Transitional Activities for Elementary Students

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Are you looking for ways to make the transition back to school easier on your child? See these transition activities for elementary students to keep back to school a fun and exciting time, and help create smooth transitions rather than stress as the daily schedule of summer is coming to an end!

Back to school transition activities for students- picture of classroom with students

Making a smooth transition from one activity to another can be challenging for elementary students. However, there are several strategies that teachers and parents can use to help make the transition process smoother. For example, providing visual cues, such as a calendar, picture or a chart can remind students of upcoming activities. See a few ways to make the transition time back to school as easy as possible, whether you are needing great ideas transitioning from summer to school, or ways to transition an entire class from one activity to the next!

Purchase New Apparel and Footwear 

As parents, we know that purchasing new school supplies is one of the best ways to gear up for a new school year. Colorful backpacks, stylish clothing, and back-to-school sneakers for your child is a great way to boost their self-confidence and self-esteem. And, as kids grow and outgrow the usual cartoon themes, they may find they are needing new backpacks and accessories for the new year. They’ll feel positive about themselves and experience some self-expression along the way — especially if they picked out the clothes themselves. Check online for reputable retailers that sell back-to-school clothes and footwear. 

We recommend checking out your state's tax free weekend if you have one. This is a great way to save money– and a lot of time, we see sales that coincide with the tax free weekend. It's a great time to get your shopping done and purchase new items, including uniforms.

Visit the School Before the Start of Class 

It’s always a great idea to visit the school before the start of the new year. Often, your child’s teacher may be available for a back to school event. See if your student's school is hosting any beginning of the year events that your child can attend. Getting oriented to new surroundings is an easy way to to calm nerves about classroom transitions. The classroom will be more familiar, and your child will be able to navigate easier. Your child will feel less stressed out during the first few days or weeks of school because they are familiar with the school and the layout. 

Back to school activities: Girl carrying books with backpack

If visiting the school isn’t an option due to summer traveling or logistics, then visit the school's website with your child. You can at least give your child a snapshot of the school and campus from there. 

Create a Workspace for Your Child 

Getting your child to do their homework is no easy task. Educators and child psychologists suggest setting up a dedicated space that is comfortable and free from distractions. A homework nook or station creates good homework habits and makes studying an efficient experience, which will help your child achieve academic success during the school year. 

Ensure that any homework nook is away from the television and stocked with the necessary school supplies. Depending on the age of your child, a computer with internet capabilities may be needed. A good thing to note is to keep homework areas visible for adult supervision. However, it's important to provide a quiet place to study with low overall noise level, to help keep students’ attention on their homework.

A Little Conversation Goes a Long Way 

Back-to-school is a big concept for many elementary age students. Before the school year starts, try asking your child a few questions to facilitate conversation. Ask them how they’re feeling about school in general and seeing their friends and classmates. Do they know who their teachers are? What subjects and activities are they looking forward to learning about? The discussion helps you gauge where they are in their thought and also addresses any concerns or fears they may have. 

There are a few Conversation starters that you can use as effective ways to help kids transition to a new activity. For example, younger children might like to list their favorite songs, their favorite lunch box foods, and more. Older kids may like to talk about their school day plan, such as their new schedule, sports or activities, or new activity ideas.

Back to school transition activity ideas: Two girls going to school on bikes carrying backpacks

Conversation starters can be helpful for settling into the new school year, as well. For example, using a transitional phrase or sentence, such as “Now we are going to…” can help to signal the start of the new activity. Additionally, setting a timer can help students to stay focused and avoid getting off task. Keep in mind, some students will need less time per activity than others. Setting a timer to signal the last few minutes students have to complete an activity may help as a fun way to wind down and move on to the next task on the schedule.

By using these simple strategies, teachers can help their students to make a successful transition from one activity to the next.

The Benefits of Summer Reading 

Summer means family vacations, endless birthday parties, campfire smores, beach days and sleeping in. A leisurely break is positive experience and a great way to recharge. But when the school year begins, your child may find it difficult to jump-start their brain and use their academic skills. Summer reading has been proven to be beneficial for children of all ages. Statistics show that reading books over the summer break improves self-esteem, neutralizes summer learning loss, improves memory skills and improves reading comprehension. 

If you are finding the first week of school overwhelming, you can try to limit devices and social media for certain time periods of the day. For example, turning off devices an hour or two in the evenings can give enough time for students to get homework done and converse with parents and family members. Remember, setting aside your own devices for daily family time and getting more physical activity is a great habit to start, as well!

Organization Is Key to Academic Success

Organization is an important skillset to have. Teaching your youngsters the fundamentals of organization will help them prepare for assignments, exams and other student responsibilities. Organizational skills for a kindergartner might be something as simple as cleaning up after arts and crafts or putting papers in order. Organization differs with each grade level, but ultimately being organized can help us have more time. We are able to find needed things more easily. For many, overall organization can help with sensory needs and feeling more calm.

When it comes to older students, have them maintain a shared calendar with you. Besides being organized, it helps them understand the principals of time management, following through and delivering assignments on time. 

Stay Positive and Support Your Child's Learning 

Adjusting to the elementary school year is often a challenge. Take some extra time to support your students and create a positive transition period as much as possible. Hopefully you have some good ideas for back to school transitions, after reading the above tips. In addition to these tips, there are many resources available online from trusted educators that specialize in elementary school children. 

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