I think what I love so much about these games in the beginning of the year is how hard it is for the kids to play them. They want to play them- they want to follow the rules- they think they're going to stop when they are suppose to- they plan to stop when they are suppose to- but they never do. Their little faces fill with frustration when they realize they didn't stop/move/run/tap their head at the right time. It's such a metaphor for the beginning of kindergarten- they want to follow the rules they just haven't trained their bodies to do it yet. They're not being impulsive just to make us mad- they're just in the process of learning how to control it. Our job is to teach it (the faster the better for our sanity...) We don't have to get frustrated and angry at the kids, but we do have to firmly teach expectations and then give them safe time to practice the skills we want them to have. Just like if we were teaching a math game or a reading strategy.
All the classic games are so perfect for this. Red Light/Green Light is a killer. A perfect impulse-control practice game, but so, so tough for those trying to have impulse control. My mother taught me the game "laughing machine" where the teacher drops a tissue from in the air and the class laughs until the tissue hits the floor. This teaches them to control their laughing- something that comes in handy when you're ready to move on from a funny part of a book and they just aren't...
Today we played Follow the Leader and all the kids had to do was walk behind the teacher while doing whatever motion she was doing. Which meant their eyes needed to stay on her. And not their friends, or their shoes, or the frog, or the window, or the bathroom. Every time a little one looked up and realized the whole classroom was taping their heads while he was still taping his knees his face would scrunch up in confusion- and he'd put his eyes on the teacher with more determination than before- until something else caught his eye and he looked elsewhere.
We'll get there. Every game will get a little easier everyday, right?
Any good recommendations on more games that teach impulse control?