Preschool is the perfect time to teach children motor skills and all related concepts. One of these important concepts is speed. Or, to put it on a preschool level, the differences between “fast” and “slow.” Of course, teaching fast and slow also means teaching perception and awareness, in addition to essential motor skills. Here are twenty of our favorite activities that help preschoolers learn “fast” and “slow” while having fun!
1. Fast and slow music video/game
It is one of the most classic fast and slow movement activities. It’s perfect for preschoolers as it incorporates music to hold their attention and physical activity for a total body response. It’s also a great way to introduce the concept of fast and slow to young children, especially if you use familiar songs to do so.
Learn more: green cat piano
2. Marble running ramps
There are tons of different materials and kits your kids can use to make marble run ramps. They can judge which marbles go faster and which go slower; showing that speed is a relative concept.
Learn more: Amazon
3. Fast and slow galloping activities
Galloping skills are actually complex locomotor skills that require practice before mastery. Fast and slow galloping is also a great way to promote spatial awareness and attention skills. Most importantly, it’s a really fun activity for preschoolers! Here is a list of great galloping games for your students.
Learn more: healthy
4. Rank “Fast” and “Slow”
With these cards, you can encourage children to categorize fast things and slow things. It’s one of those motor activities that gets kids thinking about other motor activities. You can also add an extra layer to the activity by having children sort quickly or slowly as they progress.
Learn more: EST
5. Song “The Old Gray Cat”
It’s a perfect song to help kids understand the concept of fast and slow. The different parts of the song are sung at a fast or slow speed, and the lyrics can help children understand which mode is more appropriate.
Learn more: Let’s play children’s music
6. Fast and Slow Bean Bag Activity
This video and song are especially fun for circle time. Children pass a bean bag around the circle in varying rhythms that are kept in the song. As the song picks up speed, the speed of this fun movement game also increases.
Learn more: Kimbo Children’s Music
7. Make a rhythm, then go faster!
This is another of the traditional games to teach the concept of fast and slow. Students can use homemade instruments to create a drum group. They start with a beat and then, on the teacher’s instruction, they slow it down and speed it up.
Learn more: Griffin House
8. Free dance at different speeds
You can use this video and song to encourage children to listen and respond at different speeds and tempos. Give the kids plenty of space for this free movement activity and let them dance along to the music. Help them notice when the tempo increases or decreases, and make sure their dance reflects those changes in speed.
Learn more: Funny Kids English
9. Lesson Plan: “Things Fast and Slow”
This is a complete pack of lesson plans that brings familiar things kids already know. The aim is to help children identify everyday objects and animals that move quickly and those that move slowly. It can also extend beyond the classroom for homework practice.
Learn more: California Kindergarten Association
10. Fast and Slow for English Learners
This is a great video lesson for young English learners. It focuses on vocabulary and comparative examples so children can explain the concepts of “fast” and “slow” in English.
Learn more: LearnKaro
11. Slowest to Fastest Command Maps
This is a great activity for bringing in comparative and superlative shapes and concepts. It is a card game in which students order different objects and animals from slowest to fastest.
Learn more: flicker
12. See a lesson in action
This is a video of an actual classroom lesson with young learners. It focuses on teaching and practicing the concepts of ‘fast’ and ‘slow’, and it also has many wonderful activities. The examples of total physical response are particularly noteworthy in this model lesson.
Learn more: Nick Holland Garcia
13. Speed, force and movement
If you’re excited to get your young students interested in STEM activities, then this is a great introduction. It is ideal for children who have already mastered the basic concepts of speed and slowness and are ready to see the concepts applied in a more practical and physical way.
Learn more: Strength movement lessons in kindergarten
14. Marvel Fast and Slow Interactive Activities
This activity pack is perfect for kids who love superheroes. It offers many interactive materials that can be done for homework or in class. It is also ideal for families who want children to study during school holidays or for particularly curious children.
Learn more: Amazon
15. Kinesthetic Preparation
This video is like the warm-up kids need before they start all their burst movement activities. It goes through all the preparation that helps students become aware of their bodies and movements before embarking on all these fast and slow movement activity ideas.
Learn more: Lauren Bath
16. Powerpoint “Moving Objects”
With this handy pre-designed Powerpoint presentation, you can easily present the daily fast items and the slow ones. Children will recognize all the different objects and animals that are shown here and it also gives a solid foundation in the concepts of ‘fast’ and ‘slow’.
Learn more: flicker
17. Fast and slow animal movements
With this fun activity, children can pretend to be animals! It’s a favorite pastime for preschoolers, making it an easy and effective way to introduce and practice the concepts of fast and slow. Children can move like different animals and then discuss together how to describe these movements.
Learn more: ANC
18. Worksheet: Fast or Slow?
This is a great review worksheet, and it can be an effective homework activity to help kids remember the concepts they’ve learned in all of their fast-paced and slow-paced activities. Plus, it’s super easy to print and distribute and it can also be the start of a great discussion-based review.
Learn more: K5 learning
19. Classical music to teach fast and slow tempos
Here is a great list of different pieces of classical music that you can use to teach fast and slow tempos to preschoolers. You can also use them in many other activities on this list!
Learn more: Teachers.net
20. Exposure to fast and slow tempos
Here’s a video that brings together many tempos for a great exposition of both fast and slow for young learners. You can use them as examples or start good class discussions about fast and slow. It’s also a great way to talk about tempo consistency and how the tempo changes between different parts of the music.
Learn more: Gurukulam Kindergartens