PK Activity 2 – My Turn, Your Turn – A Speaking and Listening Game


Perhaps the one of the greatest powers we can instill in our children is the ability to speak up for themselves. This is not always easy for preschool children. They may be shy about speaking in a group or they may all talk at once! As a preschool teacher, you know that your young children often do not have experience with group discussions and activities. You can support their self-awareness and self-esteem by teaching them how to take turns and listen to each other. This simple and effective activity empowers children to take turns listening and speaking. Not an easy thing for preschoolers!


Children learn the importance of the power of knowing when to speak up and be listened to and when to listen while playing a cooperative game.

Principle Overview

What does the word “power” mean to you? Some people associate the word “power” with control or authority and even destruction. It is essential when discussing the word “power” that it is seen in the IM4U context as the ability to affect positive change in the world! Exploring the “ripple effect” analogy of WE ALL ARE VALUABLE, students can see there is power in understanding that their abilities, interests, and personality can create positive change. Because we all have an effect on each other, WE ALL HAVE POWER.


Goals and Objectives:

  • Share an idea in a group or with a friend.
  • Practice taking turns.
Being aware of a certain situation or experience and then being able to give language to it and speak it out loud is a powerful life skill. Teaching students to speak up for themselves begins with helping them be independent and competent in their communication. They will then be better equipped to master life’s skills and handle life’s challenges when they use their power of speaking up.

  • Remind students to use either the following steps or the ones created together from the Speaking Up skill builder.
    1. Use a person’s name.
    2. Look him or her in the eyes.
    3. Use nice words with a big voice.
Skill Builder
Use these visual resources to enhance the student experience in this unit.

View In Resources

Activity Steps

  • Connector.

    Gather children together in a seated circle. Play the recording of Uncle Jim’s Speak Up song or watch the Speak Up music video. Invite children to gently rock to the music and sing along if they like.

  • Connector.

    Write the words “Speak Up” on the board. Read the words to the song and explain that the song is about sharing an idea or a feeling. Uncle Jim is encouraging us to do that!

  • Connector.

    You might say: This songs makes me feel calm and happy. It makes me smile when we listen together in the circle. How does the music make you feel? Raise your hand if you want to say something.

  • Connector.

    It is very likely that some children will raise their hand and others will shout out. This is the perfect time to introduce a fun and simple turn-taking game. Explain that it is hard to hear what someone is saying when everyone is talking at once. We can play a game where can each get a chance to speak up and everyone will listen!

  • Connector.

    Show the soft ball and explain that the ball is a “speak up power tool,” and that, in the game, the child who is holding the ball can speak up while everyone else will look at her/him and listen. Instruct children to raise their hand if they want to answer your question, and let them know that you will roll the ball to someone who is quietly raising his or her hand. Ask:

    What is your favorite color?”

  • Connector.

    Roll the ball to a child to has a hand quietly raised. That child holds the ball and speaks while others listen. After answering, he rolls the ball back to you and you continue rolling the ball to another child who has an answer to the question.

    Eventually, children can learn to roll the ball to the next child who has his or her hand raised in the air. Experiment with this technique frequently by adding questions or sentence starters that invite children to express their emotions. For example: How are you feeling today? What was is something you wish for?

  • Connector.

    Once your children get the idea of the “speak up power tool,” keep the turn-taking practice going by using it to talk about specific verses of the Speak Up song. Here are some examples from the lyrics:

    Verse 1:
    Maybe you need
    A snack or a hug
    Or an extra potato chip
    If somethin’ is achin’
    It’s not time for fakin’
    There’s something special only you can do

    Invite students to share the different reasons we might speak up in Uncle Jim’s song.

    Let children know that it is ok to speak up when there is something that they need.

  • Connector.

    Next watch the Speaking Up puppet skit video. Afterwards, Ask:

    Can you share a time, like Martin, when you needed to Speak Up?
    Was it hard to do?
    What happened when you did speak up?
    Do you wonder if anyone is listening?

  • Connector.

    Then focus on these lyrics from the Speak Up song.

    Verse 2:
    Sometimes we wonderIf it really matters
    What’s the best thing to do?
    Well, that’s all rightYou can give it a try‘
    Cause every dayIs brand new

    In the lyrics, what do you think Uncle Jim means when he says “You can give it a try”?

  • Connector.

    Celebrate both speaking up and listening by acknowledging the good listening the children are doing as each child speaks. Help children see how knowing when to speak up (self-awareness) and being listened to helps them feel good about themselves (self-esteem).

Visit the FAQ for More Information

Have questions? Need help? Ask questions and discuss this unit, the IM4U Principles, and more in our Q&A focused area.