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5 Fun and Easy Toddler Transition Activities

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 8/2/2012

Toddler transitioning can be a little like herding cats, so effective toddler transition activities are important for a smooth transition from one activity to the next. If you're looking for some ideas, take a look at these toddler transition activities. You're sure to have a smoother day!

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    Toddlers on the Move

    Toddlers may not always embrace transitions in the preschool environment, so it's best to have some toddler transition activities on hand to use between activities. The following transition activities are sure to get your little group of toddlers happily on the move, and ready for a smooth transition to the next planned activity.

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    Puppets

    Using puppets for toddler transitions is a sure way to get the attention of your little ones. Toddlers love puppets. Be sure to change your voice, and pull out your transition puppet a minute or so before the change will take place. Have the puppet announce what is coming up. For example, take out your puppet and say, "Sally says...it's time to clean up!" Make it short and direct. Your puppet could also sing a short two line song. The puppet will grab their attention, and they'll be ready to move on with you and the puppet right away.

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    Try a Catchy Tune

    Toddlers love music, so a transition song is just the thing to get them moving. It should be short, rhythmic, and easy to follow. Here is an idea for a song to transition your toddlers from playtime to lunchtime.

    Lunchtime Song

    (sung to "The Paw-Paw Patch")

    Pick up the toys and put em' all away,

    Pick up the toys and put em' all away,

    Pick up the toys and put em' all away,

    Cause now it's time for lunch.

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    Countdowns

    When a transition will soon take place, give a 2 minute warning, then a 1 minute warning. When it's time to switch activities, do a countdown together from 10 to 1. When your little ones hear you begin with a loud "10", they'll quickly learn that soon they will need to move. Have the kids count with you. The added plus is that your students will learn to count backwards much earlier than they would otherwise!

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    A Quiet Time Transition Poem

    A quiet time transition poem is just the thing to help your students move from centers to storytime. Try the following, and be sure to speak in a soft, gentle voice, to emphasize that you want a calm and quiet atmosphere in the classroom.

    Quiet Time

    Quiet time is here. Quiet time is here.

    Time for sitting, time for listening,

    Quiet time is here. Shhhh.

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    Snaps, Claps, and Physical Movement Signals

    Using snaps, claps, and stomps work great when preparing toddlers for transitions. Try a simple combination, like clap, clap, stomp. Whenever you start doing this sequence, your students will know it's time to pay attention to what is coming up next. You could add a simple chant to go along with the physical movements, like "change centers", or "lunchtime".

    If you're a toddler teacher who is looking for ways to assist your little students with transitioning, some of the above ideas might just make those transition times a little bit easier. Give some of them a try, and see if your day runs just a little smoother!