Some kids are easier to engage in activities than others. Every preschool teacher knows that some of their class will jump to attention for an interactive activity and enthusiastically throw themselves into it. Most of the group will occupy the middle ground – participating but not either hugely enthusiastic or apathetic. Then you get the shy or reluctant kids who struggle for whatever reason to participate effectively. The last thing you want is for them to get left behind, so how do you engage them in group activities?
Learning Blocks carpets provide a method of engaging children that can capture the attention of the most enthusiastic and those who are a little shyer. The carpet includes letters and illustrations, shapes, numbers, and colors, making it ideal for a variety of activities. Thanks to the large plain oval in the middle, you can really keep the kids in the zone of whatever activity they’re participating in – no one sits at their desk and everyone is involved.
If you’re looking for quick games to spark creativity and communication within your class, there are plenty of options. The carpet itself can help split children into teams (for example, those on yellow blocks stick together or those standing on animals) and then one team can be in charge of running an activity. This could be as simple as challenging the other kids to say something interesting about the block they’re standing on or making up a story based around all the “team” blocks.
Getting kids involved in this way means they have a vested interest in the outcome of the game, instead of just listening to the teacher all the time.
Other short games that you could play to warm up your class include simple alphabet games where every child shouts out what animal or object they’re stood on in alphabetic order. If you want to make it a little more challenging, go backwards through the alphabet! Or you can have every child come up with a little sentence about the block they’re on and then ask them to pass the challenge on to another member of the class.
You might be looking for a longer activity to really get all kids motivated and involved. If you are, why not try this?
Activity: Guess Again
This can be extended into a game that lasts as long as you want it to. If you need to make it shorter, choose a certain number of kids at random to be the “choosers”. However, if you want more kids to have a chance to choose, you can just repeat the steps below.
- The children start the game on the outskirts of the rug. One child (picked randomly by the teacher) chooses an item from the rug and keeps their choice to themselves. They move into the center of the rug and are known as the “chooser.”
- The other children ask questions about what object the “chooser” has picked. The only fixed rule is that no one can ask “what letter does it start with.” The questions can be about the color of the item, whether it’s an animal, whether it has whiskers etc. After getting an answer to their question, the “guesser” can suggest which item it is.
- If the “guesser” chooses correctly, they move into the winner’s circle of the oval. They become the next “chooser” and the game starts all over again, but only those outside the winner’s circle can ask questions the next time.
Carrying this on so that every child has to participate is a great way of getting everyone involved in the activity. You might not have enough time for that so you can vary the game according to your needs. If you’re trying to get the kids working together, for example, put them into teams where they can decide on the questions as a group and then they all move into the winner’s circle.
Carpet games can be adapted to your particular needs as a preschool teacher. You know your class and your lesson goals – use the carpets effectively and proactively to include your kids in engaging ways. You never know where it may lead.