Back To School! (Or 1st Time At School)

Back to School is a crazy time for a kid! There is excitement for what is to come this year and to spend time with their friends. There is also apprehension and stress because they aren't sure what to expect. It can be even more scary if this will be their first time going to school or day care. For these kids, this will be a completely new experience. The best way to help quell some fears and put some anxiety to rest is to follow the steps I have listed out here. Let's make this school year start off right!!

Talk about what to expect for the new school year. Discuss the things that will be changing at home. Allow them to share their fears and emotions about it and don't make them feel as though these feelings aren't valid. Offer reassurance and tell them about your experiences as a kid going to a new school! It really helps a small child to cope when they know that you did it too. If you can throw in a funny story about your experience, it will help break the tension even more. Be sure to be positive and upbeat about the coming changes. Kids can sense when you are worried or apprehensive and it will carry over to them. Some children may benefit from having a heart drawn on their hand or a smal trinket they can keep in their pocket that will remind them that you are always with them.


There are many great books that talk about going off to school for the first time or going back to school. Read a few of these books with your kids in the days and weeks leading up to school to help them with their fears and anxiety. ALL of these are available on Amazon or in your local library!

In this story, the little girl is beginning kindergarten and she is afraid. The books talks about what she is afraid of, shows why she ends up having a great time, and that her brother was able to help her!

This book helps with kids facing separation from their parents for the first time. The ideas inside will reinforce the ideas in my first section about giving your kiddos something to remind them that you are always there with them.

Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school. She doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending.

Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. "Worry, worry, worry," her family said. "Too much worry." And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!


It's a great idea to have your child help when picking out their school supplies. Whether they need everything from crayons to notebooks or only a new backpack, bring the kiddos to the store and get them involved with picking out their loot. Then, once you get it home let them help get it all packed up and ready for the 1st day. This will help to generate excitement about what is coming and will also allow them to feel like they have control of something.

A great way to help get them excited is to let them come with you when you pick out their school supplies! Even if they only need a new back pack, lunch kit, or shoes, being there to help will get them involved. Once all of the supplies have been taken home, ask for their help to package them up ready to take to school. This whole process is great for them to feel involved and somewhat in control.


Beginning a week or 2 out, slowly change their routines. Start setting bedtime back a few minutes each day. Start getting them up earlier in the morning. During the day, begin to change their meal times and when they nap (if they still nap). By starting these changes early and doing it slowly, it will make the new school routine much easier for them to handle. It won't be one big change all at once. Believe me, you will have much less grouchy children this way!


If your child INSISTS on picking out their own outfit, and you know it is going to be a lengthy process that will disrupt the entire morning, choose for them while giving them the opportunity to choose for themselves. Pre-select 2 full outfits, from underwear to shoes (and hair bows, if appropriate) and set them out. This way you can allow them to pick out their outfit and they feel like they did it themselves, but the morning's routine should remain in tact! This can be a real time saver if you have a picky, stubborn kid.


Mornings can be a real pain! Trying to get everyone ready and out the door can be pretty stressful. I find that planning ahead and getting everything ready the night before can make the morning run so much more smoothly. I set out my son's outfit (he doesn't care what he wears yet), my outfit, and pack up our bags. I pack our lunches and get breakfast ready to go. My mornings are pretty smooth and I like it that way! I also wake up early enough that I can get myself completely ready, then I get my son up. I get him up early enough that he has some time to wake up and eat a little breakfast. We both function much better if we don't have to get up and rush out the door. Do whatever works best for you, this is just what works for us!


The first few days of a new routine are tough. If you plan a little extra time in the morning it can really help. In case your child spills something on their shirt and you have to change it, you should have a few extra minutes planned so you aren't going to be late. It always happens like that during the first week, so if you make time for these little things, you are prepared and not stressed out.


When you pick them up or they get dropped off on that special first day, greet them with a special "1st Day of School Treat"! This can be anything from a specially made cupcake to a new sticker book. Whatever will be special for your kiddo. You can then make this a 1st day of school tradition every year, one that they can look forward to. 

     9.   BEGIN CHORES

Once school has started, it is a great time to begin a chore chart for your kids. They need to feel like productive and responsible members of the family. By giving them daily chores, it will help to reinforce manners, responsibilities, and understanding of being part of a family. Young children can have very simple chores, such as "wiping the table" after meals. You will most likely have to redo it, but give them the opportunity to be helpful. Trust me, starting this now will make it much easier to continue as they get older instead of trying to start chores once they are older and don't really want to be helpful anymore!

Have a great first week! Once you have all gotten into the routine, it will get easier.

Check Back Often!

I will continue to add new and exciting lesson plans throughout the year!

Since I began this blog nearly a full year ago (hard to believe!) I have begun to look back at some of the past lessons and think about the future.

I currently have a full 38 weeks of lessons available for you to use, as well as several other pages full of great kid content for you.

For the month of August, I have decided to put weekly lessons on hold. I am going to work on adding new content and pages and really come up with some great new Back-To-School posts!

PLEASE feel free to re-visit some of the great past lessons we have done! Just click through some of the Weekly Plans in the section on the right side panel. If you are looking for something specific, scroll down the right panel to the Labels and look through them to find different topics.

I will continue the same types of lessons in the future, so please check back often! I am also planning to start a few new pages with new and exciting content for you. I also post to Facebook all the time to let you know what is coming up so like us on Facebook:!/pages/NothingButMonkeyBusiness/502342983116869

I am very excited that my blog and labor of love has been so well received by so many and that I have been able to help parents and children learn more about their world.

It's going to be an awesome school year this year!

Space - Our Solar System

Space is a very big place! It is certainly an important subject to learn about, since it is a part of us and we are a part of it. For this lesson we are going to do our best to explain Space and how our very own Earth is just a small part of it. We are going to focus mainly on our own Solar System.

Psalm 148:3
Praise Him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you stars of light!


A Solar System is a part of space which has one or many suns and planets circling the sun(s). Our Solar System has 1 sun and 8 planets. There are other bodies in the Solar System as well, such as Moons,  Asteroids and Comets. See a great animation of the planets circling the Sun HERE.  There are lots of other cool things to check out on that website as well, so enjoy that! It will help you get into even more detail about our Solar System if you want to. The Saturn information is pretty cool! I am going to keep it pretty simple for our lessons. has a printable book about the planets. Print HERE and discuss with the kids. Each print produces 2 books, it is very handy! They can also color the book, so you can talk about what color the different planets are!


How Far Away ARE Those Other Planets?

It is pretty tough for preschool aged kids to understand just how far away the next state is, let alone how far it is to Jupiter! This demonstration will help them put the far distances between planets into a little perspective for them.

You will need:
A few rolls of toilet paper
Small mock ups of the planets (stryro balls work great!)
Quite a bit of room to spread out

The idea is to use the toilet paper squares as units of measurment. Each square will represent about 20 KM. It is best to pre-count the lengths you will need for each planet so you are ready for your class demonstration.

Pick a spot in your room to represent the Sun. (You may need to do this outside!) Make sure it is at a far end so you have plenty of room to make it all the way to Neptune! You will need:
3 squares for Mercury
5 squares for Venus
8 squares for Earth
12 squares for Mars
39 squares for Jupiter
72 squares for Saturn
(here is where it gets crazy!)
144 squares for Uranus
225 squares for Neptune

Roll each out from your "Sun" and place the correct planet at the end. Talk about how far each planet is away. It will really help them understand just how BIG the Solar System is! Have them walk from the Sun all the way to Neptune. Whew!


Craft - Easy Solar System

For this you need:
Black Construction Paper
White or silver crayons
Planet stickers or planets cut out from magazine or internet
Glue (if using cutouts)

Give each child a piece of the black paper. They should attach the planets around the Solar System and then fill in stars with the crayons.

Art - Sand Art/Moon Surface

The Moon that circles the Earth is covered in a thin, powdery "sand". We are going to make a picture of the moon using some Moon sand! (The Fine Motor activity is going to use this sand again)

Moon Sand Recipe:
6 cups play sand
3 cups cornstarch
1½ cups cold water

1. Mix the water and cornstarch together thoroughly. It will take a little work and patience to get it smooth.
2. Mix in the sand gradually, really working it together with your fingers.

Print the Moon coloring page HERE.  Supply the kids with a copy of the moon, some glue, and some sand. Allow them to put glue on the picture and then sprinkle the sand on top.


Star Matching
There are LOTS of stars in the night sky. These stars are suns and planets far away in space. For this activity you will need to cut out 20 stars or purchase the stars pre-cut. Draw one dot on one star and write the number 1 on one star. Continue this through all the stars so that you have 10 stars with dots and 10 stars with written numbers. Place all the stars with the dots mixed up in a box or bowl and do the same with the written numbered stars.

The children should choose 1 star out of the dots bowl and count the dots. They should then search through the written numbered bowl to find the star that matches.

You can also ask them to put them in number order on the table as they find them.

Smallest to Largest

Print out the planets. Cut them out and guide the children as they put them in order from smallest to largest.

Discuss how much bigger Jupiter is compared to the smaller planets, like Earth!

Planets Template


Moon Sand Play

Use the leftover (or make more) of the Moon Sand from the craft above. Place a tarp or old shower curtain down and set out a few items, like small stones and a few cups, for them to manipulate it with.



A very sweet book! Check this one out.


Great for thinking about a trip to the moon and also a great Early Reader!


Stars in the Sky

For this, you will need some foam or cardboard stars that are shiny on one side for the kids to use!

Sung to the tune of "Itsy, Bitsy, Spider"

See the shining stars(Hold up shiny side of star facing out)
Up in the big, night sky.
Look at them all twinkling
and blinking way up high!
When the morning comes, (Slowly start turning the star around)
the night turns into day
And the little twinkling stars. (Show plain side of star only.)
All seem to go away!

Talk about how the stars are always there, you just can't see them during the day because the Sun is so bright!

Gardening & Growing Plants

The theme for this week will be gardening and we will talk about how plants grow. It is important for our kiddos to understand that the grass, trees, flowers, and vegetables grow from seeds. We will discuss the entire process and all of the elements it takes to grow plants and we will even grow some plants of our own!

John 15:5 " “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.


Read the story on the above link. It describes the process of planting seeds and then some flowers growing. This is a great way to begin the discussion. Then, ask the children what things are necessary for the flowers to grow. Can the seeds grow without soil? water? sunlight?  It is very helpful to buy a few packets of seeds and show them to the children. Talk about the different plants that will grow from the seeds. Allow the kids to examine the different seeds you provided.

Circle Time Project

Materials Needed:
Yellow construction paper
Green construction paper
White paper
Sunflower Seeds

Cut out sunflower petals from the yellow paper. Also cut out stems from the green. The idea is to make 1 flower per 4 kids. They are going to work together to make them. Sunflowers have LOTS of petals, so make a bunch for each flower. (If you have some older kids, have them help out with the cutting!) Sunflower Petal Template

Give each group of kids their petals, a stem, a small cup of seeds, a white paper, and some glue. Direct them to make a sunflower. The seeds will be glued in the center of the flower. This is where sunflower seeds really come from!


**You will want to start this as early in the week as you can, so you can watch what happens throughout the week.

Grow some herb plants! This is a fast way to explore how plants we grow are foods we eat. Most fruits and vegetables take quite a while to show results, but herb gardens provide edible plants pretty quickly.

Basil is a great herb to grow. It sprouts quickly and is easy to care for. This herb prefers heat and damp soil. So watering it and growing it in the summer will work out beautifully!

Provide each child with a small paper cup. Place a bowl of potting soil and a bowl of seeds on the table. You can use plastic spoons to scoop the soil and seeds into the cups. Instruct the kids to scoop a few spoons of the soil into their cups. Scoop up a spoonful of seeds and place on top of the soil. Poke the seeds down into the soil with your fingers. Lightly water. Make sure to write the child's name on the cup. Place the cups in the sunniest window sill you have.

Check the cups each day for progress. You may begin to see some sprouts by the end of the week!


Sunblock Experiment

Plants need light to live. Sunlight is kind of like food for plants and if they don't get food they won't grow, just like people won't grow if we don't have food. Place a jar lid (or something else that has some weight to it) on a part of a green lawn. Ask the kids what they think will happen to the grass that is under the lid? Write down their answers. This is another experiment that takes a few days to see results. By the end of the week you should be able to check the grass under the lid and see a change. What happened to the grass? Why did this change happen? Do you think the grass will go back to normal after we remove the lid? Try that next! Remove the lid and water the spot and check back next week to see what happens!


Flower Growing

Pretend to be a flower! Start all scrunched up in a ball close to the ground. Shine a flashlight on the kids to act as the sunlight. Use a clean spray bottle to lightly spray them with a little water. They should slowly begin to sprout and grow upward. By the time they are full grown, they should raise their arms above their heads and spread their fingers out on their hands. They are beautiful flowers!


Watering Can Tracing Activity

Follow this link: to their gardening pack. Scroll down to the printable packs and click on Part 1. The pages 6, 7, and 8 are watering can tracing sheets. Print them and have the kids trace the water from the can to the plant. Great for practicing their fine motor writing skills!

There are lots of other fun worksheets on the site that you can use also!


Flower Puzzle

Print the puzzle by following the above link. It is best to print it on a more sturdy paper. Cut out all the pieces and have the kids put the puzzle back together.

Seed Counting

Use cupcake liners. Draw 1 dot in the bottom of one, draw 2 dots in the next, and so on until you have as many as you want to have the kids count. Place sunflower seeds in a bowl and ask the kids to place the number of seeds in the liner as is indicated by the number of dots drawn inside the liner.


Art - Bean & Seed Art

Provide a selection of seeds and beans. Also provide bowls of Elmer's school glue in little bowls and Q-tips. Give each child a piece of paper and ask them to make a picture of whatever they want using the beans and

Craft - Foot Flowers

This one requires some serious assistance, but they will have fun getting their feet all paint-y! Allow the kids to choose what color they want their flowers to be. Paint the bottoms of their feet with the paint and guide them to step in the center of the paper with their feet. Once they have a couple of good prints, clean them up. You can have them add the stems and grass and so forth or you can do it. 
These end up so cute and parents love them!


On Amazon:

A very cute book with adorable rhymes that chronicles a garden from seeds to sprouts!

 On Amazon:

Also a great story about plants growing and all the beautiful colors that plants can be.


"Plant a Little Seed"
Plant a little seed
In the dark, dark ground
Out comes the yellow sun
Big and round
Down comes the cool rain
Soft and slow
Up comes the little seed
Grow, grow, grow


Mickey and the Beanstalk

This is a classic and very cute. You can find it on Netflix and it can also be ordered through Amazon!


Veggies & Dip!
This is a very easy dip recipe that the kids can help you make! Cut up some carrot sticks, celery sticks, bell peppers, mushrooms, and whatever else you like (they are all things that are plants we grow!) for dipping in your dip.
  • 8 oz of Sour Cream
  • ⅓ cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of Onion Powder
  • ½ teaspoon of Garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoons of Dried Dill
  • 1 teaspoon of Dried Basil
  • ½ teaspoon of Dried Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  1. In a small mixing bowl, stir the sour cream and mayo together until smooth and well blended.
  2. Add the herbs and spices, stirring till fully incorporated.
  3. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover and chill in the refrigerator till ready to serve with your favorite vegetables.

Kindness Week

For this week's lesson we are going to talk about the reason for being kind to others. Preschool children have a hard time being kind to one another because they are still more concerned with their own happiness than with others. They feel as though it is perfectly acceptable to take another child's toy from them because it makes them happy, it doesn't much matter that it hurts the other child. If a child takes their toy away, oh man! The world has ended. So, in an effort to help them think about the other person's feelings, we are going to focus on kindness and the teachings of Jesus about being kind.

Matthew 7:12
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

John 13:34-35
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Kindness is contagious! Contagious means it passes quickly and easily from person to person. If you are kind to someone, it can inspire them to be kind to someone else. In this way, we can spread kindness around to everyone! This is an experiment you can try anytime! Be kind to someone and see how the kindness spreads.


In your circle, have everyone hold hands. Sing the song "Peaceful Friends" and feel the love spread from person to person!

(to the tune of  “I’m a Little Teapot”)
We come to school and like to say,
“Care for one another every day.”
We learn together and we play
Peacefully, every day.  

(I found this song, as well as many other awesome Kindness Week ideas, on


Optical Illusions

Sometimes we have disagreements because each of us see things in different ways. Something may seem understandable to you, but to your brother it seemed like you did something very mean! An interesting way to show that you can see things in different ways it to look at optical illusions! If you look at them one way you may see one thing, then look at it again and it will look completely different! Sometimes we need to try to see something the way our friend is seeing it in order to understand their feelings.

Check out to see some really neat optical illusions!

I especially like the one called "Mother, Father and Daughter". It really demonstrates how things can look different depending on how you look at it.

Do you see a musician or a girl's face?Do you see a musician or a girl?


ART - Forgiveness Stones

Materials Needed:
Smooth stones suitable for painting (can be bought or found)
Paints (tempera work great)

The children will paint a stone that can be used to remember to “make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 (or forgive those who have wronged us as the Lord did).

CRAFT - Friendship Hands

Materials Needed:
Construction Paper

Allow the kids to choose their color of paper. Trace their hands on the paper and cut out. Make sure to write the child's name on their hands. Then make a circle with the kid's hands and allow everyone to help glue them together. This is your circle of friendship hands!



Pom Pom Number Toss

Materials Needed:
Ice cube tray or egg carton
Craft Poms

Write the numbers 1-12 in the bottom of each cup. Team the kids in 2's and give each team one color of pom poms. Each team will have 2 tries to toss the pom poms into the cups. The team will then need to count to the numbers they landed on. If you have older kids, they can also add the 2 numbers they landed on together. 


On Amazon:

 In this delightful and warm book, the author weaves a story of children helping others and leaving heartprints all along the way.

On Amazon:

The Berenstain Bear series helps children learn how God wants them to live every day. When the Bear family practices going to church, praying, and being kind, plus remembering how much God loves them, their lives are much more joyful. Should Sister Bear ignore the new girl at school just because her friends do? The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule shows children how choosing to be kind may not always be the easy choice. But it is always the right one.


Beads in an Egg Carton

Materials Needed:
Egg Cartons
Paint or Markers
Multi-Colored Beads

Prep the cartons by painting each cup in the cartons a different color to match the colors of beads you have. Depending on the size of your class, divide the kids into teams of 2-4. Each team will need 1 egg carton, 1 spoon and a bowl of different colored beads. As a team the kids will need to separate the beads in the bowl into like colors in the egg carton using only their spoons. They should take turns with the spoon so that each child has a chance to help. This is great for teamwork and fine motor skills, as well as sorting skills!


Edible Necklaces

Ring cereal, such as cheerios or fruit loops
Mini Pretzels
Yogurt or Chocolate covered Mini Pretzels
Mini Fudge Stripe Cookies
Whatever else you can think of!

Set out a bowl of each item. Give each child a length of yarn or twine that will fit loosely around their neck when tied together. The children should string whatever yummy treats they want onto the yarn until it is about 2 inches from each end. You have to have some room to tie it! They can wear these to watch the fun movie below!


The Berenstain Bears - Kindness, Caring & Sharing

A great movie, perfect for our lesson this week! You can find it on Amazon: