Tips and Tricks for Controlling Your Kids (And Your Selah Class!)

Karla LysakSelahLeave a Comment

Station Transition Ideas


Quiet Preschoolers

This a Paradox



Recently I found myself in a quiet doctor’s office. So quiet in fact it was almost as if I was completely alone. Except, I had a nine month old, a two year old, a four year old and a six year old with me. I was NOT alone!! Yet, it was quiet. We had managed to hold it together. The five us were calm, settled and silent as we waited for our turn to be called in. BUT THEN it happened. The receptionist called our names and I thought she was calling us into the doctor’s room, but she didn’t call us into the room. She asked us to wait outside the room in a tiny, narrow hallway, that was bustling with quiet traffic AND she asked the FIVE of us to stand against the wall out of the way. This is when my four children began to unravel on me. I found myself having an inner dialogue with myself, “Why did I think it would be a good idea to take four kids for their check-ups, ALL AT THE SAME TIME?” I was panicking. How was I going to keep my four children quiet in this small, cramped space? Why did I ever think this was going to be easy?


BUT THEN, I told myself, “I can do this.” And I began to pull out my tool belt of quiet games and ‘waiting quietly’ activities that require NO PREP and NO EQUIPMENT.


I hope these activities can help you in a pinch whether you find yourself in a quiet doctors’ office or whether you are trying to keep a group of preschoolers quiet while you are waiting for the next activity to begin.

Quiet Games:

  1. Eye Spy


  1. Simon Says


  1. Sing a Song with JUST actions
    1. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
    2. My God is so Big
    3. Jesus Loves Me
    4. Head and Shoulders

Head and shoulders knees and toes

Knees and toes

Head and shoulders knees and toes

Knees and toes

Ad eyes and ears

And mouth and nose

Head and shoulders knees and toes

Knees and toes

5. Two Little Robins

Two little robins sitting in a tree,

One named Rob and one named Ree.

Fly away, Rob, fly away, Ree.

Come back, Rob, come back, Ree.

Tweet tweet tweet …


  1. Guess Which Hand
  • IF you have three, two, four, give your students a coin, chap stick, tissue, (anything you have in your pocket) in one of their hands. Have two kids put their hands behind their back and have the other children guess the hand it is in. Repeat and continue take turns.


  1. I’m Thinking of a Number
  • Choose a number between 1 and 10. Take turns guessing which number it is. You can give clues – it is higher, lower, it is between 3 and 5, etc.


  1. Statues
  • Who can freeze into a statue the longest
  • You can have themes, hands behind your back, hands in the air, standing on one foot, hand in your pocket/feet apart, etc.


  1. Rock, Paper, Scissors
  • Rock beats scissors/scissors beat paper/ paper beats rock


  1. Line UP
  • Line up from the shortest to the tallest
  • If they are all same age have them line up in chronological order, according to the months of the year, or alphabetical order


  1. “I’m going on a picnic”
  • Start the game by saying, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…” try using only words that start with the same letter like “apple”, “ant”, and “anchovies” or maybe the words that describe a group of items like names of different fruits “apples”, “oranges” and “bananas”.
  • See if you can remember each item that you are bringing.
  • Try different variations, “I’m going to music class and I’m bringing…”


  1. Remember What you See
  • Look around the room you are in
  • Have everyone close their eyes
  • One at a time, with your eyes closed, list the items in the room


  1. Guess What’s in my Purse/Pocket


  1. How many can you name?
    1. Animals
    2. Colours
    3. Cousins


  1. What would you rather be

You ask a question:

Would you rather be a tree or a birthday cake?

Child #1 says:


Child #2 explains why:

I want to be a cake because I don’t want to be eaten. Instead I want to be a tree so I can grow apples to eat.


  1. Word Chain
  • This game requires two or more players
  • Think of a category, such as animals
  • The first player says a word that fits the category, such as cat
  • The next player says another word that animal name that begins with the last letter of the first player’s word, such as tiger
  • The next word would then begin with r, and so on. End the game when players begin to repeat words


  1. Tongue Twisters
  • “She sells sea shells by the sea shore. The shells she sells are surely seashells. So if she sells shells on the seashore, I’m sure she sells seashore shells.”
  • “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?”
  • “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.”


  1. Twenty Questions
  • Think of something
  • Have your students ask “yes-or-no questions” to guess what it is

Strategies for Lining Up and Walking Quietly

Review the pamphlet Mady handed out, “Selah: Live It


  1. Glue your bums to the wall


  1. Walking Ropes


  1. Line-up by colour
  • Call out a colour
  • If a child is wearing that colour they can line up.


  1. You can ask questions and as they answer the question they can line up.


– Who has 4 syllables in their name? Line-up.

– What has a birthday in October? Line-up.


  1. Arms on each other’s shoulders


  1. Holding Hands


  1. Make a train


  1. “Hand on your hip, finger on your lip”


  1. Pretend to be Ninjas, mice or spies


  1. Teacher says: Facing

Students say: Forward!

T: Arms?

S: Crossed!

T: Lips?

S: Zipped!

T: Bodies?

S: Still!


Here’s a great article written by Janelle Cox. She shares 20 ideas on how to get your preschoolers to line up quickly and quietly.

Strategies to Settle Your Class

  1. Pretend to put a HUGE gumball into your mouth. Then puff up your cheeks. Students will follow and it’s hard to keep talking with a HUGE imaginary gumball in your mouth.


  1. “Criss-cross apple sauce, hands in the basket.”


  1. Sing a Song
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider or do fingers play. Students will respond to songs or call backs, settling quickly.


  1. Have students copy and follow your instruction:

“If you hear me touch your nose,

If you hear me rub your tummy,

If you hear me tap your neighbor on the shoulder,

If you hear me look at the ceiling,

If you hear look at my eyes, etc.”


  1. Try a hand signal or countdown
  • Hold your hand up you can count down on your fingers saying, “Teaching in 5, Teaching in 4, Teaching in 3, Teaching in 2 and so on.
  • This alerts the students that you are about to start and gives them a few moments to finish what they are doing, find a seat, end a conversation, and focus their attention on you.


  1. Clap Out a Rhythm and ask the students to clap it back to you.


  1. Use a special sound – a rain stick, bells, wind chime, rattle, tambourine,


  1. Have everyone stand up, and play a 30second game of Simon Says, getting all the wiggles out.
  • Simon says, “Everyone run on the spot.”
  • Simon says, “Everyone shake your arms above your head.”
  • Simon says, “Everyone turn around and touch the ground.”
  • Simon says, “Everyone sit down.”


  1. Pull out a book and start reading it to them very quietly. Slowly get louder as more students begin to pay attention. (You may not want read the entire book at once, leave off at a cliff hanger so you can save part of it for another time.)


  1. Know your students’ names!






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *