on friday we took our kindergartners outside to play red light/green light. we wanted to get outside, let them run, get them out of the classroom, but more importantly- practice our impulse control skills.
anyone who works with five year olds knows that impulse control is a bit difficult for them. at five, if you see it, you want to touch it. not just want to touch it- you have this burning need to touch it. and for some children even the angry look of a teacher isn't enough to keep their little hands to themselves.
so impulse control is really something that needs to be taught, practiced, rehearsed, and practiced again. which makes red light/green light a perfect teaching opportunity.
of course, if you are five, have no impulse control, but really, really, really want to do the right thing, this game is excruciating.
after a few rounds of playing i noticed one little girl stomping her feet in the back of the line even though the rest of the children had taken off on 'green light'.
i can't do it! she explained. it's too hard!
so she and i became a team so i could help her stop. even holding my hand she occasionally forgot and would try to pull me along during a red light switch (making it scarily like a game of crack-the-whip). she'd look at me wide eyed and scuff her shoes on the blacktop, clearly angry she hadn't frozen.
i tried. she muttered, as, shoulders slumped, she headed to the back of the line.
in the end she had fun, but as we lined up i felt her tugging on my shirt.
that was a hard game. she said. i didn't think kindergarten was going to be so hard.
we'll keep practicing, i explained. you'll get better at it, i promise.