Throughout the day, children have to transition from one activity to another, whether it is waking up from their sleep 😴, getting ready for school, or transitioning from one lesson to the next.
It is only human for children to get upset while complying with these transitions, and this can make them feel frustrated and angry 😡, and even induce a tantrum.
Behaviorists believe that children feel uneasy while transitioning from one activity to another because it causes a disruption in their routine and can be unpredictable at times.
Children 🧒 crave a routine and structure while developing because of their limited vocabulary and inability to regulate emotions. In this article, I will list teachers, parents, and homeschoolers with several activities that can help them transition.
Amazing transition activities for children
Oftentimes, children are described as difficult when they have a tantrum for not leaving their home for school 🏫 or saying goodbye to a friend after a playdate.
Research shows that these mental breakdowns are a way for children who have a limited vocabulary to express the discomfort caused by the transition.
Transition activities are techniques and strategies designed to calm down children 🧒 and prevent negative behaviors to make the transition process smoother.
These strategies should help you develop a well-organized and structured timetable that the children can follow, which will aid transitions. These strategies will reduce stress, promote social skills, and enhance attention span.
Play a game of ‘Simon Says’ with the children 🧒 after the end of a lesson.
I like to include some physical exercises in the game, like jumping jacks, squatting, and dancing 💃 so that the children can remove some of their energy.
Animal Pretend Time
Animal pretend time is one of my favorite ways to make the children energetic before their next lesson.
Instruct the children 🧒to get out of their desks and pretend like a new animal. For instance, start hopping like a kangaroo, start flapping your hands like a bird, or start roaring like a lion.
Time To Clean The Room
To inculcate the importance of cleanliness in my children 🧒, I try to make cleaning the room as fun as possible. For instance, I set up a time for my children and divided the room into two parts.
The child who cleans their side of the room the fastest wins. My children love the competitive aspect of the game and try to outdo their previous performance. It is also easier for them to fall asleep 😴 as they get tired after cleaning their room.
Sing a Song
When my children were toddlers, I would initiate song after playtime to tell my children that it was time to nap or go to sleep 😴.
Repeatedly using this song and incorporating it into our daily routine gave my toddlers a sense of routine and would indicate to them that it was time to stop doing what they were doing and move on to the next thing.
Write a word on the whiteboard and ask the students to think of words that rhyme with it. Each student or child should get a chance.
I love playing word association games with my children 🧒 because you have no idea where your and your children’s imagination will take you.
We sit in a circle and play the game for at least 5 minutes before moving on to the next activity.
The Silent Game
Children 🧒 are notorious for being loud. So, I love challenging them to do different activities without making a noise, talking, or laughing.
Backward Spelling Game
Divide the children 🧒 into small teams. Write a word backward on the whiteboard. Each team must figure out what the correct word is and raise their hands once they are done.
The team that raises their hand first and correctly identifies the word wins.
Guess What’s In The Bag
Place an item inside of a brown paper bag. Each child must ask a series of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions until they can figure out what the item in the bag is.
This exercise employs your child’s observational and color recognition skills, along with improving their communication skills and their ability to form questions properly.
A dance party before transitioning to an activity that requires children 🧒 to focus can be helpful.
Children usually feel energized after a dance 💃 party as the energy accumulated inside their body over time gets released.
How Fast Can You…?
Children 🧒tend to be very competitive with one another. There are different variations to the game; some can be practical and educational, while some can just be silly.
For instance, how fast can you clear your table, put your books inside your bag, click your fingers, blink, or run in the same spot?
Sometimes, a simple countdown from one activity to another is enough to prepare preschoolers for the change in activity.
The countdown 🕑 can last somewhere between one to two minutes.
Start a Conversation
Strengthen your child’s communication skills by asking them a series of questions where they have to describe different aspects of their day. When done in a large group of kids, a communication circle can help children 🧒 connect on their shared interests.
Ask questions like what television shows they enjoy watching the most, what their favorite toy is, and what their favorite place in the world is.
Make a Visual Schedule
A visual schedule of all the activities that the children have to do at either school 🏫 or at home can help children be ready for the upcoming lesson or activity.
A schedule will help you manage your child’s expectations and help your child form a routine that they can stick to.
Enact a short story with the help of puppets and stuffed animals.
The storyline of the short story 📚 can include themes about sharing, kindness, and patience, along with aspects of the upcoming activity or lesson.
Freeze In Motion
This classic transition activity does a great job of expelling some energy from the children 🧒 while simultaneously making them alert and focused.
I like to make my children jump, dance 💃, or do a silly walk, and after a minute of doing this action, I yell, ‘Freeze.’ You can play musical chairs or other similar games.
Play a mirror game where two children 🧒 face each other, and they try to copy each other’s movements and facial expressions.
The mirror 🪞 game is extremely beneficial for kids as playing the game improves their ability to show compassion and empathize with another person. It can also improve your child’s self-esteem and help them socialize with their peer group.
My kids loved participating in the counting game when they were learning how to count, add, and multiply. You can easily customize this game to fit your child or children’s aptitude.
For instance, point at children 🧒 and ask them to say the number 2, then the child standing next to them should follow it up with the next number by adding 2 to the initial number, and so on.
You can ask the students to count the multiples of different numbers in a sequential order or come up with unique sequences.
Sleepy Time Karaoke For Toddlers
Most parents will agree that it can be really hard to tire a toddler, especially at night. This is where this sleepy-time 😴 karaoke can come in handy.
Hold spoons or toy microphones in your hand and sing two to three of your toddler’s favorite songs.
In my experience, singing songs to transition from getting ready for bed to finally sleeping 😴 makes bedtime less forceful and stressful for children.
Children can play the memory game while still seated at their desks. To play the memory game, the children 🧒 must repeat the name of the child before them and then add their name to the sequence.
The child who is unable to remember the correct sequence is disqualified, and the game begins again.
Repeat The Sound
To play ‘repeat the sound,’ the parent or teacher should make a sound and then ask the children 🧒 to repeat the sound.
For instance, stomping the legs five times, clapping two times, or striking the desk ten times. Make the sounds as unique as possible so that it is more challenging for the students to mimic the sound.
Name Recognition Game
This ‘name recognition game’ engages your child’s observational, listening, and spelling skills all at once.
To play the game, you should spell out the children’s names one by one. Once you are done, give 20 seconds for the kid whose name is being spelled to get up on their seat. Repeat with all the children 🧒.
Sensory activities are incredibly beneficial for young children as they initiate conversations and engage their core senses.
It is also wonderful as a transitional activity. You can let children 🧒 play with a container full of water beads, play dough, or sensory bins before transitioning to the next activity.
Scarves are a versatile classroom prop that helps strengthen their fine motor and gross motor skills. While transitioning from one lesson to the next, ask the students to take out their scarves.
Then, instruct them to follow you in a 5-minute scarf exercise activity that allows for motor movement and gives them a much-needed mental break.
Why are transitional activities so important?
In my experience as a mother and an educator, transitional activities should play a vital role in a preschooler’s daily schedule because they reduce stress and anxiety caused by changes in their environment or routine.
By incorporating transitional activities, you give your children 🧒 some time to cope with these changes. The design of many transitional activities is built to serve several other services as well.
- For instance, these activities develop your child’s social skills as they have to communicate and collaborate with their peers while taking part in them.
- Transitional activities are usually fun and engaging. This helps alleviate your child’s discomfort with the change, thereby regulating their emotions and promoting self-control.
- While incorporating transitional activities into your daily schedule, you should make sure that the transitional activities are meeting the needs of the children 🧒.
- For instance, between two lessons, include activities that give the children a mental break, like dancing 💃, talking amongst each other, or a physical game.
- You must also ensure that the transitional activities do not disrupt their daily routine and alleviate some of the seriousness associated with going to school 🏫.
In summation, being a parent can be frustrating, but so is being a child. Children 🧒 don’t possess the knowledge that you possess as an adult because they haven’t lived through many experiences.
If you were to put me in an unknown situation as an adult, I am pretty sure that I would also get a raging headache.
Children, on the other hand, are still learning how to regulate their emotions in a world that seems extremely unpredictable and dangerous to them.
Hopefully, these activities were helpful and inspired you to make up transitional activities for your kids. Please let us know in the comments down below which of the above-mentioned activities helped your child the most.
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.