Though few preschoolers have had any direct experience with hot lava, it is a phrase they seem to use frequently, and they all know hot lava should be avoided at all costs! This is a fun game that capitalizes on that childhood fascination!
I usually tie volcanoes in with my dinosaur unit. As we talk about the changing earth and the theories of extinction, volcanoes make their way in. After our volcano discussion, I get the children up for some movement!
Thanks to the magic of childhood imagination, using something as simple as a strand of red yarn does the trick for conjuring up the vivid image of hot lava! I place the red yarn in a circle on the floor, and the children hop, one by one, over the lava. After everyone is safely across, I make the circle larger. We repeat this over and over until the children can hardly jump without catching a heel in the molten puddle. Of course we all respond to this with great dramatics!
I have also used this as a transition activity. After playing for a while, I have children jump over it one by one, until I have a small group formed, then I send them on their way and do it again with another small group! This hot lava hop is a fun game to play with children and is a great way to build large motor skills, strength, and balance. So get hopping!