As preschoolers head to school, they often have a difficult time separating from their parents. The book "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn is the perfect way to show students how to cope with their feelings. Read the book out loud to your students and then use some of the following activities.
Our "The Kissing Hand" activities for preschool will help you guide your students through those transitions during the first few weeks of the school year.
Sharing the Book
This is the heartwarming story of a Chester Raccoon who does not want to leave his mother and go to school. Chester's mom tries to convince him that he will love school. She then shared that she has a special secret called the Kissing Hand. She takes her son's hand and kisses his palm. Whenever he feels sad and lonely at school all he has to do is press his hand to his cheek to feel his mother's kiss. Chester is so pleased with his Kissing Hand that he gives his mom a Kissing Hand too, so she won't miss him while he is at school. If you have a chance, you should also share this book with the parents of your preschoolers. Many parents struggle with their child and separating when school begins. It is a trick I used with my oldest when he went through a tough patch staying at preschool.
Before reading the book, ask students if they ever miss their parents. Brainstorm a list of things that they do to help them feel better when they miss their family.
Prediction skills are the keys to comprehension, so be sure to stop periodically during the story to ask students what they think will happen next. This also keeps the students engaged in the story and thinking throughout it.
You may also want to share the book "A Pocket Full of Kisses" which shows that Chester is no longer afraid of going to school, but he now has another dilemma. A sibling, who is a bit of a pest, is using mom's Kissing Hand. It is now passed on from Chester for when his brother needs help from his big brother. This story shares that even when you think you are too big for the Kissing Hand, it still has a place in your family. While reading, you will find lots of nocturnal animals around listening to mom's conversations with Chester. Use these pages when talking about the nocturnal animals connection below.
Craft and Bulletin Board
In "The Kissing Hand" activities for preschool you could have students trace their hands on construction paper and they can draw, stamp, use heart stickers, or use a heart shaped sponge and paint to place a heart on the palm. You may even make two copies of their hand and send one home for parents to add a "kiss" to. Then you can hang them in pairs on a bulletin board. Students who miss their parents will find the bulletin board comforting. A fun addition to the bulletin board would be to ask parents to send in a family picture. You can pair up the hands with the family picture for a wonderful display.
Chester is a raccoon. Share the book with them again and ask them to see what they recognize about the time of day Chester goes to school. Ask and discuss the following:
- If Chester goes to school during the night, when does he sleep?
- Animals that sleep during the day and are awake at night are called nocturnal animals. Ask students if they know of other nocturnal animals. The list can include: owls, hedgehogs, bats, tarantulas, foxes, hippo, koala bears, lightning bug, river otter, toad, scorpion, tiger, snow leopard, rattlesnake, lion, and kangaroo.
- Have students share why they think some of these animals stay awake at night. Some answers may include the weather is cooler and to hunt for food.
- What special skills or adaptations do nocturnal animals need to stay awake at night? For example, they might need to be able to see in the dark.
Make a paper bag owl to focus on one of the most popular nocturnal animals. Directions can be found in this fall activities article, including the necessary templates.