We are approaching a LONG cold New England winter which limits our outdoor activity when it gets too cold or icy. We have access to a LARGE gymnasium in our building. I am looking for ideas on large group activities for 3-5s (multiage class). I have hoola hoops, parachuttes, balls, colored cones, bean bags -- just need some new ideas for 3-5s -- any suggestions?
You can never go wrong with green light go, red light stop. You can switch up instead of having the kids running on the green light they can (skip, gallop, hop, crab walk etc...)
Freeze dance is another favorite of my kids too, it also helps get the children up and moving and gets all of that energy out of them.
We go into the YMCA's gym once a week and spend the first part of our time there doing organized large motor skill activities. This past week we did an obstacle course: jump through hula hoops, tumble on the cheese wedge, run on the line, run zig zag through the cones to the end.
I believe the week before we played follow the leader. Having them stay on the black line painted on the gym floor worked great! The kids did great taking turns. We also had them do different skills when we called out a color. Blue = hope, purple= skip, red = stop, green= run, etc.
Our PE teacher was absent the other day and I took my kids to the gym hall for that period. I made short obstacle courses with cones, tunnels, bean bags etc. and let them complete it in groups of 6. I let them balance been bags on their heads while weaving around cones, which they enjoyed. I also did a follow the leader activity where they followed me and ran, hopped, jumped etc around the gym. They really enjoyed it and it tired them out a bit. I also let them throw the bean bags to each other and was quite surprised how few of them could catch them.
Sorry, I don't have too many ideas, but my kids enjoyed these activities and I have 25.
Parachute Games -
"Pop popcorn" by bouncing craft pompoms on the parachute, or "make it snow" by bouncing cotton balls or crumpled paper.
Play cat and mouse: one child (the mouse) crawls under the parachute while the others kneel and shake the parachute. Another child (the cat) crawls on top of the parachute and tries to tage the mouse. Once the mouse is caught, the cat becomes the next mouse.
Trading Places: Kids pop the parachute up over their heads. Teacher calls out two kids to trade places by running across under the parachute.
I teach 3-5's also. My kids love to play jailbreak. I have a group of 15 and I'll pick two cops; the rest are robbers. I designate a jail area, and if a cop tags you, you have to go to the jail. Another robber can free you. After they master this, I introduce the idea of "base." This was my favorite game as a kid, but I thought it would be over my little guys heads. I was wrong and they ask me to play it ALL the time!
I play musical mats where you have to put one foot on the mat when the music stops. I take away a mat each time but no kids go out. They have to share the mats and at the end, they have to have at least a finger or a toe or something on the one remaining mat.
We play car. Two people stand together like they're in a line. The front person is a car, the rear person is the driver. The driver drives the car, and I give directions such as "stop" "slow" "go" "tunnel" "bridge" "switch." Tunnel means you have to duck down while driving. Bridge is tippy toes. Switch means the driver becomes the car and the car becomes the driver.
I play a parachute game called shark. The kids hold the parachute at their waist. I select one or two kids to be a shark. They have to crawl under the parachute with one hand up like a fin. They "catch" another by grabbing their leg. The person they catch becomes the shark.
Another fun game we do can use music, but you don't have to. I have the kids just walk around the room. When I say, "Elbow!" the kids have to find a partner (or two, or three, whatever) and touch elbows. Then I say walk. Then I call out another body part. Once the children master this, I call out two body parts. For example, I'll say "Knee to hip!" and one child has to put his knee to his friend's hip. The kids love this game!
I'll put one more or I'll keep writing forever. My kids (mostly my boys) LOVE this one! It's like dodgeball. The kids stand in a circle (I actually have mine stand in a square because it's easier to tape a square on the floor) with two people in the middle. The child in the back stands with her hands on the other child's shoulders or waist, whatever each child is more comfortable with. The object of the game is to hit the rear child, with the front child acting as a shield. This game teaches teamwork and cooperation because you can't just throw the ball at the kid, you have to keep throwing it to others in the circle until someone gets a clear view of the rear child. When the rear child is out, the front child becomes the rear child and someone else becomes the front child. I hope I described this okay, it's a really fun game!