I saw a great memory activity by Ms. Bell over at A Place Called Kindergarten . I'm thinking that it will be a good center activity for the beginning of school, especially during the first couple of weeks when we're practicing center routines, routines, routines. Head on over to her blog to see how it works.
I'll also use play dough, attribute shapes, cubes, books, and other manipulatives in centers for the first few weeks, just until we've learned the center routines and behaviors. Once these are mastered and all students are assessed, then I can get into the nitty gritty of small group instruction and reading groups.