Kissing Hand Activities for the First Day
One of my favorite ways to start the first day of school in Pre-K or Kindergarten is by doing Kissing Hand activities. The Kissing Hand is a precious little book with the lovable character, Chester Racoon, who captures children’s hearts right away because Chester misses his mom and is nervous about starting school. I’ve created several Kissing Hand activities to go along with the book to make the first day of school memorable and comforting!
BEFORE the First Day of School
At Open House, I send home a QR code tag that has a link to The Kissing Hand being read online. It encourages parents to let their child listen to the book the night before school starts. (It also includes a web link for those who don’t know how to use a QR code app.)
I also bake Kissing Hand cookies the night before school starts. We eat them at snack time our very first day. (Be sure you’ve had parents fill out allergy information at Open House before sharing any food with the children!) You could also bag these up as an end of the day treat for children to take home.
I found the perfect Kissing Hand cookie cutter on Amazon. Simply roll out some sugar cookie dough, and use the cookie cutter to make the hands. The kids LOVE these!
First Day of School Kissing Hand Activities
When the children arrive, they complete a coloring sheet to keep them busy while I help the incoming children unpack and get settled. I encourage them to show me their best coloring.
This activity gives me a quick peek at their crayon grasp. I also ask them to write their name on the paper. Again, I get a sneak peek at what they can already do coming into school!
Throughout the day, I like to sprinkle in academic Kissing Hand activities. These small bits of science, literacy, and math are the perfect opportunity to show the children that school will be a place to learn…and have fun!
When I introduce the book, I make a big deal about the TITLE of the book. Then I show them an anchor chart about titles, and we display it in our classroom library on day one.
For science, we talk about the fact that raccoons are nocturnal, so Chester goes to school at night. Use big words with kids from day one. If they can say Tyrannosaurus Rex, they can say nocturnal!
We make a science chart together showing various nocturnal animals and display it in our science center. The children already have one piece of text they can “read” from day one!
We also do a graphing activity which gives us a chance to discuss our first day feelings. This social emotional activity is critical for young learners trying to process their emotions on the first day of school.
Just look at all that learning on day one from one little book!
Following Chester’s Raccoon Tracks
One of the children’s favorite activities comes after we discuss raccoon tracks. I show them a real photograph of a raccoon and raccoon tracks, and then we travel around the school following Chester’s footprints wherever they lead.
This serves as our school tour which is a very important first day of school activity for little learners.
At each location, they meet a school helper like the nurse, the secretary, and the gym teacher. Our last stop on the tour is the principal’s office where a special treat awaits them!
In the principal’s office, students find a bag of Hershey Kisses just for them! Each little bag has a tag on it that says, “Kisses from my First Day of School.” The kids get so excited to take these kisses home and share them with their families.
More Fun Kissing Hand Activities
I also like to do a hand print craft with the kids on the first day of school. There’s nothing more special than a keepsake hand print from preschool or kindergarten, is there? (You may either trace the students’ hands, or add tempera paint or fingerprint ink to their hands and make the print that way.)
I add a sweet little poem to the hand print, and I’m sure the moms and dads cry when this treasure comes home!
While I’m pulling children to my table to do their hand print craft, the other kids work on coloring a Chester crown to wear home in celebration of their first day of preschool, Pre-K, or Kindergarten!
Isn’t this little Chester raccoon stuffed animal adorable? You can find him HERE. I also like the idea of using a Chester Raccoon puppet as your class mascot. Children instantly get quiet when a puppet gets ready to talk!
Finishing Up Your Kissing Hand Themed First Day
I send a note home to parents the first day letting them know about our Kissing Hand activities. This note includes a QR code link to the book being reading online so children and parents can enjoy it together as a bedtime story. I also send home a sweet little certificate that makes the littles SO proud!
A Few More Tips
If you can’t fit all of these activities in the first day, or you have a half day program, feel free to stretch these out over the first week of school.
This complete printable packet also includes lesson ideas and detailed instructions for each activity! Also, the packet includes each activity and printable labeled specifically with preschool, Pre-K, and kindergarten so you can print the set that’s appropriate for your age group.
Click on the Image Below to Get your Kissing Hand Theme Packet and start getting ready for the first day of school!
Looking for more fun back to school activities? Check these out:
- First Day of School Gift for Students
- FREE First Day Signs
- Tips for a Tear-Free School Drop Off
- Back to School Freebies