When one particular instrument, or toy, is specially desirable (such as the Big Red Boomwhackers or the Golden Shaky Egg), the only solutions seem to be hide the contested item, or persuade the children to take turns. Hiding isn’t a real answer; the children know that they are there somewhere, and will spend the rest of the session hunting them down, rather than joining in.
Taking turns, as every parent will know, is a learned skill, and needs a lot of practice. What I want to avoid is the situation where the embarrassed parent forcibly removes the Big Red Boomwhackers from their determined child, resulting in the child lying on the mat having a tantrum, and the rest of the children abandoning the game or song to become interested spectators of the unfolding drama.
So, this week, before I got out the boomwhackers, and the shaky eggs, I thought it would be a good idea to practise “taking turns”. We sat in a ring, passing my long-suffering toy bunny-rabbit round while chanting;
Hop, hop, hop, where will it stop?
Hop hop, hop, here’s where it stops!
The bunny was passed from child to child round the circle in time to the pulse, (on the words in bold type). On the word “Stop”, who ever had the bunny gave it a quick cuddle before we carried on.
This worked well as a preparation for the games we played later in the session which involved passing instruments around and taking turns to play them. There were a few sticky moments with the Gold Shaky Egg, but the children managed to part with it when they realized that their turn would come again soon.