I knew I had to incorporate a backpack for Blueberry Ball at the beginning of the school year. He had only used it for toys up until that point, but he got it into his head that he needed one to “go to school” with. We have been using it on a weekly basis ever since. He enjoys being surprised by what he finds each Monday morning!
The idea behind our Mondays is to introduce new topics through the use of arts, crafts, worksheets, and anything that will fit in a backpack really. I combine the ABC Jesus Loves Me Free Christian Curriculum with my own additions to the same themes creating unique combinations to peak his interests and challenge him.
The themes and printables are mostly designated and filed by the week four weeks in advance. This gives me more time and flexibility to add my own extras to free printable packs, and gets my creative juices flowing more quickly.
If you read the previous post on Setting The Mood For Learning, you know that the Bible (with memory verse card bookmark and Compassionate Characters), the book of the week, and letter of the week books are already displayed on the Free-Style Art Center and ready to go. These will be used every week day, not just on Monday.
Here is Monday’s Backpack Checklist. I will try to add many links to the items as possible so that you can find them:
- Handwriting Worksheets. I usually prefer to use My Homemade Dry Erase Book, but there are several different options. If you want your preschooler to focus in on writing certain figures you should probably not do a book til later in the week. However, I find that Blue focuses much longer on writing when he has more of it to do. I just have the book already opened to one of the new pages to start with.
I use a random pre-designed handwriting worksheet and then I put the matching “Red Light Green Light” cards (as Blueberry Ball calls them) on each one. I found these cards to be a great addition to a good thing. He likes that he can use the red and green “lights” to tell him when to stop and go. I like that he is learning his letter formations.
2) Bible crafts and coloring sheets. These go in the front, because we will move directly from Bible time to Backpack time. I gather everything planned for Bible time in the designated weekly lesson plans on ABC Jesus Loves Me. I then I begin looking for any additional fun things we can add to help introduce the story. I try to add as much as I can without being repetitive. This is because Blue has difficulty taking interest in the Bible (unless we are talking about Adam and Eve…. again).
3) I add the predesignated printable preschool pack worksheets and crafts. I have already print out and cut what I am going to use from the packs.
For us, this usually includes but is not limited to:
- match-ups (pictures, letters or numbers)
- which one is different
I can usually, but not always find these all from the same source. If it seems like I am short, I just make sure that these basics or similar ones are covered. The idea is to have a wide range of opportunity.
4) Letter of the week craft activity. I can always find lots of options by typing the letter followed by the word craft into search engines. I also like how the ABCJLM website uses their letter posters for crafts. I try to add at least one each Monday.
5) The number poster. I print it out on construction paper and glue it to another contrasting sheet. I then put it in a baggy along with stickers to match our theme. You could also have your child color the blank page and then add stickers.
6) Fun crafts. I don’t place these directly into the backpack, but I make sure that I have them ready. I keep a theme to it, but I usually choose between play dough, paints, or sidewalk chalk. Those are my standard go-tos, but it could be anything. The point of this is to step a little further than the normal coloring activities or cut and pastes. I use it as an excuse to get the kids outdoors on art day when we have time left over.
7) Shape of the week activity. These range a great deal. It is usually something that pops into my head close to the end of backpack prep. This week is the hexagonal pyramid, so we will be using my first very own printable to count the sides and shapes. A couple of weeks ago I gave him trapezoid-shaped sponges for him to make hexagons out of. Anything that reinforces the definition of the shape is acceptable and we don’t usually spend a whole lot of time on it because he does well with shapes and is already ahead for his age.
8) Name activity. This is something that is conveniently laid out for you in the ABC Jesus Loves Me Curriculum, but we follow it loosely. Sometimes I will use ideas shared here, and sometimes I pick my own, but I don’t personally use them in any set order.
9) Supplies. All of the markers, crayons, pens, glue and scissors go in a container that tucks into the small front pocket of his backpack.
10) Give the backpack a status. I like to put his on display along with the bulletin board display. This gets him curious as to what it contains, and it works well for the sake of convenience.
- handwriting worksheets
- Bible crafts and coloring pages
- printable pack additions
- letter of the week craft
- number poster
- fun crafts
- shape of the week craft or activity.
- Name activity
- Display the backpack in a prominent position in your school room
By this time, I usually have 15-20 different choices for him. What is left over won’t go to waste. I either file it away for him or his sister to do later or I sneak it into his Free-Style Art Center when the week is over. Everything that is completed in the backpack will end up on the bulletin board for bragging rights until the following Saturday morning.
Check out my other posts from the Weekly Prep Checklist series:
- My Weekly Household Routine
- Weekly Prep Checklist: Introduction To The New Series
- Weekly Prep Checklist#1: Setting The Right Mood For Learning
Next up in the series: