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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>How Do Your Preschoolers Play?
Peaches 08:31 AM 03-23-2015
I have two preschoolers, and they don't play with toys... they play a lot of pretend, running around, and active play. But rarely will sit and play with the toys I have. One of the preschoolers is my son and he used to play with his toys well until this other preschooler started coming. now they just run around and pretend. They don't ususally make to much of a mess but I'm concerned their teaching the youngers ones to run around and not sit and play...How do your daycare kids play? Do they usually just sit and play with a toy, run around, play make believe, or combination? Are there any resources for types of play by ages so I know what is normal?
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Peaches 08:35 AM 03-23-2015
I should also mention this other preschooler has an older sibling, and the parents have them over involved in activities each evening and weekend so I don't know if that is contributing to the now preferred play type.
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Blackcat31 09:15 AM 03-23-2015
My preschoolers and toddlers play well. I don't allow the kids to play with something while on their feet (with a few center exceptions) so any time they choose an activity, blocks for example, they play sitting down.

I set a kitchen timer (length of time depends on the activity and the day's plan) and the kids aren't allowed to move onto another activity until that time. They can stop playing but can't move on.

I limit the number of kids that can play in any one activity/center area and try to mix it up so the same group is not always playing together. I also try to have kids choose activities that are different from day to day so one child isn't always choosing blocks.

Right now I have:

2 DCK's (age 2.5 and 3.5) playing doll house
4 DCK's (ages 2.5-4) playing cars/roads
2 DCK's (ages 2 and 4.5) doing arts.crafts
2 DCK's (both under 15 months) napping

They've all been at these activities since 9:00 a.m.
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kendallina 12:37 PM 03-23-2015
My preschoolers play well, but it's pretty mixed play. I often have 1-2 kids in the pretend area, so they're up and around and dressing up and this sometimes gets active. And I almost always have a few kids in the block area playing with toys...typically on the ground with cars, blocks, etc. This area also gets active, but it's crawling/noisy active play. Then I have some in art/quiet/book areas and they're sitting (usually quietly) doing something.

We do go through weeks where it's mostly block and pretend area play and so it can get pretty active (I only have 6 kids though, so it's really not too bad). I don't worry about it though, that's what free play is for! And really, it's when they learn a lot of social behavior and the ability to solve conflicts, etc.

In my preschool, we have times when it's more 'teacher directed' and so I make sure we're using our manipulatives/puzzles/art materials lots during those times and they get plenty of exposure to letters, numbers, etc.
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spedmommy4 01:17 PM 03-23-2015
http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/chil...-children/pl2/

This is a good resource for the development of play. Play during the preschool years is typically driven by a child's interest, or the interests of their friends. Often you will see more pretend play because they have developed the skills for this type of play. (and this is a good thing :-) )
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spinnymarie 07:06 PM 03-23-2015
My pre-k play however they want, with a few rules.
They often change from playing moving around, to standing still, to sitting, and back and forth. Dramatic play is the big move-around game. They take the baby dolls in strollers on walks, or push the grocery cart, or pack up bags and go on vacation across the room. Legos and Art are often played standing up, building towers as high as they can or collaborating on a letter to another friend. Blocks, Little people, magnets are usually played sitting or kneeling on the ground, but still usually moving.
I think playing in all the different ways is excellent, and I'm not in favor of any type over any other. I think it's important for them to be able to move as often as they need to.
We work on 'sitting' skills during story time, and calendar time, and meal times, not during play time.
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mamamanda 07:01 AM 03-24-2015
How is your room set up? I could have written this exact post 3 weeks ago. After getting advice on the forum I rearranged my play room. I was a little worried at first because I chose to use a smaller room than I had been, but the pay off has been huge. I found that when the kids were playing in my living room they ran all the time. They thought it was fun to run around the couches, hide from each other behind the couches, be super heroes that conquered the world of my hallway, etc. I literally never saw any of the children play with a toy or activity for more than 5 minutes. Since we moved play time to the "play room" the kids have played so well from day 1. I was amazed as I watched them choose an activity and sit and play. I was limiting free play time to 45 minutes tops because the were crazy and out of control, but yesterday we spent 2 hours playing in the play room even though I had other activities planned. They were all engaged in play and I didn't want to interrupt them. It was wonderful. The big difference is that with the way things are arranged in the play room there is no room to run. They still use their imaginations and play superheroes or whatnot, but they sit on their bottoms or play on their knees using action figures or playsets instead of running crazy and it has been a positive change for all of us. And when we go outside they can run all they want! My suggestion is to restructure the room so that running is more difficult and that will help encourage them to find something to do.
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Rockgirl 07:19 AM 03-24-2015
For awhile I could hardly give my group any unstructured time, because all they did was run, yell, and throw toys. I've never had a group like this in over 20 years of daycare. I ended up putting activities on small rugs around the room--one child to a rug. They'd play for 10-15 minutes, then rotate, until every child had played on each rug. It worked really well. They still had plenty of free time to run outside. Now they're getting a bit better at making choices, so I've been setting out 2-3 activities, each on a large rug or quilt (I still give them a defined space to cut out the running), and they may choose between them, and change activities when they are ready. In time, I believe I can go back to my old way of a less structured free play, but for now, this is what works for us.
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Peaches 07:51 AM 03-24-2015
Love the idea of arranging their space so it's smaller. Will try that and see if that helps at all. I want the running and more active play to happen outside. I think if I limit their space that will encourage more focused play. Thanks!
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Unregistered 09:08 AM 03-24-2015
I have been struggling with the same thing here - I was blaming it on a mixture of the long winter and the fact that their play interests have changed ...

However, when we go outside, the running around stops, and they all act bored and like they don't know what to do. THAT'S the part that drives me crazy.

They have been big into playing games (inside) that are saving the pirate ship from captain hook, or chasing and putting out fires, or protecting the daycare from monsters or bad guys ... which I LOVE hearing their stories and imaginations run wild, but every single game turns into running around and yelling/shouting. I cannot seem to get them to actually play in a calm way with the toys.

(By the way, I am an old registered user who hasn't posted here in a long time, and seem to have forgotten my password at the moment, haha).
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Blackcat31 09:11 AM 03-24-2015
Originally Posted by Unregistered:

(By the way, I am an old registered user who hasn't posted here in a long time, and seem to have forgotten my password at the moment, haha).
I sent you a password reminder e-mail.
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Unregistered 08:22 PM 03-26-2015
Originally Posted by spinnymarie:
My pre-k play however they want, with a few rules.
They often change from playing moving around, to standing still, to sitting, and back and forth. Dramatic play is the big move-around game. They take the baby dolls in strollers on walks, or push the grocery cart, or pack up bags and go on vacation across the room. Legos and Art are often played standing up, building towers as high as they can or collaborating on a letter to another friend. Blocks, Little people, magnets are usually played sitting or kneeling on the ground, but still usually moving.
I think playing in all the different ways is excellent, and I'm not in favor of any type over any other. I think it's important for them to be able to move as often as they need to.
We work on 'sitting' skills during story time, and calendar time, and meal times, not during play time.
This is what things look like for me except when I had all twos and under. That group wouldn't really play with anything. They tended to push the grocery carts around and that's about it. That and look at books in the book corner. I have all dedicated space. Two decent sized rooms divided by an archway. I had always been used to kids playing with toys and being very involved in play. This group just happily pushed the carts around. I had table toys, housekeeping area, book corner, general toys, blocks area, easel with markers, and a sensory table with oatmeal. They also LOVED the sensory table, playdoh, and easel. They just had to mature a bit and gradually started playing in different areas.

I'm not one to dictate where or with what or how long kids play. If I had kids getting really wild and I couldn't redirect and the problem was out of hand I would try the individual carpet for each kid with a bin trick.
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Tags:playing issues, preschoolers
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