Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kindergarten Centers, where have you been all my life?

This is my 14th year teaching elementary art.  Why on earth did I never try centers with kinders? I had the best Day #1 with kinders that I have ever had in my whole career, so well in fact that I did a modified version of centers for my Grade 1's! I was inspired last year by Becca over at That Little Art Teacher-- she sounds like she's got centers down to a science. 

I agonized over how it was going to look before school started.  I already have my room set up for the other grade levels and really didn't want to be moving around tables and chairs just for kindergarten.  I decided to leave the tables as is but identify them clearly with signs as belonging to a group.

In this case, I divided the kids into Lions, Tigers, and Bears. I also made a lanyard with a matching Lion, Tiger, or Bear photo that the kids strung around their necks.  That way if anyone in the herd got lost, I knew exactly which group they belonged to.

The first 5 minutes was carpet time, then they were assigned a group and had to find their starting table.  Lion on your necklace, find the big lion on the table and sit.  SO far, so good.  Two centers were non-messy art activities (legos and drawing with whiteboard markers on photos-- more on this later.)  The middle center was the art activity with me.  Each center was 10 minutes, with one minute for clean up before the big clockwise switcharoo.

With my Grade 1's, I divided them into two groups and let one group do Legos on the carpet for 5 min while I did the demonstration to the other group.  When the first group eventually finished a few minutes early, they could have their chance with Legos.  Once again, worked like a charm and so much more manageable to give instructions to a smaller group.

The other activity was an idea I got from Pinterest...take a photograph, print it large and laminate it.  Let the kids "deface" it with whiteboard markers.  Needless to say, they loved it.  Check out our new principal!


  1. Great ideas here - I especially LOVE the photo grafitti! I'll be using this as an early finisher option :) Thanks so much.

  2. I agree. Centers are amazing!! I love the deface the photo. I might add that to mine!

  3. I love centers too. It works great for pre-K and Kindergarten.

  4. Thanks for the link! Love your idea with the photos. Will definitely be trying that. Glad to help!

  5. Yep, love centers. I got the idea from the same blog, too. This year, I've been calling each group a color, and move the labels with the color.

  6. I have been doing centers some weeks with my kinders and pre-k's but they sometimes get lost from their group, the lanyards are a great idea!