Opposites Theme for Preschool

Opposites! There are so many to talk to the children about! Up, down, sit, stand, fast, slow, hot, cold--and so many more! This opposites preschool theme is filled with preschool lesson plans and ideas for all areas of your classroom.

You'll find more themes to help you with your planning on my preschool themes page.

Opposites Theme for Preschool

Let the Theme Planning Begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.

Opposites Theme Art

Giant Collage

Materials Needed:  Provide two very large pieces of newsprint. Label them "Large" and "Small".

Have tape and glue available.  Provide Collage materials (fabric, paper, misc. arts and crafts supplies). Encourage the children to glue or tape items that are large and small to the appropriate papers. Also, be sure to encourage creativity--can they make a LARGE item with the supplies (perhaps gluing a bunch of paper into the shape of a large car?!).

The Enormous Turnip

Make a paper mache turnip!  Mix water and flour and glue, dip newspaper strips and place all over a large balloon.  When dry, pop balloon and have children help paint.  

This is a great follow up to the story The Enormous Turnip

Opposites Theme for Preschool Art Activity

Happy/Sad Faces

Materials Needed: Pre-cut large circles (2 per child), wiggly eyes, glue, miscellaneous arts and crafts supplies, markers.

The children glue wiggly eyes on each circle and then draw a smile on one and a frown on another. (Pre-print the smiles and frowns for the children to trace if needed).

The children decorate each face. Discuss with them things that make them happy or sad.

When dry, staple each child's happy and sad faces together (back to back) and hang from the ceiling!

Day and Night

Materials needed: White paper with a thick black line drawn down the middle (from top to bottom).

Talk about the opposite of day and night. Encourage the children to draw a picture, or items, on the left that they would see during the daytime (sun, birds, etc.) and things they would see during the nighttime on the right (moon, stars, nocturnal animals!).

Opposite Textures

Materials Needed: One egg carton for each child, opposite texture items for each egg cup section such as cotton balls, sand paper, velvet, Velcro, corduroy, felt, feathers, etc.), glue

The children glue one item in each egg cup section. Discuss the textures and the opposites--rough, smooth, soft, hard, etc.

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Opposites Theme Block Center Ideas

Provide both large and small vehicles and small and large blocks. Perhaps add those small colored wooden cube blocks to your unit blocks for contrast in size this week!

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Themed Circle Time Activities

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your Opposites Theme!

Introduce the Concept!

Materials needed:  A 1 inch piece of rope or yarn and a 7 foot piece of rope or yarn.

Show the children the small piece of yarn.  Tell them it is an inch long.  Ask them what kinds of things in our classroom are this small?  Let them discuss and let them walk around the room to find some to measure against the yarn!

Now show the 7 foot piece of yarn.  Tell them it is 7 feet long.  Again, ask if there are anythings in our classroom that are this long (perhaps the tables?  The doorway?  The carpet?  The room?!!). Tell them that some dinosaurs were even longer than this yarn!

Germs, germs......Where are they?

Read the story Those Mean Nasty Dirty Downright Disgusting but...Invisible Germs  by Judith Anne Rice

This is a great way to talk about the Teeny Tiny part of your opposites theme and discuss the importance of hand washing, sneezing into your elbow and using tissues!

Act out the Actions

Materials: Have cards with words and pictures for the children to act out, such as:

A child jumping UP and a child squatting DOWN.

A big square and a small square.

Make up more!

Show the children the cards discuss them. Hand each child a card and have them find the friend who has the opposite of their card.

You may need to do this one child at a time at first before having the entire group do this at once. It will give them more practice understanding each action.

Variation: Write down actions on pieces of paper and place them in a box or decorative bag. Each child has a turn reaching in the bag to choose an action for the group to act out.

Clap hands (encourage them to clap fast then slow; with their hands high and then low)

Reach your arms-- up and then down, right and then left

Jump--fast and slow; high and low

Make up many of them.

Hot and Cold

Materials needed: pictures of items that are hot and cold. Put Velcro on the back. Give each child one card.

On a flannel board, place the word HOT on one side and COLD on the other side.

Each child takes a turn placing their card on the correct side of the board.

EXTENSION: Place the board in your library area for the children to continue the sorting on their own or to make up their own stories using the pictures.

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Snack Recipe Ideas to Cook Up for Your Opposites Theme!

Snack Recipe Ideas to Cook Up for Your Opposites Theme!

Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific Space theme questions while making these fun snacks!

Sweet and Sour

Provide a variety of sweet and sour foods such as lemons/limes; sweet and sour apples; sweet and sour oranges; a pear and a kiwi.

Help them to identify sweet and sour.

Hot and Cold Drink

Make hot cocoa for the children (ok, well WARM) and then discuss the temperature (warm). Add COLD whipped cream!

O is for Opposite and OATMEAL!

Oatmeal Pancakes

Have the children help you to measure and mix the ingredients:

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

Cook and enjoy!

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Opposites Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area!

Big and Small Store

Set up a pretend store in your dramatic play area with different sizes of shoes, hats and clothes for children to wear and try.

Thank you Ana of Alameda, CA for this dramatic play idea!

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Theme Ideas for Your Easel--

More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)

Black and White Painting

Materials Needed: white paper, brushes, black and white glue

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Themed Large Group Games that help the children build their muscles while they have fun together!


Teach the children how to move the parachute up, down, left, right, fast, slow.

Add foam balls or other items as you do this!

If you don't have a parachute, you can find them pretty inexpensively on Amazon.  Below is the 10' parachute.  You can also find 6' and 12', depending on how many children are in your group.  We have 16, so we go with a 12' parachute.

Ride the Bus

Preschool children love any type of game you can come up with that includes riding "a bus"!

Line chairs up in twos or threes having one chair for each child.

You sit in a chair in the front.

Say a word and the child needs to say the opposite (their friends can help!) to get on the bus.

Once they are all in the bus, go on a pretend adventure! Be sure to drive your bus on a bumpy and a smooth road, go up and down a hill, etc!

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Themed Ideas for Your Library

Book Suggestions for the Library

(I LOVE Amazon, and some of the links below will take you to the Amazon website.  If you do choose to purchase yours through Amazon, they do send me a few cents--which supports my coffee habit! )

Big Dog...Little Dog (Beginner Books(R)) by P.D. Eastman

Bow-Wow Attracts Opposites by Mark Newgarden

Exactly the Opposite by Tana Hoban

Olivia's Opposites by Ian Falconer

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (I Can Read It All by Myself) by Dr. Seuss

Opposites with Oswald by Lauryn Silverhardt

Opposites/Los Contrarios (Bilingual First Books) (Spanish Edition) by Clare Beaton

Opposites by Sandra Boynton

The Foot Book: Dr. Seuss's Wacky Book of Opposites by Dr. Seuss Becca S from Augusta, GA recomends following the reading of this storry with doing the Hokey Pokey to reinforce right and left. Thanks, Becca!

What's Up, Duck?: A Book of Opposites (Duck & Goose) by Tad Hills

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Math and Manipulatives Activities to help your preschoolers develop their math skills and those small muscles in their hands!

Here or There

Materials Needed: 2 cups or bowls and one toy that fits under the cup or bowl.

This is the cup game! Place a toy under one bowl, move the bowls around and ask "Is the toy HERE or THERE" pointing to each cup or bowl.

Keep this at the manipulative or game table for the children to use throughout the day.

Opposites Theme for Preschool Gross Motor Activity

Big and Small Pattern Beads

Materials Needed: Beads (small and large) and lacing strings.

The children string the beads in a large, small, large, small pattern.

Texture Sorting

Materials Needed: Items of opposite textures such as sand paper, cotton balls, etc.

Place all the items in a bag. The children sort the items into 2 bowls or boxes by the textures: Soft and Rough

Big and Small Structures

Materials Needed: Dried peas (that have been soaked overnight) and toothpicks.

Place these items on the table for the children to make big and small structures with.

Place them on a piece of paper with their name on the paper.

Over the next day or so, the peas will dry and harden making the structure VERY sturdy!

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Opposites Theme Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

Grand Old Duke of York

This is a great song to act out during this theme!

The grand old duke of York,

He had 10 thousand men;

He marched them to the top of a hill,

And he marched them down again.

And when they're up they're up

And when they're down, they're down.

And when they're only halfway up,

They're neither up nor down!

Open, Shut Them

This finger play can be acted out at circle time, before snack, before any activity!

Open, shut them. Open, shut them.

Give a little clap.

Open, shut them. Open, shut them.

Place them in your lap.

Creep them, crawl them. Creep them, crawl them.

Right up to your chin.

Open up your little mouth, but do not let them in!

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Opposites Activities for Your Sand and Water Table!

Opposites Theme for Preschool Sand Table Idea

Teeny Tiny Circles

Here's a way to encourage the development of those hand muscles and compare sizes!

Fill your sensory table with different sized circles.  Provide hole punchers.

The children will make small holes (circles) in the larger ones!


Bugs--Large and Small!

Add sand to your sand table this week.  Add plastic bugs and critters of different sizes.  Provide sand sifters, spoons and plastic tweezers!

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Opposites Theme Science Activities for your Preschool Scientists in Training!

Stop and Go!

Fill about 5 cups with different scents (vanilla, vinegar, spices, etc.---be sure to check for classroom allergies first!).

Cover with a paper towel and rubber band or wax paper with holes poked on the top and a rubber band.

When you say "Go" the should smell a cup, then you say "Stop". Ask them to describe it.

When done with the cups, ask them which they liked more, less, etc.

North, South, Attract, Repel

Bring magnet wands and other magnets to the science table. Show them how each magnet has a north and south pole and that one side will attract metal and make it stick and the other side will repel metal and push it away!

You may want to introduce this as circle time when you have all of their attention!

Heavy or Light

Provide a balance scale and items of different weight. Show the children how the side that is heavier will be down and the side that is lighter will be up when they place items in each side.

Big Boy and Cherry Tomatoes

Plant Big Boy and Cherry Tomato seeds with the children.  Let them each plant their own as well. Observe them over time to see the difference. EXTENSION:  Prior to planting, bring in one of each tomato to discuss the different sizes. Compare the sizes of seeds they are planting as well! EXTENSION:  Once they have turned into seedlings, a few inches tall, I have to tell you--the Topsy Turvy worked great!!!  Check it out!

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Writing Activity Ideas for Your Preschool Classroom's Opposites Theme!

Off and On Writing

Provide erase boards and low-odor dry erase markers for the children to practice their names.

VARIATION: Print their names on name cards and laminate them. They can use the dry erase markers to write ON their printed name and then wipe it OFF.


As you discuss sizes this week, the children will come up with many ideas at the most random moments!  When they do, encourage them to journal about it by drawing a picture or "writing" a story in their journals.

Make one journal for each student by stapling a piece of colored construction paper on many pieces of white paper.  Fold in half and staple on crease.

Have each child print their name as best they can on the journals.

Remember, if they can only print an "A" for Amy, so be it...encourage them to do that!  If they make a scribble mark and tell you "That's my name"..so be it!  There are many stages of writing before it looks like their name!  Just print their name on the back page in small print!

When I'm Bigger....

Have the children draw a picture of what they want to do or be when they are bigger. Ask them to finish this sentence:  "When I'm bigger, I will...."

Write down what they say as they illustrate it!

Make this into a classroom book, it will be popular!

Also, if possible, make color copies to send home to each family!

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