Fast & slow activities for preschool children

Updated April 17, 2017

Learning about opposites often comes into play during the early elementary school years. Teaching your preschoolers about the difference between fast and slow helps them understand the concepts as well as the idea of opposites. Instead of just lecturing to them, engage the students in activities to help them truly understand the concept of the words.

Using Music

Play one song with a slow tempo for the students and then another with a fast tempo. Explain to the students that one of the songs is fast and the other song is slow. After you have clearly explained the difference, play another song for them. Ask if they think the song has a fast or slow tempo. Keep repeating these steps until the students appear to have a firm grasp on the differences.


Distribute a train colouring page to each student to colour. After colouring, they should cut their trains out. Read the story, "The Little Engine That Could" out loud to the students. When you get to parts of the story where the train goes fast, demonstrate a quick moving train with your train cutout. Do the same for slow sections. After you model what to do, have the students move their trains at the correct speeds.


Incorporate a series of illustrations into your lesson plan, such as a firetruck and a hippopotamus. Hold up each picture in front of the classroom, and ask students if they think the animal, object, thing or person moves quickly or slowly. After they tell you the answer to the question, ask them why they think that the subject moves either quickly or slowly. Keep holding up illustrations until the students have a firm grasp on the differences.

Writing in the Air

Take the students outside, if you are permitted to do so. Have each of the students hold a finger up in the air. Ask them to write a letter in the air with their fingers. However, also instruct them as to whether they should write the letter quickly or slowly. Have a contest to see who is able to write the letters the quickest or the slowest.

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About the Author

Jen Marx holds a Master of Arts in English and American literature. She is a consultant at a university writing center and has numerous print and online publications, including "Community College Campus News." Marx specializes in topics ranging from wedding planning to history to the environment.