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  #1  
Old 09-08-2014, 08:12 AM
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Default What to do with Such a Young Group?

Ive been doing daycare for 3 years and my group has always been made up of older kids. (4 or 5 and up). I have had babies but usually only 1 at a time out of the whole group. Now it is different and my group is all 2 and under. I am at a loss at what to do with them. Im so used to planning elaborate crafts for the older ones but of course that wont work with the young ones. So my question is, what should I do? I like to have a somewhat structured day and make sure they learn something educational. We read stories and have singing time and a few of the 2 year olds enjoy coloring and doing some simple projects but for the majority of the day, its lots of free play with my supervision. For those of you with a young group, is that how your day goes? What more can I do with them?
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:30 AM
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Play!!

Let them play!!

Learning can be embedded in everyday play.

Anything learned through play is actually better than structured activities because for kids under age 5, learning through play has a much stronger and deeper impact with MUCH higher rates of retention.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:31 AM
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I'd recommend getting a month or two of Funshine Buttercups (the clearance section is fantastic with cheap "out of date" aka last months kits).

Consider it a training kit with supplies. The curriculum guides can be used over, and over and over....

(yes, it is curriculum. BUT it is play based curriculum that you can point at and put to words/visuals when you are drilled by parents about what curriculum you offer. (it even gives you the monthly newsletter handouts with homework for the parents) Just using the words "learn through play" won't work for marketing in regions where the state has pushed "early education and care")
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
Play!!

Let them play!!

Learning can be embedded in everyday play.

Anything learned through play is actually better than structured activities because for kids under age 5, learning through play has a much stronger and deeper impact with MUCH higher rates of retention.
I agree!!!!
If you want to do art with them, the younger ones love to finger paint and also love any sensory activity!
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
I'd recommend getting a month or two of Funshine Buttercups (the clearance section is fantastic with cheap "out of date" aka last months kits).

Consider it a training kit with supplies. The curriculum guides can be used over, and over and over....

(yes, it is curriculum. BUT it is play based curriculum that you can point at and put to words/visuals when you are drilled by parents about what curriculum you offer. (it even gives you the monthly newsletter handouts with homework for the parents) Just using the words "learn through play" won't work for marketing in regions where the state has pushed "early education and care")
Cool! Thank you so much. I will check this out. Yes most parents prefer that you show them lists of learning activities and whatnot. I have had a few parents though specficly say that they would rather their child learn on their own through play and interaction with others.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by melilley View Post
I agree!!!!
If you want to do art with them, the younger ones love to finger paint and also love any sensory activity!
Yep finger paint is always a fun one. Last week the kids made paint handprints and we added stems to the handprints to make flowers.
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Old 09-08-2014, 09:00 AM
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You pretty much described my group! I love it

We play A LOT! I use Funshine Buttercups and Fireflies. I like the art projects in Fireflies and there is one almost every day. Also - I'm not good at coming up with projects on the fly. They give you everything you need.

I am going to buy both curriculums for 2 years and then reuse. Maybe 3.

BUT ... I don't follow the curriculum to a "t". I use it as a guide. We mostly play! I just love that they give me tons of activities and ideas.
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Old 09-08-2014, 10:14 AM
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We do a lot of free play, outside time, sensory boxes and painting.
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
the state has pushed "early education and care")
This. Our licensing agency is now known as the Department of Early Education and Care and we are no longer daycare providers but "educators". I for one hate it!

What ever happened to just providing a loving/nurturing/play based environment that allowed children to be children???? I grew up PLAYING!!! No preschool. 1/2 day kindergarten. And I still made the Honor Society in high school and graduated from Nursing School with a 3.99 gpa. How did I ever do it?
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:48 AM
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I have an all under 3 group as well and we do lots of free play. I keep my structure limited to meals and naps but everything in between is based on our moods and the weather. Hot days we play outside in the water and on rainy days we may bake muffins and watch a movie. We live in Ca so not too much inclimate weather so we play outside a lot as well. We don't do a LOT of arts, mainly holiday and birthday themed things with finger paints, hand/foot prints and such.
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:02 PM
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Ditto here...I have 4 one year olds right now.

They play. We go for walks (I have a cart for 6), we play outside. We talk, we sing, we eat together, we read stories, we whine and cry (oops..haha), we point at everything and yell "HI!" to every neighbor, and we play some more. Oh, and naps...yay, naps!
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSWonders View Post
This. Our licensing agency is now known as the Department of Early Education and Care and we are no longer daycare providers but "educators". I for one hate it!

What ever happened to just providing a loving/nurturing/play based environment that allowed children to be children???? I grew up PLAYING!!! No preschool. 1/2 day kindergarten. And I still made the Honor Society in high school and graduated from Nursing School with a 3.99 gpa. How did I ever do it?
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:09 PM
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I have the same ages and was in fact just on ebay looking for some different toys, what do your kids of this age like the best?
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Old 09-08-2014, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
Play!!

Let them play!!

Learning can be embedded in everyday play.

Anything learned through play is actually better than structured activities because for kids under age 5, learning through play has a much stronger and deeper impact with MUCH higher rates of retention.
This! Exactly this!
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  #15  
Old 09-08-2014, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Francine View Post
I have the same ages and was in fact just on ebay looking for some different toys, what do your kids of this age like the best?
Just went a got a bunch of new toys. My 1 and 2 year olds like anything with wheels that they can push or ride. We also bought 2 rocking horses and they all love climbing around on them. The toys that you push buttons or twist to make things pop up always seem to be a favorite. And balls of course. We also have a ton of mega blocks that they seem to like a lot. My 1 year old girl is always carrying around cups from the tea set and baby dolls.
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
Ditto here...I have 4 one year olds right now.

They play. We go for walks (I have a cart for 6), we play outside. We talk, we sing, we eat together, we read stories, we whine and cry (oops..haha), we point at everything and yell "HI!" to every neighbor, and we play some more. Oh, and naps...yay, naps!
Hahaha! Made me lol. This is us too!
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
Ditto here...I have 4 one year olds right now.

They play. We go for walks (I have a cart for 6), we play outside. We talk, we sing, we eat together, we read stories, we whine and cry (oops..haha), we point at everything and yell "HI!" to every neighbor, and we play some more. Oh, and naps...yay, naps!
LOL. Yes, you just described my 12-month-old daughter's day perfectly.
You did leave out changing diapers. I imagine that takes up a huge hunk of time with tinies!!!

Baby dolls, cars, nesting items, rocking horse, push items (shopping cart, animals you can push around or ride on, etc.), containers to put things in and take things out of, balls, and books.
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
Play!!

Let them play!!

Learning can be embedded in everyday play.

Anything learned through play is actually better than structured activities because for kids under age 5, learning through play has a much stronger and deeper impact with MUCH higher rates of retention.
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  #19  
Old 09-08-2014, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by EntropyControlSpecialist View Post
LOL. Yes, you just described my 12-month-old daughter's day perfectly.
You did leave out changing diapers. I imagine that takes up a huge hunk of time with tinies!!!

Baby dolls, cars, nesting items, rocking horse, push items (shopping cart, animals you can push around or ride on, etc.), containers to put things in and take things out of, balls, and books.
OH yeah, diapers!

Remember that old army commercial, "we do more before x in the morning than most people do all day" ?

I often think of that, as I change poopy diaper #4 before 9 am.
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