We have been doing this in my classroom for years. It is a great way to give each child a sense of responsibility and pride in the classroom. We have a Teddy Bear mascot named Buddy. Every weekend, Buddy goes home with a child in the class. He has his own backpack, with blanket, and other things he owns tucked inside. I include a sweater, a ballcap, and a favorite story book. Buddy spends the weekend in each child's care. They learn how to take care of him....a great lesson in kindness. It also allows parental involvement in the class. The parents are encouraged to sit down with their child and construct or record a story about their weekend with Buddy Bear. On Monday, the child is called to the front, with Buddy, to share his/her story. I allow them to speak first, from memory, then I read from the journal. The kids love this!
We save all of the stories and make a book out of them, that is kept in our library for other classes to enjoy in following years.
A new twist that my Aunt Julie, who is also a teacher, taught me is to ask parents who travel, and or the children, to take Buddy Bear with them and to send postcards to the class from Buddy. The children can mark on a classroom map where Buddy has been. A great Social Studies and Geography lesson!