Beyond Songs: Transition ideas so cool, they’ll be begging for a turn.

Do you feel like you are herding kittens during transitions? Transitions can be exhausting and are the time teachers often see the most challenging behaviors. But with a little preparation and your existing teaching supplies, you can have those kittens following you like catnip.

Tips for Success:

  • Engage the kids. If your idea is more fun than theirs, they will eagerly participate.
  • Kids need to move to learn. Transitions are a perfect learning time.
  • Plan for transitions when making your lesson plans. Every moment is a teaching time – even transitions. Use them as unique opportunities to learn skills you don’t have time for during your regular routine
  • Plan for the child who needs the most help during transitions. If she loves trains or he loves dogs, plan activities that excite them into participating.

Everyone sings songs and uses finger plays. They certainly work but don’t always get full participation. Make your transitions legendary! Get the kids so excited they can’t wait for a turn. Try these ideas and watch your kids respond.

Here are 6 ideas for getting kids to move from one area to another:

1. Use Creative Tools To Move Objects:

  • Use sand box shovels to carry an object to a bucket
  • Transfer a pompom or counter object using tongs/tweezers to a sorting tray
  • Help a baby or stuffed animal carry an object
  • Use a spoon to carry a ball or marble to a marble run

2. Conduct a Science Experiment:

  • Carry then pour a small cup or test tube of water into a large container and measure total
  • Carry vinegar to tray of baking soda and watch it bubble when child pours it.
  • Bring an object to a bowl of water to test whether it sinks or floats
  • Bring a penny to a bowl of vinegar and watch it shine
  • Give each child a cup of colored water to carry. Have two children pour into the same cup and see the new color (ex: he brings a cup of blue, she brings a cup of yellow and they pour them in a cup and watch it turn green)
  • Blow bubbles and have the kids follow the trail

3. Get Moving in a New Way:

  • Make a tape road on the floor and have the children push a vehicle to a parking spot or bucket
  • Move like an animal: hop like a frog, walk on all fours like a bear
  • Follow a trail: drop sparkly treasures to find along the way, place animal tracks along the path, stretch a rope to the new place and pretend you are on an adventure,
  • Tie the movement into your theme of study: Learning about babies? choose crawling. Learning about bug? become butterflies.

4. Create Something Together:

  • Have each child carry a block and add it to a growing tower
  • Bring a peg to a peg board
  • Bring a wooden bead to a string to be strung on.
  • Bring a piece of a puzzle to the base and put it in
  • Set out a long piece of paper. Each child draw a line and next child adds onto the end. Measure total length of the line. Try it with pieces of masking tape.

5. Foster Teamwork:

  • Become a class train, caterpillar or snake – use your learning theme for ideas.
  • Hold hands and walk in a big circle, square or triangle
  • Carry an object with a partner
  • Give friends a ride: try a wagon or scooter with a rope to pull

6. Build Motor skills:

  • Bring a tee to a foam block or pumpkin and hammer it in
  • Create “obstacles” to jump over, crawl under, through: try a tunnel along the way, cones to jump over, or a pole to go under
  • Send each child with a key and have them unlock the lock waiting for them in the new space. Lakeshore has a great alphabet lock set.
  • Child brings a pen to paper to sign in by writing his/her name