Ideas For Day Care Activities And Games


One of the most daunting tasks facing any new (or seasoned) day care provider is that of providing new, fresh, educational yet fun activities for the kids.  How can we provide stimulating, new and safe opportunities for exploratory, educational play?  Amazingly, providing said activities need'nt cost the earth and utilising simple, everyday household items mixed in with a large portion of imagination will suffice. 

Younger children will have hours of fun with a mirror, making faces and watching you do likewise.  Familiar songs and nursery rhymes coupled with hand clapping, swaying, jumping and dancing will provoke a wonderful response in all children whilst also encouraging movement and coordination. Throw in some wooden spoons, pots, lids and rice filled containers and you will have a veritable orchestra.

Toddlers love messy play…the messier the better so provide lots of aprons and newspaper to cover surfaces.  Play dough is a firm favourite and easily made with flour, water, vegetable oil, salt and  food colouring.  Gloop (cornflower and water) is another great way for kids to experiment with texture (which can be varied by adding more flour).  Sand and water are natural materials essential to any preschool allowing children to learn texture, touch and the changing states of the materials as they heap, empty, pour, fill, patt, sieve and create. 

Preschoolers are little fountains of imagination and love nothing more than to act out everyday events using make believe and a few props.  Enter – dress up and role play!  Provide a dress up corner (simply, an old box) filled with clothes, hats, shoes, gloves, aprons, scarves, feather boas….. Ask parents for donations, rummage in the local thrift store….use your imagination!!  Create activity areas where the kids can play our their fantasies i.e. have a home corner complete with kitchen and utensils, create a little office space with phone and computer. 

Storytime is an integral part of the day care experience and should be fun, interactive and varied.  Use props to bring the stories to life, a simple tape recorder can add sound effects, introduce a turn taking system so the kids have a chance to tell a story and encourage make up stories focusing on topics of interest i.e. where the child is the super hero!  Develop your story times so that they gradually seque into a mini dramatics session.  Even the shiest child will become so involved in the vibrant characters being created that they will almost unconciously act out their role too.

Art  is a wonderful and enjoyable play experience.  Painting activities need not be confined to an easel with a paint brush.  Finger painting, foot painting, blowing paint throw straws, old tooth brushes, old paint rollers, a multitude of household items dipped in paint to make a stamp – all angles on the painting experience.  Go through your recycling bin and introduce pots, boxes, egg shells, bottles and anything else that could be decorated. 

Remember, children are naturally curious and are always seeking new experiences….simply open your mind and imagintation and follow their lead!


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