The 100th Day is one of my favorites to celebrate every year – and I think I’ve finally found the perfect combination of activities that are low-prep, and can be done independently by my little ones. That combination makes me one happy kindergarten teacher! So I thought I would share what works well for me in my classroom on this festive, fun day of learning!
Setting the Stage for FUN
What do five year olds love? Banners with streamers Yep, that simple. I made a banner for my door since my first year of teaching and it has managed to survive all five years! The littles love walking through the streamers as they come in the room, and it sets the tone for a great day. As you can see from our team picture, it also makes a great backdrop! (excuse my #tiredteacher face)
The night before I just tape the banner up to my door and voila! Instant engagement the second they walk in the door. Since our 100th Day usually happens right around Valentine’s Day too, I pop some laminated hearts on my door to say “100 days of Kindergarten and LOVING it!” Since I keep my door open on this day, I like to have everything match and decorated – and former students love to come back to see the room!
After they come in, I have them start with making a little 100th day crown (from THE Cara Carroll, of course). They decorate it with 100 stickers, or color it (if we have less time). Then we start our day with an intro to our centers and go over rules for the day – be safe, be kind, have fun! This is where we repeat “10 tens make 100” about a hundred times as a reminder for all their learning that day.
100 Days Low Prep Centers
I’ve found over the years that the magic number for my centers throughout our half day is 8 – we just don’t have time to do any more and the kids start to get worn out after doing this many in one day! Everything that I mention below is included in a freebie for you to use in your classroom. Click on the cover to get your copy!
I print all the center directions on colored paper and my class knows rainbow order – so they know what center they will go to next when they see the color and number. This means no “when will I go to the ____ center?” questions over and over. I find accountability to be so important and teaching them little things like that helps build independence.
Besides, don’t bright colors make everything better?
Center 1: 100 Chart Puzzles
Our first center is very low prep with 100 chart puzzles. I print them on different colors of Astrobrights paper, and cut them into different pieces. I actually use this with my math groups as a warm up, too, so my class had some experience trying to put the pieces together before this day.
Since kids usually finish the puzzles before our time is up, I have them try different puzzles for a challenge, (each color varies in level of difficulty, but the kids don’t know which color is easy/hard until they do it). Or, my high group knows to use a sand timer and try to time themselves in solving one of the puzzles in 2 minutes, or one minute.
This usually keeps the kids pretty busy – and it is totally independent!
Center 2: 100 Cups
The next center we do is very low prep – just buy a pack of 100 cups and let them build! This is one of my favorites every year because the kids work so well as a team to build a tower, wall, or even a castle. The whole class cheers them on when they’re almost done, too!
Center 3: 100 Pattern Blocks
This is another easy center to put together! I usually have a few good helpers count out groups of ten pattern blocks to make little piles on a table. I count the ten tens and put them in a bag. The only tricky part about this center is that I find I need to remind the kids to take a bag of 100 pattern blocks and move to a “special spot” by themselves. When they sit too close together, the blocks end up mixing and we have to recount. Once they get the moving to their own spot part down pat, the center is really independent. It’s all about imagination and having them create something with 100 pattern blocks. I also give kids a recording sheet to draw whatever they created with their pattern blocks.
Center 4: 100 Gumballs
This is one of the kids’ favorites because they get to use the bingo daubers! I just print the labels and glue them to red paper, then staple them to a paper plate to make the gumball machines. I always make extra incase someone’s happens to rip or get lost somewhere during the day. Then, I save the extra for the next year. (Note: I ask for the paper plates on the first day of school as a parent donation for our classroom supplies so they are ready for this day!)
Center 5: 100 Art
This is another low maintenance center for my kids! I use the numbers 100 cut out of black paper on our Ellison machine and have the kids turn the numbers into anything they want – a monster truck, elephant, balloons, silly face, zoo animals, etc.
Center 6: 100 Sight Word Reader
This works with any sight word reader, but it aligns perfectly with our sight word learning of the word “will” at this point in the year. The kids love writing about when they will be 100 and talking about what they might do, have, or look like!
The kids cut and spell w-i-l-l on each page, then go back through the book and read it. We add color the third time.
Click on the picture to get your copy of the 100th day sight word reader!
Center 7: Roll & Race to 100
This one is always a very competitive center – and the kids love to race! We review that 100 pennies make $1.00 and talk about keeping the dice on the table in the bin. The kids use dice to roll and then color in that many pennies until they get all 100 colored in. First one to $1.00 wins!
Center 8: 100 Beads
This is the first year doing necklaces and I loved it! I put a handful of the same color beads in a cup, and have ten colors. Kids get to the center and count out their ten of each color and put it in the bag. They start to make their necklaces. These turned out so cute and they loved showing them off!