How I ease the transition from school to home for my kids

As I talked about the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States with my kids over breakfast this morning, it got me thinking about transitions. They can be hard for everyone, kids and adults alike. And even if you have time to prepare for an upcoming transition, it doesn’t always make it easier. Even good transitions can be hard!


My kids, like many around the country, went back to in person learning last week. While they are THRILLED to see humans that don’t live in the same house, they come home each day a little out of sorts. It can be difficult to get back into the swing of being away from home all day after basically being home for the last nine months. It can be challenging to return to a school setting unlike any we’re accustomed to. I need to recognize that although they are happy to be back at school, they need something to ease them from school to home.


I’ve decided to set up a couple of invitations to play/work/create (call it what you will :) ) and see if that helps. We’re just looking for a few minutes, or as long as it takes, to decompress and slide out from under the weight of the school day and back into the comfort of learning and playing in their own ways.


To make my life easier, I’m choosing to fill loose parts trays with some themed materials that I found around the house for my kids to explore when they get home. Invitations to play or create don’t have to be expensive or complicated, they only have to give your kids a new lens to see things through. It can be as easy as combining a favorite toy with something they don’t often play with. Or taking the play dishes and food from the play kitchen and setting it up on your real dinning room table. Maybe it’s a new use for old art supplies? Our favorite is collecting sticks from the yard to paint on instead of paper.


Because I collect all of the craft materials I can find, my loose parts tray may look different than yours, and that’s totally fine. (Pro tip: Scour the discount sections for holiday themed stuff that often goes on sale before the actual holiday. Don’t let something intended for one holiday discourage you from using it whenever you want! I also find great stuff at dollar stores and the dollar spot at Target.)


Since my kids are 5 and 9, they are into pretty different things. I filled a box full of building and stacking and filling and dumping things for my 5 year old. For my 9 year old it’s different kinds of paper, different writing/drawing tools, fun scissors, sequins and foam stickers. Now I just have to wait for them to come home…



If you have questions about the items pictured, transitions, loose parts play or anything else, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at

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