I suggest maybe teaching the children things they aren't learning all day in class, for instance teaching them about art. You could do a lesson on The Sistine Chapel and have the children paint upside down on a sheet or draw on a large sheet of paper with markers. Kids love this project, only suggestion is to test the paint and make sure it isn't too runny, and try to make sure they bring a smock or over sized shirt.
1) Maybe special "theme days" where the children get dressed as clowns,cowboys/girls and Indians etc. then you can plan a day around your theme.
2) How about show and tell. Children love to show off what they own and tell how they got it. If they are a bit shy, you could ask them questions on their item to get them talking.
3)You said besides crafts but you could get them to draw or bring in a picture of their favorite person, pet, etc and talk about them. (A little like show and tell but it helps children get over their shyness for future years)
4) Depending on the weather and if you are permitted to take them outside a "picking up nature treasure hunt to take home." Autumn is a great time of year.
I hope this gives you a few ideas that will pop some into your own mind as well. Good luck on the job.
im 17 and for 4 summers i worked in a preschool. i was allowed once to do something of my own with the kids instead of just watching them with the adults, so i did a cooking thing with them. we make these great chocolate balls(i lost the recipe now though lol), where you do most of it but you let them each have a turn of mixing and other easy stuff. they loved the satisfaction of eating something they made! you could do this with preferably the older age group, i did it with 4 year olds and it was alittle chaotic because they got bored after 10 minutes of sitting. every week you could do a 1/2 an hour cooking session with them, and then put whatever u made in the oven(or just set aside if doesnt need cooking) and then do other activities while the food is getting ready. then at the very end while waiting for parents, you could hand out the food.make sure you know kids allergies first too, so you dont give a kid who is lactose intolerant something dairy.
As a kindergarten teacher, I suggest more academic activities and not cute arts and crafts type stuff. Anyone can do that. The principal will be VERY impressed if you work with the kids on things like identifying letters, making letter sounds, practicing phonemic awareness, and anything related to reading. If I was the teacher and I had someone coming in like you, I would totally utilize the opportunity to get the kids in a small group and have you work on letters and sounds. It may sound boring to some, but the kids will REALLY benefit from this added special small group instruction. Good luck!
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