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Kindergarten thematic units

A year of theme ideas...

Quality kindergarten thematic units have lots of interesting content, use real objects for multi-sensory learning, and extend the students' vocabulary.

Read to find out how to choose age appropriate themes and for suggestions for yearly themes.

For great content, choose kindergarten thematic units based on:

thematic units
  • Science and social studies learning outcomes
  • Your local environment
  • Author studies

Depending on where you live, check what the local parks offer before choosing your themes. Here on the west coast of BC, parks offer inexpensive field trips about slugs, bats, squirrels, tide pools, salmon and more to local schools and home schooling families.

Suggestions for yearly kindergarten thematic units

The following kindergarten thematic units:

  • have been tested and work well with young children
  • are categorized according to the seasons
  • are not all taught every year
  • have varied amounts of time spent on them depending on class interest
  • lend themselves to a rich array of literature, science experiments, math activities, art, music and drama
  • have only the highlights listed below

A Year of Kindergarten Thematic Units


Making Friends One Day at a Time - everyone needs friends; how families differ; use literature to reinforce friendship building skills

Sunflowers – tall and impressive; provide lots of opportunities for measurement and begin sight words with the color "yellow"

AUTUMN – general seasonal changes; weather study; autumn vegetables

Apples – counting, sequencing; graphing and more; cooking applesauce; visit an apple farm; include a mini unit on wasps; Apple math literature connection

Squirrels – the theme coordinates with local park offerings; characteristics of squirrels; what they eat; different kinds of squirrels; native and non-native

Pumpkins – cooking pumpkin muffins; weighing the pumpkin; measuring the diameter with a string; counting seeds in piles of ten; growth cycle of a pumpkin; graphing, "Who likes pumpkin pie?"

Leo Lionni - author and literature study

Salmon – great if you are near a salmon spawning river; life cycle of the salmon

kindergarten themesWINTER– general seasonal changes and weather study, animals in Winter

Color/Light – a science theme that integrates the sparkle and glitter of the holiday season; what is light? where does light come from? sources of light; transparent and opaque papers; reflections, bending light

Water – winter is the perfect time to experiment with water, snow and ice; the water cycle; properties and states of water; floating and sinking; dissolving things; how water changes things

Mapping – literature based theme based on Rosie's Walk; story maps; what is a map? making a map; introduction to the shapes of and the vocabulary of Canada and provinces; Canadian symbols

Nursery Rhymes – mini safety; a science and math kindergarten thematic unit based on nursery rhymes e.g. Jack be Nimble - patterns and fire safety; Humpty Dumpty - animals that lay eggs, helmet safety

Rocks – an earth science unit; study school yard rocks; lots of classifying: shiny and dull, small, smaller, smallest

Jan Brett - author and literature study

SPRING – general seasonal changes and weather study

Start with Spring flowers and art
What is Air? - experiments with air, making wind toys, What can air do? Pond study - bring the pond water into the classroom, frog life cycle, what do animals need to stay healthy

Insects – so available and fun to study, characteristics of common bugs, how are they helpful, how are they alike and different

Compost / Worms / and Gardening
- what do plants need? grow plants, measure their growth, learn about the environment, study worms and other animals who live in the compost, how are worms helpful

Recycling - awareness of and measuring how much garbage the class generates, of what can be recycled, reused, and composted

Spiders - great to study, especially when the egg hatches or you bring a bunch of baby spiders into the class.

Eric Carle - author and literature study

EARLY SUMMER (June) - general seasonal changes and weather study

Slugs - very abundant on the west coast, such wonderful vocabulary; kids love learning that scientists call a slug a Gastropod which means "stomach foot"

Wildlife Trees – instead of studying the whole forest, we concentrate on the concept of a wildlife tree, who lives on it, why is it important to have them.

Tide pools - the ocean is so big, so focus on one little part, the tide pool. I take the kids and their parents to a special tide pool not too far from the school. Celebrate a year-end picnic at the same time. Everyone explores, shares and learns about the tide pool environment.

Interspersed between the kindergarten thematic units are special days such as holidays and also:

  • Pattern Day
  • Special Shape Days
  • Tens Day
  • Fifty Day
  • One Hundred Day

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