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MY FAMILY THEME
Click for Activity Central Here's lots more preschool and kindergarten activities that promote children's self-esteem and self identity. First graders will enjoy many of these activities too!
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Getting to Know You
Preschoolers and kindergarten children become Shinning Stars and share information about themselves when S.T. promotes self identify and self esteem during this activity.

Materials: Yellow poster board, glittery stars, markers, letter to parents, photo of students and curling ribbon.

Description: Send a letter to the parents of the child the day before they are to be a Shining Star.  This letter outlines the project, it's purpose and engages the family in sitting down with the child to fill out a questionnaire. Provide spaces for the parents (or students) to answer.

 Do you have brothers?, sisters? Pets?
 Favorite snack, food, book, toys, sports?
 Favorite activity at school?
After the student shares this information with the class, mount the photo on one side of a large star cut from the yellow poster board, mount the info sheet (no last names) on the other side.  Have the student decorate, write his or her name, glue stars, etc.
Cover with clear shelf paper, punch holes along the bottom and have the student choose colored ribbons.  Hang the stars around the room.

I did this activity to get aquatinted with the parents and children in a preschool that I joined after the Christmas holidays.  It helped everyone warm up quickly. Everyone, parents and children, still study the hanging stars and point to theirs.

For picture books about Me & My Family go to
Preschool Pictures Books Listed by Theme

Bathing Babies
Youngsters practice gentleness during this family activity from Dawn.

Materials: Dolls, photographs of children as babies, water table, soap, wash  clothes, towels etc.

Description: Allow children to wash, clothe, and feed their babies. In advance collect pictures of the children as babies and discuss the baby pictures with them.  Have a parent come in and talk about how babies are so important and that you must be gentle, careful and at times quiet with a  baby.

Self & Family Rhymes, songs and fingerplays are in the
Preschool Rainbow Rhyme Collection

Involving Families in the Preschool Experience
To help make children and parents feel connected with the preschool experience
all during the year try these ideas from Joy W.

Materials: Kids, parents, diplomacy and cooperation.

Description: At the very beginning of the year, I sent home a piece of construction paper with each child.  I attached a note that asked for pictures of the child's family, home, pets, any special family hobbies or recent vacations, etc.  Then the children and I examined each contribution at circle time.  After that, I mounted all the "quilt squares" on a large sheet of white bulletin board paper and stuck in on the wall.  It's still up, six months later and visitors to our school still comment on it.  Just be sure to give any new students a chance to contribute to the quilt when they join your class, too!

I have multi-cultural class.  Out of fifteen children, almost half are from another country.  All year, I have tried to include their cultures in my program.  During February, our African American family did a presentation (preschool level) on slavery and African American traditions.  We've also had a presentation on Ramadan (spelling??) and it's traditions. One of our mom's also came in a read a book to us about a ESL child who was having a hard time fitting  in with her class.  The teachers, as well as the children, found these presentations very interesting and showed to the parents that they are as valuable an asset to our class as their children!

Comments: It is a good idea to ask each family personally if they would like to share their traditions with the class. Sending out a general note about this has little effect and generates little response.  When you ask the parents personally if they'd like to do a presentation, it makes them feel like you really care if they do it! 

Muticultural picture books are listed in Preschool Books Listed by Theme
and in the Multicultural Theme

Magazine Families
Help children understand that there are different types of families and teach about diversity with this preschool activity by Teressa L.

Materials: Large sized paper plates, markers, magazines, glue, and scissors.

Description:
1.   Help each child write "My Family" on plate.
2.   Have children look through magazines to find pictures of faces resembling
      those of family members.
3.   Children can tear or cut out the pictures and glue them onto the paper
      plate.  On the back of the plate, the teacher can write the child's dictated story   about their family.

Comments: Parents were surprised to see that the children found pictures from
 magazines that actual resembled family members.

Family Quilt
Encourage parental involvement during this early childhood activity by Angela W.

Materials: One piece of poster board per family, yarn, hole punch, crayons, paints or markers.

Description: Have each of your children take home a piece of construction paper as a weekend family homework project. Tell the parents and the child that they are draw, paint or color their family engaging in their favorite activity. And then if the children are young have Mom or Dad write out some of the fun things they do together as a family and who are their family members, like brother and sisters etc.

Next when you have all the posters together take a hole punch and punch holes on
the outside of the posters and tie together with yarn like you would a quilt.
Then I hang this on the wall and put "Our Daycare Families". On Friday of that week I invite family members to come in and allow the child to share his or her family with the class.

Photo Family Tree
Preschool and kindergarten children show and share their family trees during photographic family activity by Micci G

Materials: Large piece of construction paper, copy or coloring page of a tree and
child's family pictures.

Description: The amount of pictures depends upon the age of the child. Smaller children should only bring in pictures of immediate family and self, while older kids can expand this to aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Scrapbook tools such as frames, special scissors and stickers may be helpful and allow for more creative efforts. 

Have child's picture in the center and title this "My Family Tree". Have each child explain each picture and who each family member is. Glue them around the tree. Depending on age, either have child title who each person is, or let the teacher do this. Then have children show and share they're family trees with the class.

Adventures of Luther Bear
Christi D. fosters language development, promotes self esteem and encourages parent involvement with this preschool education activity.

Materials: Stuffed Bear and bag to carry him in and a notebook.

Description: We send home Luther Bear to each child one at a time. They tell their adventures during his stay.  Parent records and child brings notebook back to school and teacher reads.  Child then adds to his or her story while holding Luther in front of the class. This makes the child feel very special.

Comments: Children can not wait until it is their turn to take Luther home.

Family Pennants
Encourage home school connections and to allow children to share information about themselves during this school and family activity by Crystal.

Materials: Poster board and a note home to the family

 Description: Cut poster board into large triangles to resemble pennants, write a
 note home to the families explaining that they are to help their child decorate
 the pennants with family photos and some of the things the family likes to do
 together, a picture representing a favorite meal, or anything they would like to
 share about their family!  Assign a date that the pennant needs to be brought
 back to school and have the child share the pennant during group time.

Comments: I hung the pennants on a large bulletin board with the caption "Hurray
for Families".  I got a lot of positive comments and the children loved sharing!

House and People Blocks
Susan K. shares this creative idea to add a house and little people for each child to use in the block center.

Materials: 4x6 lumber, photos of each child, small containers such as a film canisters.

Description: At the beginning of each year I have a friend cut a class supply of house shaped blocks out of a 4x6 piece of lumber and I add each child's name and address on the individual blocks. Then I attach a photo of each child to individual film canisters or pill bottles with clear contac.  We use these to help learn everyone's names and addresses as we play in the block center.  At the end of the year they each take them home.

My "Me" Book
Give children a sense of themselves within a family (immediate and extended) and the community with this early childhood activity by Courtney L.

Materials:  Construction paper, yarn, cutout pictures from magazines, family photos, glue and hole punch.  Glitter, sequins and other decorative materials are optional to decorate the book.

Description:  Children can help plan and then execute a "Me" book which helps to describe them, their family, their interests and their community.  Included in this book can be photos of the child's immediate family (parents, siblings)  as well as the extended family (grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins).  Also photos of the child them self and any other special people or pets.

Then pictures representing the child's life including: favorite activities, sporting activities, school, hobbies or favorite books and videos, anything special to that child.  The book can be "narrated" either by the child (if old enough to write)  or by the parent.  Glitter or sequins can be added for decoration if desired.

new idea  Children's Pictures
Kristine S. wanted to pass on this great idea saying, "I don't recall where I heard it, so I can't take credit for it".

At the beginning of the school year, or when a new child joins your class, ask the parent to bring a disposable camera for you to use.  Put the child's  name on it and keep it handy.  Take the camera out at special opportunities to snap a memory for the parent.  At the end of the year, give the camera back to the parent. If comfortable enough ask for copies for your school album.

Pictures
Keeping parents updated on what the children are doing is the aim of this activity by Ernel T.

 Materials: Camera, film, empty cd case and old puzzle pieces.

Description: Each month I take a picture of the kids doing our monthly theme.  Example our theme for March was St. Patrick's Day.  We made hats out of newspaper, vests out of brown paper bags and leis out of construction paper shamrocks.  I dressed up the kids took pictures and put the picture in the empty cd case we 
decorated with puzzle pieces.

Comments: Parents have an idea of what is going on and they appreciate pictures of finished projects.

ideaMemories
Capture preschool and kindergarten memories with this idea from Lorria.

Materials: Pictures, folder (the kind students use), copy paper - I buy the kind with decoration on them (at Walmart you get 25 for $1.47). 

Description: As a working Mom I know how hard it is to be away from your children all day and wonder what they are doing. I teach two year olds so I am sure they do not remember what they do all day. I came up with an idea to help the parents know or at least see some of the things their children do.  Pictures capture so many wonderful memories.

I take pictures of my students doing their lessons or just having fun during the day. And at the end of the year I put together a little album of each one of the children, for their parents to see what they do all day.  It is a little time consuming but when the parents had tears in their eyes, I knew it was well worth the effort. 

Comments: The parents will thank you a million times!

ideasRecording Books Ideas
Teresa B. offers this early childhood activity to help create a partnership with families.

Materials: Tape recorder, blank tape and free time with Mom or Dad.

Description:
1.  Invite families to record a story that they have read with their child
    on a blank cassette and donate the cassette to your classroom library.

2.  When celebrating each child's birthday,  invite families to purchase
     a new book in honor of the child's special day and place it in your
     library.  Make sure you label it so it tells the reader WHO donated
     it and WHEN they donated it. 

Watch the lines at check out time, children will want to check these items out more often  because they helped create them. 

Comments: Families loved this!  Total participation.

Family Lesson Project
Young children learn about different types of families during this preschool activity by Michelle C.

Materials: Photos of each child's family.

 Description: Send out a letter to parents a week (or more if it takes parents a long time to respond) asking them to send a photo of their child's family.  Also have them write on the back who is in the photo and their relationship to your student.  In my letter I told them it didn't have to be their entire family,  maybe just siblings or parents.

Next, discuss with the class different types of families.  For my two year olds, I asked who all lived in their houses.  When the day comes to present their pictures, set up one chair in classroom.  Take turns having each child share their own picture.  Help them tell who is in the photo if necessary.  After the lesson, hang on colorfully decorated poster board showing each picture with "Jimmy's Sisters" written neatly near that picture. 

Comments: They loved sharing their pictures with EVERY visitor in the classroom.  I put mine on the outside of the classroom door.  Parents loved it!  Make sure to hang the pictures in a safe place!! These are families' memories! Return the pictures after a couple of weeks with thank you notes for their participation!

Dream House Project
Michelle C. promotes social skills and helps children expand their imaginations with this activity.

Materials: Magazines, scissors, large pieces of paper with an outline of a house on it.

Description: Explain to your class about the different rooms in a house.
Talk about how some houses have more or less rooms than others, some
are two story, one story, etc.  You can read related books such as
Come Over To My House and In a People House, both by Theo LeSieg. 

Afterward, break up into groups, I recommend putting children into groups
so they can work with someone other than their friends.  Pass out scissors, magazines, and paper to each group.  Have them go through and put whatever they wish in their own house.  Try to let each group settle their own arguments, this is a group project intended for children to try to compromise on ideas.

Comments: Children may have trouble with scissors,  just be prepared for some to be frustrated.  Have your own scissors ready to help!!

Family Puzzles
Children learn about the importance of each family member during this activity by Kim C.

Materials: Picture of child's family, tag board and bags for pieces

Description: Take the child's picture and glue it to a piece of tag board and let the children cut it into pieces (teacher can help).  Let children put the pieces back together again in a puzzle type activity.

Create an Important People Collage
During this early childhood education plan preschool children build self identity, self esteem, vocabulary skills and begin to better understand how people in their lives are related.

You will need: magazines, scissors, tape and a large piece of construction paper.

Talk with a small group of children and ask them to tell you about people in their families.  Begin the discussion with short sentences, "My dog Pebbles
is my special friend.  I live with my husband (name).  My best friend (name)
lives in another house".  Give children time to tell about people and animals that are special to them.

Young children need and like to talk about those who care for and are close
to them.  Concrete reminders like photos or magazine pictures that children can look at and touch provide comfort, because families help children feel secure about their place in the world.

Next:  Bring out magazines and give preschoolers time to look through them for pictures that remind them of their families.  Encourage children to continue the discussions as they cut out their pictures.  Tape/glue the pictures on the construction paper and ask children to point out and name the people in the pictures. 

Write the names exactly as each child says them, next to the appropriate person or animal.  Hang the collage at the children's eye level and let it remain so that youngsters can add neighbors, friends and other important people over time.

Teacher Tip:  Make certain to have magazines that have pictures  depicting all the ethnic groups represented in your group.  But don't be surprised if children choose people who are not the same age, sex or race as they are, children often see people differently than adults.

Classroom Visitors
Inviting relatives to visit and volunteer in the preschool classroom may help youngsters to make the transition between home and school.  Make certain that adult visitors and volunteers have specific tasks (in small groups) to do so that they will not be overwhelmed by so many busy little people in one place.

You may consider asking adults to help in the housekeeping area, block area
or with easel painting duties.  Offer written suggestions on task cards
so that adults will have guidance when you're too busy to verbally give
them ideas.

Reading a book during story time provides a wonderful way for adults
to ease into the preschool classroom setting. Also, during story time
teachers can prepare children for visitors by reading and discussing
the book  What Mary Jo Shared.

Related themes in the Rainbow Resource Room:


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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