How can you get kids to settle down when they're full of energy? Strange as it may seem, you'll often find that more movement creates focus.
Using group movement to enable kids to focus on a book can work wonders. And, you'll feel a lot better about your management skills doing that instead of engaging in a lot of shushing.
In "Go Bananas," everybody moves his or her body in unison while reciting a fun rhyme. All the kids have to pay attention, concentrate and think to "go bananas" together. After having "gone bananas" as a group, the kids will be ready to sit and listen. Check out the video of TRC kids ages 4 to 7 going bananas.
How to "Go Bananas"
- “Bananas, unite!” (Extend arms extended over head.)
- “Go bananas, go, go bananas!" Repeat. (Peel arms down repeatedly.)
- “Peel to the left, peel to the right, peel down the middle!” (Peel left arm down, right arm down and left arm in the middle.)
- “And chomp, take a bite, chomp, chomp, take a bite!” (Scissor arms like an alligator each time you say "chomp.")
For different groups or on other days, you might need a quieter option. Why not try yoga? Have the kids take five or six deep breaths, stretching their hands high on the inhale and rounding their hands back to "heart center" during the exhale. That kind of movement works wonders in calming down a group of kids. For more kid-friendly yoga moves, here are some poses that elicit group movement and concentration:
- Use these yoga warm-ups to imitate things kids are familiar with such as a tree and a pea.
- Finish with a seated position so kids are ready to listen to a story right after finishing.
For more ideas, check out previous entries from the TRC Training Hub on movement and songs and finger plays.