Teaching can and can't to kindergarten kids

kindergarten kids jumping to illustrate I can jump
18 Jun Shelley Vernon 1 Comment

Thanks to Silvy Jocic for this idea that she used to teach can and can't to her kindergarten pupils. Since Silvy has a group of fast learners, she told them to make up a rhyme about what they can and can't do. Her pupils came up with something like this:


I can jump and I can ski,

I can climb a tree,

But I can't swim and I can't drive.

How about you?


I like Silvy's idea because it allows kids to personalize their rhyme, but many kindergarten kids learning English are not advanced enough to make up their own rhyme, so here's one that would suit beginners:

I can jump and I can clap,

I can do a poo,

But I can't drive and I can't fly,

How about you?


Kids mime as they say the rhyme. Sorry, they will fall about laughing with the doing a poo part. If you don't think that topic is appropriate in your kindergarten classroom, and I totally understand you, try this one:


I can jump and I can clap,

I can eat and drink,

But I can't drive and I can't fly.

What do you think?



I can jump and I can clap,

I can sing too,

But I can't drive and I can't fly.

How about you?



I can hear and I can see,

I can touch my nose,

But I can't see you in the dark,

Or when my eyes I close.


Or, using you can instead of I can:

You can hear and you can see,

You can touch your toes,

But you can't see me in the dark,

And you can't touch my nose!

(Kids try to touch their partner's nose)


Expect your kindergarten kids to learn the rhyme over time, so include it in every lesson. Have kids doing the mimes initially, while you say the rhyme. Gradually coax them to join in.


For more ideas on teaching can and can't, here is a lesson plan for primary school kids. Take ideas from here for your kindergarten kids too: https://www.teachingenglishgames.com/lesson-plan-can-and-sports-for-primary-school-classroom


cover for ESL Games for Preschool bookTo get a ton of ideas for teaching kindergarten kids all in one handy book, check it out in paperback or instant PDF download.



We visit Spanish-speaking parents weekly in their home sharing ways for them to interact with their young children, infant, toddler, preschooler. We continue weekly visits through the child’s 3rd grade year of school.

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