Kids need to move! I believe that children learn even better when they can alter between focused learning and MOVING! The challenge as a teacher or parent is to create ways for them to move and learn at the same time. We know that the method works, but it takes work and creativity on our part.
This week I played a ridiculously simple but effective vocabulary game with two little boys. We’ve been working on the autumn vocabulary picture card collection, which means every week for the last month or so we’ve played a game or two with the same set of cards. This week we played “jump for it.”
First off, head outside where little ones can move, then choose some toys that they are currently enjoying and that will get them moving. We used bobby cars, but really any kind of toys that get them moving will work. Line up the toys as the “finish line” and choose a starting line 6 to 8 meters (25-30 feet) away. You need to stand close enough to the students that they can see the cards, which means you may need to move with them a bit… or use larger cards or physical objects. The first child to say the vocabulary word correctly gets to make one jump forward. If it’s a tie then let them both jump. The first child to the toy line gets to choose the first toy to play with. As each child reaches the line they can also choose a toy. Once everyone is there set a timer for 1 or 2 minutes and let them play. When the timer goes off they must put the toys back on the finish line and line up at the start line again.
Like I said, it’s a ridiculously simple game, but the kids loved it and after an hour of sitting and working on inside focused learning activities, it was perfect for the end of our lesson.
Sometimes the simplest games are the best, and this one is so flexible. You could use it with any vocabulary, any kind of toys or other rewards. Just make sure that there is something for everyone on the finish line. Children are more willing to play games when they aren’t the loser. In this game everyone gets a toy, even if it isn’t their first choice, and they get lots of chances to try and get a different toy on the next round.
Everyday Objects Learning Cards from Amazon
50 First Words (Scholastic Early Learners) from Amazon