Community challenges are a brand new component of our preschool program, Mother Goose Time.
The challenges are focused on supporting children in developing social-emotional skills.
This is accomplished with a simple activity focused on teamwork, which can easily be incorporated into morning time or circle time.
A new community challenge is included for each day of the program.
All of the community challenges focus on building teamwork, compassion, stewardship, or growing in perseverance and confidence while taking leadership roles.
Our Experience with Community Challenges
In our home school environment, the community challenges have the added benefit of encouraging sibling bonding.
The kids are given set exercises that they can’t complete on their own.
We have historically found that most MGT games and activities easily include all of the kids, but the community challenges have the added benefit of encouraging team work and empathy.
For us community challenges are a welcome addition that have proven effective and incredibly fun.
They are currently my kid’s most requested portion of Mother Goose Time (MGT).
3 Favorite Community Challenges
Here are a few examples of three of our favorite community challenges from this week;
- community color,
- follow my head,
- and balance the button.
1 Community Color
- Large paper
- Challenge children to share space and work together to create community art.
- Invite all the children to draw at the same time on a large piece of paper using their favorite color.
- Play music from the Head to Toe CD (included with MGT). When the music stops, the children stop drawing.
- Hold up the paper and invite children to talk about the experience.
- Ask, “Did you have enough space? How did you feel about sharing the paper? What do you see on the paper? How can we make sure everyone feels included and has space in our room?”
This activity helps children be considerate of others and build a sense of belongingness when they see their contribution to the community drawing.
Our Experience with Community Color
I honestly expected the kids to fight over space and just pick one portion of the paper rather than draw together.
I was wrong!
We have repeated this exercise several times with much success and they request it all the time.
There were some keys to the process that made this activity work well for us.
We had clear expectations up front that everyone was allowed to draw and that there was no finished product; this was just for fun. Everyone was allowed to draw whatever they wanted.
Each child could only have one crayon at a time.
They could only color while the music was playing and when it stopped they had to return their crayon.
They could then pick a different color and draw for another segment of music.
After the kids had played with the music and one crayon at a time for a while they were experienced and comfortable enough working with each other that I just let the music play and gave them free range with the crayons.
I did stay in the room because my not quite two year old has been known to color all sorts of things including himself, furniture, and his siblings. He also finds not ripping the paper from the floor to be challenging 🙂
Community color has become a family favorite activity. They especially love when Mom, Dad, and Grandma color with them!
2 Follow My Head
- Explain that we can communicate our feelings without words.
- Invite children to copy your expressions, such as a smile, wide open surprised eyes, or angry eyebrows.
- Invite a child to be the leader and show how he can move his head or make an expression. Encourage children to copy his movements.
- Invite another child to be the leader.
This activity helps children act as leaders and read another person’s body language.
Our Experience with Follow My Head
The kids thought this game was hilarious.
We really didn’t deviate from the instructions given.
The kids loved trying to mimic our (the parental) face expressions.
They correctly guessed our emotions, 100% of the time. I guess they’ve had some practice.
The kids then took turns leading the game. It was a lot of fun.
3 Balance a Button
Give each child a button and explore balancing on a specific body part (head, arm, knee, elbow, etc.).
Continue to balance buttons while singing the “Balancing Song” to the tune of the “The Muffin Man.”
Invite children to find a partner and balance a button on their partner’s arm. If it falls off before the end of the song, the helper puts it back on the arm.
Discuss how important it is for us to help each other all day long.
Put a button on your elbow,
On your elbow, on your elbow,
Put a button on your elbow,
And balance if you can.
This activity helps children work collaboratively to accomplish a goal and help each other as needed.
Our Experience with Balance a Button
I was surprised with how long the kids enjoyed this activity.
They loved for me to sing the song and then change the word to a different body part.
We balanced the button on our heads, elbows, knees, feet, arms, legs, etc.
The kids even started suggesting different places to try to balance the button.
The buttons we had were different shapes and sizes, so they loved experimenting with which ones were easiest to balance.
When we divided into partners, the three year old and five year old took the game to a whole new level and wanted the length of time the button stayed on to be timed.
The 22 month old quickly mastered the name of the body parts and was having a good time just holding the button on his head, elbow, etc.
Over all a great activity that I’m going to break out again on a rainy day.
The community challenges have been such a fun and rewarding addition for us!
Thank you Mother Goose Time!
Want to see more Community Challenges with Mother Goose Time?