The Five-Day Countdown to Back-to-School

4 kids with bookbagsBy Rachel Sew, WQED Education Team.

As summer nears its end, try to keep things fun and educational with these daily activities for a five-day countdown to the first day of school. These activities are meant to help your child get back into ‘education mode’ in a fun way and help with the transition back to school.

Day 1: Getting back in the swing of it
Get back into habits and routines with a checklist. Create a morning checklist alongside your child with things such as ‘brush teeth, go to bed, change clothes, etc.’ Decorate it with pictures and let your child practice for the next five days checking off each task as they are completed.

Day 2: Shop for School Supplies
Nothing says ‘back to school’ like shopping for school supplies. Sending kids back-to-school with new school supplies will make them excited for the first day of school.

If you know a neighbor who is struggling financially and unable to go school-supply shopping this year, invite them to SHIM’s back-to-school distribution days. All K – 12 students, regardless of income, living in the following school districts are eligible to receive backpacks and supplies: Baldwin-Whitehall, Bethel Park, Keystone Oaks, Mt. Lebanon, South Park, and Upper St. Clair. Reservations encouraged. For more information, contact Molly Patterson at mpatterson@shimcares.org.

Day 3: Field Day
Take a field day to the museum or zoo to talk about art, dinosaurs, and animals. Encourage kids to record what they see and make sure to take pictures, so they can have something to share with their friends.

Is a trip to a museum not in the summer budget? Look for free family days in the summer. If that doesn’t work, head to the library, rent an art history book and play this Art History Game for Kids. You can also visit museums digitally like the National Gallery of Art which has a NGAkids Art Zone on their website which makes art interactive.

Day 4: Go Global
At SHIM and WQED, we celebrate diversity and our refugee neighbors. Your child is bound to meet students different from themselves. Use the day to talk and think about culture and differences. Teach kids about geography with a map or globe and pick a country to learn about their culture. The internet is a wealth of information and so is your local library – consider also taking SHIM’s refugee quiz!

Day 5: Grocery Shopping
Take your kids grocery shopping for their lunches. Include math, categorization and colors, while you shop. Make it like Bingo or iSpy. Take the opportunity to talk about eating healthy and let children pick something they want to eat in their lunches. For older children, challenge them to buy healthy food for lunch while staying under a budget.

If you or a neighbor is struggling to make ends meet, visit shimcares.org, to learn about qualifying for its food pantry services.