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  #1  
Old 04-11-2017, 06:19 AM
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Default Play Space For Mixed Aged Group

How do you do it? I never wanted to take little ones in the first place, but that's all I was ever getting calls for.

Anyway, I'm tired of the little ones dumping multiple activities within 20 seconds and then walking away to destroy something else... like the train table or the book shelf!! I'm also tired of them interrupting the preschoolers play. So I feel like I need to do something different here.

I don't have a super big space so I feel limited, but I'm just trying to think if ideas to cut down on chaos.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!
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Old 04-11-2017, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by LeslieG View Post
How do you do it? I never wanted to take little ones in the first place, but that's all I was ever getting calls for.

Anyway, I'm tired of the little ones dumping multiple activities within 20 seconds and then walking away to destroy something else... like the train table or the book shelf!! I'm also tired of them interrupting the preschoolers play. So I feel like I need to do something different here.

I don't have a super big space so I feel limited, but I'm just trying to think if ideas to cut down on chaos.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!
What kind of and size space do you currently have?

One large open room, multiple small rooms?

Describe the area you currently use and the age group/size you have and I bet suggestions and ideas will follow!
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Old 04-11-2017, 06:33 AM
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Good fences make great neighbors.

https://www.amazon.com/Regalo-192-In...long+baby+gate
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Old 04-11-2017, 06:40 AM
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It's a front living room with a small carpeted dining room attached. The total square footage of both rooms is about 355. The dining room is partly used for lunch, but I'm not opposed to taking the tables out and moving them in my kitchen.. just to free up more carpeted space.

The kids I have now are:
2 year old boy
20 month old b/g twins
19 month old boy
13 month old boy

I have more infants lined up to start once kids turn 2. I also have a 2 year old and 3 year old starting in the fall.
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:40 AM
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Sorry phone wrangler posted by mistake in wrong place.
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  #6  
Old 04-11-2017, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post


I arrange the furniture strategically when I have mixed ages. This allows the big kids in one area and the littles in another. I'm also lucky enough that I can do that outside, as well.

I stripped down my whole playroom to basics. There isn't much to dump anymore and the play is more involved, too.
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Old 04-11-2017, 01:11 PM
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I find the babies occupy themselves pretty well while the older ones play. The only time I run into issues is when I take out art or playdoh etc. I have a tall regular sized table and chairs for the older kids and it works perfectly. I also wait for baby naps before bringing out any small toys etc. they play for an hour and then it goes back.

At my old house I had an area sectioned off just for the older kids that the younger ones couldn't get into. That also worked well.

Current ages are:
14 months, 11 months, 13 months, 2 yrs, two 3 yr olds and a 4 yr old.
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Old 04-11-2017, 01:19 PM
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With that age group I'd put away most of the "dumping" toys until they're older.

Do you have a minimum number of toys you need to provide?
In WI licensing only requires a choice of 3 different "things" (toys, equipment, supplies books, art materials, etc) per child when all children are using "things." So for your group of 5 you'd only need 15 different "things" out.

I also have older children play with puzzles, MagnaTiles, etc, at the dining room table because the little ones can't reach up to dump or wreck what the older ones are doing.
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Old 04-11-2017, 04:30 PM
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After surviving three toddlers with behavioral issues, I'm changing my tune. I didn't want infants, but I'm now of the opinion that I should take them as infants and grow my own toddlers.

The only real trouble I have is when the babies first start walking. Then, I have to strip the play and art areas down to hardly any "things", because the ones who are recently mobile are little destructo machines. The big kids have to wait for baby nap time for things like Play-Doh because the new walkers are so grabby.
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Old 04-11-2017, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
This is my solution to the problem also!!!
And I absolutely love this gate. Wish I had found it back when I started. It's made my days so much better
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Old 04-11-2017, 04:57 PM
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I start them as infants and grow my own toddlers! I started doing this about 6yrs ago and what a difference it's made. I have the best behaved children
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:17 PM
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I only take 18months and up. and the 18 months old have to pass a little test.

Like-
can they self feed in some way, with or without spoon/fork
stop when someone says
follow 2 step instructions like sit down with your book.
take only one nap
drink from a cup or cup with straw
sit a a table and chair, we don't have high-chairs
there's more, I can't think of others right now...lol long day.

I have the most well behaved bunch of kids. My oldest child here has been here since 18months and is now 5. I use my 5 year olds to help model and set the examples for the younger children. they love to be my helpers every day.

I only take two under two at a time and will only take them full time. I have never found an under 3 in my program that actually worked out on a PT basis.

Maybe have a age cut off? that way you don't have such a huge gap.
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Old 04-11-2017, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
Cat herder: Do you use something like this? If so, which group do you spend more time with? I don't have much in the way of mixed ages right now, but if I did, I'm not sure how I'd handle it.
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Old 04-12-2017, 02:20 AM
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"Grow my own toddlers"
I love that.
I'm glad you asked this question because it can be a problem at times with ages ranging so much. But I have tried separating age groups before by a physical barrier and all they each want to do is get to 'the other side'.
I use the tiring repetitive redirection.
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  #15  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Pestle View Post
After surviving three toddlers with behavioral issues, I'm changing my tune. I didn't want infants, but I'm now of the opinion that I should take them as infants and grow my own toddlers.
This is so true!

Some of the most difficult kids I've had in care were those that started after age 1-1.5 yrs old. The easiest kids I've had over the years are those I've gotten in the first year of life. Helps that they basically learn within your environment so my rules are all they've known.

I find that separating the kids not so much by age but by ability makes a huge difference. Once my kiddos start walking (full on walking) they are no longer allowed in the non-mobile areas. Once they master toilet use and can communicate at least 50% of their needs/wants they get to move to an older room.

I currently have a 2.5 yr old in the "oldest" room and I have an almost 3 yr old that still spend a majority of their day in the toddler area (cruisers/climbers) so it's rarely by age but more by development.

IME, it's the difference in developmental stages that causes the most discord. Grouping kids that way helps eliminate some of those issues.
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  #16  
Old 04-12-2017, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Mom2Two View Post
Cat herder: Do you use something like this? If so, which group do you spend more time with? I don't have much in the way of mixed ages right now, but if I did, I'm not sure how I'd handle it.
I have two door sections in the gates dividing the room in half. There are three 5'x3' play rugs surrounded by shelving/bins/equipment on each side to create six "mixed age" centers. The tables and chairs are in the center on each side of the gate. My desk is on the infant side.

I set up the gates depending on how many kids of each age I have. If only one infant, then I take down and reconfigure the gate to a smaller "littles" area. That is the beauty of these gates. I used to have them built in of wood, so limited adaptability for QRIS. This was my solution.

I also have static soft seating/library/circle time and climber area with the art cabinets in the back corner. I have not found a better solution for it's constant availability to the "littles" since their area has less space available due to the changing table, cribs and sink. I know, first world problems, but it does cost me points..

The gates are zip tied open during large group activities to allow free mingling of the "safe for all ages" toys that stay out. It feels like cheating to record the lesson as "free choice" because I know that as soon as I open those gates every child is immediately going to run to the opposite side of where they were and I use that to my advantage when I see tension building in any center. Most toys are stored up, and brought down/rotated in during the day according the the lesson plan.

The gates are closed/locked during the age specific centers/activities, that I set up by adding items in during morning snack and nap , then they go to the side that aligns with their curriculum for the small group/individual activities.

I am in the room 95% of the day with everyone. I am furniture. I set up, model, then back out to observe and be visually boring at my desk. I only step in when they need me. I strive to follow RIE with a hyper-vigilant eye to escalation patterns, physical activity and nutrition. It makes the most sense to me. Ironically, I did not know RIE was a "thing" until after I had been doing something similar for all these years. Now that I have a marketable name for it, it is much easier to explain to people.

http://www.magdagerber.org/blog/magd...sic-principles
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
This is so true!

Some of the most difficult kids I've had in care were those that started after age 1-1.5 yrs old. The easiest kids I've had over the years are those I've gotten in the first year of life. Helps that they basically learn within your environment so my rules are all they've known.

I find that separating the kids not so much by age but by ability makes a huge difference. Once my kiddos start walking (full on walking) they are no longer allowed in the non-mobile areas. Once they master toilet use and can communicate at least 50% of their needs/wants they get to move to an older room.

I currently have a 2.5 yr old in the "oldest" room and I have an almost 3 yr old that still spend a majority of their day in the toddler area (cruisers/climbers) so it's rarely by age but more by development.

IME, it's the difference in developmental stages that causes the most discord. Grouping kids that way helps eliminate some of those issues.
I couldn't agree with this more.
I always have parents ask me "at what age can my child.....". I always respond with it's not based on age, I base it off their abilities.

I firmly believe this helps the children who need knowledge and modeling examples to be able to see them time and time again.

I don't have any children under 2, but I do have a child who is 4 with the majority of my younhet kids. He had a hard time making good choices around children his own age, but jumps right into "let me teach you something " when it comes to the younger kids.

I also have a 2.5 year old in with my pre-kinders. He can read and keep up with them all day.

By doing things this way I see children who may not have the ability develop it faster by always having a peer around who does. Yes, this usually is an older and younger child, with the older setting the tone, but not always.
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:09 AM
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All the above to say: The play centers below average $3,000. The gates allow me to create something similar for each age group, that is in my budget.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg infant center.jpg (116.9 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg infant center2.jpg (36.6 KB, 14 views)
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:45 AM
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Blackcat, so are these gates sturdy enough for a child to pull on them without them tipping?
I currently use shelves to block off my infant area, and sections of a 6 section play yard for more temporary sectioning, but I don't like the way the play yard works because the kids can pull it or move it. Generally the older kids know not to touch the gates, but the younger ones try to pull on it or get through.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by momofsix View Post
Blackcat, so are these gates sturdy enough for a child to pull on them without them tipping?
I currently use shelves to block off my infant area, and sections of a 6 section play yard for more temporary sectioning, but I don't like the way the play yard works because the kids can pull it or move it. Generally the older kids know not to touch the gates, but the younger ones try to pull on it or get through.
Wrong cat... Cat Herder has the gates
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by momofsix View Post
Blackcat, so are these gates sturdy enough for a child to pull on them without them tipping?
I currently use shelves to block off my infant area, and sections of a 6 section play yard for more temporary sectioning, but I don't like the way the play yard works because the kids can pull it or move it. Generally the older kids know not to touch the gates, but the younger ones try to pull on it or get through.
Yes, it is sturdy. They can shake it, less than with chain link, though. It is also easier to wipe down than the dust collecting play yard frames that dry rot.

The have large plastic handled bolts that lock them down or allow you to reconfigure. I have some linked together and some wedged between two bookshelves, back to back, as needed. You can also screw them to a wall or pressure mount them, they have a lot of options. There is a video on the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Regalo-192-In...long+baby+gate
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:15 AM
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I did something similar to CatHerder with Ikea shelves, the small 4x4 type ones. Worked perfectly. The big kids would pull out a bin and crawl through but the younger ones never figured it out!
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Old 04-12-2017, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Herder View Post
Yes, it is sturdy. They can shake it, less than with chain link, though. It is also easier to wipe down than the dust collecting play yard frames that dry rot.

The have large plastic handled bolts that lock them down or allow you to reconfigure. I have some linked together and some wedged between two bookshelves, back to back, as needed. You can also screw them to a wall or pressure mount them, they have a lot of options. There is a video on the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Regalo-192-In...long+baby+gate
Thank you! I might have to check them out. The plastic one also tends to get cracks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
Wrong cat... Cat Herder has the gates
Oops sorry!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariana View Post
I did something similar to CatHerder with Ikea shelves, the small 4x4 type ones. Worked perfectly. The big kids would pull out a bin and crawl through but the younger ones never figured it out!
I have the same Ikea shelves on the side. I love the way they look, but once my babies get about 7 months they figure out how to pull a bin out and crawl through, little stinkers!
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Old 04-13-2017, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by daycare View Post
I only take 18months and up. and the 18 months old have to pass a little test.

Like-
can they self feed in some way, with or without spoon/fork
stop when someone says
follow 2 step instructions like sit down with your book.
take only one nap
drink from a cup or cup with straw
sit a a table and chair, we don't have high-chairs
there's more, I can't think of others right now...lol long day.

I have the most well behaved bunch of kids. My oldest child here has been here since 18months and is now 5. I use my 5 year olds to help model and set the examples for the younger children. they love to be my helpers every day.

I only take two under two at a time and will only take them full time. I have never found an under 3 in my program that actually worked out on a PT basis.

Maybe have a age cut off? that way you don't have such a huge gap.
I only take babes up to 18 months (on occasion one or two might stay until 21 months), but I train them to all use miracle cups & 3 oz glasses, they sit at a table from the get go because i don't have highchairs either, just 3 point harness boosters (specially made for 7months to 5 years), they learn to use forks and spoons and we use real dishes lol. Half my kids go on to Montessori after they leave here so I train them to be independent and have basic life skills
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