If you have a little one who is currently preparing to go off to kindergarten, chances are you have mixed feelings about the impending event–and maybe some pretty extreme ones at that! Sure, the prospect of packing cute lunches every morning and helping that kiddo with homework is a thrilling feeling, but it also comes with quite a sobering dose of reality; your “baby” sure isn’t a “baby” anymore!

Because we totally understand your case of “kindergarten blues,” we’ve created a list of memorable and super fun things to do with your not-so-little one before that first school bell rings! To round out it all out, we’ve also included some common sense tips that will make their transition into “big school” just THAT much easier.

  1. Make your kiddo feel grown-up by giving them a list of (fun) chores

    Like giving the dog a bath! It’s a win-win: your kid builds confidence and you get a clean dog!

  2. Let them enjoy the great outdoors

    Studies show that kids who spend more time outdoors and less time away from distracting toys and screens grow up to be happier adults. Good to know!

  3. And let them get a little dirty while they’re at it

    Remember how fun it was to splash around in the rain when you were a kid? Well, let your almost-kindergartner do it, too. We promise the smiles will be worth the clean-up!

  4. Bring them along to that summer wedding

    If children are allowed, of course! It may take some extra planning on your part, but it’s always nice to give your little one an excuse to dress up!

  5. Schedule time with aunts and uncles

    The more positive influences they can be around before their first day of school, the better!

  6. Teach them how to tie their shoes

    It’s a small act that can give them a serious boost of confidence!

  7. Encourage them to try food they’ve never eaten before

    Sure, you might be “rewarded” with a grimace or two, but exploration–even through the tastebuds–is a great way to get kids ready for a big life change!

  8. Make as many DIY crafts as you can

    Don’t know where to start? Just remember, ALL kids love slime!

  9. Plan a family cooking night

    little girl tasting tomato while her parents cooking in kitchen at home

    With as many healthy options as possible, of course!

  10. Take your kids on a last-minute trip

    And, it doesn’t have to be fancy! Even a day trip to visit a museum or your local state park will be a bonding experience they will never forget.

  11. And, most importantly, get them on a good sleep schedule

    Yes, there is a perfect bedtime for your kindergartner. Here’s what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say about it!

We’d love to hear your take on this list! How many of these activities have you done with your little one? Are there any that should be added to the list? What’s the best way to prepare a kiddo for kindergarten?