written by: Patricia Gable
• edited by: Jonathan Wylie
• updated: 10/30/2013
In a Pre-K classroom you need to prepare a variety of activities for the little ones in order to keep their attention. A good teacher can sense the restlessness of the students and be able to quickly add a game to the revitalize everyone! Here are some ideas to help you!
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Always Be Prepared
A great teacher is always prepared. Be ready with quick Pre-K games and activities to use when you have some unexpected time in your schedule or when you need to abandon a lesson that isn’t working. Add a game to reinforce a skill. There are a variety of things to do with preschoolers to keep them focused when they get restless. Here are some ideas.
Tray- big enough to hold about 15 items (see below for explanation of the kind of items)
Choose items to put on the tray that all begin with the same letter.
For example, for the letter S, you might choose: scissors, sock, star, sticker, snake (toy), numbers six and seven (cut from construction paper), screwdriver, etc.
Put one extra item on the tray that does not begin with the designated letter.
Place the tray on the floor in the center of a circle of students. Tell students that you will be checking to see if they remember what is on the tray. Allow one full minute for the students to study the items on the tray. After one minute, remove the tray. Start at a random place in the circle of students and ask a student to say one item on the tray. Write the name of the items on the board to keep track of what is mentioned. Remind them to keep their answers a secret until called upon. Continue around the circle until the students cannot remember any more items. Ask students what item did not begin with the same letter as the others.
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This game helps children become comfortable in front of the class. If you have an extremely shy student, never force the activity, but make sure that student is still actively involved in watching and guessing the answer.
Compile a list of words that a young child can act out such as: lion, bird, clock, thunder, elephant, drum, swimming, witch, car, etc. When your students understand the game, you can play often and use some words from a theme on which you are working such as: zoo animals or jobs in our town.
Choose a confident student to begin. Whisper the word in the student’s ear. Explain that no words are allowed, only actions. The audience tries to guess what the student is acting out.
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1. Hide numbers 1-10 in the room. Choose 10 students to each find one number and come back to the teacher. When everyone has returned, students should hold the number in front of them, facing the audience,and put themselves in order 1-10. Do this again until everyone has had a turn.
2. Use two large foam dice. Form two lines of students, sitting and facing each other with space between them. One person from each side rolls the dice. Everyone on the team raises hands if their side has the biggest (highest) number.
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This game can be used without materials or preparation. Use it as a fill-in when you have an extra few minutes. It will promote thinking skills. Students should raise hands to answer. One answer per student.
Think of a category and name five things (one per student) that fit in the category.
Example of categories:
Name 5 things that weigh more than your bed.
Name 5 things that are green.
Name 5 things that will fit in your hand.
Name 5 things that are slower than a dog.
Name 5 things that fly.
Name 5 things that are longer than your arm.
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When Your Students Need a Break
Be ready with Pre-K games to use in a planned lesson or when you need something different to do in your classroom. Other ideas can be found in additional articles. Just click on the name of the game for further information: