Recently I have started doing near and far lessons with my students because I have found them literally sitting on top of each other when I walk in the room. Once I gave them the vocabulary to understand how close or far away they are from one another or me, it seemed to help. Here are some ideas I have tried with my 3’s and 4’s.
1) Ballon Bubble: We sit with our toes in touching in the middle of the room. I ask a student to give me a number to blow up our bubble. Most of the time they say the big number 10 or they will say their age, 3 or 4. We count to that number and each time we move away from the middle, we blow out too, like we are blowing up the bubble. Once we have reached the number we stop. If they pick 10 I say, “look this bubble filled the whole room” Then I ask specific students “Ryan who is far away from you?” They pick someone across the circle and say their name. Then I say “Lucy who is near (close) to you.” I keep asking until everyone gets a turn. After everyone gets a turn, we count to three and pop the bubble and walk on our hands and feet (like a crab) to get back to the middle of the circle.
2) Circle Dance: I put a hula hoop in the middle of the room. We all stand really near (close) to it. Then we back away and get really far from the hoop. We do different movements to get close to the hoop again. Jump, sneak, slide, reach are all ideas I have used from the my students. After we have all done it we sit down and I call specific names to either stand far away from the hoop or near the hoop. They love this part, because it allows them to show me that they understand.
3) Sprinkler: For exploring movements I facilitate the entire group all at once, but it’s really hard when they dance on top of each other and follow each other around. For this idea, I start the music and call one dancer to the middle to dance first, then I add (I say sprinkle) each dancer in one by one. I tell them they have to dance far away from other dancers, it get harder as more dancers are added in. This one is a little tricky but it works if you have patience and time to explain and work it out.
I came up with these ideas when one of my littles could not understand that sitting beside her friend didn’t mean she had to sit on top of her. I tried to explain but every week she would come in and move her spot right on top of her friend. When I moved her a little farther away, she said “but I want to sit next to her.” That’s when I knew I needed to do a few lessons on near and far. We are still working on it, but I think these ideas have helped.
Do you have favorite activities for teaching near and far? I would love to hear!
p.s. remember the video above? It was one of my faves!
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