Flamingos behind the title: Flamingo Preschool Song

 

Not long ago, I created this brand new preschool song. It fits well with themes such as: Summer, Birds, Zoo, and Pink. The actions include standing on one foot which is a valuable skill for preschoolers to practice as they strengthen their gross motor muscles.

Did you know?

  • Flamingos sleep while standing on one leg.
  • Flamingos get their pink colour from their diet of shrimp and algae.

As this is an original song, please be sure to include my name as the songwriter any time you share this song.

 

The Flamingo Song

Words by: S. J. Little

Tune: Are You Sleeping

 

Flamingos flapping, flamingos flapping,

Big pink wings, big pink wings.

Flying through the sky, flying through the sky.

Time to land! Time to land!

 

Flamingos standing, flamingos standing,

On one foot, on one foot,

Sleeping while they’re standing, sleeping while they’re standing,

Time to wake! Time to wake!

Actions

  • Flamingos flapping – flap your arms
  • Big pink wings – flap your arms bigger
  • Flying through the sky – tilt your body while flapping your arms to suggest soaring through the sky
  • Time to land! – Stomp and emphasize the word “land”

 

  • Flamingos standing – stand on one foot
  • On one foot – stand on one foot and hold up one finger
  • Sleeping while they’re standing – pretend to sleep while still standing on one foot
  • Time to wake! – startle awake and emphasize the word “wake”

I hope you and your children enjoy this original flamingo song. If you do, don’t forget to join my email list to stay tuned for more unique preschool songs.

Looking for more animal songs? Check out If You Want To Be A… (Preschool Animal Song)

A preschooler reading a book

 

I have collected a list of books that teach preschoolers they’re special because I know children face incredible pressure from all sides. Some types of pressure encourage them to grow and thrive, but other types of pressure urge them to try to be like someone else. These stories remind preschoolers that they don’t need to change who they are. They are special just the way they were made.

3 Books to Teach Preschoolers They’re Special

Still A Gorilla by Kim Norman

Still A Gorilla

Written by Kim Norman, Illustrated by Chad Geran

Not only does this story have an important lesson, it’s fun and engaging too. My children loved answering my questions along the way. “Does he look like a walrus?” “Do you think he makes a good crocodile?” Your children will doubtless enjoy the author and illustrator’s humorous portrayal of the gorilla’s attempts to be like the other animals at the zoo.

Elephants Can't Jump by Jeanne WillisElephants Can’t Jump

Written by Jeanne Willis, Illustrated by Adrian Reynolds

Did you know elephants can’t jump? In this picture book, the elephant longs to be able to join in his friends’ fun, but he can’t. Why? Because elephants can’t jump. His friends make fun of him until one day his natural elephant strength saves them all from trouble.

The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric CarleThe Mixed-Up Chameleon

Written and Illustrated by Eric Carle

When the chameleon visits a zoo, he finds himself longing for the strengths of each animal he sees. His wish comes true! He gets flamingo wings, a giraffe neck, a turtle shell, and much more. Eventually, he starts getting hungry. A fly comes by. The chameleon tries to catch it, but finds that he has gotten so mixed up wishing to be like all the other animals that he can no longer do what he used to be so good at – catch flies.

 

Have Older Children?

Check out:

I Wish That I Had Duck Feet by Dr. SeussI Wish I Had Duck Feet Written by Dr. Seuss, Illustrated by B. Tobey

Or for a Christian book:

You Are Special by Max LucadoYou are Special Written by Max Lucado, Illustrated by Sergio Martinez

 

What other books do you know that help teach preschoolers that they don’t need to try to be like someone else – they’re special just the way they were made?

Looking for more great books for your preschooler? Check out these 7 Fantastic Animal Guessing Books for Preschoolers

Children jumping and title "3 No-Prep Outdoor Game to Play with Your Preschooler"

 

As the weather gets warmer, it’s valuable to get kids outside and moving. That’s what these classic 3 games are all about. Best of all, they are no-prep outdoor games so you can play them just about any time and anywhere.

You may already be familiar with some of these games. Perhaps you played them as a child. I know I did. Whatever the case, if you’re looking for more games to play with your preschooler, keep reading.

Tips for No-Prep Outdoor Games

Before we get into the games themselves, I have a few tips for you.

  • Keep a close eye on the children’s interest level. Try to end the game just before the children begin feeling bored. This way, they will remember it as a fun game. If you wait until they are extremely tired and bored, they are less likely to enjoy the game again in the future.
  • Choose a playing space based on the age and stamina of your children. For older children choose a larger playing area, for younger children, a smaller space will do. You could use a field, your backyard, a multipurpose room, or a patio (with good railings). Get creative.
  • Have fun! If you are enjoying the game your child is far more likely to have fun playing.

What Time is it, Mr. Wolf

Even if you don’t know this game, there’s a good chance your children might. This game can be used in a variety of settings, including swimming lessons and skating lessons.

Number of Children:

  • Large group
  • Small group
  • One-on-one with an adult

Child Development:

  • Counting
  • Gross motor movements (running and stepping)
  • Turn-taking (waiting for their turn to be the wolf)
  • Following instructions

How to Play:

Select one person to be the “wolf”. Have them stand on the opposite side of the playing space. Have the other players line up side by side on the starting line.

Together, all the players (except the wolf) call, “What time is it, Mr. Wolf?”

The wolf calls back a number between 1 and 12, or “Lunchtime!”

If the wolf says, “It’s 3 o’clock,” all the players take three steps toward the wolf.

Then all the players ask again, “What time is it, Mr. Wolf?”

Whenever the wolf chooses, he can reply, “Lunchtime!” When he does, the wolf chases all the players back to the starting line.

If the wolf tags anyone before they reach the starting line, they become the wolf. For small groups of 8 children or less, just the person who was tagged first becomes the wolf and the first wolf becomes a player. For larger groups, every child who is tagged joins the wolf so that, as the game progresses, there are more and more wolves and less players.

For older children, have the wolf turn around so that they cannot see how close the players are getting. This is not necessary for preschool children and it can be tricky to keep them from peeking.

Red Light, Green Light

Fantastic for use while teaching transportation or safety themes, this game is well-loved and for good reason. While this game absolutely works without any prep, it can be improved by choosing something to use as the “red light” and the “green light”. In the past, I have used printed stop and go signs, blank red and green pieces of construction paper, red and green hula hoops, red and green cones, or whatever else I had on hand.

Number of Children:

  • Large group
  • Small group
  • One-on-one with an adult

Child Development:

  • Gross motor movements (running and stopping)
  • Ear-body coordination (hearing instructions and obeying them)
  • Listening skills (learning to respond to “stop” or “red light”)

How to Play:

Choose who will be the “caller”. The caller can be a child or a teacher/parent. Have the caller stand on one side of the playing space. Have all the children stand side by side on the opposite side of the playing area. 

When the caller says, “Green light!” all the players run toward the caller. When the caller says, “Red light!” all players must stop where they are. The caller continues to call “red light” and “green light” until all the players reach where the caller is standing. Then a new caller is selected and all the players return to the opposite side of the area.

For 8 or fewer children, allowing the children to be the caller works well. For bigger groups of preschool children, it may be best to only have the teacher be the caller. This is especially helpful if you are under tight time constraints. When the teacher is the caller they can control the game. For example, they can make it shorter if gym time is almost over.

For elementary aged children, this game becomes a challenge to not be caught moving when it’s a red light. If caught moving, they are sent back to the start line. For preschool children, remembering to follow the instructions is often exciting and engaging without being sent back to the beginning. However, if a child really isn’t responding to the red light, sending them back to the starting line will help them be more intentional to pay attention next time.

Extend the Fun:

  • Extend the fun by adding more colours. This works especially well if you have visuals to hold up for each colour. Some ideas include:
    • Orange = go slow
    • Blue = (stop and) turn around
    • Purple = hop
  • Are you doing a transportation or safety theme? Try making visuals representing the stop and walk crosswalk signals to help children learn what they mean.

Mother May I

I recommend this game for a small group of 3-5 children who are aged 3-5. This is due to how slow the game can be when each child moves separately. For larger groups, try having all the children take the steps together, much like What Time is it Mr. Wolf.

As an adult, this game may seem pointless, but many children love it. They enjoy having the power to make choices when they are the “mother”. Be careful to ensure that every child has a turn to be the mother.

If you are uncertain about using this game’s traditional name “Mother May I” try calling it something like “Monkey May I”.

Number of Children:

  • Small group

Child Development:

  • Variety of gross motor movements (large steps/small steps, and if extending the play: jumps and turns)
  • Turn-taking (waiting for their turn to ask to move and to be the mother)
  • Making choices (preschoolers love being able to choose and that’s why this game holds appeal for them)
  • Counting
  • Following instructions (if extending the play, following 2-step directions)
  • Good manners

How to Play:

Select one child to be the mother. The rest of the children line up on one side of the playing space while the mother stands on the opposite side.

For this game, each child has a turn to ask the mother what number of steps they can take. Typically, I limit the number to anything between 1-12. Have the first child ask, “Mother, may I take 3 steps?”

The mother gets to choose. They can say, “You may,” at which point the child who asked moves the prescribed number of steps. Alternatively, the mother can say, “No.” If the mother says, “No,” she must then tell the child how many steps they may take, for example, “You may take 2 steps.” The child who asked will then take only 2 steps forward.

Following that, it is the next child’s turn. Continue giving the children turns. The game ends when a child reaches the mother. Then choose another mother and have all the children go back to the starting line.

Again, I stress that when playing this game, it is very important to give every child a turn being the mother.

Extend the Fun:

Once the children have played several rounds, change things up by describing the type of step. “Mother, may I take 1 giant leap?” “Mother, may I take 12 tip-toe steps?”

Ideas include:

  • Tiny steps
  • Giant steps
  • Small hops
  • Big jumps
  • Backwards steps
  • Tip-toe steps

Final ThoughtsGirl running outside

Do you have older kids? For groups of children aged 4-10 I recommend the game: Farmer Farmer. It is similar to British Bulldog, but with a twist. 

What other no-prep outdoor games do you enjoy playing with your preschoolers?

Do your preschoolers still have energy? Great! Here are two other ideas to help you keep them moving:

 

Looking for a game to play with your preschooler? Here’s a new one for you to print and enjoy together.

Are you familiar with the classic game Snakes and Ladders? If so, you are well on your way to knowing how to play this game. The primary difference is that, for this game, rather than having snakes and ladders, if a player lands on a yellow framed square, they move to the matching rhyme square. Confused? Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

What You Need

  • The ABC Rhyming Snakes and Ladders Game board printed out
    • Alternatively, open the image on a tablet or iPad and use that as your game board.
  • 1 six-sided die
  • 1 playing piece per person – I encourage you to use plastic pawns from a board game. Alternatively use very small toys, buttons, or even coins. (Beware of choking hazards.)

How to Play

  • Place everyone’s playing piece on the “START” square.

    Direction of play on the game board
  • Have the first person roll the die and move their playing piece accordingly.
    • For example, if they roll “4”, have the person move their playing piece to the fourth square which has the pig on it.
  • Players take turns rolling the die and moving their playing piece to the appropriate square.
    • Further details: Once everyone has had a turn to roll and move their playing piece, the first person gets to roll again. If the first person rolls a “5” on their second turn, they will continue counting from the fourth square with the pig on it until they reach the umbrella.
  • If a player lands on a square with a yellow frame around it, such as the boat, they move to the matching rhyme, in this case, the goat. Only squares with yellow frames have matching rhymes. The player moves to the corresponding rhyme regardless of whether they are moving forwards or backwards. (These moves are equivalent to snakes and ladders.)
  • The goal of the game is to reach the “FINISH” square first.

Educational Elements in ABC Rhyming Snakes and Ladders

Rhyming Matches
  • Rhyming – Listening to the distinct sounds in each word is a challenging skill for many children. It is also an important pre-reading skill. When playing this game with your child keep in mind that learning to rhyme is difficult for a 3 year old and may still be challenging for a 4-5 year old if they have not yet been taught about rhymes. Have patience as you model and teach the skill. Say the words slowly and emphasize the rhyming sounds. Once your child has a handle on rhyming, learning to read will be a little easier.
  • ABC Order – You may have noticed that the letters on this game board are not in alphabetical order. This is intentional. Children are incredibly smart. It is not uncommon for a child to memorize the letters in alphabetical order rather than learning to distinguish each letter by shape.  Mixing up the order of the letters gives an extra challenge and a chance for the parent to see how many letters their child can recognize by sight. I encourage you to take a moment to look at the letters on the board together.
  • Pictures – I have included a picture for each letter. These pictures serve as reminders for the child of what sound the letter makes. Sound out the name of the picture with your child to help them distinguish the sound of the letter at the beginning of the word. Grasping that each letter makes a sound and that those sounds can be combined into words will go a long way in preparing your child to start reading.
  • Counting / Turn-Taking / Waiting – These are three of the hidden developmental bonuses of playing a game like this. Every time your child rolls the die and moves their playing piece, they are practicing counting. Every time they have to wait for their turn, they are sharpening valuable social skills.

Like this free resource? Be sure to tell your friends about it and join my email list for access to other free printables.

Many preschool theme pictures

 

Having been asked about preschool themes to teach, I’ve compiled a list of various themes that can be used with a preschool child at home or with a whole class at a preschool or childcare centre.

I’ve attached a free printable pdf of my list of themes at the bottom of this post.

How long should you use a theme?

That depends on your situation and your children. I’ve taught in preschools that use one theme a week, though sometimes a big theme is extended over two weeks or more. Other preschools will choose to combine two themes and keep them for an entire month. The best length for you will be affected by how engrossed you are in the theme and how often you teach or do crafts regarding the theme. Also, pay attention to your children’s interests. If you know your children love animals, you likely could use an animal theme for longer. Other times, however, changing up the theme every week will keep the children more engaged.

What aspects can be affected by the theme?

You can embrace your chosen theme as much or as little as you want. Here are some areas you could choose to incorporate your theme.

  • Circle time:
    • The first place most people think of incorporating a theme is during the teaching time, referred to by preschool teachers as circle time. Themes can be incorporated through songs, stories, activities, and direct teaching. Using visuals is beneficial whenever possible.
  • Crafts:
    • There are endless craft ideas available online to go with nearly any theme. A quick search on Pinterest will show you a few. Keep in mind, theme-focused crafts are often product-oriented (i.e. the child is given a specific example to replicate). There are benefits to product-oriented crafts, but don’t forget to include some open-ended art as well. For “Autumn” you could give your child a blank paper and yellow, orange, and red paints to use however they’d like. For “Transportation” you could allow your child to drive cars through paint and make tracks on their paper. (Cleanup for this one is trickier!) For other open-ended ideas check out Beyond the Paintbrush then put on your thinking cap to tie them into your theme.
  • Books:

    • If you have a local library, books are a great way to incorporate a preschool theme. Is “Under the Sea” your theme? Search for books about fish, sharks, and the ocean. Some themes have countless fantastic books, for other themes it’s harder to find suitable books. Here are some books I’ve enjoyed with my preschoolers, sorted by theme: Books for Preschoolers and Toddlers
  • Decoration:
    • Some preschools will totally transform their classroom with theme-based decorations (bulletin boards, posters, etc.). It’s a lot of work! Others rarely change their decorations. A happy compromise, in some cases, could be having one theme-decorated area or bulletin board that you change based on the theme. If you don’t have posters, consider putting up crafts the children made or printing colour sheets corresponding with the theme. However, don’t feel bad if you don’t decorate by theme. It is not essential.
  • Games/Gym:
    • Get creative during gym time. With preschoolers, a simple game such as this one “4 Sides Preschool Gym Game can be adapted to countless themes. Alternatively, if learning about Space, grab some hula hoops and pretend to fly to the moon together.
  • Field Trips/Outings:

    • Some themes work well to be taken outside the home/classroom. Are you learning about bugs? Go on a bug hunt around the yard or neighbourhood. Are you studying transportation? See how many different types of transportation you can find on a walk around the block.
    • Visit the zoo, aquarium, pet store, science center, or a farm, if your area has them.

Preschool Themes List:

Any season:

  • All About Me
  • Alphabet
  • Numbers
  • Shapes
  • Colours
  • Safety
  • Community Helpers
  • Science
  • Space
  • Music
  • Emotions
  • Five senses
  • Healthy Eating
  • Healthy Habits
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Transportation/Things that go
  • Mighty Machines
  • Wheels
  • Ramps
  • Bible
  • Multicultural
  • Circus
  • Superheroes
  • Princesses and Pirates
  • Fables/Nursery Rhymes

Animal:

Here is a fantastic action song that could go with nearly any of these animal themes: If You Want To Be A…

 

  • Zoo Animals
  • Desert
  • Jungle
  • Safari
  • Birds
  • Pets
  • Bugs
  • Farm
  • Dinosaurs
  • Baby Animals
  • Under the Sea
  • Winter Animals
  • Forest Animals
  • North American Animals
  • Reptiles and Amphibians

Fall:

If your program begins in September, remember to keep these first few weeks simpler as you and the children settle into routine.

  • Welcome to School
  • Leaves
  • Apples
  • Harvest
  • Forest Animals
  • Fruits and Vegetables

Winter:

  • Winter Sports
  • Winter Olympics (when it’s on)
  • Winter Animals
  • Snowflakes
  • Snowmen

Spring:

  • Bugs
  • Flowers
  • Baby animals
  • How Plants Grow

Summer:

  • Beach Party
  • Fun in the Sun
  • Teddy Bear Picnic
  • Summer Olympics (when it’s on)

Special days:

  • There are many holidays that can also be used as themes, but I’ll let you make your own list of those.

 Click here to download your free printable pdf of the Preschool Themes List

 

What other themes would you add to the list?