Preschool Nap Time Activities
Nap time has been easy ever since I bought a tape with nature sounds on it. It has sounds like a stream, birds. loons, owls and other things in nature. The children love it and so do the teachers. This works very well with 3 – 5 year olds.
I have found the easiest way to settle my newly acquired class of 3 and 4 year olds is this. During their lunch I set out the cots, ALWAYS in the same location. The children watch to see when theirs has been put down. Then as the last few children are finishing lunch, bathroom, and hands washing, I put on the same tape. I found the tape at a Target store from their Lullaby Club. It includes a different version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Just today I overheard one of my children say he waited for a certain song before going to sleep each day. As always consistency is key.
During the school year we use sparkle bottles…just clear plastic pop bottles with colored water and glitter. After each child has gone potty or ‘tried’ they can pick out a sparkle bottle and play with it on their cot until the lights are turned off. Then during the summer, sparkles bottles are put away and each child can bring in a small flashlight. After potty time they sit on their cots and play flashlight tag on the ceiling. Then we collect them when it is time to go to sleep.
At the end of lunch once a few of the children have finished eating (we eat in our rooms family style), have gone potty and are ready to go to their mats, I turn on soft music and have those children go pick a book to look at on their mat while their friends finish lunch.
Once all of the children are on their mats with their books, I start a story tape (or CD). Some of the tapes are store bought and some are the voices of mommies and daddies. While the children listen to the story and look at their books, I get out the “sleepy dust” (scented body powder. I go around to each mat whispering softly to the children while I put the powder on their hands, tuck them in, and sprinkle a bit of powder on their blankets. Once I am finished and the story is over the children are completely relaxed and ready to rest.
They absolutely LOVE the “sleepy dust” and it makes our classroom smell so nice!!
My class never settles right down for a nap so for the first hour I play story records or tapes. By then most of the children are asleep and I put on classical music or nature sounds (this even makes me want to take a nap!).
For naptime, I made a tape of all the kids favorite stories on it. I either read the stories into the recorder or taped cassette to cassette with stories on tape. We listen to one side of the tape then switch to music for 45 min. Then we go back to stories which seem to keep the children who don’t sleep anymore occupied. Hint: go to the library and pick up tapes by Bill Harley. He does great stories as well as songs!!! Monsters in the bathroom is a good one.
to choose a book to settle down with while they are on their mats. At the same time, we play soft music such a Enya, Bach, pan flute music. Then after a few minutes, we say book time is over and we collect the books then they lay and listen to the music. We also allow a stuffed toy to be cuddled with during nap time.
Our naptimes are usually stress free. I have 3 & 4-year-olds. They are allowed to bring a shoe box (quiet box) from home with quiet toys, books, puzzles, etc. Nothing that makes noise. Every day after lunch the children get these boxes out and bring them to their cots. This is the only time of the day they can have them. We ask the parents to change toys periodically. They usually get them for 15 minutes on their cot, we set a timer. When the timer goes off they put their box of things away. The timer is the bad guy, not the teacher. They then are told that they don’t have to sleep but, must be quiet for the remainder of the quiet time. This period is usually one hour to one and a half hours depending one if kids are still sleeping. Some kids don’t sleep but, most will fall asleep after a short time. It has worked for us and the children that don’t sleep know that when the timer goes off the second time they are free to put their cots away and get a book or quiet game at the table until all others are awake. For those sleepy heads, we only let them sleep one and one-half hours at most. Works great!!
In the room where our children nap, we put up room darkening blinds, on the ceiling of the room we put up those glow in the dark star and constellation sets you can get almost anywhere…the children love looking up and gazing at the stars while listening to soft music…one of the children’s absolute favorites is an album by Olivia Newton-John titled, “Warm and Tender” it is an album of lullabies and soft music, the children love it.
I work with 3,4, and 5-year-olds. Once the children have finished their lunch we have them get a book they enjoy off of the shelf and go to their own cot or a friend’s cot to look at the book. After about 10 minutes we have them lie down on their cots I sit in a big rocking chair in the middle of the classroom and read a chapter from a book such as Stuart Little or Charlottes Web. As the chapter ends my voice gets more quiet and soothing. Once the chapter is finished I tell the children to close their eyes and picture in their mind what happened in the book. Then we sit with the children and softly pat or rub their backs. We have soft music playing as the children lay down to rest. This works great. Some kids are asleep before the chapter is over.