Preschool is the perfect time to teach kids about motor skills and all the related concepts. One of these important concepts is speed. Or, to put it at a preschool level, the differences between “fast” and “slow”. Of course, teaching fast and slow is also about teaching perception and awareness, in addition to critical motor skills. Here are twenty of our favorite activities that help preschoolers learn about “fast” and “slow” and have fun whilst doing so!
1. Fast and Slow Music Video/Game
This is one of the most classic fast and slow movement activities. It’s perfect for preschoolers because it incorporates music to hold their attention and physical activity for total body response. It’s a great way to introduce the fast and slow concept to young kids, too, especially if you use familiar songs to do it.
Learn more: Green Cat Piano
2. Marble Race Ramps
There are tons of different materials and kits that your children can use to make marble race ramps. They can gauge which marbles are going faster and which are going slower; showing that speed is a relative concept.
Learn more: Amazon
3. Fast and Slow Galloping Activities
Galloping skills are actually complex locomotor skill that requires practice before mastery. Galloping fast and slow is a great way to promote spatial awareness and attention skills, as well. Most importantly, it’s a really fun activity for preschool-aged kids! Here’s a list of great galloping games for your students.
Learn more: Healthfully
4. Classifying “Fast” and “Slow”
With these cards, you can encourage kids to classify which things are fast and which things are slow. It’s one of those motor activities that get kids reflecting on other motor activities. You can also add an extra layer to the activity by asking kids to sort quickly or slowly as they progress.
Learn more: TES
5. “The Old Gray Cat” Song
This is a perfect song for helping kids understand the concept of fast and slow. The different parts of the song are sung at either a fast speed or a slow speed, and the lyrics can help the kids understand which mode is most appropriate.
Learn more: Let’s Play Kids Music
6. Fast and Slow Bean Bag Activity
This video and song are especially fun for circle time. Kids pass a bean bag around the circle at varying tempos that are kept in the song. As the song speeds up, so does the speed of this fun movement game.
Learn more: Kimbo Children’s Music
7. Make a Beat, Then Go Faster!
This is another one of the traditional games for teaching the concept of fast and slow. Students can use homemade instruments to make a percussion band. They start with a beat and then, at the teacher’s instruction, they slow it down and speed it up.
Learn more: Gryphon House
8. Free Dance with Different Speeds
You can use this video and song to encourage kids to listen and respond to different speeds and tempos. Give kids plenty of space for this free-movement activity and let them dance to the beat of the music. Help them notice when the tempo increases or decreases, and make sure that their dancing reflects those changes in speed.
Learn more: Fun Kids English
9. Lesson Plan: “Fast and Slow Things”
This is a whole lesson plan pack that brings in familiar things that kids already know about. The goal is to help kids identify which everyday objects and animals move fast and which ones move slowly. This can also extend beyond the classroom for homework practice.
Learn more: California Kindergarten Association
10. Fast and Slow for English Language Learners
This is a great video lesson for young English language learners. It focuses on vocabulary and comparative examples so that kids can explain the concepts of “fast” and “slow” in English.
Learn more: LearnKaro
11. Slowest to Fastest Ordering Cards
This is an excellent activity for bringing in comparative and superlative forms and concepts. It is a card game that has students ordering different objects and animals from slowest to fastest.
Learn more: Twinkl
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 features so many wonderful activities. The examples of total physical response are especially noteworthy in this model lesson.
Learn more: Nick Holland-Garcia
13. Speed, Force, and Motion
If you’re excited about getting your young students interested in STEM activities, then this is a great introduction. It is great for kids who have already mastered the basic concepts of fast and slow and who are ready to see the concepts applied in a more practical and physical way.
Learn more: Kindergarten Force Motion Lessons
14. Fast and Slow Marvel Interactive Activities
This activity pack is perfect for those kids who love superheroes. It features a lot of interactive materials that can be done for homework or in the classroom. It’s also great for families who want kids to study during school holidays or for especially curious kiddos.
Learn more: Amazon
15. Kinesthetic Preparation
This video is like the warm-up that kids need before they start all of their burst movement activities. It goes through all the prep that helps students build body and movement awareness before they embark on all of these fast and slow ideas for movement activities.
Learn more: Lauren Bain
16. “Objects That Move” Powerpoint
With this handy pre-made Powerpoint presentation, you can easily introduce the daily items that are fast and those that are slow. Kids will recognize all of the different objects and animals that are presented here and it gives a solid background in the concepts of “fast” and “slow” as well.
Learn more: Twinkl
17. Fast and Slow Animal Movements
With this fun activity, kids get to pretend they’re animals! This is a favorite pastime of preschool students, which makes it an easy and effective way to introduce and practice concepts of fast and slow. Kids get to move like different animals and then discuss together how to describe those movements.
Learn more: PNC
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 that they learned in all of their fast and slow activities. Plus, it’s super easy to print out and distribute and it can be the start of a great discussion-based review as well.
Learn more: K5 Learning
19. Classical Music for Teaching Fast and Slow Tempos
Here is a great list of different classical music pieces that you can use to teach fast and slow tempos to preschool students. You can also use these throughout many of the 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 some great exposure to both fast and slow for young learners. You can use these 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 Preschools