Games

25 ideas for keeping groups quiet

25 ideas for keeping groups quiet:

Every teacher knows that maintaining order in a group of kindergarten children for more than 20 minutes can be a big challenge. Even when we prepare something innovative and interesting, use new technologies or unusual materials, or play the most beautiful song in the world, children can quickly lose interest in what we are presenting. You know all too well just how many things can distract 7-year-olds, never mind 4-year-olds!

Thanks to the dedication and imagination of some amazing kindergarten and primary teachers from across Poland, we have managed to collect 30 ideas for how to keep your groups quiet and entertained.

A special thanks to Alicja Czartoryska who collected all these ideas from her committed colleges and shared them with us to adapt into English.

Here they are: games and nursery rhymes to quieten down your class. We hope that you will use them with children and adjust them to your needs.

Nursery rhymes to quieten down young children

1. The teacher: “I want to say some words to you”. Children (in the same rhythm): “we will all listen to you.”

2. “Shining sun, flying bees, put both hands upon your knees / Falling rain, flying bees, put both hands upon your knees.”

3. The teacher: “please stop the noise.” Children: “‘cause I can’t hear your voice.”

4. “Fingers up, fingers down, fingers on chins, fingers on ears, fingers on heads, fingers on cheeks, fingers on lips…shhh.” When teachers give the directions, the children are so busy concentrating on the different actions that they fall quiet.

5. When it’s very loud, I clap out a rhythm and the children follow me.

6. “Put your hands up, put your hands down, put your fingers on your lips, quieten down now.”

7. The teacher “qui-”, children “-et”, the teacher “qui-”, children “-et”. The teacher “quiet”, children “now”.

8. “Quiet shh, quiet shh, let’s all sit so we can learn it, quiet shh, quiet shh.”

9. “First we draw the sun, then we all sit down”, as the children draw the shape of the sun in the air.

10. “No rustle, no noise, just the teacher’s voice.”

11. “Stars are shining, birds are flying, all the children are listening now” (accompanied by appropriate gestures).

12. The teacher says “qui-”, the children say “-et”, repeat a few times growing steadily quieter.

13. The teacher: “let’s clap, let’s stamp, and quietly…”. Children: “…sit down.”

14. We put a finger in the air and repeat together “hocus pocus, hocus pocus, shh.” When we say “shh” we put a finger in front of our mouths.

15. “My finger is down, my finger is up, my finger says hush now.”

16. “Now no fuss, now no one can hear us”

17. The teacher says: “one, two, three”, the children: “qui – et – ly”. Can be repeated.

18. “One, two, three, four, now we’re sitting on the floor, five, six, seven, eight, now we only have to wait.”

19. “Silence here, silence there, I feel silence everywhere.” You can say it by yourself or with the children, making it slower each time.

Tasks

20. “The King of the silence”: a chosen child gets a crown and a staff, and sits on a throne (any big chair will do). After a few moments, they stand up and choose their successor – whichever classmate is waiting most patiently – passing on the props to them. The game can be played for a few minutes and is a good way to maintain calm without the teacher’s involvement.

21. “The bell”: a game from the Montessori method. The children sit in a circle and pass a bell around it (the object can be something else with a bell too, e.g. a small ball with a bell inside, and you can make up a reason for passing the bell around beforehand.) The children must do it so carefully that the bell doesn’t ring. It’s very engaging and the classroom falls so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

22. “A glass full of water”: a game similar to that with the bell, but this time the children pass around a glass of water, trying not to spill the it. The engagement of the children is huge.

23. We look at the ceiling, the floor, the ceiling, the floor and then at me. You can choose other places for the children to focus on to suit the environment.

24. “The king of the shoes”: the children sit on the carpet with a chosen child – the king of the shoes – sitting in the middle. Every child takes off one shoe and puts it in front of the king in a pile, then goes back to their place, tucking their feet under them as they sit back down. The king’s challenge is to take a shoe from the pile and give it back to its owner. This game is for 2 – 4 year olds, being too easy for older children.

25. I sing: “I’m looking for, I’m looking for, a thing that isn’t here, a thing that isn’t here”. Usually this is enough for silence to fall, and then the song should end: “Oh, the silence is already here.” If it doesn’t work right away, it can easily be repeated or continued in a similar strain.

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