On the first day of school, I love to give my first graders some "Magic Play-Doh". It is a large ball (between the size of a golf ball and baseball) of Play-doh. From the outside, it looks to be just one color--but there is a secret on the inside! I flattened the Play-Doh last night and hid a small amount of an opposite color on the inside! I tell the students that if they hold it and repeat the magic words after me, something amazing will happen!
The magic words are:
Magic Play-Doh, oh so bright,
I make this wish with all my might.
If another color should appear,
We're sure to have a great school year!
We then start to play with the Play-Doh. I never get tired of all the excitement and the "Ooo's and Ahhh's" that come when they see the 2nd color of Play-Doh appear. I encourage the students to spell their name and other words with the Play-Doh, and to just play! This gives me about 15 minutes of independent time while the students play to get some school supplies put away on the 1st day of school!
Do you have any good first day activities that are independent to give yourself a little time to unpack supplies?