At the window
A big window at children’s level is always a good thing to have in a daycare setting. Read on to discover different ways you can use a window for exploration activities with young children.
Activities for toddlers and babies
Use adhesive paper to stick pictures representing various weather conditions directly on a window. For example, you could have a sun, a cloud, raindrops, a snowflake, etc. Every morning, look out the window with your group and encourage toddlers to point to the picture that best represents the weather outside.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
A decorated tree
If there is a tree in front of your window, have fun decorating it with your group (or before they arrive if you want to surprise children). Hang colorful scarves, ribbons, aluminum pie plates, and balloons from the branches. Look out the window to admire your decorated tree.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (hear)
Wind chime in front of our window
Hang a wind chime right outside your window. On a nice day, open your window and listen to the sounds produced by your wind chime as it dances and sways in the wind. You can even enjoy this activity in the middle of winter. Open the window when children are almost ready to go outside. That way, they won’t be cold even if they feel a draft when the window is open.
SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)
Set up a calm corner in front of your window. Simply set cushions and books nearby. Invite children to look out the window as they relax. You can also sit in this corner for story time.
Hang a birdfeeder in front of your window. Use adhesive paper to stick pictures of the different types of birds that are common in your neighborhood on your window. Observe the birds that visit your birdfeeder with your group and associate each one to the corresponding picture.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Paper plate stained glass
Cut the center portion out of several paper plates (or cardboard). Press a piece of adhesive paper behind each plate. Encourage children to press feathers, pieces of colorful cellophane paper, confetti, etc. on the adhesive paper. When they are done, hang the plates in front of your window.
A colorful window
During the week, press colorful adhesive paper over the entire surface of your window. Name and observe the color with your group. Have fun looking out the window for an extra colorful view!
Cut a large piece of adhesive paper. Have fun pressing pieces of colorful cellophane paper all over (supervision required) to represent stained glass. If you wish, you could also cut a variety of shapes out of colorful clear document protectors.
Purchase window markers and let toddlers draw on your window. Make sure the markers are non-toxic and safe for young children.
Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to washable, non-toxic poster paint. Let children use this preparation to paint on your window. Once the paint is dry, simply rub a wet sponge over the surface before washing your window as you normally would.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
It’s better together
Invite two children to sit facing each other, on either side of your window. Plan simple activities that require non-verbal communication. For example, children could each draw on their side of the window.
Mommy and Daddy window peek-a-boo
Ask parents to act as your accomplices. At the end of the day, when they come get their child, invite them to play peek-a-boo with their child through the window. Encourage babies and toddlers to look out the window to see their parents. Show children how they can play peek-a-boo with their parents too.
A mascot at the window
Once again, you will need an accomplice. Ask another early childhood educator or a neighbor to dress up. The costume can be as simple as a pair of bunny ears worn on their head. Your accomplice must simply walk in front of your window a few times while children are looking outside.
Books with windows
Collect several books that have small windows (flaps) that children can open. You can also create your own books with windows. Simply stick pieces of cardboard over illustrations in books. Use adhesive tape at the top of each piece of carboard. Children can lift the flaps to see the illustrations that are hiding under the pieces of cardboard.
Just like at the window
Photograph items that children can see when they look through your window. For example, you could photograph a tree, a play structure, a birdfeeder, etc. Print the pictures and arrange them in a book. Look at the pictures with your group and encourage children to find the items outside, as they look out your window.
Outdoor fun indoors
Look out your window with your group. For example, if you see cars, set a bin filled with toy cars on the floor for children to play with. If you see children playing with a ball, provide several balls that children can bounce and roll around your daycare. If they see a dog, encourage them to play with stuffed animals or animal figurines. The possibilities are endless.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
This activity will encourage babies and toddlers to stretch. The foam shapes that children usually play with in the bathtub can also be pressed on your window. Simply moisten them and press them here and there on the surface. They will stick for approximately 30 minutes. Children will enjoy removing them and pressing them on the window repeatedly. Supervision required, some children may put the foam shapes in their mouth.
Purchase inexpensive curtains or ask parents if they have old curtains they no longer need. Curtains often have different textures that children enjoy manipulating. I love using veiling for this activity because it is so lightweight and transparent. Have fun hiding under the curtains with your group, caressing children’s skin with the curtains, and using the curtains to build cabins and tents in your daycare.
Press and remove
Laminate several different pictures. Use a spray bottle to moisten your window. Press the pictures on the surface, no glue is required. Name the items in each picture and let children remove the pictures and rearrange them as they wish.
Early childhood educator
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