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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
Sports are a unifying factor for people of all ages, and even in your preschool classroom, you’ll find that students are already making their first forays into organized team sports such as soccer, t-ball and gymnastics. This makes a preschool sports theme an excellent choice at any time of year as your students will want to share their experiences and bring their knowledge to their work. These sports activities for preschoolers help them recognize facial expressions, making them an excellent morning meeting task as well as a quick finisher game.
Why Use Visual Discrimination Activities?
Visual discrimination activites are the broad category of tasks that ask students to classify information based on visual stimulus alone. These sports activities for preschoolers are classic examples of odd one out games where students have to choose the sports ball with the different face.
As they progress with this skill, it will help them spot spelling patterns, break down longer words into syllables and find mathematical patterns, so it makes sense to start visual discrimination acitivites as young as possible.
The fact that these visual discrimination activites also involve the essential skill of being able to recognize other people’s facial expressions makes this one download you’ll come back to again and again.
Preparing Sports Ball Faces Odd One Out
These sports activities for preschoolers are easy to prepare; simply download, print the class set and your morning meeting is ready to go! Consider printing 4 or even 6 to a page to save on ink, but anything smaller than this will make it harder for your students to accurately see the facial expressions.
Extension Activities For Recognizing Facial Expressions
These sports activities for preschoolers are a classic classroom resource as they are simple to explain and use. Students just need to look at each set of 6 faces and mark or point to the odd one out. As your students get familiar with this activity, try adding some of these extension activities for recognizing facial expressions:
Explain the feeling – part of recognizing facial expressions is to be able to think about and understand why someone might have that facial expression. Start this conversation by having students identify feeling words that go with each type of face, and then brainstorm things that would have happened to cause that feeling. Sports are a great vehicle for this as they bring about many of these feelings in young players.
Play in real life – the caveat for these sports cards is that they are cartoon representations of facial expressions; no one’s mouth goes wiggly when they’re worried! However, you can help students translate these facial expressions by having them show how their own face looks with different feelings. You can add some visual discrimination activities by having students create real life odd one out situations for a friend to guess.
Draw their own – finally, having students draw their own feelings face on a blank sports ball of their choice is a great way to get them talking about their emotions and how to process them in socially acceptable ways.