Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Jack be Nimble, Jack be Quick...!"

Growing up, my sister would always laugh at with me when I changed song lyrics.  To be honest, most of the time I really did not clearly hear what was being sung, so I just made up my own words.  As it turns out, this is a great skill for a preschool teacher to have! :-)  The following song and movement activity is something I made up as a fun game to play during the first days of school to the rhythm of "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick!" 

With much drama and excitement, I told the children that I had something very special to show them.  They were a bit perplexed (as I anticipated they would be) when I produced a plain, medium sized wooden dowel.   "Hmm... it's missing something!"  I said while a dozen pairs of amused eyes looked on.  Then out of nowhere, (well, really just in my other hand) I brought their attention to an extra special apple-eraser pencil top - the kind we use in the Apple Picking Math game.  This was enthusiastically placed on the tip of the dowel. "Now, we have our very own Apple Stick!"  I told the children, and we were ready to begin our game.

The now legendary Apple Stick.
I love playing name games in the beginning of the year because it allows the children opportunities to get to know each other by name.  In the past, however, I have noticed that this can be quite uncomfortable for some children, and rightly so.  After all, how can I expect them to play a game and call someone by their name if everyone is new to each other?  So, in an attempt to eliminate this somewhat uncomfortable situation, I made a this little game to help the children learn each other's names in an unobtrusive way.

We carefully placed our new "Apple Stick" on a small mat in the center of the circle.  Then, one at a time, we took turns jumping over it while I chanted/sang, "(child's name) be nimble, (child's name) be quick! (child's name) jump over the apple stick!"  We repeated this several times so that each child had the same amount of turns.  By the last round, the children were joining me in chanting each child's name! 

I love how this activity allowed the children to learn each other's name without having to feel, "put on the spot," as is the case for typical "getting-to-know-you" games.  I'm sure we will play this game throughout the year as it is also just a fun gross-motor activity...and that Apple Stick is here to stay!


  1. What a great way to introduce the children! :)Love the stick!

  2. The kids love the stick too - now they have a special connection to it! We have been enjoying this game as a class!