to kindergarten!
Update 2021: This article was written a few years ago, when my oldest son started kindergarten. We continue to use the countdown idea every year, and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate the start of school.
My son’s first day of kindergarten is less than a month away, so I’m in the middle of all the preparations for the start of the school. This is a big milestone for him, and I want to make the preparation as easy and fun as possible!
One idea that I really liked for helping kids prepare for the first day of school is creating a countdown to kindergarten. It helps children know exactly how long it is until school starts and it makes the days before school more exciting for them!
For me, the main reason to make this countdown is to create more opportunities for us to connect, and to encourage my son to talk about the worries he might have about school.
I’m sure that kindergarten will be a big change in his life, and I want him to feel confident and happy about this new stage in his life.
If your child is getting ready for kindergarten as well, I hope that you’ll enjoy this idea and try it with your little one!
How to easily create a countdown to kindergarten
Here is the list of supplies that I used to create the countdown to kindergarten:
- mini wooden clothespin set (with twine included) – If you prefer colorful mini clothespins, you can find them here.
- gift tags (similar with these ones)
- stickers – I found some stickers in one of my son’s activity books and I used those)
You can create the countdown garland in less than half an hour by following these easy steps:
- Decide on the number of days you want to include in your countdown (I choose 21 days to have plenty of time before the school starts). Decide on an easy activity idea for each day. For inspiration check out our list below.
- On the front side of each gift tag, write the number of remaining days until school starts and add a sticker to make them look cuter.
- On the backside of each gift tag, write an activity idea for that day. We planned more time-consuming activities during the weekends and simple activities during the week.
- Place all the gift tags (in chronological order) on the twine and hang them on the all using tape at the end of the twine.
- Use the clothespins to position every gift tag on the right place and make sure that the garland looks exactly how you want.
Every day invite your child to check out one of the activities on the countdown garland. Do the activity together and use that opportunity to connect, have fun, and make school preparations easier.
The countdown to kindergarten will make kids more excited about the preparations, and reduce their anxiety in case they have any worries or fears about the start of school.
What activities we included in our countdown to kindergarten
If you need some inspiration to decide on the activities to include in your countdown, here is our list of ideas!
- 21 days left – Lego building challenge
- 20 – talk about school (an open discussion to encourage him to tell me about any worries he might have, and let him know what to expect at school)
- 19 – art project
- 18 – playtime at the school playground
- 17 – installing his new desk (we decided to buy this desk for him and I can’t wait to have him installed in his room)
- 16 – movie at home (we have plenty of inspiration on our list of movies for family movie night)
- 15 – trip to the store to choose a backpack & a lunch box
- 14 – a surprise mini-gift (I bought him a nice book about a topic that it’s really important to address before the school starts – Let’s Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent and Respect: Teach children about body ownership, respect, feelings, choices and recognizing bullying behaviors)
- 13 – music & dance party in the living room
- 12 – board game of his choice
- 11 – drawing about the school
- 10 – talk about school (an open discussion to encourage him to tell me about any worries he might have, and let him know what to expect at school)
- 9 – trip to the store to choose school supplies
- 8 – favorite dessert
- 7 – storytime with his favorite books
- 6 – music & dance party in the living room
- 5 – favorite ice-cream (trip to the ice-cream shop)
- 4 – board game of his choice
- 3 – playtime at the school playground
- 2 – nature scavenger hunt (you can download a printable nature scavenger hunt here)
- 1 – day left – a surprise mini-gift (I want to buy a set of bracelets for us to wear on the first day of school to make separation easier)
- first day of school – filling in the first day of school interview (you can download a printable first day of school interview for kids here)
This idea can be easily used for the first day of preschool as well, and for any start of a new school year.
If you prefer an even simpler version of the countdown to kindergarten you can create a paper chain instead of the garland.
I hope that your kids will enjoy this idea, and that it will bring you joy and connection before the school starts!
>> Want to remember this? Save these ideas to your favorite Pinterest board!