Submitted by Bre Koll, Illinois

Idea posted January 5, 2010

I'd love to share an activity that I made up on the fly today that went SO well; I had all my kindergartners passing in a circle on the beat! WOO-HOO!

They've been bugging me for weeks, "Are we going to use the stuffed animals today?" because I have about 100 Beanie Babies from when I was a kid that we used at the beginning of the year. Finally, I said yes and we got them out.

I gave each child a beanie (You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!), and we placed them in front of us. Then, I asked them all to point to the person on their right. Took a moment, but got everyone pointing the right way. I said, "This is the person you will always pass to." Then, I demonstrated that we would say, "Tap, tap, pass" (then a rest, which I didn't say but they felt naturally), and we do what we are saying: tap the animal twice on the ground in front of us and then put it on the ground in front of the person on our right.

When that was working for everyone, just one pass at a time, we added a SM ditty to connect the passes. I told them that they'd get to hold every animal in the circle, but just for a moment, so they had to hold it and sing hello before they tapped it twice and passed it on. I was holding the camel, so I did: "Tap, tap, pass. Hello camel!" singing the "hello" part on SM. We just kept going, and they didn't miss a beat! Tap, tap, pass, sing to the animal. Tap, tap pass, sing to the animal, etc. Like clockwork.

When we got really good at it, we took out the singing part and added a nice steady beat recording, and then it was just, "tap, tap, pass (rest and grab the new animal)" repeated all the way around the circle while the music played. It couldn't have worked better, even if I'd planned it ahead of time!