Easing Back To School Worries With The Kissing Hand
As we approach the final weeks of summer, it’s time to start thinking about the return to the school year. I’m excited to share a fun parent-child project I came up with to accompany a classic back-to-school themed picture book. How many of you like to pull out The Kissing Hand when early autumn rolls around?
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The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a story that is loved by children and parents alike. (Especially those sentimental moms sending their kindergarteners off for the first time!) It’s the sweet tale of Chester Raccoon, who is nervously preparing for his first day of school. Unsure about leaving his mama, Mrs. Raccoon, he finds comfort in the kiss she ‘tucks’ into his hand. The gentle reassurance that his mother’s love will travel with him to school (and beyond), as well as Mrs. Raccoon’s kind reminders of the fun he would have at school, give Chester Raccoon the confidence to begin his school year.
(And spoiler alert for the sentimental mamas like me, Chester Raccoon shares his kissing hand with his mama. Sometimes even parents need a little reminder that their children’s love for them follows wherever they go as well!)
Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak provide heart warming illustrations throughout the book. Young readers will love being immersed in the Raccoon family’s forest home, filled with plants and a variety of animals. Adults will love the touching interactions between Chester Raccoon and Mrs. Raccoon- the bond between the pair shines through in the images.
Make Your Own Kissing Hand!
I created a fairly simple project for any parent-child duo to create together. It will be particularly meaningful to those families who may be sending a little one off to preschool or kindergarten for the first time this fall. Each pair can create a tangible ‘kissing hand’, small enough to tuck into pockets or lunch boxes, providing a reminder of the love you share even when you’re apart. (And trust me, this can mean so much to kiddos- pulling out a special project you worked on together in the middle of lunch on the first day can be just the boost they need to make it through to the afternoon bell!). Read on to see how it’s made.
Your Kissing Hand Supplies
- Clear plastic shrink sheets, 1 sheet for each person. (1/adult, 1/child).
- Permanent markers or colored pencils.
- Transparent tape.
- Kissing Hand printable- see below.
- Red or pink acrylic paint.
- Aluminum foil.
- Baking sheet.
- Conventional oven or toaster oven.
- Hole punch.
How To Make Your Own Kissing Hands
- Preheat the oven according to the directions on your plastic shrink sheets.
- Print the Kissing Hand template (scroll down).
- Tape the template in place on the back of your plastic shrink sheet, so you can easily trace the shape of the hand.
- Refer to the specific instructions in your plastic shrink sheet packaging. Some shrink sheets have a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ side for drawing on, while others do not.
- Using permanent markers and/or colored pencils, decorate your kissing hands.
- Mom or Dad can be working on theirs while the kids are also hard at work.
- We chose to create a fairly heavy outline, so the sign language message would remain clear.
- Using a light layer of the acrylic craft paint, create a heart in the center of your kissing hand by joining two thumb prints. Allow the paint to dry completely. Remove the taped on template.
- Adults (or supervised older kiddos) should cut out each kissing hand. Leave a little bit of ‘blank space’ around the edges.
- If you choose to cut closely around the fingers, they may twist and warp a bit in the next step. Check the dotted line on the printable template for an idea of the best way to cut to minimize warping.
- Optional- if you’d like to create a pendant or keychain instead of just a small trinket, use a hole punch to add a hole.
- Bake your kissing hands on a foil lined sheet according to your package’s specific directions.
- Make sure to ooh and ahh over the magic that happens in this step- seriously, I’m in my 30s and it STILL gets me every time!
- Resist the urge to pull them out TOO early, and be sure to give them plenty of time to cool!
- On the first day of school, kiss the custom hearts on your special, home made kissing hands before tucking them into backpacks, lunchboxes, or pencil cases for your little ones. Encourage your kids to do the same with the hands they made for you, and then be sure to slip them into your purse, briefcase, or pocket. Remind each other that your love goes with the other, and of course… HAVE A GREAT FIRST DAY BACK AT SCHOOL!
Does your family have any special traditions to celebrate the return of the school year?
I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
**Grab your Kissing Hand Template right HERE!**