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Click for Activity Central When groups of pre-k and kindergarten children are in new surroundings they often find it unsettling to move from one activity to another.  Songs and rhymes help turn tough transitions into relaxing routines. 
Sprinkled between the rhymes are Transition Activities.
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Clean Up Time
Teach good housekeeping skills with this transition activity from Debragail S.

Materials: Small spritz spray bottles from a beauty supply store or drug store, $.50 to $1.00. Handiwipes, paper towels or inexpensive dish rags.

Description: After lunch, I give each child a spray bottle filled with a 
small amount of water and a cleaning rag. I allow them to spray and wipe the 
tables and chairs. This helps keep them occupied while I set up cots for nap 
time. They love the sense of contributing to the upkeep of the classroom.

Comments: Sing a clean up song. There are lots of clean up songs later in this theme and in Rhymes for Transition Times

For storytime the book: The Clean-up Surprise by Christine Loomis 

My Hands Are Hanging By My Sides Song
Claudia P. suggests this pre-k & kindergarten song to use while waiting for children to stand in line quietly and get ready for hallway manners

Song: Improvise your tune
My hands are hanging by my sides (put hands by sides).
I'm standing very tall (stand straight and tall).
My eyes are looking straight ahead
(point to your eyes, then straight ahead and make body face to front of line).
I'm ready for the hall (whisper this).

Comments: This is a great attention getter when trying to get a "noisy" line 
ready to go somewhere such as hallway, enrichment classes or coming in from the playground!  This works 100% of the time for me!!

Closing Activity
Beverly S. promotes the development of language and memory skills with this end of the day activity.

Materials: Chart paper &  marker.

 Description:  Have children sit down.
 Write Daily News and the day's date at the top of the chart paper.
 Ask, "Who can remember the first thing we did this morning?"
 Choose a child, then write down what she dictates to you on the chart paper.
 Continue writing what other children recall.
 If needed, prompt them by asking what they made at art, what their story
 was about, what they cooked for snack, etc.
 Hang the Daily News on the door so parents can read about all the activities 
 when they pick up their children. 

Comments: Let children draw pictures of what they learned or liked best at 
school at the end of the day. Rewrite the Daily News on a regular sheet of paper, then photocopy one for each child to take home.

Happy Face Chart: Getting Ready for Recesses
Mary Ellen B. says, "This activity was created to get children out for recess on time, using a  minimal amount of time but it also turned into an excellent name recognition activity.

Materials: Large chart paper with all of the children's names written on it
and then laminated.  There must be a good-sized space after each name to allow room for happy faces.

Description: The junior kindergarten children in my school (3 and 4 year olds) 
are required to go out for all of the recesses during a normal school day.  In order to speed things up, getting the children to get dressed on time, I created a chart with all of the children's names printed on it and then laminated the chart.
About 5 minutes before the bell is to ring everyone who is ready sits on the carpet in front of the board.  We then begin reading the names off the list and if that child is completely ready to go out (hat on, coat zipped, boots done up...) and sitting on the carpet, I put a happy face after their name using a wipe off marker.  We continue on until we have read off all of the names.  I back track at the end if children have joined us late but before the bell goes. 

As the children get good at reading all of the names, I begin at different spots on the chart so they really master reading  the names.  Also, as the winter progresses and the children become totally self-sufficient at dressing themselves (e.g. tying laces, zipping zippers...) they get a super happy face (I just add hair to the original happy face) for having done everything by themselves! At the end of the day, after the children go home, I erase the happy faces and my chart is ready for their next school day. 

Comments: Children, and parents, love this!  Several parents even adapted a 
similar program at home because their child was so motivated to get happy faces (no cost involved)! 

Transitional Song
Susan C. offers this song to sing before class and as a transition to activities.

Description: I teach this song to my children at the beginning of the year and 
 use it as the day begins or as we transition from circle to activity time.

Sung to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot":
    Our school is a place where we have fun.
    There's something to do for everyone.
    It's a happy place to learn and play.
    Let's see what we can do today.

Guessing Game Song
Betty D. uses this as a transition song to get her children gathered at circle time.

Materials: Anything small enough to fit in your pocket.  I have used a marble,  coin, small plastic animal, a sticker, rock, etc.  I usually grab anything on the spur of the moment.

Guessing Game Song
Sung to the tune of the "Brownie Song" or improvise a tune.

I've got something in my pocket can you guess what it might be?  It's something very special, something you can't see.
Can you guess it (child's name) John Doe?
Can you guess what it might be?
It's something very special, a surprise for you and me!

The children try and guess what you have in your pocket.  I usually give a few hints after singing it a couple of times.  The children just love this song!

Comments: My kids go crazy when I sing this song.  They really enjoy it.

The Wonder Box
Lori Ann suggests this activity and says, "I use this activity to help gain the attention of my students before I begin a lesson! We are all curious and the Wonder Box seems to ignite more curiosity in my students!"

 Materials: A simple box with a lid and then whatever prop you want to use for your lesson.

Description: I am a Children's Librarian and my story times are based on themes.  I have a special white box with a lid that is decorated with a question mark and the words "The Wonder Box" and before we begin each story time, we sneak a peek in the Wonder Box to find out what our stories are going to be about.  Inside the box, I then have prop(s) to introduce my story theme.

We also always ask the Wonder Box for permission to look inside. 
Together we chant,

"Wonder Box, Wonder Box, May we see,
The special things you  have for me!"
The children always love to try and guess what is inside and it helps them to use their creative thinking skills.  Whenever a holiday is fast approaching, they are thinking of things that are related to that holiday.  I may even give clues to help them think of ideas.

Sometimes inside the box, the items are hid within a bag and the students get a chance to use their other senses to determine what was inside the box.  They may get to feel the bag or smell the bag.  This has been a great introduction to story time!

I have also successfully used this in a preschool classroom to introduce the theme of the week or day.  We did it also when we learning the different letters of the alphabet.  I would put objects that began with the letter of the week in the box. It has always been a hit! 

Where Do I Sit Today?
Robin G. shares a game that will help develop visual discrimination and social skills.
A special bag and a set of matching objects - one for each child in 
the class.

The children in my preschool class hardly ever sit at the tables 
all at the same time.  The only time we all "sit" is at snack time.  Children, just as adults, tend to choose a place to sit and sit there all the time.  I like to encourage them to sit with a variety of friends and in a variety of places. 

In order to accomplish this, I place a set of objects at the seats and a matching set in a colorful bag.  The children reach into the bag and pull out an object.  They find the matching object at the table and sit there for that snack time.  The objects should be theme or skill related  for (example shapes, colors, animals or etc.).  There also should be some days where the children sit wherever they choose.

Teaching for Transition Times
Begin by gradually introducing young children to one rhyme or song for each transition in the schedule.  Sing / chant it together frequently for at least a week.  After preschoolers become accustomed to hearing the tune / rhyme, sit down together and make a colorful rebus (picture and words poster of the song / rhyme.  Cover the poster with clear contact paper and display it at the children's eye level in an area where that activity usually takes place. 

You'll need experience chart paper, felt tip markers and clear contact paper (optional).  Remember, young children develop trust and confidence through routine in schedules.  You only need a few transition rhymes, repeated each day.

Rhymes and Songs for a Daily Schedule

The Hello Song
Lori Ann offers this song to begin the preschool and kindergarten day.

Materials: Your singing voice and the tune to "Skip to My Lou" 

Description: I am a Children's Librarian and every time I begin a story time session, I begin with a simple song that asks the participants how they are.  The participants are told that they are going to be  asked a question and instead of them using words to describe how they are, they are to use their THUMBS.  If they are doing really good - they put their thumbs up.  If they are not doing so great -- thumbs down.  If they are not sure how they are - they can put a thumb up or down or just put them side to side.

 I sing,
Hello, Hello, How are You?
Hello, Hello, How are You?
 Hello, Hello, How  are you? How are you this (morning, afternoon or evening --- whatever the case may be).

This is sung to the tune of "Skip to my Lou" and then the  students
respond appropriately with their thumbs. This works well to let people know we are ready to begin! 

For Busy Hands  (improvise a tune)
              Bend them, stretch them (two times)
              Give a little clap,
              Bend them, stretch them (two times)
              Put them in your lap!

              First I sit in my little chair.
              Now I put my hands in the air.
              I lower them slowly to my lap.
              Now I'm ready for my snack.

Song For Clean Up
Barb K. shares this song.

  Clean Up Song
(tune: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)
 Twinkle, twinkle little star
 Time to clean up where you are
 Put a toy back in its place
 Keep a smile on your face
 Twinkle, twinkle little star
 Time to clean up where you are.

 Transition Song  for Clean up

Wanda L. uses this song to help preschoolers put things away.

To the tune of "Jingle Bells"

Tidy up, tidy up
Put your toys away
Tidy up, tidy up,
We are finished for today.
Tidy up, tidy up,
Put your toys away
For we will get them out again
The next time we play,hey!

      Cleanup Time:
Tidy up, tidy up, put your toys away.
Tidy up, tidy up, we're finished with our play.

         A Clean Up Game"
              (tune: "Shortnin' Bread")

              Let's all clean up, clean up, clean up.
              Let's all play the clean up game.

              Put away the blocks, blocks, blocks.
              Let's all play the clean up game.
              (insert words for other items that need to be 
              picked up)

          A Jolly Good Helper"
              (tune: "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow")

              (Name) is a jolly good helper.
              (Name) is a jolly good helper.
              (Name) is a jolly good helper.
              They're picking up the toys.

Reinforce children who are being good helpers by singing their names in the tune above.

                A Clean-up Song:
                         To the tune of "Jingle Bells"

                          It's clean up time,
                          It's clean up time, 
                         It's time to put away
                          The things we had
                          The things we used
                      For work time and for play 
                         (repeat song twice).

Departure time (improvise a tune)
              Now it's time to say good-bye
              to all our friends at play.
              Some will walk and some will ride
              but we'll see them all Wednesday (Enter day of 
              the week you'll see the children again.)

Good Bye Rhymes
Lori Ann helps preschool and kindergarten children create rhymes.

 Materials: 10 special ways to say good-bye with a rhyme.

Description: I am currently a Children's Librarian and I do weekly story time  events for children ages 3 - 6.  We like to say good-bye in a special way at the end of our events.  I have borrowed 10 special good bye rhymes from various sources and created a good-bye rhyme book.  We always say good-bye using this  book. 

 See you later, Alligator
 Bye, Bye, Butterfly
 Give a hug, Ladybug
 Be sweet, Parakeet
 Blow a kiss, Jellyfish
 See ya soon, Raccoon
 Take care, Polar Bear
 Out the door, Dinosaur
 So long, King Kong
 and Bye, said the Fly.

The students help me say good bye and then someone always tries to add one more special good bye rhyme.  The students become quite creative.

Summer Transition Poem
This early childhood poem can be recited by preschool children as they prepare for outdoor summer activities.

                      The sun is hot
                      Where's the shade?
                      I raise my hands
                      A tree is made.

                      The grass is green
                      And grows so fast
                      A breeze comes by
                      But doesn't last

                      It's summertime
                      It's outdoor time
                      It's swim and splash and 
                      Sandy time.

For more ideas stop by Activity Central's Rhymes for Transition Times

Take a look at these curriculum resource books for adults:
   Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky
   Sing a Song of Popcorn edited by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers`



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