Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Great Quiet Activities for Kids

 "There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm."
~Willa Cather

Kids are so full of energy and laughter. I grew up with two other sisters and I remember how I used to scream when something was funny. Unfortunately the rest of my family didn't find it so funny when the sound traveled up their spinal columns. The fun would quickly end after that. I suppose that is around the time my mom started figuring out quiet activities for us kids to do. Most activities us teachers do with kids to keep them engaged tend to be exciting.....okay, so now that they are all excited how do we get them to wind down? It's always good to have a bag of tricks you will need to get kids calm and quiet for the next activity. Here are some quiet-quick-tricks we use that are especially helpful.

Quiet Activities for Kids That Really Work:
Read a Story: Okay, this can be a bit tricky depending on the story, but classics like, Good Night Moon and The Napping House really appeal to kids.
Finger puppets: Yes, finger puppets! The small individual ones that fit on one finger. Believe it or not simply passing them out on a table with small books to read really helps kids focus and wind down.
Cards: We all have stacks of cards somewhere. Kids can make card houses or play simple matching games.
Marbles: Kids love marbles! A simple game of marbles is quite easy to teach while gently bouncing them off of wood blocks makes a pleasant sound.
Lotion: I have been known to have kids stop after washing up from outside play to apply lotion to their own hands, face or legs. Lotion tends to immediately have a calming effect and has a lovely scent.
Socks: Okay, it doesn't have to be a sock, per say, but here at school we always have stray clean socks around. The guessing game, "What's in the Sock?" means simply putting a few small items inside and gather a group. We give clues to the kids as to what may be inside.
Small pom poms: We have a bunch of these for crafts but a quick quiet activity could mean giving them to the kids as a sorting, or math activity.
Guess the Drawing: If you are fairly good at drawing gather a group and slowly begin to draw on a large chalk or dry erase board. The slower you go the more time they have to think. Keeping it simple like only drawing items withing the learning environment really gets them thinking. We always give clues!
Water Play: Get a few small plastic bins and fill them with a few inches of warm water. Place a few very small cups, droppers and toys inside. Small plastic animals are a hit, too. One or two children per bin works best.

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