Preschool-aged kids are an exciting group of children to work with. They’re constantly discovering new things, expressing their opinions, and forming their personalities. They also love to play with other children and develop valuable motor and social skills.

A perfect way to combine both of these activities is by playing age-appropriate games. They not only strengthen their skills, they’re fun.

You might remember playing some of these games when you were a little kid, but we also provide some small twists on the classics.

 

Freeze!

Number of Children

Any

Rules of the Game

Turn on some fun, upbeat music, and have everyone dance to it. Stop the music, and simultaneously yell “Freeze!” Then everyone freezes exactly where they are—in the position they were dancing in.

You might have someone standing on one foot with their hands in the air. Or kids will be in a slew of other silly poses that’ll be sure to bring smiles to everyone’s faces.

If someone is a little unsteady, they might take a small tumble when the music stops. So be sure to tell them to be careful beforehand!

Teacher Tips

Put a spin on the traditional game. Have everyone pose as their favorite animal when you yell “Freeze!”

Skills Involved

Dancing, rhythm, listening, and balancing

 

What Time is it Mr. (or Ms.) Fox?

Number of Children

2 or more

Rules of the Game

Have the children line up on one side of the room, and you stand on the other side of the room. Create a signal, such as clapping your hands. Then it’s time for the children to ask, “What time is it, Mr. Fox?”

Perhaps Mr. Fox replies with, “It’s time to jump!” The kids jump towards Mr. Fox until he gives the signal again. Then everyone stops.

The kids repeat the question, but Mr. Fox changes the movement to something else, such as running, skipping, or tiptoeing.

As the children get closer to Mr. Fox, he answers the question, “It's midnight!” Then the kids run back to where they started, and Mr. Fox chases them.

Then play again!

Teacher Tips

Instead of always being Mr. Fox, pick a favorite animal or cartoon character. Select from a variety of movements to keep the kids interested and encourage their involvement. Have them put their index finger on their forehead, or wiggle their fingers while they walk.

Be as silly as your imagination will allow, and get a little wild and crazy with the little ones.

Skills Involved

Listening, motor (gross and fine), and following instructions in a group setting

 

Ring around the Rosie

Number of Children

At least 3

Rules of the Game

Have everyone get into a circle and join hands. Sing this short little song as everyone moves in a circle:

Ring around the rosy,

A pocketful of posies.

Ashes! Ashes!

We all fall down!

You can spin, skip, or even hop as you move. After you sing the last line of the song, everyone drops to the floor at the same time. It’s a fun game that allows everyone to be silly and interactive.

Teacher Tips

Were you aware that the song isn’t over with “we all fall down?” The second verse goes:

The cows are in the meadow,

Eating buttercups.

Thunder! Lightning!

We all jump up!

When you sing the last line of the second verse, everyone gets up, forms the circle, and gets ready to play all over again. Little ones will have a blast singing, spinning, and falling on the floor over and over again.

Skills Involved

Motor and social

 

Duck, Duck, Goose

Number of Children

At least 2 (but it can be a bit more fun and exciting with more)

Rules of the Game

Everyone except one person sits in a circle on the floor. Everyone on the floor is a “duck,” and 1 person (the “goose”) walks around the outside of the circle. The goose taps each person on the head while saying “duck.” Then the goose randomly chooses another “goose.”

The duck that the goose tagged stands up and chases the goose around the circle, attempting to tag them. The goose’s objective is to outrun the duck and sit down in their seat before getting tagged.

If the duck makes it to the seat, then the duck becomes the new goose. If they get tagged, they have to sit in the middle of the circle for the rest of the game. As more people get tagged, the circle gets much more crowded. The last goose standing wins the game.

Teacher Tips

Since the game involves frequent running, make sure the children are playing in a safe area where they aren’t likely to get hurt. It’s best to play in a wide, open area. Make it more fun for their young minds by encouraging the ducks to make quacking noises and the goose to honk.

Skills Involved

Listening, taking turns, and gross motor skills

 

Conclusion

When you first start playing the games, watch carefully for any children that seem to be struggling to grasp the concept. Some children also might not be as social or engaging as their peers, so they might need some encouragement to participate with the rest of the group.

Preschoolers can be rather rambunctious. Play these games to let them get their energy out and learn useful skills at the same time.

The perfect time to gather everyone on the floor is after you’ve had active playtime. Then have story time or give them a yummy snack. Follow the snack and story time with a nap, so everyone can be ready for an afternoon full of more exciting games and activities.