Coming up with whole group/circle time activities can be challenging. Here are five activities that children love, and you will be able to target a variety of language skills. If you would like some tips to thrive during whole group activities, go here.
1. “Where Did my Shoes Go?”
Targets: Prepositions, Ask and Answer Where Questions
Materials Needed: Shoes, chair, “Where did my Shoes go” from Talk it Rock it (optional), Visuals
How to Play: Take off your shoes and place them under, beside, on, in front, or behind the chair (depending on the prepositions you are working on) and sit down. If you are using the song, “Where did my Shoes go?” play it first. It is quite long so I usually on play part of it. When the song is done, look down and pretend to be surprised/sad/confused and point out that your shoes are missing. Ask the children for help. The children will often point and say, “there.” Point the visuals as you look around for your shoes. When you find your shoes, reinforce where you found them. Have the children close their eyes and hide your shoes again. You can go through this a couple of rounds.
2. Introducing He and She pronouns
Targets: he, she, categorization of boys and girls
Materials needed: visuals of a boy and girl
Note: I realize that teaching male and female pronouns can be controversial. I will honour a families wish not to work directly on this goal with their child. However, I also recognize that other children and adults can get offended if they are referred to by the wrong gender pronoun.
How to play: I also introduce he and she in a preschool class by working on identifying if a child is a boy or a girl. I will have each child come up and say their name along with the close-ended phrase where the other children will identify the child as a boy or a girl. Then I will say, “name is a s/he.” The whole interaction goes like this. “Johnny, your turn.” Johnny comes up. I say to the rest of circle, “Johnny is a …” the class responds, “boy.” I say, “Johnny is a he.”
3. Feed the Puppets
Targets: he and she, categorization
Materials needed: a male and a female puppet, two categories of food.
How to play: Put a puppet on each hand. Have the food in a large basket or spread out over the floor. Talk about how the puppets are hungry and need help to eat. Tell the children what food to pick up and which puppet to feed. E.g., “She wants a fruit.” The child would then pick up an apple and feed the female puppet. Have the puppets pretend to eat the food if the child gives you the correct food. Pretend that the puppet loves it and thank the child. If the child picks food from the wrong category, have the puppet overreact that they don’t want to eat that food. E.g., “No, No, No! I don’t like …” I will also have the puppet close its mouth and turn away from the child. Encourage the child to pick food from the correct category.
Targets: identifying and naming body parts.
Materials needed: whiteboard, dry erase markers, eraser, visuals “Matman” song (optional)
How to play: there are two basic games I will describe here. For more ideas on how to use Matman go here. Game 1: Draw a person on the whiteboard. Have the children come up and tell them what body part to erase. When they wipe the body part, redraw that body part. Game 2: Have the children close their eyes. Erase a part of the body. Have the children identify what body part you erased. For more ideas on how to use Matman in group therapy, go here.
5. Action Spinner
Targets: Identifying and naming actions
Materials needed: Cards with different actions on it, “All Turn it Spinner” and a switch (optional), materials to help do the actions (e.g., if you have an open card, have a box with a lid).
How to play: If you are using a spinner and a switch, place the cards around the spinner. Have the children come up one at a time and push the switch. The child then names and/or acts out the action on the picture of the card. Depending on the actions chosen, I will have the children also act out the actions. Alternatively, if you don’t have a spinner then have them pull some cards from your hand and then complete the activity as above.
Here are just five effective activities that you can do at circle. Click here for lesson plans. What are your favourite whole group activities?