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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Activities While Keeping Your "Home"
erinalexmom 03:26 AM 12-16-2011
I have no separate space for my daycare/ The kids play in my living room and I got a shelf where the toys go to be "hidden" but it only has 9 cubbies. I rotate toys on a regular basis. I also sometimes do "center time" with the kids where I give them each a spot and activity. However, I was kind of thinking about what I really want from the kids and for thier childhood here.

When I was a kid I stayed with my grandma. She certianly did not have some fancy "set up" we were in her HOME so we did things like color (in like 1 or 2 coloring books with one box of crayons) or she would be doing a big puzzle (1,000 pieces) and we were free to join in whenever the mood struck us. Let me tell you the sense of accomplishment when you are 5yrs old and find a piece to that giant puzzle! Of course she lived on a farm so most of our day was spent outdoors. But I am thinking of changing my program to be more like my grandma's "program" lol She taught us to crochet,she taught us to latchhook (REAL arts and crafts, not paste and stick),we played outside with sticks,we learned to play go fish, there was no "program" really but we learned so much! We learned about real life and we learned real life skills.

Give me activity ideas please where I can do things with the kids but still have it be a "home".
mac60 04:17 AM 12-16-2011
You are so right, today, young kids have so much "stuff" it is unreal. 4 yr olds with Ipods, DS's, little computers. Can I say spoiled rotten? The daycare kids in my group have more things to "play/do" than my own 2 kids ever had in my home. And why, because some out there insinuate if you don't have this activity, that activity, etc, you are not offering a quality program. Seriously kids don't need all this stuff to learn and become productive young people. I thnk what you want to do is great. In the past, my home became overran with dc stuff, I have really started to scale back and clear out. I remember learning to crochet....never got farther than a long long line, and latchhook. I did these in my elementary years though. Heck my own kids had fun with a cardboard box. Kids just don't need all this stuff. Looking forward to what you come up with.
melskids 05:04 AM 12-16-2011
Even though I have a seperate daycare room, set up with centers, we still use the whole house most of the time.

Funny thing is, the kids spend more time in my living room, curled up on the couch with a book, or at the dining room table with a project, then they do in the "daycare".

We love to cook and bake from scratch, garden, do real crafts like you mentioned. (we are ALL learning how to knit right now, and I am NOT getting the hang of

We set the table for meals with real plates and utensils, wash dishes, take care of the animals, and fold laundry.

We curl up on the couch to read together, we sing and dance (i'm not into formal "circle times")

We've learned to write REAL thank you notes....and snail mail them.

We build real things with wood and do science experiments alot.

Most of our field trips come with REAL life lessons....we've donated to food banks, helped local flood victims, visited a nursing home...etc.

We spend ALOT of time outside, going on nature walks, exploring the woods, the pond, laying in the grass watching the clouds, making snow angels, that sort of thing.

We also spend alot of time learnign how to take care of ourselves. Letting them dress themselves for outdoor play, learning to tie their shoes, and brushing their teeth takes ALOT of TIME. ALOT.

But I think teaching them those things now is more important then if they can speak in 5 different languages and know algebra by the time they are 3.

I still have "centers" with learning activites and the block area is still a favorite, but I love the cozy homey feeling from just being (and learning) together.

I just came across this post the other day...
erinalexmom 06:25 AM 12-16-2011
Thank you so much for the replies! Mels kids, I look at this way of "teaching" as the old fashioned way. Do your children all come from "modern" homes with a "modern" approach? How do they do with this concept? how do you get the book reading and the project mentality from this new generation who would rather throw the blocks accross the room than build with them? How do you get the calmness it takes from the children to put these things into practice. My mom was raised by my grandmother so the environment my grandma had was the same as my normal home life. So even at home I was a "book and project" kind of child. I have 1 child who is like this very calm and quiet and his parents raise him in this way. My own 2 children are like this. They love nothing more than doing a puzzle or playing a board game. But kids today are so wound up compared to how my cousins and I were! (probably all those donughts mom and dad feed them before daycare lol) All the rest of my kids cannot settle down for more than 5 min unless its in front of a computer or tv screen.
I should add that my son is a wild child! But he still settiles down into a "project" fairly easily
erinalexmom 08:13 AM 12-16-2011
bumping for more ideas
melskids 08:22 AM 12-16-2011
oh, well, I don't want to come across like my home is this tranquil passive quiet escape from reality...cause at times, it can be far from it! LOL

I have movers and shakers, and dumpers too.

And I have school agers who complain they are bored if they dont have a screen in front of their face 24/7

But I try really hard to always keep them engaged in whatever we are doing, and make it exciting and interesting.

I guess the other thing is....they just know thats the way it is here. Thats the way it always has been. Its how my SAHM raised me, and its how I raise my kids.

When I wanted a toy growing up, my mom didn't rush right out and buy it. She didn't have a slew of hidden toys in a closet somewhere to rotate out to keep my interest. We only had 3 channels (and I'm not that old) on the TV and cartoons were only on saturday. Sure, I had a Nintendo, but I was only allowed 1 hour on the weekend to play it. Can you imagine!

If I wanted something, I had to be resourceful. I needed Lots of imagination, creativity, and stuff from around the house.

I was mad at my mom for a time, for not buying me an already made plastic toy kitchen, or a cozy coupe, or a pink barbie mansion, but now I thank her.

And believe it or not, sometimes I think the kids enjoy the relaxed atmosphere where they don't have to be "doing" something ALL THE TIME. Families today are always rushing. here, there, all over the place. They know they can come here and just enjoy doing what kids were meant to do. Play, and be kids.

I tried to do the boxed curriculum thing where we rushed through stuff just to "prove" we were doing/learning, and I HATED it. The kids weren't getting anything out of it either.

Thanks to another member here...(thanks crystal) I was introduced to emergent curriculum, and I love it. It fits so much better with who I am and how I do things.

We still do themed projects, but its based on what the kids want to learn about. When you allow the kids to choose what they want to do, they are much more interested in staying focused and involved. Some of our projects last for weeks, or even months.

As far as the block chuckers and bucket dumpers, they learn early on. If you dump it, you clean it up. Its part of the learning process. If it takes an hour and a half to clean up the block area, then so be it. While cleaning up, we're learning responsibility and how to help others, right along side of counting, sorting, and patterning.

I think sometimes, as providers, we rush through all the "chores" and mundane tasks we must perform, just to get through the day or hurry up to get the next thing "done". Sometimes we feel we have to always have something to show the parents to prove we are teaching the kids.

I think the conversations and language we exchange during the hour it takes to clean up, or half hour it takes to change diapers, is WAY more meaningful then rushing through it just to check off another thing on the "lesson plan".

And I try to do that with every aspect of my life. I used to grumble and moan through every load of laundry, every dish to wash, and every toilet I had to clean. Then once, My grandmother told me a story of my great grandmother, (whom I never met)who believed it was life's purpose to find joy in everything she did. And how she only had one life to live and wasn't going to waste any of her time being negative. (and this was back when you scrubbed your clothes by hand!) I wish I could retell the story the way my grandmother did. But after I heard it, I was never the same. I vowed to live the simple life, and enjoy all the little things, just like my great-grandparents did.

I think the environment has a lot to to with it too. I try not to overwhelm the area with too much stuff, and I try to keep it all fairly organized and labeled. The kids all know where stuff belongs.

The other thing I've learned from my sons preschool teacher, is only talk just above a whisper at all times. It helps keep the kids calmer, and they have to stay quieter in order to listen and hear what I'm saying. It also helps to get my "I mean business" voice across more efficiently.

Geez...I didnt mean to write such a novel....I could keep going, but i guess i should be
SandeeAR 08:32 AM 12-16-2011
Daycare is done in my den/kitchen combo. The kids have one of the bedrooms for sleeping. I have 6 office style bins on the floor(think mail holding bins). These have the toys that I rotate. I have several smaller type bins on the drop down bar (with the love seat backed up to it). These bins have a few color books, crayons, puzzles, blocks, baby toys and snacks.

I don't do circle time. I treat them like I am Grandma. I don't engage them all day. I let them play. When things get slow, bored etc. I step in and we play ring around the rosie, dance etc. Then I let them go back to playing.

We curl up on the couch and just hang out, read etc. When we play, I will focus on a color with the olders. When we play with the blocks, we will learn to count.

Currently mine are only...just turned 2, 21 mon, 16 mo and 6 mo. So we are just getting into the learning colors etc. Hey, we are still working on learning words around here

I have the booster style high chairs and a small kids table in the den corner. That all goes to the kids room on Friday afternoon and does not come back out until Monday morning. I only bother to move the toy bins, if we were having a lot of company. They are lined on the floor in front on the tv, out of the way.

I tell parents on the interview, I am not a center, I am not a teacher. I am a babysitter/extended Grandma.
erinalexmom 08:36 AM 12-16-2011
Mel, thank you! you should never be quiet! Its wonderful gems of knowledge you are passing on! Of course I was so sorry to read about the "abuse" you suffered at the one hour of nintendo! youll really feel ill about my mother because I NEVER got one game system or video game EVER in my whole life for Christmas! My mom one time traded some furniture she had for an Atari about 6 years after they came out! lol
What these kids are learning from you is what I believe is lacking in the world today. I hope to provide the same things for my own kids and daycare kids. Thank you for you help!
melskids 09:07 AM 12-16-2011
Well, you know, it makes me sad sometimes. I see all these families rushing in the morning to drop off their kids, rushing to get to work, rushing home, rushing their kid to get in car, rushing to eat their fast food on the way to piano/karate/soccer/whatever, just to rush home and go to bed to get up and do it all again tomorrow.

Now, I'm not debating, nor will I ever, the need for two income households. We need a two income household to survive, I've just been lucky (blessed) to be able to work from home.

All I'm saying is SLOW DOWN! lol

My great grandparents raised my grandmother during the depression. My great grandmother worked full time, pretty much unheard of in those days. They worked twice as hard to have half as much, yet they were 10 times as happy.

No one seems happy these days. And its about time people realized that all the "stuff" isnt making anyone any happier.

OMG...i'm sorry...I'll get off my soapbox now. lol

I know you were originally asking for activites to do with them....

so, hear ya go....

take them fishing
lay in the grass and watch the clouds
look for 4 leaf clovers
make dandilion necklaces
go for a walk
make a birdfeeder
skip rocks in the pond
teach them how to cook
teach them how to sew
grow your own veggies
go to the farmers market
ride a bike
run through a sprinkler
make mudpies
play board games
build with blocks
play with playdough
paint with your hands
jump in mud puddles
play hide and go seek
learn an instrument together
make flower arrangements
put on a play
jump in the leaves
dig for earthworms
have a tea party
have high tea, even if you arent english
go sleigh riding
make snow angels
eat homemade cookies and milk
bring cookies to the neighbor
read a good book
take care of a pet
build castles out of boxes
go to a park
go to a park that doesnt have a playground
play play play
erinalexmom 09:32 AM 12-16-2011
Sandee thank you so much! I love it! Mel, your soapbox have room for two? cause I totally agree! I always think of 2 sayings that I have always loved. 1) "the thing about the rat race is that even if you win your still a rat!" and 2) "life is what happens when your busy making other plans"

I LOVE that list! thanks. I am in agreement with your philosophy totally
erinalexmom 09:38 AM 12-16-2011
By the way, we got out the play-do and they were quiet for an entire hour! couldnt believe it!
emmajo 09:41 AM 12-16-2011
Melskids your first post is one of the best things I've ever read on here. Great list too.
Country Kids 12:27 PM 12-21-2011
I just want to say this has been a very, very uplifting post!!!! I may actually print it out because of all the wonderful ideas.

Thank you for bringing up such a great subject and then thank you for everyone that responded with the wonderful replys. It is so enlightning to see that others feel the same way I do.

Catching up on reading because of being sick for 4 days so that is why I'm bringing this post back up.
SilverSabre25 12:40 PM 12-21-2011

Heidi 01:01 PM 12-21-2011

melskids 03:40 AM 12-22-2011
Let me tell you, It's been pretty stressful here the last couple of weeks.

Between the holidays, some of the kids behaviors, the house being a mess, some stuff with our regs, I'm WAY behind on paperwork, starting classes, my own families needs, money issues, my mom still recovering from a stroke (and she lives 2 1/2 hours away) and everything else going on, I've been pretty overwhelmed, to say the least.

It felt good to write it all out, and do some reflection.

Sometimes we have to just stop, think about what's important, and let go of the guilt. Every moment we worry, stress about, or rush through is a moment we're never gonna get back.

I've never needed to take my own advice more, then right now.

So, I didnt mean to take over the thread...and thanks to those who listened to me rant.
Unregistered 09:47 AM 12-22-2011
First let me say that I love this post-

but here is where I feel the struggle

How do we stay up on the recent if we revert back to the "olden days"? Are we supposed to move forward as a society and embrace the technology and different ways of doing things?

When looking for a daycare do I want modern, up to date style or do I want my kiddo's to learn stuff that Grandma doesn't even do anymore.

I struggle with the less is more- because kids and the parents, expect more- often I find myself wanting more too. We live in a "now" world. We don't have to wait for the phone to go all around the rotary before it hits the number, then wait for the next one, then wait for the tone and then finally let the phone ring and ring until someone picks it up live. Is the imagination working on the fancy blocks just as much as it would the plain ones, but we are not seeing the results of this because it is far more advanced then what we can understand- thus the fancy blocks that move and wiggle and stack are created. Maybe the future will have blocks that have moving pictures inside them that teach, like a mini TV Hologram.

So do we progress, stay the same or revert? I don't know if the answer is go back to Grandma or move forward. Food for thoughts-

I too have thoughts of taking everything out of my daycare that has a battery, but am I doing this for the right reasons. Maybe the approach needs to be to embrace the new way our world is moving, even if it makes me uncomfortable. In the school systems we see movement of future, so as providers should this movement start with us? Computers, Ipads, ipods, cell phones, digital cameras etc..... This is hard for me, because I see kid's with Nooks, Ipads, parents shopping for these things for them for Christmas and I can't even afford them for myself........ so then there is another struggle. How to keep up with a moving world when I can't afford to stay on top?

Sorry for going off on this topic, but it sparked some good Food for thoughts from me- Anyone care to share more on this?
Tags:activities, family time, quality time, separate areas
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