As a counselor, I helped kids with a variety of transitions. Many of the same transitional activities I did with students, I find helpful with my own kids.
Transitional activities we did to prepare for kindergarten:
1) Read books that showed how cool school is! One of our favorites is Mrs. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. I used a picture from the web because our copy is so well-loved, that the cover is completely off. This book rocks because it shows all the preparation the teacher, Mrs. Bindergarten, does to make school special. I like it that my kids will hear about all the behind-the-scenes work a teacher does.
We visited the library to see their display of back to school books - librarians are amazing, and provide such a wealth of information. The quiet talking and no running rules make visits to the library challenging for my herd, but still worth it...even if our visits are short!
We found a fun book, On the First Day of Grade School, that was like the song, "The 12 days of Christmas". Very cool, even if my kiddos preferred to sing it rock-n-roll style (as in loud, with drumming and air guitars).
2) Tour the school. Most schools have some sort of Back-to-School Night, but if ours hadn't, we would have just asked permission to walk around. I think it helps kids quiet their nerves if they can see their classroom, the restroom, the drinking fountain, etc... knowing is half the battle, right?
3) Play on the playground. Why? After we visited the playground this summer, my son was sold on how fun school would be. Who doesn't love recess?
4) Shop for school supplies. Now, to be honest, I pick up supplies all summer when I see sales. But, we always have a few things left to get right before school starts. I let them pick out their folders and pencil box so they can find their favorite color. We then have an exciting afternoon of labeling and packing the backpack - whoo hoo! We can talk about all the cool things they'll learn, all the neat pictures they'll color with their crayons, and all the writing practice they'll get with their pencils.
5) Send-off to school party - oh yes, we send them off in style. Our tradition: Make your own pizza party with an I Heart School brownie. Click here for the Make Your Own Pizza Party link; click here for the I Heart School brownie link.
"All I really need to know...
I learned in kindergarten."