It's that fateful day! Right before the holiday, or at the end of whatever your current unit is, and you need to pack everything up and send it home, so that parents can ooh and aah over your creative genius! Now, if you've just finished a run of the mill unit- say transportation,- you'll pack up the crafts and send them home, explanations included in the newsletter. But when holidays roll around, like today when sending home Chanukah crafts, I think it's important to wrap them specially in order to convey the importance and "specialness" of the contents. It's a way to tell parents, babysitters, or whoever's picking the kids up to handle the crafts with care, and that the contents should be examined with joy and fanfare.
So how do you do it? Well, that depends on what and how much you're sending home. We sent home our Menorahs and Menorah mats today. I wrapped the menorahs in cellophane, tied them off with some repurpose fabric remnants and trims, then taped the ensemble to the Menorah mat. I placed them on each child's cubby, ad had a sign on the door asking parents to please take their child's crafts from there.
When I send home more than that, I try to find paper gift bags. If you don't have the budget for that, give the kids regular paper shopping bags, and have them decorate the bags with glitter, paint, stickers, sky's the limit! This also adds another craft to your schedule, and the kids are doubly excited to be taking home crafts in the bag they "made".
Then, a nice touch is to have the kids pack up their crafts by themselves. You can do this either by setting up the table with a bag and each child's items stacked next to it, or 1 on 1 with the kids to reinforce literacy, and have them find their crafts t place in their bag.
Finally, during your goodbye circle or routine- take one child's bag, and show the children what they'll be taking home. Go through each item, reminding them of the process and what it is. This also reinforces the kids' excitement when taking the crafts home.
Fall is here, though if you're on the East Coast like me, you're probably rethinking the fact that you didn't start teaching Winter yet :) One thing that I love to do for each major theme is set up a photo station where I can take a cute photograph of each child and mail them in a card that the kids make for "Season's Greetings". Here's what I did for the Fall- Most nurseries have the hay bales available for sale pretty inexpensively- these smaller ones cost me $6 a piece! Plus, they had the corn stalks that you see in the background lying around, and the owner gave them to me for free. The Indian corn is from the nursery as well, though some boutique style grocery stores will carry that, as well as the pumpkins and squash.