by Maria Chatzi
Are you looking for some artful back to school ideas with pebbles and rocks for preschool, kindergarten and young school age children? Are you a new teacher, a child caretaker, a creative parent? These could be activities and crafts done at home or at school, individually, in pairs or in small teams. Fun projects with beach stones or river stones take away the anxiety of starting school or daycare, encourage kids to develop new skills.
Here are some back to school ideas that will help children get enthusiastic about learning and the new school year from the first days.
A. Beach Rocks Garden.
Tell children that you’re going to make a unique, small rock garden in your classroom or at home in their room.
Use a sand box filled with sand and two or three large beach rocks.
Then give kids some beach stones and beach pebbles to draw or paint on, some acrylic paint, brushes, markers – these rocks and pebbles should be of various sizes and shapes.
Ask them to draw or paint something on the rocks that reminds them of their summer vacations.
After they’ve finished and the paint is dry, have them add their names and place their beach stones in the rock garden.
This is a good opportunity to have a discussion about summer memories, interesting natural items they’ve found and/or collected at the beach, rock hobbies and things they can do or make with pebbles during the school year.
If you are in the look-out for back to school ideas for preschoolers (and a kindergarten class), this could be a letter-rocks garden. Use larger, flat pebbles for Upper Case and smaller ones for Lower Case. Letters could be painted or glued on the beach pebbles.
You could also use these beach pebbles to play a word game a match game or a memory game and place them back in your letter-rocks garden when the game is over.
B. Back to school Craft Projects.
It isn’t difficult to lead children into expressing themselves creatively through crafts and arts. You will notice that all kids adore crafting things with smooth stones and pebbles.
So, here’s a list of stress-releasing back to school ideas for craft projects with beach stones to try with kids. Be sure that they’ll come asking for more!
Project Nr. 1
Have children paint or draw doodles on (medium to large) smooth beach stones to be used as paperweights at home or in the classroom, as window or door stoppers.
Another idea is to cover the beach stones with a collage of cut-outs from magazines or old, discarded books (pictures or words will both do).
An alternative is to use scraps of colorful papers or bits and pieces of photographs you’ve taken during a nature walk.
Project Nr. 2
Girls love making back to school beach stone jewelry (anything from pendants and bracelets to rings).
Other back to shcool ideas for both girls and boys are: good luck charms to dangle from their school bags, decorative backpack stone buddies (people/bugs/animals/monsters), key chains. These pebbles could be decorated with images of school items.
All the above mentioned pebble crafts could be made as gifts for teachers or old and new friends.
Project Nr. 3
Make beach pebble puppets and rock pet friends, simple or elaborate, depending on the children’s age and skills.
Project Nr. 4
Get kids organized.
Make personalized pebble pencil toppers for the little ones (so they won’t lose their pencils and to get them motivatied for their writing activities) and some decorated pencil holders for all.
One of the favorite back to school ideas for young children is crafting artful magnets to hold notes on the fridge or on a metal board.
Another idea all kids enjoy is making a personalized message board, which they will frame with beach pebbles. On each pebble they should write a word of hope and encouragement for their new school year (e.g. “Success”, “Fun”, “Winner”, “Try Again”, “You Can” etc).
Project Nr. 5
Get two cheap ready made note pads – make sure they have enough pages (you will need two pages for each school week).
Cover them with paper in the color of the kid’s choice. Tell children to draw the outline of their favorite animal/bug/flower on the cover.
Ask them to glue tiny pebbles on this outline, so that pencil lines won’t show.
After they’ve finished with this, give them craft markers or tempera paint and have them make a colorful, personalized note pad.
Use these note pads to teach kids Planning and Prioritizing: Write the week number on one page and leave every second page blank.
Explain that the first of every two pages is to write a list of what children should /intend to do in a week’s time (school assignments go here too), the second page is for them to list the tasks mentioned on the previous page in order of importance to them.
Help them sort out what is “Really” important and discuss “Why” it is important.
Follow them up with this for two or three months.
After that period, they could be left to plan and priorities tasks on their own.
You should always choose back to school ideas with rocks and beach stones (for crafts and other activities) according to the child’s interests, the kid’s age and skills level, safety, the space, time and materials available.
CAUTION: Even if the activities are easy for kids, the materials (and techniques) used are safe and the place looks safe, children should never be left unattended.
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