How to Grab Preschooler’s Attention—Introductory Activities

Introductory Activity

Getting preschoolers’ attention is no easy task! Keeping it is even harder. Preschoolers don’t always understand that you have to pause and listen when someone’s talking, or that it’s considered bad manners to talk and play while someone is speaking. They haven’t yet learned how to delay self-gratification! So, when you’re beginning your introduction to Group Time, it’s important to do something that will grab and keep your little ones’ attention! Here are some examples:

  • Sing a song like “Jesus Loves Me” or a silly song. Involve the students so that preschoolers know it’s time to be quiet and listen.
  • Count backwards from five. Tell them that when you get to one, they should be seated and ready to listen.
  • Use a noisemaker! For example, a jar of beans, a rain stick, or a maraca, anything that makes a noise the children can associate with listening.
  • Make it a game! Tell all of the preschoolers with blue shirts to sit down, then red shirts, and so on! Another example would be to play Simon Says.
  • Do a silly activity! Pretend to be a train and have preschoolers hold onto each other’s waists like the cars, or tell your preschoolers to pretend they’re all busy bees and ask them fly to the area for group time. It might be fun to integrate the silly activity into your missionary story! For example, if you’re learning about Indonesia, have the preschoolers pretend to row boats to the group time area, or if you’re learning about Scotland have them float softly like snow flakes.

Once you’ve grabbed the preschoolers’ attention make sure that you’re keeping them engaged. Just listening is not enough! Make sure they’re getting to do hands-on activities and allow them to participate. The Group Time introduction section in Mission Friends Leader gives you a simple activity to do with your group, and whether that’s listening to a song, introducing a Bible thought, or doing a hands-on activity, find a way to keep it engaging and interesting for your students. For example, if you’re doing a hands-on activity like placing matching tools to their shapes or looking at an object, ask your students questions about what they’re seeing, why they’re doing the activity in that way, or their thoughts about the activity.

Preschoolers like to be involved, they like to share their thoughts and feelings about the activities, and they like to communicate with you. It will also be helpful to always use the props that are suggested in Mission Friends Leader! Preschoolers are able to understand so much more if they have a visual that they can connect to what you’re saying.

Preschoolers are still learning how to control themselves, so have patience, speak kindly, and have fun with them! They will be so much more receptive to the lesson if you’re having a good time, and that all begins with how you get their attention.

Kaitlyn Adams, Preschool Resource Team Intern

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