by Karen White
When it comes to teaching preschoolers, you can never have too many tricks up your sleeve. Here are three games to help refocus little ones’ attention.
1. The Fairies and the Sleeping Dolls
Split the class in two. Give half the students “magic” wands (you can use substitutes like pencils)—these are the fairies. Place the other half randomly around the room, standing in first position with arms in first, head tilted and eyes closed. These are the sleeping dolls. To the sounds of a lullaby or gentle ballet music, have the fairies tiptoe randomly from one doll to another, tapping each with her wand. When tapped, each doll opens her eyes, raises her arms to fifth, does a single bourrée turn, then falls asleep again. After a minute or two, have the two groups switch places.
2. Easter Bunnies
Give everyone small Easter baskets. Have the children line up, then place six plastic eggs in the basket of every other student. Spread six carpet squares (or stickers) around the room. The first child hops from square to square, leaving an egg on each, followed by one of the students with an empty basket, who hops to each square, picks up each egg, and places it in her basket. Reverse roles.
3. At the Ball
Place a half-dozen or so empty boxes around the room. Explain that we are all dancing princesses preparing for a ball, and that each box contains something very special that we need. Ask, “What do we need?” and choose one of the answers they shout out—gloves, jewelry, shoes, makeup, tiaras, etc. Students do a ballet walk to each box and mime taking out the specified item, placing it where it belongs (for example, they mime putting shoes on their feet). Everyone “shows off” the item (port de bras to show off gloves, tendus to show off shoes, etc.). Once all the items are collected, everyone dances at the ball.