Seasoned childcare professionals understand the importance of planning for those small chunks of time when kids are preparing to transition from one activity to another. Rhymes and finger plays make perfect transition time activities because they are engaging enough to keep youngsters busy, and there is no cleanup time involved.
Kids have short attention spans, so if they are forced to sit for long periods of time with nothing to do, they’ll end up passing licks, running around, yelling, climbing on things and tearing the room apart. Once chaos ensues, the stress of trying to restore order can leave you frustrated and on the brink of tears.
Rhymes and finger plays can prevent chaos in the classroom because they fill idle chunks of time between activity changes. For instance, if your class has just finished a craft project and you need a couple of minutes to put away materials, instead of trying to convince the kids to sit quietly while you clean, you can move them over to the carpet and have them recite their favorite finger plays or rhymes.
The rhymes and finger plays you use during transition times don’t just serve as a way to keep children occupied, they provide valuable opportunities for learning. These activities help promote language development and teach children about similarity in sounds. The hand movements used during finger plays can also help improve kids’ small motor control.
Young kids adore repetition, so they always look forward to hearing their favorite chants throughout the day. However, do not expect tykes to do rhyme and finger play activities for more than five minutes at a time. If you anticipate the transition times will take longer, consider other simple activities such as fidget toys that will hold kids’ attention much longer.
Every time you learn new finger plays and rhymes, write them down on index cards. Punch holes in the upper right or left hand corners of the cards and bind them together with a binder clip. You can keep the cards in your apron pocket or on a nearby shelf so you can easily access them.
Transition times are often overlooked when schedules are being created. However, planning for these times appropriately can reduce chaos, and keep your classroom running like a dream. So next time you are planning your daily schedule, don’t forget to pencil in a few rhymes and finger plays to keep the kiddos in check.