As a daycare worker, I aim to suggest a variety of fun, stimulating, and original activities to the children in my group. However, like most of you, I often search too much. I find that I complicate things when there really is no need. This year, I have resolved to return to simplicity. I work with little ones. I spend two days per week at the nursery, one day with a group of 18-month olds, and one day with 2 year olds. At this age, their senses are developing and the material used for activities must be reduced to a minimum.
Try the following exercise: what are your childhood memories? What did you play with most? I remember playing "store" with a table or "school", or building houses out of old cardboard boxes and blankets. I think it is my duty to help children discover activities which require little or no material. I want them to experience simple pleasure and allow for spontaneity.
A few weeks ago, I presented my group of 18-month olds with a roll of toilet paper. I could see question marks in their eyes. I began to unroll it and then tear it. You should have seen their expression when they realized they could do the same! Laughter and screams filled the daycare. Many other daycare workers came to see what was going on. The children were unrolling the paper, tearing it into tiny pieces like I had done. We made small piles of paper and then threw them into the air. We blew on the bits of paper and created a huge "snowstorm". I hadn't really planned the activity. I wanted to improvise according to the group's reaction. You may not believe me but, overall, the activity lasted 40 minutes. The cleanup required no longer than 5 minutes, much less than the time it usually takes to clean up after painting with the group.
Take time to think about this. Gather blankets and build houses with flashlights. Transform a large box into a spaceship or a race car... Listen to your childhood memories and get down on the floor with children and have fun! Isn't that why you chose this profession?