4 Easy & Fun Games for Preschool Children
Preschoolers have a bit of energy, shall we say? Plus, they’re creative, they’ve got incredible imaginations, and they like to have fun. Since children learn through play, here are four of my favorite preschool games that can be used as an outlet for energy, to help teach a concept, and/or to engage students in active learning about the Bible. Enjoy!
1. Train Ride
Option A. The Traditional Train: Have each child stand in a hula hoop, which is their pretend boxcar. Children can also hold onto a rope train or each other’s shoulders. If their hands are free, they can move them in a circular motion. Invite one child to be the conductor (line leader) and one child to be the caboose. Travel around the room chanting, “Chugga chugga chugga choo-choo!” You may also want to pick up a wooden train whistle for effect.
Use this activity to get from one place to another, as a transition, or as a creative addition to a lesson plan (Let’s take a train ride to Israel.)
Option B. The “I Spy” Train: Invite the children on board the “I Spy Train.” This train can be set up as a number of chairs in one or two straight lines. The children won’t officially travel anywhere, but you’ll still pretend with tickets, sounds, the movement of their arms, and a conductor.
Have them look for particular theme related items that you have pre-arranged to be in the room. For example: I Spy… Fruits of the Spirit (with the qualities written on pieces of fruit), I Spy… Easter (with a cross, a tomb, a palm leaf, a donkey, etc.), I Spy… Thankfulness (with items children can be thankful for: water, food, the Bible, friends, teachers, etc.)
2. Hide and Seek (Whatever!)
Hide multiple theme related items around your space and have the children search for them. (It’s like Easter egg hunts all year round!) Have fun, be creative, and use your children’s symbolic thinking skills (if you don’t have a particular item available!)
If you’re talking about Noah and the flood, hide animals. If it’s the fifth day of Creation or a lesson on Jonah, hide fish (plastic fish, goldfish, or paper cutouts.) If you’re talking about a wall like Jericho or a building project in the Bible, hide bricks or building materials.
If your lesson is on sin, hide “dirty” socks, because sin likes to hide. Explain that sin stinks and brainstorm ways that we all fall short of the glory of God.
3. Let’s Freeze
Play praise music and lead the children in movements (stepping side to side, clapping their hands, stomping their feet, tiptoeing, following the teacher in a circle, slapping their legs, doing jump and jacks, reaching up high and down low, etc).
Have an assistant shut the worship music off and have the students freeze, standing completely still. Play the music again and repeat multiple times. For an added challenge, while students are freezing, recite a memory verse and begin again.
4. Create Your Own Obstacle Course
Make a simple obstacle course out of anything: furniture pieces, masking tape on the floor (a straight line can be a balance beam, a circle a tube to jump in, a triangle a piece of pizza to squash), cushions, sheets over tables, etc.
Have the course made prior to the children’s arrival. While constructing the course, it is imperative to ensure that it is safe for your students. If it can be hazardous, it will be, so don’t take the chance. Preschoolers do not have great gross motor skills anyway, so the easier the course, the better!
Always demonstrate how to go through the course first (expect a few giggles if you’re going to try to squeeze into a tight spot!) Use the obstacle course simply as a fun activity to get the kids moving. Or draw parallels with faith. Is it easy to get to God? How do we find Him? What gets in the way sometimes? Are there instructions we can use to get through life easier?
What preschool games have you used in your ministry setting that you have found to be effective? Please share your thoughts and suggestions below!