Kid Activities
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Transitions: Getting Kids Attention!

September 30, 2009 02:00 by Barbara Shelby

 ...AND A HUSH FELL OVER THE ROOM (From Training Series)

 Many strategies can be used to help a child transition smoothly…
The following information is designed to offer some tips and tools for planning effective transitions.

  • Keep in mind that you may need to use more than one tool or idea to address children's transition needs.
  • Learning key strategies to keep your program on task will help you handle students who have trouble moving from one location to another-or switching from one activity to another.
  • Keeping youth productive will gain more active program time in the process!

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A.  Getting Attention: The first step for children to pay attention is the awareness that someone wants their attention. At times young children have a remarkable focus on what they are already doing; attention signals need to be strong enough to get through their present concentration.

B.  What ever strategies you’ve decided upon, the important thing is to have the children practice.

  • For instance, if one of your choices is to use the “lights on and off method” tell the children the rule and then say, "Talk now and when I turn out the lights, stop. Ok, that was good, but a few people were talking; let’s try again”.
  • Keep practicing the first week or two.
  • Practice again, if you see it has stopped working or if many kids are not listening.

C.  Be clear and specific.
Children are more likely to hear your requests and pay attention when it is clear what you want them to do.

  • Keep directions short and simple.
  • Allow children time to process your requests for their attention and follow the directions given.
  • Consider that afternoons are low energy times for many children and it may take longer to process attention-getting techniques.

D.  Be aware of temperament. Some children can be easily distracted and/or exhibit impulsive behavior.
When this is the case, speak calmly, use one-step directions, and give them a gentle touch.

E.  Teach the difference between being silly and serious. Tell children that there is room for both of these behaviors.

  • Practice by saying, "Act silly!" Let them be silly. Then say, "Now, act serious."
  • Model this at the beginning of the year so when you say, "I need to have serious behavior," they respond accordingly and are attentive.

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Some ideas are:

1. Use a clapping pattern; Clap or tap in a pattern, for example, clap slowly twice and then clap fast three times. The students are to stop what they are doing and repeat the pattern. If necessary, do it again until all children have responded and are quiet. If your classroom or program used this method, there are many ideas that can be combined with this)

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2. Lights switched on/off:  Children look at the caregiver and listen when the lights are flicked off and on.

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3. Whistles are harsh and can be annoying, however can be effective when outside or for an emergency.

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4. The word “freeze!” For an emergency or when attention is immediately desired, the word, “freeze,” works well. When the children hear the word,” they KNOW something is serious and important! Every program/classroom should have a 'Freeze' option in place!

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5. When you say, "Voices," teach the children to respond with a quiet, "Shhh..." Use this if the children are too loud. If you want their attention, say, "Voices" again and they respond with a quieter, "Shhh..." Say it a third time very quietly, "Voices." All children should be quiet and ready to listen.

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6. Shout "AND A HUSH FELL OVER THE CROWD!" and the kids reply with a drawn out "HUSH!”

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7. Hold up your hand and say, "Give me five." The children put their hands in the air and shout "five!" As they count down to one, they get progressively quieter until "one" is said in a whisper. Or, after saying, "Give me five," everyone puts their hand in the air and counts loudly using their fingers from 1 to 5.

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8. Every school has a mascot.  Shout your school name and have the children respond with the name of the school mascot. Example: Caregiver/teacher shouts, "Baldwin” and the children respond with, "Lions." After they shout the mascot name they are to be silent.

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9. Just clapping is another way... and you'll get applause!

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10. Do you need a moment of peace?

Tell your students that they will often be playing, "The Still Waters Game"; they will know the game has begun when you say, "1, 2, 3, --- 3, 2, 1… still waters has begun."

Ask them to freeze like an ice cube and remain silent when they hear that sentence. Time the children to see how long they can remain still. The goal is to beat their best time. Hold your fist in the air and each time you see someone move or talk, put a finger up. Once you have all five fingers up, check your watch and tell the group how long they were able to remain still.

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11. One favorite attention getter is a teacher/leader saying, “Bump-da-da-Bump-Bump” and the children reply in unison, “Bump-Bump!” This is said to the tune of ‘Shave and a Hair Cut---Two Bits’.

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12. Use, "Teacher Says," like "Simon Says." For example, "Teacher says, touch your nose," “Teacher says, Clap once," then "Teacher says, look at me." This can also be used to line up! Teacher says, "Line Up!"

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13. For getting attention, you can:
Shake a shaker, touch a wind chime, ring a bell, use a rain stick, play music or use any kind of sound maker as a signal for students to be attentive.

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 14. Here is a fun transition INCENTIVE that can be used during football/baseball season! (For older kids)

FOOTABALL: On a large green poster board, draw a PROGRAM VERSION of a football field. -10-20-30-40 ← 50 → 40-30-20-10-…

At the beginning of the school year, introduce the football chart. Place two small football cut-outs on the center 0 yard line with 50 yards at each end. Tell the kids that you’re going to play a game for six weeks. (Staff is one team and kids the other.)  

Decide which transitions you’d like to shorten—explain that each day during that transition they will be timed. If everyone is ready within the time, the children score 10 yards. If not-staff scores.

The quarters are divided within weeks. At the end of the six weeks if the children won---celebrate with a “football themed” event! You could also do a version of this for “cleaning up”-

No nagging and good job--they get to score; if there aremany reminders and lack of responsibility-the staff scores. You could also time this to end near Super Bowl weekend!

This can be adapted to just about any sport--as the baseball version image above demonstrates! (The small figures from 'clip art' were cut out from a 'Google Search'. The boards by KidActivities.net took some thought and awhile to make--but  school-age kids love the novelty of it! Barb)

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15. Laughing Handkerchief
When the group sees a handkerchief thrown into the air, they laugh as loud as possible. When the handkerchief hits the ground, they go silent.

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16. Use humor! Say in a robotic voice, "Ms. Linda to SAC (or Grade 2) - Come in Grade 2" and smile! This method is especially good when used with individual children….

  • Other methods for getting individual attention: Engage children with your facial expressions, such as smiling and making eye contact; say “excuse me”; put your hand on child’s shoulder; obstruct the child’s view of activity.
  • Be welcoming; use children's names to get their attention. Use your body language to convey warmth and acceptance.

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18. When needing attention-

Instead of saying, "Boys and girls"... Say your “school’s name combined with SAC or Grade. (Or whatever your program/classroom is called) Example: Hampton Grade 2—you attention is required.

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19. Say, in a normal tone of voice, "Clap once if you can hear me." Those listening will quiet down and clap one time. Then say, "Clap twice if you can hear me." More children respond with two claps. Finally say, "Clap three times if you can hear me." By this time you should have the attention of your group. (Personally I never cared for this one-it can take longer than other methods-but it is popular in many areas. Barb)

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20. Important: Post a schedule with approximate times of routine activities

  • The schedule informs children of “What comes next”; this prepares the children for upcoming transitions.
  • Student reminders are required to accustom the children to look at the schedule.

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21. For Pre-K to Grade 1-- sing the following words to the Frere Jacques tune:
"Are you listening? Are you listening? Everyone! Everyone! If you are listening, if you are listening, look at me, look at me." Other ways to end the song are: "Snap your fingers" or "Pat your head."

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22. Music (Click here to see comments on using music in transtions)

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23. Let the children know when they need to do something; give them the reason why it is necessary.

  • Get into the habit of saying, ‘We’re going to…because…”
  • When children understand the 'whys', they are more apt to cooperate.

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24. THE TALKING STONE, STICK OR MOUTH (Use with Pre-K and up!)
Often during circle or group time, many children want to talk at once. One way to help children learn how to take turns is to use a visual clue.

Teachers/caregivers might try using a "talking stick" or "talking stone". You can use a colorful rock or decorate your stick in a special way. This technique helps young children learn to respect the speaker and to wait and listen. Continue with this idea and soon the children will be reminding each other.

This version is adapted from preschoolrainbow.org;
however, I've used this method for the last 20 years when having group meetings with youth. I've  made a "Talking mouth" out of a rolled up pair of white socks and in the past used a stone and feather. It works!!! Until recently, I didn't know that it has Native American origin. It was something  I just thought of... 20 plus years ago! Barb (Sock image by KidActivities.net)

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25. Say to the students in a loud voice, "All set?" They answer, "You bet."

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26. FUN IDEA! USE THE CHANT 'BOOM CHICKA BOOM'!

This chant can be used to facilitate classroom transitions.  If your group/class is noisy, start chanting loudly, then lower your volume with each successive repetion.

For the next-to-last time it is said, whisper the words. For the last repetition, only lip-sync or mouth the words.
                                                                

BOOM CHICK BOOM!

I said a boom chicka boom
'Students repeat'

I said a boom chicka boom.
'Students repeat'

I said a boom chicka rocka
Chicka rocka, chicka boom
'Students repeat'

I said a boom chicka boom.
'Students repeat'

Oh yeah (echo), uh huh (echo), next time (echo)

A little softer (echo).

A little louder...
A little slower...

A little faster...

The end!!!

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TIPS

1. To get children’s attention, use one method consistently. If you are committed to a method it will usually work; if you don't commit 100%, it won't work.

  • Meet with the children at the beginning of the school year and discuss what method or methods you will use.
  • Present a few ideas to them—and have kids decide which to use! Do this each year.
  • You can add fun by keeping tally and charting their opinions.


2. Students will welcome any attempt you make to add transition activities into your daily routines, especially if they involve a little movement or a challenge. You will be surprised at how these activities change your group environment. If you periodically change the activities, you will keep their interest piqued as they wonder what you will do next.


3. Be sure all children know what is expected when these systems are used
. Individual guidance may be necessary for children who have difficulty with transitions or are new to your program. With consistency, your group will easily follow the routine when they hear the selected music or signal!

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Tip Page: Music in Group Management

July 6, 2009 06:35 by Barbara Shelby

Different forms of music have been found to be effective in increasing the ability to focus, concentrate, calm, soothe, and relax; it can enhance learning, creativity, and critical-thinking skills.

Use Music for setting the stage and mood; it can serve a variety of functions in your classroom or program

1. Play music to manage the energy level of the program. You never know the energy level the kids will have when they arrive. One day, you have a room full of kids bouncing off the walls (often on cold or rainy days when they can't go outside to play). The next day the same children seem like they are moving in slow motion.

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2. Play music to signal transitions to the children.
There are tunes galore for younger kids; however when working with school-age, look for music that will be more age-appropriate. An example may be Yakity-Yak, Don’t Talk Back when it’s time to clean-up the play areas---or---Who Let the Dogs Out as a signal for outside line up. If using music for transitions, get the SAC kids input into what they’d like to use.

  • For either age group--always give a 10 and then 5 minute warning that the activity will end.
  • At the given time--play the music that is used consistently--- and the kids will know what to do!

3. Music can also be a bonding experience
Play music as background right from the beginning of the day. Just as you take care to make your environment visually appealing and stimulating, you should also note the effect that music has on the atmosphere in the program and classroom.

NOTE:
Entering a room can be intimidating for people of any age.

  • Music can help to make your program space warm and inviting.
  • Arrival time should be soothing; use music to set a tone right from the start.
  • To liven things up-be sure to play music to go with your themes.
    • Having a beach party? Play Beach Boys and Caribbean music. Having a Luau—play Hawaiian music, etc,

Tip: Loosely plan music to accompany the several transitions you have. Instead of using several CD’s… burn a CD of the songs you use or use an iPod so you don't need to change CDs during the program. Make a playlist of about 70 minutes worth of music (50 minutes worth of group-time music plus 4-5 songs to use as back-ups if you need to change the pace).

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79 Sponge Fillers, Transition and Line Up for Kids!

May 23, 2009 20:32 by Barbara Shelby

 

 

 

One aspect that many school-age programs and classrooms neglect is the planning of Transition times. We all have them! They're the little bits of time that occur throughout the day. (Throughout our lives...)

Transitions should be built into our schedules-and planning is the Key! If imaginative transition activities are NOT planned in advance, there generally is an impact on programming; they most likely won't happen and kids become disinterested.

I've visited programs in the morning-where children are lined up for 15 to 30 minutes with nothing to do! Consider some of the ideas below-and plan fun gathering and waiting times for the children attending our programs and classrooms...All you need is 5 to 15 minutes and you'll have a time in the day that the kids  look forward to!

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 1. CONTINUE TO READ ALOUD TO CHILDREN… GREAT AT TRANSITION TIMES!
A child's interest level is often much higher than his or her reading level. If children are to grow up loving books and reading, they need to be exposed to the most interesting books available. The SAC morning “Gathering Transition” is a good time to read chapter-books.

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2. A  VERSION OF “I SPY”
Explain that when you say, “I spy,” every child needs to stop what he/she is doing, listen, and respond with, “What do you spy?” Say something like, "I spy children dancing in one place," or “I spy a rock star silently playing a guitar.” The students act out that idea until you again say, "I spy." Then all the students stop what they are doing and respond with, "What do you spy?" The game continues with you suggesting other ideas such as, “I spy children waving their arms.” After playing awhile, say “I spy students lining-up quietly.” Children may be chosen to lead the activity.

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3. OH - AH
Start with everyone in a circle holding hands. One person
gives a quick squeeze to the hand of the person on the RIGHT. The
squeeze is passed from person to person around the circle until it is moving smoothly.
Now add sound. Squeeze and say "ooh"… and watch it go around. Next add "ah", but with a LEFT exchange…some fun as the sounds pass over each other at the same time!

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4. PLAY "SIMON SAYS"

Also... 

PLAY SIMON SAYS WITH 'VISUAL MISCUE'
Play this game just like any "Simon Says" but add visual directions that are totally wrong! Example: Simon Says touch your nose while touching your cheek! This game helps children focus on the spoken word rather than being overly influenced by visual...

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5. SEASONAL “SIMON SAYS”
Play Simon Says according to the season and themes:
   • Winter: Santa Says, Frosty says, The Snowman Says, the Elf Says
   • Valentine’s Day: Cupid Says; St. Patrick’s Day: The Leprechaun Says
   • Easter or Spring: The Bunny Says…also adapt to the themes such as The Frog Says!
   • Red-White & Blue Days: Uncle Sam Says

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6. DO THIS—DO THAT!
This is played similar to "Simon Says"...
The group does everything you do when you say "do this"...but when you say "do that"...they do NOT follow the direction. When a player follows the direction of "do that"... they are out.

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7. ALL IN ONE GAME

  • Stand in a circle holding hands. One person is in the middle.
  • The person in the middle calls in some one--one at a time.
  • The goal is to see how many people you can fit in the middle---without breaking hands.
  • You can create your own Guinness Book of Records!

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8. ODDBALL (Good only for small groups)
All you need is a soft ball-- a crumpled piece of paper will also do. Gather in a circle and give one student the ball; call out an "oddball" number which is a single digit number such as ‘5.’ Start passing the ball from student to student, counting up by ones. When a child gets the ball on an oddball number, they need to pass the ball in the OPPOSITE direction (The oddball number is one ending in your starting number. With the 5--the odd ball numbers would be 5, 15, 25, etc.
Keep counting up and switching directions with the oddball number. Frequently call out a new oddball number and keep going.

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9. STATUES 
As you play music, have the children move in place or if there is space, have them dance around the room. Every minute or so, stop the music and the children have to freeze in whatever pose they were in when the music stopped. If they move, they sit down and lose a turn.

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10. CHICKEN PICKS
Equipment: Rubber Chicken

  • Players sit in a circle and one player goes into the middle.
  • A topic is chosen and the rubber chicken starts with one person--- and is passed around the circle.
  • The person in the middle  lists as many things as they can from the topic, but they only have however long it takes for the chicken to pass around the circle once.
  • When the chicken gets back to the starting point, the person stops talking.
  • A designated counter should be in the group, to count how many objects were listed.
  • The person that is able to list the most objects is the winner.
  • Example: What are all the things that you can think of that start with the letter M? How many candy bars can be named? Or, what are things that you can buy at the hardware store.
  • Pick high-interest topics, such as TV shows.

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11. ZIP ZAP (Good for getting to know each other) “It” points to a person in the circle repeating the word "zip" or "zap" and counting to five. If "It" says "zip" the person must reply with the name of the person on his/her right---if "It" says "zap" they must reply with the name on their left. If the name is wrong, that person goes into the center of the circle.

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12. COOPERATIVE STAND UP
   • Have your group get into pairs. 
   • The pairs will sit on the floor, back pressed to back—and arms interlocked. 
   • They must stand up without using their hands. It can end here...OR... 
   • After a pair stands up, have them find another pair and all 4 must sit down and stand up. 

Go on as such until the entire group is together and have everyone try to stand up. This is a good game to promote friendliness and is fun when you have an exceptionally large group.

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13. ZOOM
Standing in a circle, students orally pass the word "zoom" around from one person to another. The activity moves rapidly to build and sustain community involvement.
…..Variations can include switching directions, multiple zooms at one time, students leading zoom, and USING OTHER WORDS to build vocabulary.
…..The first time, have youth sit in a circle with their legs crossed, sitting up straight with their hands in their laps. Model this posture, and ask the students to have their knees touch their neighbors' knees to form a tight circle.

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14. BUZZ
The players start counting substituting buzz for the number seven and multiples of seven. If a player makes a mistake he must drop out or the whole group must start again.

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15. SILLY SALLY’S COOL CLUB!

  • Have the players in a circle.
  • The leader explains that Silly Sally has a cool club. The only way that kids can join--- is if they can figure out what Sally likes and doesn't like.
  • Sally only likes things that have double letters in them. Sally likes 'soccer' but she doesn't like 'golf'. Sally likes 'bananas' but she doesn't like 'beans'. Etc.
  • As children take turns guessing what Sally likes, the leader either lets the child in the club--or not.
  • This is based on the guess-and if it contains double of a letter. (Obviously, the leader will have to know how to spell!)

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16. Lie on back on the floor. A coin is placed on the nose.
The challenge is to get the coin off by wiggling nose, but without moving the head.

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17. HEADS UP… 7- UP

  • All children playing sit at a table or desk with their heads down. They cover their eyes and stick up one thumb.
  • Seven children who have been chosen--- walk around the tables or desks.
  • Each of the “Seven” touches ONE child’s thumb. When a child’s thumb is touched, they put down their thumb.
  • When all the “Seven” have touched a thumb-- they go to the front of the room, and say in unison, "Heads Up-- Seven Up!"
  • The seven youth whose thumbs have been touched stand up.
  • They then have to guess who the one who touched their thumb was.
  • If they're right, they become one of the “NEW SEVEN”, replacing whoever had touched them.

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18. BALANCING ACT
Need a bean bag, pencil, eraser -- or similar object to place on head. Play music as each child walks around balancing the object on their head. If the object falls off the child is frozen until another comes and places the object back on the head. Everyone stops and resets their object when the music stops. Game starts over when the music again starts.

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19. CHEERLEADING
During program activity time-have groups put together cheers about SAC or school
. At ‘Gathering Time’ have groups perform them for each other.

Also use the same idea with kids putting together a short RAP. When it’s recognized that RAP stands for Rhythm and Poetry—it is much more accepted in some programs. An easy way to start is with nursery rhymes such as ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’.

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20. PUPPET SHOW
The puppets can be made at SAC or purchased. Children can put together a short puppet show and perform during the group “Gathering Time”.

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21. MAGIC
Need magic book, props and tricks…Simple magic tricks are always fun to do. Children love the mystery that revolves around magic. Teach some magic tricks as one of your activities. During ‘Gathering Time’, children can perform tricks for each other. The above Cheerleading, Puppets and Magic can also be performed at family events!

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22. HOPPING CHALLENGE
This can be played in a circle, a line, or as a "Bunny, Kangaroo or Froggie Says____" game.
Give children a variety of "hopping" commands such as:

  • Hop in one place.
  • Hop and turn in a circle at the same time.    
  • Hop on left/right foot.
  • Hop backwards, sideways; make a square or circle.
  • Hop over a line.
  • Hop with a partner.
  • Hop quietly to line up.

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23. What do you do with it? Or… Who uses it?
Have unusual tools, utensils, shoes, hats, uniforms, etc. Ask what or who uses each one? Youth can also bring items to attempt to ‘stump’ the group!

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24. BACK WRITING & DRAWING: One person sits with his back to another. The other person, using their fingers, "draws" a letter on the person's back. At the same time, that person draws on a piece of paper what they think is being drawn on their back.

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25. RAIN:  The group sits in a circle. The leader starts by rubbing their hands together. The person to the right does the same and so on--- until everyone is doing the action.
When all are rubbing their hands, the leader starts a new sound, finger snapping, then hand clapping, next slapping thighs, try foot stomping. To END the storm, reverse the actions. At the end, the group one by one stops rubbing hands and sits and waits for the action to be completed by the group.

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26. CARD NAME GAME: Write each child’s name on a playing card. While seated on the floor, distribute one card to each child –making sure no one has their own name. When their name is called they have to say something positive about the person on the card. This is a great way to help youth to respect and treat others well. Fun-and only takes about five minutes to play! 

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27. Choose a person to leave the room. The rest of the group stands in a circle. Choose a leader who begins and changes all movements. Everyone else should be aware of the leader but not look directly at him. Change movements when the leader does. Once everyone has the idea, call back the person who left the room. Ask him to stand in the middle and try to figure out who the leader is.

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28. A SOUND IDEA
Make a tape of sounds from the environment.  Example: crickets chirping, cell phones ringing, water running, a thunderstorm, and a kitty meowing. When the tape is played the students are asked to identify what the noise is. Keep a numbered list for your own reference so you don't forget what's on it. The younger children especially like this activity.

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29. BIRDS CAN FLY

  • Players are scattered randomly, and face the activity leader who calls out things
    TRUE ABOUT ANIMALS.
  • Example: Birds can fly. Rabbits can hop. Horses can trot.
  • Players follow these directions.
  • When the caller says something that isn’t true such as Cats can bark --- any student who does the action is out.
  • This continues until there is only one player left who becomes the new caller.

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30. GROUP BODY SPELLING
Players start in groups of five (number can vary depending on the size of the
group). Each group stands in a straight line beside one another. The leader
asks them to use their bodies (with each group member involved) to spell the
following words, one at a time, starting with a word with five letters, to a word with
one letter.

  • CANDY, FOUR, YOU, ME and I.
    Stress the use of creativity – for example “I” …everyone could point to their eye;
    For the word ‘You’ everyone in the group forms a large U.

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31. Sit in a circle. One person starts a sound—holding the sound as long as possible. The next person picks it up and it travels around the circle so it becomes A RIBBON OF SOUND. Each person should pick it up and pass it on as quickly as possible. Transform it into another sound-with the person next to the one who started the first sound. 

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32. RUMORS (Similar to telephone game)
Select Teams. The first person on each team goes out of the area and all team captains together make up a message. This same message will be used by all teams.
On the sign to start, the first captain of each team whispers the Rumor to the next person on their team. They will whisper the Rumor to the next - and so on. The last person to receive the Rumor will run to a black board, white board, or flip chart and write the message.
The team that is the closest to the correct Rumor wins.

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33. MY FAVORITE SPORT: Players stand in a circle. The leader starts by going into the middle of the circle and says, “My favorite sport is jogging” and jogs on the spot. Everyone jogs until another player goes into the middle and says their favorite sport and does the body action. This continues till all the players have had an opportunity to lead.

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34. THE SQUEEZE GAME
Equipment: Small random object such as keys, stone, etc.
Have TWO parallel, straight, equal lines of youth, and have them hold each others hand. Have someone at the front and back of the lines watching. Place a small item in the middle of the two front people, and place it just within their reach. The back person (who is watching) says a number to the last child of each line. That is the number of times each child should squeeze the hand of the person in front of them. So if the back person said ‘2’, to the back two people—each person’s hand down the row is squeezed ‘twice’. This becomes a chain reaction, until the front person’s hand is squeezed. Once they feel the squeeze, they reach for the object in front of them. The team to grab the object first wins!

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IDEAS FOR WAITING IN LINE

35. BACKWARDS NAMES...
Each person writes their name backwards on a file card. The cards are put in a pile in the center of the group. In turn, each person picks up a file card from the pile, and reads aloud what it says. The group must guess whose name is backwards. (Pre-make cards to use “whenever”.) Example: If the name is Mary--backwards it would be y-ram!

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36. LEARN TO SING THE ABC'S BACKWARDS!  Why? Just for the fun of it!
Have a poster of the alphabet and point to the letters starting with "Z" and go from there...
Z Y X W V U T S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E D C B A

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37. CHOCOLATE FACE
Have the kids place a piece of chocolate candy in their mouth--- and see how long it takes to melt! No sucking and chewing it! The one to keep the chocolate in their mouth the longest is the winner.

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38. RYHME THAT WORD!
Think of words. Children take turns seeing how many “real” rhyming words they can think of. When one word is worn out, choose another word. Remind the kids to use “nice” words only!
…..Example" Rhyme words with “time”:
chime, climb, crime, dime, grime, I’m, lime, mime, prime rhyme, thyme, slime, bedtime, centime, daytime, enzyme, lifetime, mealtime, meantime, nighttime, pastime, ragtime, sometime, springtime, sublime, maritime, overtime, pantomime, paradigm

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39. SHOULDER CHALLENGE
A potato chip or cracker is placed on shoulder, while standing. The challenge is to remove the chip with tongue!

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40. 20 QUESTIONS  
One person picks something to be, such as a famous person or an animal, and then the rest of the children ask ‘yes or no questions’ until someone guesses who the person has chosen to be.

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41. Have students DO TWO THINGS AT ONCE. Examples:

  • Tap their heads and rub their stomachs
  • Clap their hands and stand on one foot
  • Snap their fingers and nod their heads
  • Do jumping jacks, etc.

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42. WRITING IN THE AIR: Have each child turn sideways with their right hand on their right shoulder. (If left-handed-do it on the left) Ask them to WRITE WORDS OR NUMBERS IN THE AIR using their right elbow. You could say, “Write (or print) your name,” “Write the name of your favorite food,” “Write your address,” etc. Then have them turn and put their left elbow on their left shoulder and continue the activity. Ask the students for ideas of what to write or have different students lead the activity.

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43. GROUP STORY: You can do this on paper, or use a recorder to tell the story aloud. Have each person sit in a line or circle and take turns telling a small part of a made-up story. The first person in line starts the story and stops after a specific period of time. The next person in line picks up where the first left off, continuing the story. You can write it down and then read it aloud, or record it with a tape player or digital recorder and listen to it when you're finished. It's sure to get a few laughs!

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44. Version #2—CONTINUEING STORY
Get children in line and begin telling a silly story. Then go down the line and point to people randomly. They continue from where the last person left off-making it up as they go along. If children are younger you can give them a little time to think about it. Move to the next child if they hesitate too long or repeat what the last person says. (With elimination-always be sure to do so in light and fun manner!)

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46. DON’T FORGET ABOUT MAD LIBS. They’re great to do with the kids as a group! Just shout out to them, “Give me a noun---or adjective, etc.” When complete, read the Mad Lib story aloud with much enthusiasm. The children love it! Tip: You can post a chart that has definitions and examples of the various parts of speech.

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47. I’M GOING ON A PICNIC: The leader Ben starts by saying, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing a blanket." Each person in turn responds with an appropriate picnic item. "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing _____." Leader confirms by saying "Yes, you can bring ____" or "No, you can't bring that" or something similar. The Trick: The first letter of the item they bring must match the first letter of their first name. So Sam can also bring sardines or salad. Cara can bring cookies or cake. Note: This is one of the easier trick games to figure out, so be sure to remind players not to tell the secret. Don't give hints. Kids love figuring this stuff out on their own.

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48. While in line, DRAW A PICTURE on your partner’s back; have him/her guess what it is. Switch guessing drawing places.

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49. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS…

"Rock" is a fist..."Paper" is a flat hand...and "Scissors" are the pointer and middle fingers making snipping motions. Partners shake their fists three times---and then show their chosen motion on the count of three. Winning hands are decided as follows: Rock breaks/dulls scissors... Scissors cuts paper... Paper covers rock. Play three or 5 times...and see who has the most wins. This is also a good method to see who goes “first" in games or gym.

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50. I CAN’T STAND _____! (For Older Youth)  Have each player in turn describe a food that they cannot stand to eat. Encourage as much detail as possible so that the other group members are disgusted by the food, too

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51. Play the TELEPHONE/GOSSIP GAME (whisper something in a child’s ear and it goes down the line. The last person announces the message.

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52. Have “WACKY WEDNESDAYS”… Tell jokes, riddles, knock-knocks, brain-teasers, word doodles, Who Can? and tongue twisters.  Share the fun with your SAC kids! Put this into your planning… Keep a supply that is ready to go on a clip-board or in the back of your Parents Info box! Use them waiting in line, with a few ‘bored kids” or while waiting for parents at the end of the day! (FYI: Telling jokes is good for kids! It increases their confidence, helps them to remember a story in order, relate it to others, and stimulates their thinking!)

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53. I SPY: One person says “I spy with my little eye, something that is _______ (name a color)". Then others try to guess what the object is and the one who guesses it takes the next turn. With older kids instead of this I Spy – Play I’M THINKING OF: The leader looks about the area and says, “I’m thinking of something that is the color_________. Say what the color it is. Children guess what they think it may be. Winner is the next leader.

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54. GUESS WHO: The object is to figure out who the person the leader is thinking of. The group asks yes and no questions. Questions are those such as the board game, Guess Who? Is the person a boy? Does he have brown hair? Etc. Winner is next leader.

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55. TAKE THE CHALLENGE:  Post a question of the day, brainteaser, riddle, or word-doodle on a portable chart holder or white board near the door. When youth line up, have them focus on the challenge…  Who can solve it? Also near the line up area put up a Graffiti Wall or Question Wall. The kids can write on it as they wait.

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56. When you have some down time-waiting or standing in line…

  • Start off with what makes you happy ---and then take turns calling out things such as: Sunny days make me happy; Sunshine makes me happy; Warm cookies make me happy; Saturday mornings make me happy; Friday nights makes me happy….. Going to the movies makes me happy…..Pizza…..Going on vacation…..Blue skies…..Summer time, etc.
  • When done in a light-hearted manner, the children will join in and share! You’ll be amazed how the atmosphere can change—as well as realizing it doesn’t have to be a trip to Disney World to do it!
    • I actually did this with my three grandsons (ages 4, 6, 9) while waiting for their Dad in the car not too long ago! Within a few seconds, the atmosphere in the car really lightened up and they were each sharing! Barb

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57. READ MY MIND: STAFF MAGIC
This game will have the kids wondering how the two "mind readers" can read each others minds! You introduce the game as, "Mrs. Smith can read my mind...Would you like to see her do it?"

  • The leader needs a helper who understands how the trick works.
  • The helper leaves the room. While the helper is out of the room, the group decides on an object.
  • The helper then comes back to the group; her/his task is to guess what the object is.
  • The leader asks the helper questions like, "Is it the table?" or "Is it the bench".
  • The helper replies "No".
  • The trick is that the object will be THE FIRST ONE AFTER A BLACK OBJECT.

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58. GUESS THE NUMBER GAME: The leader picks a number within a range and youth try to guess the number. Example: Leader says, “I’m thinking of a number between one and 50”. Leader can say “higher” or “lower” as the children guess. Correct number guess is the next leader.

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59. TRANSTION FUN: WHO CAN? See how many in the group can…

  • Roll their tongue (85% of people can). 
  • Wiggle their ears; wiggle their nose.
  • Show they are double jointed.
  • Touch their ear with their elbow (I don’t think anyone can!).
  • Whistle (can they whistle by blowing both in and out?).
  • Twiddle thumbs (try to do it in both directions at same time!).
  • Rub their stomach and pat head at same time.
  • Make owl hoots with clasped hands.
  • Make a “popping sound with hand tapping their puckered large “O” shaped mouth.
    • Invite children to create their own versions of the transition activities!

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Tip: If a child is starting to become a challenge, put him/her in charge of a game or go first. It often will change the behavior.

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60. GUESS MY RULE: Use this deductive reasoning game when kids are waiting. The object is for students to figure out the rule you are using to sort them into groups. Example: Call out a number of kids all wearing “blue”. When the youth guess they are all wearing blue---call out another similarity—such as all in 5th grade or all having brown hair, etc.

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61. LINE UP

  • By Color: Line up if you’re wearing the color red; line up if you’re wearing blue, etc.
  • By anything: Line up if you have a tooth missing; line up if you have brown hair, etc.
  • By birthday month: Line up if you were born in August; line up if you were born in September, etc.

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62. SELF LINE-UP
Group is asked to line up based on individual factors. Examples:

  • Children line up by their birthday month. They can line up as born from January to December.
  • Have children line up based on height-from shortest to tallest or tallest to shortest.
  • They can line up by hair color: Lightest to darkest or darkest to lightest. Etc.

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63. FOLLOW THE LEADER
While waiting for the group to line up, an adult can lead the children along the room in a game of Follow the Leader. While “Leading” all children join the line and proceed to the line-up point.

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64. Randomly CHOOSE NAMES FROM A BASKET to send a few students at a time to line up. Reverse  the order the next time so that students who were called on last will be called on first the next day.

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65. Pre-K-K: Spell students' names aloud and allow them to line up when they recognize their name.

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66. NUMBERS CALL: Have the group line up and count off—remembering “their” number. The leaders begins by calling a number—such as “two”. Person “2” then calls out a different number, and that person must respond. If someone makes a mistake such as calling out a number that is higher than the number in the group—calls out their own number---or delays, they must move to the end of the line. The goal is to be at the head of the line. Nobody is ever out and there is always the chance of moving up!

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67. A version of “I SPY”--- which is #2 --and also” Hopping Challenge” which is #22---are unique ways to line up!

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68. BODY MIX-UP

  • Stand in front of the first person in line; touch your nose and say, "This is my mouth."
  • How quickly can the person touch his or her mouth and respond, "This is my nose?"
  • That person turns to the next person and says, touching his ear, "This is my chin." And so on...

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69. WHAT AM I COUNTING?
Have one person start counting aloud an object in everyone's view: Windows, white shirts, tables, etc. Can your group guess what the person is counting? As a variation, name an object and challenge the group to count as many as they can find in one minute.

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70. CATEGORIES
Choose a category such as animals, vehicles, countries or food. Each person is to name something that belongs to that group. Challenge group to work in A to Z order: ant, bee, cow. Or, you can name items like hammer, saw, level and the child responds with "tools." One more option is to have each word begin with the last letter of the previous word: Japan, Netherlands, Somalia, etc.

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71. PASS IT ON
Stand up in a line or circle. Have each person trace a simple shape O, X, 1 – on the back of the person standing in front of them. Can each person guess what was drawn?

Also you can draw your own version of a funny face. The person being drawn on- visually imitates the expression drawn on his or her back---and draws a silly face on the next person. How accurate are the faces to those drawn on the back?

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72. GROUP ART

  • Give everyone a pencil and paper and describe an object for them to draw.
  • "Draw a square. Now draw an oval in the upper right-hand corner of your paper…"  Keep adding objects.
  • When complete-compare their pictures to yours and see how accurate they were.
    • A variation on this is playing connect-the-dots on white board/chalkboard. The first person draws two dots and a line connecting them. Each person adds a dot and draws a line from one of the previous dots to his dot to make a design.
    • This activity can also be done by passing a piece of paper and a pencil down the line. Each person adds to the group picture.

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73. BIRD, BEAST, OR FISH

You have to think fast for this game.
1. Everyone sits facing the leader.
2. The leader points to one of the players and says either "BIRD," "BEAST," or "FISH."
3. The chosen player must come up with the name of an animal that fits the category before the leader counts to ten.
4.  No repeating!
5. If the player does not respond in time, he/she is out.
6. The game continues until only one player remains.

After a few rounds it can be hard to think of an animal that has not already been mentioned!

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74. Have a ______(Blank) of the Day--Each Day!

It's fun to have a daily program or classroom feature where there is a "_______ (blank) of the Day! "
This could be a doodle, riddle, trick question, joke, definition of a word or quote.

Brains crave variety and incorporating activities such as this, will certainly go towards some cognitive variety!

Each month or week, change out "What the _____of the Day" will be!  As written above, it could be the puzzle, a word definition, riddle, trick question, or quote. Great for all school ages to high school! Just put the _______on a black board or white board near the room entrance. By the end of the day---discuss guesses and answers.

    ....if you're taking the time to look at the sample board to the left--the answers are: Period in History, Reading between the lines, Long underwear, Eggs over easy, I understand, Down town, Paradise or Pair of dice! . It's fun to see how many more ideas of your own that you and the kids can come  up with! Board by bshelby (Image by KidActivities.net)

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    75. GUESS THE PERSON, ANIMAL OR THING! (This could be  a version of "Have a  ______ of the Day!"

    1. Using a picture of an animal, children's character or personality, cover the entire picture with puzzle pieces to hide identifying features.
     
    2. Take one piece off at a time; children guess who/what is underneath.

    3. This can be done as a group game, individual or team play. It could also be set up in a special daily spot--with guesses being made as removed pieces reveal who/what it is!

    4. Depending on how you play this-points can be added or subtracted. The most points of course going to the individual or team who correctly guesses with the least amount of puzzle pieces removed!

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    76. WANT TO QUIET THE KIDS DOWN?! PLAY 'GHOSTS IN THE GRAVEYARD'...
    This is a good game for unwinding and quieting down the group. 

1. Players lay on the floor in any position they choose.
2. Make sure each player has enough space as NOT to touch each other.
3.When kids are ready- count to three to signal that the game has begun. At "3"  children must remain quiet and not move!
4. If the chosen "crypt-keeper" catches any movement, the child moving becomes the next "crypt-keeper". (you may need to explain what a "cypt" is)

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    77. TAKE A DRAWING BREAK!
    Have 5-10 minutes to kill?
    Have Kids...

    Draw their shoe. Draw their lunch. Draw their teacher. Draw a friend. Draw their hand holding something. Draw a small object big. Draw a car. Draw a dream. Draw a nightmare. Draw a leaf. Draw themself...

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    78. SPOON ON THE NOSE TRICK
    This is one of the all-time great party tricks. Any nose and spoon will do. Breathe heavily on the spoon, or lick it (yuck!).
    Immediately after breathing on or licking the spoon, place it on your nose so that it is up high, but not too high. It can basically be placed anywhere on your nose, as long as it is on the ledge of it. Place it on the edge of your nose. Sounds easier than it really is.

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    79. STARING CONTEST...
    No laughing, no poking, no nodding, noblinking--just staring into the eyes of your opponent to see who flinches first.

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