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Kindergarten Back to School Centers

Are you ready for back to school? It’ll be here before you know it! Do you ever feel like there’s so much to get done, and never enough time to do it? There’s organizing to do, labels to be made, bulletin boards to get ready, and kindergarten back to school centers to be planned.

And while I can’t help you put up bulletin boards (although I’d love to!), I can help you plan centers.

That’s why today’s blog post is full of great Kindergarten Back to School Centers! I’ve also put together a little freebie that I’ll share with you at the end of this blog post. 

Early on in my teaching career, planning centers was a challenge for me. I struggled with providing hands-on activities that would keep my kindergarteners engaged. I wanted activities that would challenge them but could still be done independently. And honestly, I didn’t have the resources or time to come up with activities that were fun and fresh.
 
I knew there had to be other teachers like me with the same struggles. So that’s where I got the idea to create the Kindergarten Math and Literacy Centers: Year Long Bundle
 
While that bundle includes over 220 centers, made just for Kindergarten – today I wanted to share the Back to School centers kit. 
 
Planning for Kindergarten back to school centers? Check out this blog post with tons of ideas. You'll find hands on activities to teach letters and numbers. The center activities for kindergarten are student-friendly, hands-on, and simple enough for the first few weeks of school. You'll also find two FREE centers on this blog post, so click through and download your copy.
 
The back to school centers (appropriately titled Pencils, Glue, and Centers Too) includes 23 center activities – 13 math and 10 literacy. And if your school requires it, the Common Core standards for each center are included.
 
These centers are perfect for August and September in Kindergarten. I keep centers very simple at the beginning of the school year. The last thing you want is for a student to be frustrated the first few weeks of school. 
 
All 23 centers include “I Can” visual directions and recording sheets as well as a follow up practice page which can be used for homework or small group work. Answer keys are also included for easy checking.
 

Back to School Centers for Kindergarten

Letter Match

Planning for Kindergarten back to school centers? Check out this blog post with tons of ideas. You'll find hands on activities to teach letters and numbers. The center activities for kindergarten are student-friendly, hands-on, and simple enough for the first few weeks of school. You'll also find two FREE centers on this blog post, so click through and download your copy.

Students match the uppercase letter cards to the lowercase letters on the mat. There’s also picture cards included for students who are ready to work on beginning sounds.

Mats and letter/picture cards are color coded, so there is no confusion. An optional recording sheet is included for students to record their work.

Letter or Word?

Planning for Kindergarten back to school centers? Check out this blog post with tons of ideas. You'll find hands on activities to teach letters and numbers. The center activities for kindergarten are student-friendly, hands-on, and simple enough for the first few weeks of school. You'll also find two FREE centers on this blog post, so click through and download your copy.

Students sort the cards using the sorting mats labeled “Letters” and “Words”. They record their answers on the recording sheet. You can use this center in a pocket chart and without the recording sheet. 

A Work of Art

Planning for Kindergarten back to school centers? Check out this blog post with tons of ideas. You'll find hands on activities to teach letters and numbers. The center activities for kindergarten are student-friendly, hands-on, and simple enough for the first few weeks of school. You'll also find two FREE centers on this blog post, so click through and download your copy.

Students identify of the letter on the card. They find the matching letter on their paper. Using the color that is on the card, they trace the letter on the paper.

Secret Code Letter Sounds

Planning for Kindergarten back to school centers? Check out this blog post with tons of ideas. You'll find hands on activities to teach letters and numbers. The center activities for kindergarten are student-friendly, hands-on, and simple enough for the first few weeks of school. You'll also find two FREE centers on this blog post, so click through and download your copy.

Secret code activities are usually a favorite among students. For this secret code activity, students look at the three pictures to identify the secret beginning sound. All three pictures have the same beginning sound. 
 

Write and Wipe

Planning for Kindergarten back to school centers? Check out this blog post with tons of ideas. You'll find hands on activities to teach letters and numbers. The center activities for kindergarten are student-friendly, hands-on, and simple enough for the first few weeks of school. You'll also find two FREE centers on this blog post, so click through and download your copy.
This center is to help get students for writing. In this center, students work on fine motor skills and pre-writing skills by tracing the lines. For another fun twist, you could also have students roll play dough snakes and make the lines using snakes. 

Number Order to 5

Planning for Kindergarten back to school centers? Check out this blog post with tons of ideas. You'll find hands on activities to teach letters and numbers. The center activities for kindergarten are student-friendly, hands-on, and simple enough for the first few weeks of school. You'll also find two FREE centers on this blog post, so click through and download your copy.

Two sets of number order practice cards are included – numbers to 5 and 10. Students put the numbers in order and then do the same on the recording sheet. An optional number line is included. 

Numbers and Shapes, Oh My!

Planning for Kindergarten back to school centers? Check out this blog post with tons of ideas. You'll find hands on activities to teach letters and numbers. The center activities for kindergarten are student-friendly, hands-on, and simple enough for the first few weeks of school. You'll also find two FREE centers on this blog post, so click through and download your copy.

 This center is the math version of  “The Work of Art” activity. Students find the matching number or shape on their paper. Using the color that is on the card, they trace the number/shape on the paper. 

 

Lunch Time

Planning for Kindergarten back to school centers? Check out this blog post with tons of ideas. You'll find hands on activities to teach letters and numbers. The center activities for kindergarten are student-friendly, hands-on, and simple enough for the first few weeks of school. You'll also find two FREE centers on this blog post, so click through and download your copy.
Students will count to fill in the missing number.
 
Count On and Dab

Students practice counting on within 5 in this center. They start counting at the number on the crayon and use the crayons on the right to count on. You can use bingo dabbers or crayons for students to record their answers. 

You can check out all 23 back to school math and literacy centers here.

Back to School Freebie

I made this activity years ago using ketchup and mustard cut outs from the Dollar Tree. When I shared it with teachers, those cut outs were easy to find. But as years passed, they either don’t carry them anymore or they are incredibly hard to find – because I haven’t seen them in ages!

So I remade it, but the letters and numbers cards are included for you.

Planning for Kindergarten back to school centers? Check out this blog post with tons of ideas. You'll find hands on activities to teach letters and numbers. The center activities for kindergarten are student-friendly, hands-on, and simple enough for the first few weeks of school. You'll also find two FREE centers on this blog post, so click through and download your copy.

You’ll want to print, laminate, and cut apart the “I Can” cards and the matching cards. Print a recording sheet for your students. Students match the ketchup and mustard cards (or the scissors and glue) to create a match. They record their matches on the recording sheet. 

Planning for Kindergarten back to school centers? Check out this blog post with tons of ideas. You'll find hands on activities to teach letters and numbers. The center activities for kindergarten are student-friendly, hands-on, and simple enough for the first few weeks of school. You'll also find two FREE centers on this blog post, so click through and download your copy.

You can download the back to school freebie by clicking here.

Thanks so much for reading along as I shared about our Kindergarten Back to School centers! For more back to school ideas click here.

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18 Comments

  1. Love this post, so many great ideas! Any chance you could create a letter matching recording sheet for the milk and cookie cutout from Dollar Tree? I’ll happily pay for them.
    Thanks

    1. You'll need 3 packs as there are only 24 in ea. pack and you'll need 52 to make both upper and lower case letters. You'll have some blanks leftover for some other piece of goodness tho!

    2. hi Lee Ann,
      You would need 3 packages of cut-outs (52 total pieces) to make a match for all 26 letters of the alphabet. During the first few weeks of school, I don't give my students all of the letters to match-up because that can be a lot of pieces and overwhelming for a Kinder brand new to the classroom, especially the little guys who are new to letter recognition. For the recording sheet they only need 8 matches, which is what I will give them at first so that they can be successful. A few weeks later I would give them the whole set and use the recording sheet again. Hope that helps!!
      -Melissa

    1. Hi I was just wondering if it is at all possible for you to post a clear individual picture of each cut out so it can be copied and laminated in order for us to use the worksheets. I live in Australia (and I understand these are a year old so may not be available still) but would appreciate this if possible?

  2. I was JUST @ The Dollar Tree Store yesterday and completely ignored these cut outs, choosing another set. I'm going to have to go back! Thanks for the idea. I'll modify it for my 3rd graders with synonyms or the alphabet in cursive!

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