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First-Day-of-School Activity: The Kissing Hand


  • Arts and Humanities
  • Health
  • Mental Health


  • Pre-K
  • K-2

Brief Description

This lesson and a popular children’s book will help children over their first-day-of-school jitters.


  • follow directions.
  • develop fine motor skills.
  • make decisions and use problem-solving skills.


back to school, early childhood, self-esteem, emotions, health, kindergarten, separation, anxiety

Materials Needed

  • one sheet of 5-inch by 8-inch construction paper -- any color except red -- per child
  • one sheet of 8-1/2-inch by 11-inch paper (copier paper is fine) per child
  • pencils or crayons
  • red paint or red construction paper
  • heart-shaped sponges (optional)
  • paint trays, brushes (optional)

The Lesson

Before the Lesson
Before the lesson, the teacher will need to prepare the following:
Use a printer or photocopier to print the following phrase on the white copy paper sheets: ____________ came to school on the first day and felt ______.

The Activity
Read aloud the children's book The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. Your school or city library will have a copy or be able to order one for you from the state library system. The following review of the book, published on Amazon.com provides an overview:

"Chester Raccoon doesn't want to go to school. He wants to stay home with his mother. She assures him that he'll love school -- with its promise of new friends, new toys, and new books. Even better, she has a special secret that's been in the family for years -- the Kissing Hand. This secret, she tells him, will make school seem as cozy as home. She takes her son's hand, spreads his tiny fingers into a fan and kisses his palm -- smack dab in the middle: "Chester felt his mother's kiss rush from his hand, up his arm, and into his heart." Whenever he feels lonely at school, all he has to do is press his hand to his cheek to feel the warmth of his mother's kiss..." - Reviewed by Karin Snelson

Have the children trace their hands onto the 5-inch by 8-inch construction paper. Then instruct them to cut out their traced hand to the best of their ability and paste the hand onto the sheet of white copy paper.

Next, students will paste or paint a red heart onto the palm of the hand. They might dip a heart-shaped piece of sponge into red paint; or they might trace a heart shape onto red paper and cut it out.

Last, the children should be assisted in filling out their feelings about the first day of school by filling in the blanks in the statement (____________ came to school on the first day and felt ______.) printed on the white paper.

Optional Activities

  • For older children: Write the fill-in statement on the board and have them write it onto the white paper.
  • Have hands precut instead of having students trace and cut out their own hands.
  • Prepare a snack for students: Bake sugar cookies with chocolate kisses in the palm.
  • If you have more time, you might have students model their hands with hearts from clay.
  • For older students you might extend the activity into a weeklong project. Each day, the students write their thoughts about school on a different hand. Combine those hands into a journal to document the first week of school.
  • This also would be a nice activity to do pairing an older class with your young students. Have two children place their hands on a page.


No assessment required.

Submitted By

Amanda Dobson, Temperance, Michigan

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