How To Conduct A Terrific Session For Tiny Tots

Check Out This Simple Lesson Plan For Pre-Schoolers

When conducting sports sessions for pre-schoolers, it is best to stick with activities that are:

  • Easy to set-up
  • Easy to explain
  • Simple to understand
  • Maximally engage the group
  • Focus on fundamental motor skills

I am often asked what I do when faced with a group of 3 or 4 year-olds. Below are some of my “go-to” activities written in the form of a lesson plan that can cater for up to thirty participants.


30 to 40 minutes


  • Ground markers x 30
  • Hoops – One for each participant
  • Bean Bags – One for each participant
  • Ribbons – One for each participant
  • Whistle
  • Parachute (Playchute)


Locomotor skills, body and spatial awareness, throwing, catching, balancing, jumping, hopping, landing.


 1.“Bean Bag Bungle”

  • Set up a playing area, identifying boundaries with ground markers. Scatter the area with bean bags – one for each child. Children scatter randomly within the playing area.
  • The children move about within the playing area, performing an activity specified by the instructor e.g. walking and clapping, hopping, jumping “like a kangaroo”, walking on toes and reaching up “like a giraffe”, walking on heels, marching, etc.
  • On the leader’s whistle, the children find a bean bag and put their foot on it. After several turns at this, placing a foot on the bean bag can be replaced by touching the bean bag with elbow, knee, ear, etc.

2. Bean Bag Challenges

Using the bean bag in their possession following the warm-up, challenge the kids to:

  • Balance bean bag on head, foot, shoulder, knee, elbow, etc.
  • With bean bag on head, turn around, kneel down, sit down, etc.
  • Place bean bag on head; drop off head and catch.
  • Walk around with bean bag on head, foot, etc.
  • Throw up bean bag from foot and catch it.
  • On all fours, place bean bag on back and shake it off (“Wet dog after a bath”).
  • Continuously throw bean bags into the air to make it “rain bean bags”.

3. Free hoop play

Ensure each participant has a hoop.

Allow the participants free creative play with the hoops. Provide some ideas:

  • Roll the hoop.
  • Step through the hoop.
  • Spin the hoop.
  • Balance the hoop.

Ask who can make up their own special “trick” with the hoop.

4. Ribbons & Hoops

Prepare this activity by scattering enough hoops for each participant throughout the playing area. Place a ribbon in each hoop.

Each participant finds a hoop and stands in it.

  • Hold the ribbon in two hands and step over it forwards and backwards.
  • Draw big circles with the ribbon.
  • Wave the ribbon like a flag.
  • Wave the ribbon around the head like a helicopter.
  • Draw “squiggles” in the air with the ribbon.
  • “Clean/sweep the floor” with the ribbon.

Find a different hoop.

  • Jump into and out of the hoop – forwards, backwards, sideways.
  • Hop into and out of the hoop.
  • Start with one foot in and one foot out of the hoop. Switch feet.
  • Run on the spot in the hoop swinging arms, swinging ribbon.
  • “Put hoop on” by putting it over the head and letting it settle by the feet. “Take the hoop off” by reversing the action.
  • Stand back from the hoop and throw the ribbon in.
  • Leave ribbons on ground, pick up the hoop and “drive around”. Use the hoop like a steering wheel. Drive around until the leader blows the whistle. Find a ribbon and put hoop over it.

5. Parachute (Playchute) Games

Participants spread evenly around the parachute.


Shake the parachute up and down to make waves. Shake it at waist height; shake it at ankle height; shake it above head height; shake it from side to side; hit the parachute while holding it with the other hand.


Make a “Mushroom”. Participants squat down, holding the parachute tightly with two hands. On a signal (“1…2…3…MUSHROOM!!”) everyone stands up, lifting the parachute above their heads and holding it up to make a mushroom shape. On a signal, the parachute is then pulled back down to the ground.


Make an “Igloo”. This is done by firstly making a mushroom, but then taking one step forward and pulling the parachute down behind. Everyone ends up under the parachute, keeping hold of the parachute and sitting on its edge.

Washing Machine

Play “Washing Machine”. Send some of the participants to sit or lie underneath the parachute. These people are the “dirty washing”. The remainder of the participants holds the parachute at waist level. These people make up the “washing machine”. Tell everyone that the washing machine is going to wash the dirty washing. To do this, those who make up the washing machine follow your actions:

  • Put in the washing powder – Hold the parachute with one hand while hitting with the other hand.
  • Wash cycle – Shake the parachute from side to side.
  • Rinse Cycle – Shake the parachute up and down.
  • Spin Cycle – “Dry the washing off” by making three mushrooms.

What are your favourite activities to use with very young athletes?

I would love to know what works for you with this age group. Share your ideas by leaving a comment/reply or by using the contact details below.

20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin , Anchor or via email.

Subscribe to the Coaching Young Athletes newsletter HERE.

Tagged , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: