Preschool Nap Time Activities
I have used a “Magic Sleep Wand” with several different age groups. I have a wand that is filled with glitter and I wave it around the children’s head after they are laying quietly on their mats. I also remember to tell each of them a soft “good night” before the lights go out. That makes each of them feel special.
I give a book to the children that don’t sleep. I teach three and four year olds and they are the hardest to get down for nap.
I have found that some soft playing Yanni works like a charm!
For several years I have used the following technique for getting my little ones to rest quietly.
I start by reading a simple but imaginative story, such as “It Looked Like Spilt Milk” by Charles G. Shaw. As I read the story I tend to let my voice grow quieter and softer as we near the end of the story. Then the children “float” to their nap mats and lie down. I visit each child in turn, asking him or her what part of the story they liked best and what type of cloud would they be if they were in the story. Then I ask them to close their eyes and quietly think about being that cloud.
I try to ask each about their choices later during afternoon snack. Stories about clouds are our favorites, but we have also been whales, frogs, etc. This activity gives the kids something to focus on for naptime and helps them put aside the hustle and bustle of the day’s comings and goings.
A song to sing at naptime to the tune of “Froggy Went A-Courtin”
Put your little head on your mat, honey
Put your little head on your mat, babe,
Put your little head on your mat,
Now it’s time to take a nap
Honey, Oh Baby mine
Today, I journeyed into the deep, dark jungle known as my garage. I felt just like Indiana Jones when I came across a priceless box filled with some old nap time ideas that I had collected. The two ideas listed here can be used to help relax the children after they are settled on their mats. I normally play soft, relaxing music while doing the activities.
The kitten stretches, (The children sttttrrrrreeeetttchhhh)
Until she is long.
She makes a soft little purring song . (The children purr quietly)
She yawns a big yawn, (The children yawn)
And stretches some more, (Stretch again)
And then falls fast asleep on the floor. (Children close eyes)
The Clown With No Bones
The first time you do this, just read the poem and have the children listen to it. The second time, have the children do the actions in the poem.
(The children start out by standing next to their cots or mats)
There once was a clown named Timothy Tones,
And-would you believe it- he had no bones!
From top to toe, no bones at all,
And his head rolled around like a rubber ball.
He wibbled and wabbled when he walked,
And he talked very slowly when he talked.
When he yawned, his mouth was oh, so wide,
That twenty pebbles could fit inside.
And when his shoulders began to sag,
He looked like a great, big empty bag!
His arms would dangle, his chin would drop,
And his long legs would flippety-flop.
Timothy Tones went walking one day,
The sun was so hot, he just melted away. (The children “melt” to their cots or mats)
More ideas to come
Preschool Nap Time Activities
Here are some things that I have done throughout the years that help the kiddo’s get a good rest:
Have each child rest in the same area of your classroom every day. The familiarity helps them to relax.
Allow the children to bring special naptime “snuggles” from home such as blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, etc.
Plan a quiet activity for the group right before naptime, such as a story, fingerplay, quiet song, etc. Make this a daily “ritual” before nap.
Allow the children to settle down at their own pace. Help them relax by rubbing their backs, etc.
Play soothing music during naptime. Anything that is classical works great!
Allow the children to wake up at their own pace. Provide another supervised room for those children who wake up early to play in.
Talk to the children’s parents to gain insight on how they handle bedtime.