30 Reasons to Get Excited About Starting School

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Dump Those First Day Jitters and Get Your Big Kid Excited About Kindergarten!

With the promise of nurturing teachers, new friends, and amazing things to learn, there are a lot of reasons to be excited about starting school. But for many kids, the unfamiliar brings fear and anxiety. Below are 30 fun and fabulous reasons to count down the days ‘till Kindergarten. Share them with your soon-to-be student and get your little one as excited about starting school as you are!

30 great things about kindergarten:

1. Friends!
2. First day outfit
3. Learning to read
4. Brand-new crayons
5. Science experiments
6. Story time
7. Cafeteria pizza
8. Foursquare
9. Counting to 100
10. New lunchbox
11. Recess
12. Field trips
13. Writing your own name
14. Big kid backpack
15. Kickball
16. Rainy day games
17. Sculpting with Playfoam®
18. Pencil pouches
19. Macaroni art
20. Circle time
21. Library day
22. Computer lab
23. Class pets
24. Lunchbox notes
25. Perfect attendance prizes
26. Classroom jobs
27. Dr. Seuss
28. Magnet math
29. Writing stories
30. A terrific teacher who can’t wait to meet you!

Rain, Rain, Go Away! Make the most of a drizzly day with big-time summer crafting fun!

Stuck inside on a summer day? Turn rainy day frowns upside down with these super-cool crafts guaranteed to make your kiddos smile!

Popsicle Flowers

Petal Power

These precious Popsicle stick creations make an adorable addition to your garden or potted plants!

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 Craft sticks or Popsicle sticks
  • Acrylic paints and brushes
  • Craft glue or glue gun (Parents, you’ll need to handle the glue gun, if you use one!)

What to Do:

  1. Paint all but two Popsicle sticks any color you’d like – make them all the same color or go for a variety.
  2. Paint the remaining two sticks green.
  3. Stack your sticks as shown above, gluing each one to the one below.
  4. Add a drop of glue to the tips of the green sticks and slide them into the center to create a 3-D floral sculpture!

Rainbow Rocks

Rainbow Rocks

Add some summer color to your yard with these rockin’ home-made rainbows!

What You’ll Need:

  • Several small to medium sized rocks in a variety of shapes
  • Wax crayons
  • Baking sheet
  • Tin foil
  • Oven (With parental supervision, of course!)

What to Do:

  1. Collect your stones, wash them, and dry them.
  2. Place the stones on a foiled-covered baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until warm.
  3. Remove one or two rocks at a time and place on the table (you might want to put a towel down to protect your table from scratches and heat).
  4. Use your crayons to color a rainbow design – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple – or colorful abstract on the rocks. The wax will melt on the rocks and leave a bright, shiny shell on top. NOTE – the rocks will be HOT, so kids shouldn’t touch or hold them. Longer crayons will keep little fingers further from the heat.

Playfoam Flower

Squishy, Squashy Summer Flowers

Squeeze in some sculpting fun with Playfoam®!

What You’ll Need:

  • Several colors of Playfoam®, including green.
  • Creativity!

What to Do:

  1. Choose your petal color.
  2. Squish the Playfoam up until it resembles a petal. Repeat until you have 5 petals.
  3. Roll the green Playfoam into a tubular shape.
  4. Attach all pieces, pressing down to make them stick.
  5. When you’re done, separate the pieces, squish them up, and play all over again – Playfoam never dries out so you can create again and again!

Drip drop painting

Drip-Drop Painting

Pour on the fun with this messy but marvelous painting technique!

What You’ll Need:

  • Flower pot(s) – Terra Cotta works best, but plastic is fine, too!
  • Several colors of acrylic paint in squeezable tubes
  • Tape (any kind will do)
  • Tarp, sheet, or towel
  • And yes, parental supervision!

What to Do:

  1. Turn your pot upside down and place it on the protective tarp or sheet. Weather permitting; you may want to do this project outside.
  2. Cover the hole in the bottom of the pot with tape.
  3. Choose your first color and pour it onto the top of your pot. Be generous.
  4. Choose another color and pour that on top of the first one.
  5. Continue pouring – the more paint you add, the more it will flow down the sides of the pot. You can be deliberate in your colors and striping or go Jackson Pollack and watch what happens!

DIY Rain Stick

Let It Rain!

Shake things up with a home-made rain stick!

What You’ll Need:

  • A sturdy, cardboard tube (the tubes inside your plastic wrap or foil are great)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Short nails and/or tacks
  • Rice, beans, or buttons – you’ll need lots!
  • Parental supervision!

What to Do:

  1. Press your nails or tacks into your tube, making sure they don’t poke through the other side (ouch!).
  2. Wrap your tube in tin foil, covering one end completely (you may want to tape it).
  3. Pour your rice, beans, or buttons in the other end. The more you use, the better the sound.
  4. Seal the open end with tin foil and tape.
  5. Decorate as you wish – with stickers, decorative tape, tissue paper and glue, paint, feathers, what have you…

 

Meet Nancy B at Creative Kidstuff!

Meet Nancy B

Hey Minnesotans! Join Nancy Balter, founder of Nancy B’s Science Club™, as she performs some super-cool science experiments at Creative Kidstuff stores around the land of 10,000 lakes!

Find Nancy at the following locations: (appearances are scheduled for one hour)

  • 7/30 Creative Kidstuff in St. Paul store at 10:00 AM.
    1074 Grand Ave.
    Saint Paul, MN 55105
  • 7/30 Creative Kidstuff at Mall of America at 1:00 PM.
    166 South Avenue
    Bloomington, MN 55425
  • 7/31 Creative Kidsuff Minneapolis Store at 10:00 AM
    4313 Upton Ave. S.
    Minneapolis, MN 55410.
  • 7/31 Creative Kidstuff Galleria Mall at 1:00 PM.
    3555 69th St.
    Edina, MN 55435

A scientist and a mom, Nancy Balter is passionate about sharing her love of science with children around the world. With degrees from Yale and USC in biology and science education, respectively, and two young children of her own, Nancy is captivated by the natural curiosity of children young and old(er). Nancy B’s Science Club™, her namesake brand featuring scientific tools and activities that encourage young girls to explore and pursue the sciences, launched to critical acclaim in 2013.

Can’t make it to her demonstrations? Bring the fun home with 25% off of all Nancy B’s Science Club™ products during our Get Smart Sale (sale ends 7/31).

For more details about store hours and exact location, please visit Creative Kidstuff.

Ready? Set. Imagine! Easy ways to encourage imagination and creative thinking.

Let's Make Believe Imagination comes naturally to kids and there’s a reason. Child development experts agree that imagination is key in helping kids understand the world around them as well as process things they aren’t able to experience first-hand, like Ancient Egyptian civilization or the eating habits of dinosaurs. Nurturing imagination is developmentally important and crucial for cultivating creative thinking. For some fun – and easy – ways to encourage your child’s imagination on a daily basis, give these tips a try.

Talk!

  • Tell YOUR story. Share stories from your own childhood, or your parents’ – and be descriptive! You’re passing down family history and wisdom; your child is stretching his or her imagination by picturing you as a child, your childhood home, and the rest of the scene you’re setting.
  • Make believe. Choose a person in a store, painting, or magazine ad and ask your child to tell you a story about that person. Where did he come from? What’s his job? Favorite food? Hobby? Pet?
  • Pass It On. Start a story, then “pass it on” to your child. Once they’ve added to the story, take it back and add a bit more. Continue until the tale is told!
  • Imagine that…Ask your child to imagine unbelievable scenarios and share his/her thoughts. Imagine that you’re the size of an ant. Imagine that you’re the only person on Earth. Imagine that you live underwater.

Dino - Talk

Create!

  • Make a collage. Cut out pictures from magazines or newspaper ads – people, pets, body parts, cars, nature, etc. Give the pile to your child, along with a sheet of paper and a glue stick, and let his or her imagination run wild.
  • Build a fairy house. Collect natural items like pine cones, acorns, cotton fluff, and seed pods. Then find a cozy corner of your yard and build a fairy house using your finds as furniture. An acorn cap makes a great bathroom sink!
  • Doodle an abstract shape on a sheet of paper and ask your child to turn it into something – and tell you a story about it, of course!
  • Get cloudy. Does the shape of a cloud above remind your child of anything? What does it look like? What could it be? What is it turning into as the wind blows?

Fairy Garden

Play

  • Role play is a child’s way of exploring his place in the world. Pretend to be a baker, doctor, business person, or vet. Stuffed animals, dolls, and action figures make great supporting characters.
  • Collect an assortment of random household objects like a toilet paper tube, ruler, and empty box and watch your child repurpose them for pretend play. Drive a toy car through the toilet paper tube tunnel and across the ruler bridge, balanced on two piles of books (of course).
  • Put on a puppet show! Whether you use a hand puppet, sock puppet, paper bag puppet, or Puppet-on-a-Stick™, puppet shows are a great way to encourage imagination. You might have to direct the script at the start, but you’ll be amazed at where your child takes the plot.
  • Take it outside. Head out back and cultivate a pretend garden – plant rocks as seeds and sticks as markers. What will you grow? Who will eat your crops?

Puppet Show

Just Beat It! Drum Your Way to Math Success With Our Maker Project

Nothing beats this Maker activity for sheer fun, total creativity, and yes, it’s true, math practice! Believe it or not, exploring different beats and rhythms is a fun way to introduce patterns, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions – and what kid doesn’t love to bang and pound? Follow the instructions and mix and match the materials suggested below to create an amazing array of percussion instruments and mix and match different drum bases, skins, sticks, and (optional) fillers and explore the different sounds each combination makes.

For our kid Makers who are reading this, make sure to ask a parent to help you with these projects!). And if you enjoyed this activity, be sure to check out the rest of our DIY Creativity Camp activity blog posts and don’t forget to share photos of the things you’ve made on Facebook.

One-Man Band DIY KitDownload PDF:  One-Kid Band Percussion kit steps

One-Kid Band Percussion Kit

Materials:

  • Cardboard tube (toilet paper)
  • Packing tape
  • Chopstick, pen, or other “drumstick”

How To:

STEP 1 – PACKING TAPE

  •  Stretch a piece of packing tape across one half of the top of your cardboard drum.

STEP 2 – MORE PACKING TAPE

  •  Stretch another piece of packing tape across the other half of the top of your cardboard drum.

STEP 3 – EVEN MORE PACKING TAPE

  •  Stretch a third piece of packing tape across the middle of the top of your cardboard drum so that the opening is completely covered with tape.

STEP 4 – TEST YOUR SOUND

  •  Use your drumstick to tap the top of your drum and make sure there are no holes in your “drum head.”

STEP 5 – A BIT MORE TAPE

  •  Wrap a final bit of tape around the edge of your tube to secure your drum head.

STEP 6 – MAKE MORE DRUMS

  •  Repeat steps 1-5 to make several more drums, set up your drum kit, grab your sticks, and bang away!

 Alternative Materials:

    Drum Base Materials:
    • Metal coffee cans
    • Tupperware
    • Plastic cups
    • Pots
    Drum Skins Materials:

      • Packing tape
    Drum Sticks:

      • Chopsticks
      • Mixing spoons
    (Optional) Drum Fillers:

      • Beans
      • Rice
      • Bolts
      • Paperclips

 Brain Boosting Benefits:

    • Encourages imagination and creativity
    • Enhances fine motor skills
    • Introduction to beats and patterns, a key early math skill

If your mini maestro can’t get enough of music making, check out our Rainbow Jam™—kids can compose unique tunes simply by touching RainbowJam to different colors!

So… what’d’ya make? How did it turn out? Is there anything you’d like to do differently or other materials you might like to try? Remember, Maker is a state of mind – anything you see, you can make – your way!