I came upon a group of raucous children a few weeks ago. They were the children of the choir members and were waiting in the nursery room at church for their parents to finish. Control had been lost. They were bouncing off the walls, pouncing on each other and just being plain rowdy.
I flipped the files in my head to CONTROLLING CRAZY CHILDREN and we started playing some organized games. Simon Says mostly, until it got old, then we sang some fun songs. In a moment of desperation I told them I had a really fun game for them but they all had to lay down and pretend they were sleeping.
And the craziness stopped. They all laid down and although there was some loud snoring, they were still. My mind raced again but I was coming up with nothing. Finally I said,
"Okay, when you awake, you will be snakes"
Then I said "GOOD MORNING SNAKES!"
And they all slithered and hissed, not yelling or hitting.
I then said "GOODNIGHT SNAKES!"
They all went back to sleep.
"GOOD MORNING COWS!"
moo moo moo chew chew moo moo
"GOOD MORNING PIGS!"
oink oink oink snort oink
This went on and on for nearly 20 minutes. I started taking requests: unicorns, slugs, bats. It's fun to do the rowdy ones like dinosaurs, lions, tigers and gorillas but just make them go to sleep faster and draw out the quiet ones like butterfly, turtle and worms.
I couldn't believe how much fun they had playing this. I have had them come up to me at church asking to play it with me again. I have since played it with other groups and it has been equally successful. A great transitioning activity from very active to quieter and more attentive.
VARIATIONS: You could do professions (good morning bakers! good morning firemen!) , you could do food you are pretending to eat (time for spaghetti! time for corn on the cob!), you could do sports (good morning swimmers, good morning basketball players!), you could do emotions/moods (good morning grouchy! good morning nice! good morning cheerful!).