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When the Big Ones Return to Class, the Little Ones Can Be Learning with These 10 Fun Activities

Back-to-school season can be a fun and exciting time for everyone! Celebrate with this back-to-school preschool unit. When big sis went off to school last fall, we included the little ones in their own ”school” celebrations and excitement. Here is what we did to kick off “Mom School.”

1. School Buses Nothing says “back to school” like a big yellow school bus!

We spent a lot of time reading books that feature buses, singing “The Wheels on the Bus,” talking about bus rules and safety, and of course creating our own buses: First, have your child paint a paper plate yellow. Once the plate is dry you can fold it in half and staple it. Then, have them glue on black construction paper rectangles for windows and doors. Add two construction paper circles for wheels. Use a white crayon to write ”SCHOOL BUS” on your black paper.

2. Drive the Bus Through the Dirt

Put some paint on a tray (I got some handy trays from Ikea) and let the kids drive through it with toy buses onto paper.

3. ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!’

This picture book (by Mo Willems) goes along perfectly with the bus theme, and of course the kids love to tell the pigeon “No”! After reading the book, we created a popsicle stick bus, a paper plate pigeon, and a handprint pigeon (see below). I had precut all the circles and one rectangle neck and had them paint all the heads while the paint was out. (I like to do all the painting at one time to cut back on the mess and time of taking it out again and again.)

4. Popsicle Stick Bus

Have your child paint 14 small popsicle sticks yellow. Hot glue the horizontal sticks to the vertical sticks to make them all stay together. Cut out two black wheels and a black rectangle from construction paper. Write “SCHOOL BUS” on the rectangle using a white crayon. Have your child glue them to the popsicle sticks. Once the painted circle pigeon head is dried, glue that on. Glue on a small white circle for the eye and then use a marker to added details. Cut out a yellow beak using construction paper.

5. Paper Plate Pigeon

Paint a paper plate and fold it in half. Add a painted rectangle for the neck and a painted circle head. Add the details using construction paper and makers.

6. Handprint Pigeon Paint

your child’s hand and lay it down with the thumb up. Try to keep the fingers separated from the thumb. Glue on a painted circle head and added details with construction paper and markers.


Play-Doh is a fun tool for so many reasons. It can strengthen kids’ fingers which will help in fine motor skills. Play-Doh is a great tool for creativity and exploration, but using it to make letters is a more structured activity to try.

8. Uppercase and Lowercase Letter Hunt

Using two different sets of plastic letters, my 3-year-old was able to match the lowercase letters with the uppercase letters.

9. Do-A-Dot Names

Write out your child’s name and then have them try to dot the lines with Do-A-Dot markers.

10. Scissor Skills

Practice Scissors are tricky for little ones, so the more practice the better. This is so easy to do! Just grab a piece of paper and draw lines or shapes for your child to cut out.

Ashley Peggs is a mother of four from Eau Claire who blogs at You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube (@parentingtheprincipal) as well as on Twitter (@PrincipalParent).