Since summer is (almost) upon us here in Japan, I thought I would start to share some of my fun summer activities for very little kids.
This was originally developed for Kindergarten aged students, in small private classes, but with a bit of foresight (and talking to the home room teacher, of course, to approve it!) it could work really well for your ALT classes, too, especially Kindergarten if you can have the majority of the lesson outside.
- “What color would you like?”
- “_(color)_, please”
- “Here you are.”
- “Thank you.”
The focus of this lesson is colors and shapes, as well as asking and receiving things. To achieve this, we have the kids use their hands to make things uniquely their own!
- Colored pipe cleaners (available at Daiso or Seria for ￥100 a pack. I am unsure how metallic ones will work)
- Shape template (I had students working in pairs, but groups of up to four sharing one print out would be fine)
- Bubble mix (or you can make your own)
- Trays to put bubble mix in
You can download the templates here! There is a larger one for using
full sized pipe cleaners, and a smaller one for half sized.
Before the activity, I recommend you cut the pipe cleaners in half, especially if you’re working with kindergartners. The smaller size makes it easier on their little hands (however, test them first to make sure they’re long enough to work with the template you’ve printed, depending on your printer and page setting).
It’s also nice to have examples of what you’re making to show them.
Lesson & Activity Notes:
- Before you being, review colors and shapes.
- If your students aren’t well versed with “_______, please,” “here you are,” and “thank you,” review those as well with some simple role play
- If you are doing this in a classroom as an ALT/NET, make sure your homeroom teacher is okay with understanding this sentence pattern and using it with students.
- Having students work in pairs or small groups, review shapes using the template by having them point to the shape you say.
- ex: “Where is the heart? Where is the triangle?”
- Have the students tell you what color they want. Don’t let them just grab one, make them at least say the color before you give it to them, since you still want the focus to be on speaking English as much as possible.
- To make the wands, lay the pipe cleaner down on the template. Start at the star, and follow the shape all the way around to the very bottom. Then, take that starting point and wrap it around a couple of times to make a secure shape.
- I did notice that Preschool aged children could do this, but they needed a lot of help with the final part of securing it together. Be prepared to help them, as they don’t have much fine motor skills. And always, always, always encourage them!
- I let my students make 2-3 wands (the faster students made 3, the younger ones made only one or two) before we went out side to play with them.
These do sop up a lot of bubble mix, and get kind of icky really fast, but the kids absolutely loved them. Remember, don’t be afraid of ending the lesson while they’re having fun, it helps them to remember it ;P
After the lesson, I rinsed them off and let them dry, and then hung them up on the classroom wall with shapes cut out like bubbles to help them review later on.