This month, school districts in Austin and the surrounding areas will be marking the 100th day of the school year. It’s a big milestone for children, marking 100 days of learning important new concepts, classroom rules and guidelines, as well as making friends and growing socially and emotionally. The actual 100th day varies from district to district, depending on the start date and any school holidays or teacher in-service days when students did not attend school. Typically celebrated most by kindergarteners, even older grades may join in on the fun of honoring 100 days of learning.
The goal of marking the 100th day is to help students recognize and take pride in all that they have learned. Teachers, being the wonderfully resourceful beings that they are, will also use the celebration to incorporate even more learning across all disciplines – math, reading, writing, science, social studies, movement, art and music. Below are some activities shared by various local classrooms. If you are a homeschooling or virtual-schooling family, you can incorporate some of these activities into your plans. Even if your child attends school in person, you might want to try some at home – they’re so fun and your children will delight in your participation and celebration of their accomplishments!
In kindergarten, children learn to count by ones and to skip count by 10s. A common 100th Day activity asks children to bring a collection of 100 items to share with their classmates in a show-and-tell format. You may need to help your child choose an appropriate item that can easily be carried to school in a container or clear bag. For my son, 100 Lego bricks was an easy choice. My daughter wanted to bring something more “exciting,” so she went with 100 M&Ms. It doesn’t get much more exciting than candy for
a kindergartener! Other easy choices include paperclips, dry pasta, crayons, Cheerios, cotton balls, stickers, pennies and puzzle pieces.
Another fun activity is to create a necklace out of colored, circle-shaped cereal like Fruit Loops. As children string the cereal on a piece of yarn, they not only practice counting to 100 as they select the cereal, but they can also work on sorting and patterning. As they make groups of 10 of various colors, they can string those colors in a pattern of their choice.
My children’s teacher led an activity that was a major hit with the class. Students start with a blank hundreds chart, which is a bingo-like board with squares numbered 1-100. They count aloud while placing a small snack, such as a cheese cracker, piece of popcorn, pretzel or marshmallow over each number as they count. When they reach a group of 10, they switch to a different snack choice to reinforce the idea that 10 is a building block of 100. When the chart and counting are complete, it’s time to snack! You can find a free printable hundreds chart online.
One of the cutest activities I’ve seen involved students drawing a picture of what they will look like at 100 and then writing about what they will do when they are that age. There are also many wonderful books to read aloud about this special day. Cuddle up and try one of these: “Planet Kindergarten: 100 Days in Orbit” by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
“The 100th Day of School” by Matt Mitter “100 Days of Cool” by Stuart J. Murphy “Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of School” by Joseph Slate “Emily’s First 100 Days of School” by Rosemary Wells
Science & Social Studies
There are many related science and social studies activities to continue the fun throughout the day. For example, one challenge has children break into smaller groups where they are provided with 100 paper or plastic cups. If you’re doing this activity at home, the group can include siblings or parents. The task is to use all of the cups to build a structure that won’t fall down. Besides visualizing 100 items, this activity introduces students to concepts of architecture and engineering, not to mention the cooperation and
communication it requires!
Also, using yarn, children can measure and cut 100 inches. They can then use their “rulers” to measure objects and identify those that are at least 100 inches. Finally, with the teacher’s help, students can research important events that happened 100 years ago and discuss how life was different or similar at that time. Finding out the historical cost of common things is always interesting for kids.
P.E. or movement is an easy way to celebrate the 100th day. Students complete 10 sets of 10 various activities such as jumping jacks, situps and toe touches to complete 100 exercises! In art, students can make pictures containing 100 items by using dot markers to form the image or by free drawing. One cute idea provides them with an outline of a gumball machine. Then using dot markers, stickers, crayons or colored pencils, they fill in 100 different colored gumballs. There are some wonderful songs about the 100th day of school to be found online as well. Grab an instrument to play and sing along.
One hundred days of school, especially for young kindergarteners, is a real milestone. Cheer your children on and acknowledge this special accomplishment – it will mean a lot to them and add a boost to your child’s sense of pride!
Alison Bogle is a writer living in Austin with her husband and three children. A former fourth grade teacher, she now enjoys writing about children and education. You can also catch her talking about articles from Austin Family magazine each Thursday morning on FOX 7 Austin.