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5 Transition Strategies That Really Work

5 Transition Activities That Really Work | Gryphon House

Picture this: lunch is over and now it’s time for your preschoolers to get ready for naptime. They may want to play instead of rest, or be having a hard time getting done with their lunch. Some are waiting on the bathroom, and things still need to be put away and cleaned. Everyone has needs that must be met! This is when transition activities for preschoolers and transition strategies, for handling potential child behavior problems, come in extremely handy.

Transition activities are the moments when children move from one activity to another. These moments, when handled effectively, can be full of fun, but when handled incorrectly, your preschoolers may exhibit some challenging behavior that disrupts everyone’s day.

The GIANT Encyclopedia of Transition Activities for Children 3 to 6 is full of transition activities and strategies for teachers and parents looking for a more effective way to implement transition activities into their daily routine.

Here are 5 transition strategies you can use with your preschoolers today!


 “5 More Minutes” Sign

Materials: 8” x 12” poster board

What to do:

1. Write the words “5 More Minutes” on a piece of poster board to make a sign. Let the children help create and decorate the sign. They may want to write the numeral five all over it, or trace someone’s hand on it. Attach a string on it so it can hang over a child’s neck.
2. Five minutes prior to a change in activities, select a child to be the “5 More Minutes” sign helper to carry around the sign around for the other children to see. The sign helper says to the children, “Five minutes left to play” (or snack, or whatever they’re doing), and he makes sure each child sees the sign.
3. Introduce the following song at circle time, letting the children practice the songs and words.

Five More Minutes (Tune: “Skip to My Lou”)

Five more minutes left to play.

Five more minutes left to play.

Five more minutes left to play.

Five more minutes to play.

4. Make up other verses depending on the activity, for example, “five more minutes left for snack,” or “five more minutes left to paint.”
5. Sing the song while the child carries the sign around the room.
6. As you sing the song, hold up one hand with your five fingers out to show that there are five minutes left of that activity.


Good Morning to You!

Materials: None

What to do:

  1. This activity helps children develop self-confidence and poise.
  2. At the start of the day, have the children stand in a circle as you move around shaking hands and greeting each child by name.
  3. After you say the child’s name and shake her hand, she sits down.
  4. When all the children have been greeted and are seated, the day is ready to begin.


One, Two, Three, Eyes on Me

Materials: None

What to do:

To get the children’s attention say the following chant:

            Teacher: One, two, three- eyes on me!

            Children: One, two- eyes on you! (children point to the teacher)


Clean Up Our Work

Materials: None

What to do:

1. Sing this song to the tune of “London Bridge Is Falling Down” as the children clean up.

We will clean up our work,

Up our work, up our work,

We will all clean up our work,

Until we’re done!

2. Continue singing this song until the children are done.


Door Stop Ritual

Materials: none

What to do:

1. Stand in front of the door to greet each child in the morning.

2. Create a special handshake or greeting phrase that lets each child know that she is part of the class. Suggested examples are saying: “Alacazam, ma’am (or sir)!” or making a circle with your hands (Circle of Love).

3. End the day at the door with the same secret handshake, slogan, or ritual.

4. Another idea is to have a special surprise to share with each child related to the theme of the dat. For example, hand out a red sticker for “red day,” feathers for a bird unit, or a card with the letter of the day on it. 

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