Preschool Transitions Between Activities


Preschool Transitions Between Activities

Clean Up Freeze…

Play a song as children clean up from an activity of play time. Throughout the song, stop the music and have everyone freeze. Restart the music to get the little ones moving again. Works really well.


During a transition from group to lunch, I use if…then statements, e.g. “If you have on glasses, then you may go.” After about six weeks of using this approach, I let my students take over as the “if” person (the “if” person changes daily). It is amazing what the four-year-olds can do with this. Sometimes we use this chance to discuss different types of clothing, and parts of clothing (overalls, collars, belts, etc.) as well as colors, before the “if” person starts. He/she has to generate ideas of how to get the last child/children to lunch/breakfast.


I use the tune to If You’re Happy and You Know It for two transitional songs: first from clean-up to sitting down for story –

If you’re ready for a story find a seat;
if you’re ready for a story find a seat;
if you’re ready for a story check your hands and then your feet;
if you’re ready for a story find a seat.

Second for waiting till everyone is seated so all can start snack at the same time:

Put your hands in the air, in the air;
put your hands in the air, in the air;
put your hands in the air,
but we don’t want to leave them there!
Sooo…put your hands in your lap, in your lap;
put your hands in your lap, in your lap;
put your hands in your lap and we’ll get ready for our snack;
put your hands in your lap, in your lap.


We used footprint cutouts that the children decorated with stickers and markers to help with our daily transitions – I taped them in our hallway – a group at the top and bottom of the stairs which we labeled “up” and “down” and more at our doorway labeled “in” and “out”. this is great word identification as well as a great way of letting the children learn to walk on the right side of the hallway!


To keep toddlers busy and get a clean room, give each toddler a washcloth. then squirt small amounts of shaving cream around the room (on the fridge, on the table, on a shelf, on the wall, etc. ) the toddlers will love wiping the shaving cream and cleaning the items at the same time. they LOVE it.


Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles!! We love them, my preschoolers love them and they make a great cool down activity after a great hot recess outside. We simply come inside put on some music (soothing works best) and settle down while blowing bubbles. There is definitely something special about bubbles!


Whenever we need to make the transition from center time to circle time, I use the Greg and Steve song version of Zipadeedoodah……the children know when they hear this song, it’s time to clean up and move to the circle time area. When we are making the transition from center time to lunch time, I play the Greg and Steve song, Three Little Pigs….we call this the pig stomp…..the children love it and it helps to get their wiggles out before we line up for lunch.


I have found that this song settles the children quickly without effort. Sung to the tune of (Pierre Jacques)

It is ring time, It is ring time,
come and sit, come and sit
Let us learn together,
Let us learn together
It’s ring time
It’s ring time.


Before leaving our classroom to go to special classes we always recite this little verse:

My hands are at my sides, I’m standing straight and tall. My eyes are looking straight ahead, I’m ready for the hall.


When you excuse little ones for snack or lunch sing a song to let them know what time it is. Here is one- Have children hold out their hands and show you their “poppers”. Ask them where they want to pop (head , hands, knees, etc…)

Popping popcorn
Popping popcorn
pop pop pop
pop pop pop
Popping Popping popcorn
Popping popping popcorn
pop pop pop
pop pop pop
POP!!!!

Share an idea you have used in your classroom or at home that pertains to this theme.