How to Have a Fun Pajama Day! December 10 2010

[caption id="attachment_7348" align="alignright" width="300" caption="This pajama-clad kindergartener works with his buddy on a project"][/caption]

Hosting a pajama day is a great way to build community with students. This doesn't mean that all learning goes out the window, however - here are some suggestions to keep pajama day meaningful and fun!

Why Host a Pajama Day?

I would certainly not host a Pajama Day during a day of strenuous state testing, but there are many great reasons to have one in your classroom.

  • As a class reward for meeting a group goal. One example is to encourage a specific behavior, another is when your students reach a total number of reading minutes during the school year
  • Celebrate the last day before an extended vacation, like winter break
  • To fit a theme, like a Read-In or a Cookies and Milk party

A Pajama Day is also a great way to reward kids with something special without having to mess with candy, toys or other tangible items that cost money.  Kids love it, viewing it as a special treat.

Pajama Day Activities

Granted, Pajama Day is distracting, but that's why it needs to happen on the day before a break. Even though kids are more excited, this doesn't have to be a day where learning goes out the window. I like to plan specific kinds of events throughout the day, sticking as closely as possible to the regular schedule but making time for some fun activities as well. Some of these can include:

  • School Buddies - Plan time for your students to get with their Buddies to review important skills and concepts. Plan for them to complete a math or reading game together, and for both buddies to read picture books to each other.
  • Projects - Have kids finish up a project that you all have been working on in class. On my kids' Pajama Day, the kindergartners needed to finish up a turkey project so that it could go home before the holiday.
  • Games - Grab a variety of reading and math games from your stash that review recent concepts and are fun to play. Group your kids into partners or small groups and set up a game at each table. Have the kids rotate after playing a game for a certain amount of time.
  • Read-In - Plan an extended amount of time at the end of the day for kids to participate in a Read-In. Let them bring out their pillows, blankets or stuffed animals and settle in around the room with their favorite books. They'll love the peaceful reading!

Pajama Day For Everyone!

A Pajama Day doesn't have to only be for one or two classrooms. Due to budget cuts, my kids were out of school for the entire week of Thanksgiving. The Friday before this break, their entire school celebrated a group goal with having a Pajama Day (they had collected food donations for the local food bank). Before the actual day, fliers went home with the kids regarding appropriate dress, such as socks and shoes instead of slippers and no spaghetti straps.

Consider talking with your fellow teachers and your school's administrator about the possibility of a school-wide Pajama Day, especially as it relates to a school-wide goal. Everyone will love this free celebration!