28 Engaging Back to School Activities and Centers for Kindergarten (with a FREEBIE!)

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Can you feel the buzz in the air? Back to school season is just around the corner, and it’s time to get our kindergarten classrooms ready for an amazing year ahead. There’s a ton of work to be done for the new school year, and I know it feels like there’s just never enough time for it! Building a solid foundation in math and literacy center routines is one of those very crucial steps that need to be done at the beginning of the year. It’s also important it is to create a classroom environment that sparks curiosity and engages our little learners and that’s where our 28 Hands-on Back to School Math and Literacy Activities come in! Click below to check out all our Back to School Activities for Kindergarten!

Back to School Activities for Kindergarten

28 Engaging Back to School Activities for Kindergarten

In this blog post, we’re diving into the world of back to school centers for kindergarten, and trust me, you’re in for a treat! I’ve put together a fantastic collection of 28 essential centers that will make your classroom buzz with excitement and learning.

The Hands-on Back to School Centers includes 28 center activities – 11 literacy, 16 math, 1 SEL and 1 fine motor. These centers are perfect for August and September in Kindergarten and allow students an opportunity to get used to centers right at the start of the year.

Kindergarten back to school centers and activities

As you gear up for the new school year and start your back to school planning we know just how important it is to create a classroom environment that sparks curiosity and engages our learners.

These centers are designed to promote active learning, collaboration, and critical thinking skills while covering essential math and literacy concepts. From number recognition and letter formation to color and 2D shape identification, these hands-on activities have got it all covered! And the best part? These centers are carefully designed to promote critical thinking, independent exploration, and, of course, a ton of fun!

This Kindergarten Back to School Activity Bundle currently contains 28 resources with tons of math and literacy centers and activities including matching games, puzzles and clip cards. The activities include development of fine motor skills, recognizing the alphabet and numbers, and matching activities, ensuring there are activities for learners of all abilities.

So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a fresh-faced teacher ready to embark on your first kindergarten adventure, this blog post is your ultimate guide to transforming your classroom into a vibrant hub of learning.

Get ready to discover 28 essential math and literacy centers that will bring a smile to your students’ faces and ignite their passion for learning. Let’s dive in and make this back to school season one to remember!

Kindergarten Back to School Math and Literacy Activities ā€“ A Look Inside

Back to School Activity #1: Alphabet Letter Matching

Students will use magnetic letters to match the alphabet letters. Includes versions for matching uppercase and lowercase letters.

hands on alphabet matching activity
alphabet matching activity kindergarten activitiy

Back to School Activity #2: Beginning Sounds Backpack Craft Activity

Students will identify the beginning sound of the pictures on the backpacks and match it onto the corresponding letter rack. You can easily differentiate this activity by reducing the number of backpacks or letters used.

beginning sounds match up back to school center
Back to school kindergarten beginning sounds

Back to School Activity #3: Number Sense Book Stack Craft Activity

Students will build a stack of books of the different number representations for each number and record their answers if necessary. Includes numbers from 1 to 20.

back to school morning bins number sense activity
kindergarten back to school morning bins number sense

Back to School Activity #4: Build a School Sentence

Learners will build a silly school sentence by placing the cards in the boxes – Who? What? Where? They can then read the sentence they created. Sentences will be silly but grammatically correct.

build a silly sentence activity back to school
Back to school sentence building activity

Back to School Activity #5: CVC Word Mat

Learners will pick up a picture card and build the CVC word using movable letters onto the bus.

kindergarten back to school build the cvc word
kindergarten back to school cvc word building activity

Back to School Activity #6: Non Standard Measurement

Learners will use different objects such as snap cubes, rulers or paperclip to measure the length of the school objects and apple baskets.

back to school non-standard measurement activity
school supplies non standard measurement center kindergarten

Back to School Activity #7: Color Matching Activity

Learners will match the paint splats with the different objects onto the correct color palette.

kindergarten back to school morning bins color activity
back to school morning bins color matching

Back to School Activity #8: Count and Match

Students will count the number of objects and then place the matching number beside it. They can also build the number using objects such as buttons or snap cubes.

back to school activity for kindergarten counting activity
kindergarten back to school morning bins counting

Back to School Activity #9: Alphabet Clip Cards

Learners will clip the alphabet letters that match the letter in the center of the wheel. This is a great way to practice recognition of environmental print.

alphabet font recognition clip cards
alphabet font recognition kindergarten clip cards

Back to School Activity #10: Number Clip Cards

Learners will clip the numbers that match the number in the center of the wheel. The numbers come in different fonts to provide exposure.

number recognition kindergarten math clip cards activity
number recognition clip cards kindergarten

Back to School Activity #11: Medial Sound Sort

Learners will sort the crayons containing the short vowel pictures on the crayon boxes. All five short vowel sounds are included.

middle sounds sorting center morning bins
sorting middle sounds kindergarten back to school centers

Back to School Activity #12: Matching Emotions SEL Activity

Learners will identify the emotions of the cat and match it to the emotion on the dog.

kindergarten back to school emotions activity
back to school matching emotions sel activity

Back to School Activity #13: Sequencing Puzzles

Learners will sequence the puzzle pieces to create the picture. Comes in both alphabet letters from A to Z and numbers up to 20.

alphabet order puzzles a to z
number 1 to 10 sequencing picture puzzles
number 1 to 20 sequencing puzzles

Back to School Activity #14: Alphabet Tracing Strips

Students can use a dry-erase marker to trace the alphabet letters to practice correct letter formation. Great for fine motor practice as well.

back to school alphabet tracing center
back to school alphabet fine motor tracing

Back to School Activity #15: Alphabet Sensory Bin – Flip and Trace

These alphabet cards are a great activity for a back to school sensory bin. Place these in a simple sensory bin and learners will pick up the card and record in on the recording sheets included. Can be used as a simple flip and trace activity as well. Includes uppercase and lowercase letters.

back to school alphabet crayon tracing center
back to school alphabet sensory bin activity

Back to School Activity #16: Number Sensory Bin – Flip and Trace

These number cards are a great activity for a back to school sensory bin. Place these in a simple sensory bin and learners will pick up the card and record in on the recording sheets included. Can be used as a simple flip and trace activity as well. Includes numbers to 20.

back to school sensory bin number tracing
back to school numbers sensory bin activity

Back to School Activity #17: Fine Motor Tracing Strips

Learners can use a dry-erase marker to trace the lines on the tracing strips. Several different lines are included for easy differentiation.

kindergarten back to school fine motor center
fine motor tracing back to school center

Back to School Activity #18: Math Mystery Puzzles

Practice number recognition, counting, subitizing and so much more with these Math Mystery Puzzles! Learners will match the puzzle pieces onto the puzzle to reveal the mystery picture.

Includes a total of 34 math puzzles!

These are some fun 2D shape puzzles in a school theme.

school bus 2d shapes kindergarten shape puzzles

And these counting and subitizing puzzles are great to practice number sense.

kindergarten back to school counting puzzles

Addition and subtraction puzzles come in several levels for easy differentiation.

kindergarten back to school addition puzzles
kindergarten back to school subtraction puzzles

Back to School Activity #19: Number Tracing Strips

Learners will trace the numbers using a dry-erase marker. They can also count the pencils beside the numbers. Includes numbers from 0 to 20.

number tracing activity back to school
back to school number tracing center

Back to School Activity #20: Paint Splat Patterns

Learners can practice building patterns with these pattern strips. The pattern strips cover 4 patterns; AB, ABC, AAB and ABB.

There are 3 levels included.

  • Build the Pattern
  • Extend the Pattern
  • What is Missing?
kindergarten back to school patterns
hands-on kindergarten patterns centers

Back to School Activity #21: Pencil Rhyming Puzzles

Students will match the pieces of the pencils together based on their knowledge of rhyming. Covers mainly CVC words.

cvc words rhyming puzzles morning bins
cvc words rhyming puzzles activity

Back to School Activity #22: 2D Shape Sorting Mats

Learners will match and sort the 2D shapes onto the correct sorting mat. Pictures includes real-life objects.

back to school morning bins shape sorting
back to school 2d shape sorting

Back to School Activity #23: Literacy Mystery Puzzles

These literacy mystery puzzles are sure to be a favorite among learners! Learners will match the puzzle pieces onto the puzzle to reveal the mystery picture. There are a total of 16 puzzles.

Includes alphabet recognition, beginning sounds, CVC words and rhyming.

kindergarten back to school alphabet puzzles
Kindergarten back to school beginning puzzles

Back to School Activity #24: Ten Frame Mats

Learners will count the number of objects in the ten frame. Next learners will place a corresponding of objects in the ten frame, such as pom-poms or counting bears. Finally they will trace the numbers.

back to school ten frames subitizing activity
kindergarten subitizing center

Back to School Activity #25: Addition and Subtraction Task Cards

Learners will count the objects on the task cards and add or subtract the items. They will write the equations at the bottom. There are 44 task cards included with 2 levels of differentiation.

kindergarten addition and subtraction task cards
back to school addition and subtraction task cards

Back to School Activity #26: Playdough Counting Mats

Students will pick a number card and place it in the box. They will roll out balls of playdough and place the correct number onto the playdough mat. A dice can be also used for this activity.

hands-on dough number counting mats activity
counting dough mats activity

Back to School Activity #27: Spot the Difference – Visual Discrimination

Learners will find the differences between the 2 picture and circle them. This is great for a visual discrimination activity for your kindergarteners.

back to school spot the difference activity
spot the difference activity

Back to School Activity #28: Syllable Sort

Students will sound out the picture on the card and clap out the syllables. They will then place the cards onto the correct playdough container to match the number of syllables. There are 24 words included and 4 playdough containers.

syllables sorting activity school supplies
sorting syllables literacy morning bin

Back to School Activities for Kindergarten – The Freebie!

And now for the freebie! This is a fun Back to School themed Dot-to-Dot activity for your kindergarteners and first graders. This is a great way to practice number recognition and counting for your learners.

back to school kindergarten activities
back to school kindergarten activities

To grab this freebie, enter your details into the blue box below.

Back to School Activities for Kindergarten – Grab the Bundle!

If you would like to grab the 28 Hands-on Back to School Activities individually to make your BTS season smoother, just click on the links below. Have fun teaching!

To grab the entire bundle, just click on the buttons below, and grab it either on our Shop or on TPT.

Back to School Kindergarten Activities

Engage your Kindergarten learners with these fun and hands-on Back to School Math and Literacy Centers. Click on the buttons below to grab your copy today!

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