Activities that don't require material
A day spent in daycare is one filled with many routines and transitions. To avoid waiting periods and better deal with unforeseen events, having a list of activities that don't require special material or equipment can be handy. Keep this list close by so you can quickly reach for it when needed. You may:
- Sort the activities in alphabetical order and write them in a small address book that can easily be slipped in a pocket.
- Write the activities on small pieces of cardboard, laminate them, and use a hook to hold them together. This homemade keychain can then be hung from your belt loop.
- List the activities on a sheet of paper, photocopy it, and display it in strategic locations throughout the daycare (cloakroom, door, hallway, etc.).
- Here is a list of activities for all ages and tastes that do not require material or equipment:
- Guess who
o Children close their eyes. Touch one child. This child must speak while the others try to guess who it is.
- The repetitive train
o Children stand single file, forming a train. Play the role of the conductor. You can, for example, clap your hands. Children must repeat all your actions.
- Simon says
o Personalize the game by using your own name, a child's name, or by adapting the name to your current theme or the current season. Give children instructions. They must act them out only if you say "Simon says" first.
- Color hunt
o Name a color. Children must quickly touch or name an object of the corresponding color.
- Montreal-Quebec City
o One end of your daycare represents Montreal while the other end of your daycare represents Quebec City. Stand in the centre of the daycare. When you name a city, children must run towards the corresponding end of the daycare while you try to touch them. Adapt this activity to your themes or the area you live in.
- Cat and mouse
o Choose one child who will play the role of the cat. He/she must stand, facing the wall. The other children are all mice. The mice move forward very slowly and try to reach the cat to tickle him/her. Every time the cat turns around, the mice must stop moving. If a child moves, he/she is eliminated.
o To help children relax, have them pretend to run water over their hair, pour shampoo in their hand, massage their scalp, etc.
- Draw me a picture
o Use your finger to draw a simple picture on a child's back and have him/her guess what you drew.
- Silly face contest
o Children will love being given the opportunity to act silly for a few minutes. Who will make the silliest face?
- The mirror
o Children stand with a partner. One child is the leader. He/she performs a series of moves and his/her partner must follow his lead and reproduce them, like a mirror.
- Mystery story
o Invent a story as a group. Begin a story and encourage children to take turns adding to it.
- A mimed story
o Tell a story (verbally, avoid using illustrations to support the story). Have children take turns miming parts of the story.
o Sit in a circle with your group. Whisper a word in one child's ear. He/she must repeat the word in the ear of the child sitting next to him/her. Continue until the word has travelled around the circle. The last child must say the word out loud.
- Human sculpture
o Have children stand, relaxed. Sculpt each child, placing their arms, head, and legs in various positions.
- What shall I add to my basket
o Children take turns saying, "I'm going to the market to fill my basket with..." and adding a new item. Each child must repeat all the items chosen by the other children before adding his/her own.
- What is different?
o Children must identify what their early childhood educator removed from her body (clothing item, accessory, etc.) or within the daycare.
- First one laughing
o Sit in a circle with your group and encourage children to be very serious. The first child who laughs gets tickled by the other children.
- Neither yes, nor no
o As a group, have fun asking questions. Players must respond, but without saying yes or no.
- Chain of laughter
o Have children lay on the floor, each resting his/her head on another child's tummy. Have fun making "ha" and "ha, ha, ha" sounds.
- Musical floor
o Floor tiles can replace the chairs normally used to play musical chairs. Instead of listening to music, sing a song.
- The handkerchief
o Sit in a circle. Have one child walk around the outside of the circle. Instead of depositing a handkerchief behind a child's back, have him/her tap another child's head gently. The child who is touched must then run around the circle, trying to touch the other child before he/she sits in his/her spot.
Early childhood educator
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