Are you teaching preschoolers to count or recite? For a fun game, adapt Alligator, Alligator, What Time Is It! It’s simple, active, and loads of fun.
Alligator, Alligator, What Time Is It!
How to Play
Alligator, Alligator, What Time Is It is a simple educational game to play with preschoolers. One person, the alligator, stands on one side of the playground or room. Everyone else lines up on the other side.
Together the players shout to the alligator, “Alligator, Alligator, What Time Is It!”
The alligator chooses a number, say 5, and responds, “It’s 5 o’clock!”
The players then count 5 steps forward before stopping and shouting to the alligator, “Alligator, Alligator, What Time Is It!” again.
The alligator chooses a different number.
Sometimes the alligator decides they’re hungry. In response to the question, the alligator responds, “It’s lunch time!” And chases the players back to the other side. If someone is tagged, they’re now the alligator.
If a player actually reaches the alligator, they become the alligator for the next round.
The joy of playing Alligator, Alligator, What Time Is It is that kids dash across the room counting steps. To begin the game and teaching kids to count, simply use the numbers 1-5. Later you can expand the numbers from 1-12.
The secret is that when counting to 12 becomes easy, you can use non-traditional times such as 20. Of course, you quickly run out of room when playing inside.
So introduce your children to skip counting. Count by 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s. If you’re daring, you can even count by 100’s!
Teach the Alphabet
There’s no reason you need to stick to counting when playing Alligator, Alligator, What Time Is It. Try switching the call to “Alligator, Alligator, What Letter Is It?” This time the alligator chooses a letter of the alphabet, say H.
This time the kids recite the alphabet until they reach the letter H.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H
Your preschoolers will have a blast reciting the alphabet and escaping the alligator.
Beyond Counting and the Alphabet
While most preschoolers aren’t reading quite yet, there are always a few who are. If you have a kid who’s ready to progress beyond basic counting and reciting the alphabet, up the challenge just a touch for your child.
Give numbers in terms of addition and subtraction problems.
This means when your kids yell, “What time is it?” The alligator responds, “4 + 4!”
The kids need to add before the step forward 8 steps.
The same thing with the alphabet. If your child is bored reciting the alphabet, try giving simple words like cat or sat to spell. Each letter is a step forward!
Alligator, Alligator, What Time Is It is a lively game for teaching preschoolers. Kids run, count, and learn the preschool skills they need.
Have you played Alligator, Alligator What Time Is It?