Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! has become a classic graduation gift for college grads headed into the real world. But Dr. Seuss’s real audience was young children learning to read and stretch their imaginations. What better way to celebrate the journey from kindergarten to first grade than with an “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” party?
In the spirit of the always quirky Dr.Seuss, trace a large, crooked arrow on a piece of cardboard, cut it out, and use that as your template to trace invitations on colored construction paper. Cut them out and write in the relevant information for inexpensive invitations, then slip into plain envelopes to mail or hand out in person.
Create a construction paper signpost with the names of the different first grade classrooms written on signs pointing in different directions. Pin pictures of boats, planes, trains, cars, hot air balloons and blimps to the bulletin board. Since the theme of the book is that, "the more that you read, the more things you will know," make sure to have a few copies of the book handy, complete with comfy places to curl up and read.
- Give each child a "passport" made from several rectangles of paper stapled together as a booklet. The grads can write their names and draw self-portraits on the first pages, then collect stickers or stamps at each party station (activities, snack table) they visit. Alternatively, if the party's at school and the teachers are willing, they can visit their future classrooms, cafeteria, school nurse, etc and collect stamps at each stop.
- Play a round of “pin the arrow on the map.” Cut out enough construction paper arrows for everyone, have each child write her name on one, and tape a large, inexpensive world map to the wall. One at a time, blindfold each child, hand out paper arrows with circles of tape on the back, and tell them to stick them somewhere on the map. Whoever places the arrow furthest from home wins.
- Set up a “roots and wings” craft table with lots of paper, markers and glue, as well as cardboard rectangles with the centers cut out. The kids can use the cardboard to make picture frames for their class photos. Station an adult nearby to help kids stretch their wings by folding and decorating paper airplanes and boats.
When it’s time for snack, skip the green eggs and ham in favor of treats from around the world. The sky’s the limit: consider sliced tropical fruit, carry-out spring rolls, samosas, and falafel, and store-bought veggie sushi, chips with salsa, and pastry. Better yet, ask parents to contribute international fare to a potluck meal; the kids will learn about the diversity in their community.
Instead of store-bought favors, send the grads home with the framed photos, airplanes and boats, and the best gift of all— friendships, memories, and the excitement that comes with knowing exactly where they’re going: first grade!
More Seuss-inspired activities: