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  #1  
Old 12-03-2010, 09:22 AM
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kendallina kendallina is offline
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Default A No Toy Week??

As most of you know, I run a preschool 3 hrs/day 4 days/week. I wanted to try an experiment the week of December 13th (their last week before a 3-week break). I want to have a no toy week. I will have available containers, boxes, some art materials, blankets, pillows, preschool-made books and other materials from around the house. Here is my letter to parents about it:

During free play on Thursday, I watched the children play with just 2 large storage baskets for over 45 minutes. They were climbing in them, dragging each other around and putting them on their heads. I started thinking about what children did years ago before toys were mass produced and before their parents had the means to purchase toys. Now our children are surrounded not only by an abundance of toys, but expensive toys. And toys that DO everything for them. Instead of opening children's minds, many toys today can only be played with in one pre-determined way decided by a manufacturer, not a child.

So, in revolt (lol) I've decided to have a NO TOY week at preschool. When your child arrives on Monday (or Tuesday) next week they will find no toys in the playroom, none in my livingroom and none outside. That's right, NO TOYS!

How will we manage? Instead of toys, I will supply an abundance of everyday and recyclable materials: baskets, boxes, tubing, ribbons, packing materials, pillows, blankets, fabric scraps and several other items from around the house. The children will be encouraged to use their imaginations. If they want to play with a train, they can use boxes to be the train. Or they can draw a train. Or they can use people to be a train. The point is, they will have to figure out how to do it. I will encourage and support, but won't do it for them.

Really, no toys? Ok, I'm keeping in our wooden block set (it's homemade so I figure it's okay...hahaha), crayons, glue, paper, and other art materials so that we can make our own toys if we desire. We'll probably also have several balls available as those are difficult to reproduce from everyday materials and are a wonderful open-ended material that can be played with in a multitude of ways.

How can you help? In addition to NO TOYS, we will have no books! I know, I know, books are important for children's understanding of the world, and their language skills and social skills. I will have book-making materials available to the children all week and I'd like you to work with your child to make a few books for the preschool.

You can pick up all of your book-making supplies at preschool. You and your child can make as many as you'd like.

Book-making suggestions:

1. Follow your child's lead.

2. Don't do it for them!

3. Use simple materials. Allow them to use crayons, markers, paint, whatever (but please, no stickers, glitter paints, sequins etc.).

4. If they want to make a 3-d book, they might use yarn, popsicle sticks, cut up boxes, cotton balls, etc. Whatever you can find around your house.

5. Older kids might tell a story about what they are drawing, feel free to write it on the book.

6. Make sure that you (or the child) puts their name on it.

I will be sure to take a lot of photos and let you know how the week goes!! I've never done this before, so I can't wait to see the results!


This is manageable, right? Do you have any other suggestions for what I should make available to the children? Any other ideas on how the parents can help (they really like to be involved)? Yikes...I can do this, right??
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2010, 09:37 AM
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Default Would it be OK...

if I steal that idea to try????

I like that alot! I've watched kids spend hours playing with different sized boxes and laundry baskets! We once spent from 8:30am-12:30pm playing with a refridgerator box! That was the coolest box ever and we had it in the daycare room for about 3 months.

Good times!

I always joke with my dcps about saving money and just giving their kids boxes for x-mas!
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  #3  
Old 12-03-2010, 09:37 AM
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this is genius. quite simply and to the point. YOU ARE MY HERO,.. my inspiration and wow,... I am so incredibly excited to hear how it goes. May I borrow your idea and tweak it for our needs? we have 10 kids 6 wks to 4 yrs,... and they are here for 8-10 hours. So I think a whole week is asking too much. But,.. I am thinking tuesdays and thursdays of limiting the items allowed. everything here is put away daily so limiting it isnt a problem. but wow,.. I am so ready to jump on board.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kendallina View Post
As most of you know, I run a preschool 3 hrs/day 4 days/week. I wanted to try an experiment the week of December 13th (their last week before a 3-week break). I want to have a no toy week. I will have available containers, boxes, some art materials, blankets, pillows, preschool-made books and other materials from around the house. Here is my letter to parents about it:

During free play on Thursday, I watched the children play with just 2 large storage baskets for over 45 minutes. They were climbing in them, dragging each other around and putting them on their heads. I started thinking about what children did years ago before toys were mass produced and before their parents had the means to purchase toys. Now our children are surrounded not only by an abundance of toys, but expensive toys. And toys that DO everything for them. Instead of opening children's minds, many toys today can only be played with in one pre-determined way decided by a manufacturer, not a child.

So, in revolt (lol) I've decided to have a NO TOY week at preschool. When your child arrives on Monday (or Tuesday) next week they will find no toys in the playroom, none in my livingroom and none outside. That's right, NO TOYS!

How will we manage? Instead of toys, I will supply an abundance of everyday and recyclable materials: baskets, boxes, tubing, ribbons, packing materials, pillows, blankets, fabric scraps and several other items from around the house. The children will be encouraged to use their imaginations. If they want to play with a train, they can use boxes to be the train. Or they can draw a train. Or they can use people to be a train. The point is, they will have to figure out how to do it. I will encourage and support, but won't do it for them.

Really, no toys? Ok, I'm keeping in our wooden block set (it's homemade so I figure it's okay...hahaha), crayons, glue, paper, and other art materials so that we can make our own toys if we desire. We'll probably also have several balls available as those are difficult to reproduce from everyday materials and are a wonderful open-ended material that can be played with in a multitude of ways.

How can you help? In addition to NO TOYS, we will have no books! I know, I know, books are important for children's understanding of the world, and their language skills and social skills. I will have book-making materials available to the children all week and I'd like you to work with your child to make a few books for the preschool.

You can pick up all of your book-making supplies at preschool. You and your child can make as many as you'd like.

Book-making suggestions:

1. Follow your child's lead.

2. Don't do it for them!

3. Use simple materials. Allow them to use crayons, markers, paint, whatever (but please, no stickers, glitter paints, sequins etc.).

4. If they want to make a 3-d book, they might use yarn, popsicle sticks, cut up boxes, cotton balls, etc. Whatever you can find around your house.

5. Older kids might tell a story about what they are drawing, feel free to write it on the book.

6. Make sure that you (or the child) puts their name on it.

I will be sure to take a lot of photos and let you know how the week goes!! I've never done this before, so I can't wait to see the results!


This is manageable, right? Do you have any other suggestions for what I should make available to the children? Any other ideas on how the parents can help (they really like to be involved)? Yikes...I can do this, right??
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  #4  
Old 12-03-2010, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by laundrymom View Post
this is genius. quite simply and to the point. YOU ARE MY HERO,.. my inspiration and wow,... I am so incredibly excited to hear how it goes. May I borrow your idea and tweak it for our needs? we have 10 kids 6 wks to 4 yrs,... and they are here for 8-10 hours. So I think a whole week is asking too much. But,.. I am thinking tuesdays and thursdays of limiting the items allowed. everything here is put away daily so limiting it isnt a problem. but wow,.. I am so ready to jump on board.
YAY! Please do it too! I will definitely let everyone know how it goes! And, yes, I agree with you that it would be much more difficult to pull off in most providers' situations.

I figured the timing would be good too to show the parents (and myself) that children can get along just fine without a ton of toys for Christmas.

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  #5  
Old 12-03-2010, 09:47 AM
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ABSOLUTELY GENIUS!!! I may just try that too and see how things go...if others follow suit and we share what we observed, we may learn a thing or two....Wow! I am inspired because I feel the same way...too many toys that do way too much for them! I remember practically every gift I got for Christmas and birthdays growing up but I'll bet my last dollar not one daycare kid remembers what they got for Christmas last year.

I applaude your efforts to re-create imaginations in children. Bet for them it will be the BEST WEEK EVER!!!
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  #6  
Old 12-03-2010, 10:06 AM
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Ask parents for donations of certain items: empty oatmeal containers, toilet paper/paper towel tubes, orange juice/milk containers (well-rinsed), paper grocery bags, even some plastic ones (parachutes! Stuffing for a stuffed animal!), socks (puppets!), empty metal coffee cans (stilts!). Feathers, pompom puffs, googly eyes for art supplies. Plenty of glue, paint, markers, beads, string, tape (scotch, masking, painters), cotton balls.

Plastic storage boxes, small cardboard boxes, blankets, pillows, shoeboxes, big cardboard boxes, blankets, pillows,
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  #7  
Old 12-03-2010, 10:14 AM
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yes, yes, yes. Loose parts are what these items are called and this is a fabulous idea!
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  #8  
Old 12-03-2010, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSabre25 View Post
Ask parents for donations of certain items: empty oatmeal containers, toilet paper/paper towel tubes, orange juice/milk containers (well-rinsed), paper grocery bags, even some plastic ones (parachutes! Stuffing for a stuffed animal!), socks (puppets!), empty metal coffee cans (stilts!). Feathers, pompom puffs, googly eyes for art supplies. Plenty of glue, paint, markers, beads, string, tape (scotch, masking, painters), cotton balls.

Plastic storage boxes, small cardboard boxes, blankets, pillows, shoeboxes, big cardboard boxes, blankets, pillows,
Thanks for the suggestions--the parents have been donating some of these things since day one (I have a basement full of this stuff now...lol). I didn't think of grocery bags or oatmeal containers---great ideas!

Also, part of the point of the week is to stay away from pre-made stuff like googly eyes and colorful pom poms, which I don't have at my preschool anyways. If children want eyes, they can make them... Writing that just got me thinking about buttons...I should ask for buttons too.

Oooo...keep the ideas coming! I can't wait!
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  #9  
Old 12-03-2010, 10:18 AM
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disclaimer here,.. do NOT ask for toilet paper or towel rolls,... have you seen their cars??? can you imagine their toilets,.. ??? eww no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSabre25 View Post
Ask parents for donations of certain items: empty oatmeal containers, toilet paper/paper towel tubes, orange juice/milk containers (well-rinsed), paper grocery bags, even some plastic ones (parachutes! Stuffing for a stuffed animal!), socks (puppets!), empty metal coffee cans (stilts!). Feathers, pompom puffs, googly eyes for art supplies. Plenty of glue, paint, markers, beads, string, tape (scotch, masking, painters), cotton balls.

Plastic storage boxes, small cardboard boxes, blankets, pillows, shoeboxes, big cardboard boxes, blankets, pillows,
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  #10  
Old 12-03-2010, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by laundrymom View Post
disclaimer here,.. do NOT ask for toilet paper or towel rolls,... have you seen their cars??? can you imagine their toilets,.. ??? eww no.
LOL

(I only wanted to say LOL in response to this, but the forum won't let me post unless I have a certain number of letters in my post...)
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  #11  
Old 12-03-2010, 10:48 AM
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This is a FABULOUS idea! I am going to jump on board too. I think that I will probably wait until after Christmas to take a stab at this.
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  #12  
Old 12-03-2010, 10:58 AM
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One of my DCD's works at Sear's and he said when people call they are more than happy to save the large appliance boxes for them. Otherwise they cut them up for recycling. So I would think if people call their local Sears stores or Home Depot type places they should be able to gather up some appliance boxes which kids love!
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:01 AM
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What a brilliant idea!! Less is more especially at this time of year.

We buy our kids each 3 presents from Santa to represent the 3 wisemen that came to see Jesus and people are shocked when I tell them they only get 3. But you know what...they actually cherish and play with those 3 toys. And before Christmas each of my girls chooses 3 of their current toys to donate to the less fortunate and they are great about it. I think most kids these days just get way too much at Christmas and lose the whole meaning.

I also don't have any toys with batteries and I try to get toys as simple as possible to encourage the kids' imaginations but this is a wonderful idea!

We have a lot of play silks here in different sizes that the kids find a million uses for so if you could find some of those it might add to their play.

I really think I might do this that last week leading up to Christmas. The only thing I might change is the books. I might hold onto those, although making them is a great idea too.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by SunflowerMama View Post
What a brilliant idea!! Less is more especially at this time of year.

We buy our kids each 3 presents from Santa to represent the 3 wisemen that came to see Jesus and people are shocked when I tell them they only get 3. But you know what...they actually cherish and play with those 3 toys. And before Christmas each of my girls chooses 3 of their current toys to donate to the less fortunate and they are great about it. I think most kids these days just get way too much at Christmas and lose the whole meaning.

I also don't have any toys with batteries and I try to get toys as simple as possible to encourage the kids' imaginations but this is a wonderful idea!

We have a lot of play silks here in different sizes that the kids find a million uses for so if you could find some of those it might add to their play.

I really think I might do this that last week leading up to Christmas. The only thing I might change is the books. I might hold onto those, although making them is a great idea too.
I have a DCM who told me a few yrs ago that her kids only get 3 gifts also but each gift is specific such as one has to be a book or game, the second has to be clothing and the third is something the child wishes to have. (toy or whatever) Nice rule to follow.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:13 AM
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I have a DCM who told me a few yrs ago that her kids only get 3 gifts also but each gift is specific such as one has to be a book or game, the second has to be clothing and the third is something the child wishes to have. (toy or whatever) Nice rule to follow.
That's a good idea too. I guess b/c ours are still young we just let them ask for 3 things and usually just get those 3 things (especially with craigslist these days). Like this year both want a bike and then a stuffed pink dog for the basket, and then one is getting a baby doll with a diaper bag and cloth diapers and the other is getting a fold and go dollhouse with dolls and furniture.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunflowerMama View Post
What a brilliant idea!! Less is more especially at this time of year.

We buy our kids each 3 presents from Santa to represent the 3 wisemen that came to see Jesus and people are shocked when I tell them they only get 3. But you know what...they actually cherish and play with those 3 toys. And before Christmas each of my girls chooses 3 of their current toys to donate to the less fortunate and they are great about it. I think most kids these days just get way too much at Christmas and lose the whole meaning.

I also don't have any toys with batteries and I try to get toys as simple as possible to encourage the kids' imaginations but this is a wonderful idea!

We have a lot of play silks here in different sizes that the kids find a million uses for so if you could find some of those it might add to their play.

I really think I might do this that last week leading up to Christmas. The only thing I might change is the books. I might hold onto those, although making them is a great idea too.
I like the 3 gifts for Christmas idea. My husband and I are still deciding how we want to do Christmas for our little one, who's 2. We feel like this year (we've already celebrated with her distant grandparents) and last year she got sooo much from her grandparents alone that it's just crazy(this year she probably opened 15 things just from them!). We try to not stress toys, but the temptation is so great, even for adults.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:27 AM
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that's a REALLY good idea!

my son went to his grandma's last week and insisted on taking a plastic tote bin with him (the HUGE ones) because he had been sitting in it and scooting around. she came and picked him up today and he took a lid that goes on top of a clothes hamper! he's been spinning it on his finger and elbow like a basketball. he also has 2 mattresses set up in the hallway right now with blankets for a "tent." he NEVER touches his toys.

speaking of which - i LOVE the 3 toy idea. i don't know what's wrong with my brain that makes me feel bad if i only got them 3 because they have EVERYTHING!!
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:29 AM
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speaking of which - i LOVE the 3 toy idea. i don't know what's wrong with my brain that makes me feel bad if i only got them 3 because they have EVERYTHING!!
I feel the exact same way...
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:30 AM
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oh, u could let them do hopscotch outside or 4 square.


i'm a former 4 square champion.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:42 AM
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oh, u could let them do hopscotch outside or 4 square.


i'm a former 4 square champion.
I didn't even know there was a 4-square championship! Will you be our special guest next week??

One thing about outside...when I first started up (last September) the kids were often ready to come inside after only a few minutes. Now, granted, I have a very sparse backyard (it's a townhouse, rental unit and is literally just grass, no trees). But, I stuck it out, and didn't go in after only a few minutes and didn't bring toys outside (well, a few) and now they LOVE outside time. They run races, make up their own games, play tag, etc. They could stay out there all day. I'm so glad that I didn't give into their whining and put toys out there or do a short outside time.

I hadn't thought of hopscotch, we'll have to do that too...I don't have enough space for 4 square (not sure I have enough patio for hopscotch, but we could make it work).
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:46 AM
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One thing about outside...when I first started up (last September) the kids were often ready to come inside after only a few minutes. Now, granted, I have a very sparse backyard (it's a townhouse, rental unit and is literally just grass, no trees). But, I stuck it out, and didn't go in after only a few minutes and didn't bring toys outside (well, a few) and now they LOVE outside time. They run races, make up their own games, play tag, etc. They could stay out there all day. I'm so glad that I didn't give into their whining and put toys out there or do a short outside time.

I hadn't thought of hopscotch, we'll have to do that too...I don't have enough space for 4 square (not sure I have enough patio for hopscotch, but we could make it work).
This is exactly the same for me. Tiny backyard with only one small climbing structure and then some balls. They would whine and whine to come in but now love it! It's great! They do the same...race, freeze tag, sommersaults, yoga, simon says, etc.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:51 AM
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Great plan! After 2 weeks of doing daycare I realized that if I am overwhelmed by the toys, the kids probably are too. I also thought it completely silly that a two year old would come up to me with a toy and say needs new batteries...its like where is your imagination...!!!
I totally agree with you all and here is my plan. Since I have such a small area and so many toys with no place to put them I have to wait until my husband is done finishing the basement...I really hope its soon!!

My plan is then to have everything simple and no battery operated toys..blocks..balls...books. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:58 PM
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I like the 3 gifts for Christmas idea. My husband and I are still deciding how we want to do Christmas for our little one, who's 2. We feel like this year (we've already celebrated with her distant grandparents) and last year she got sooo much from her grandparents alone that it's just crazy(this year she probably opened 15 things just from them!). We try to not stress toys, but the temptation is so great, even for adults.
I wish we could limit what grandparents give to the grandkids. My mom had my niece trained so well by age 3.5 when I went to visit her the first thing she would ask me was: What did you bring me? UGH, I was so mad...who teaches a child that?! Grandma spoils her and has to give her twenty gifts every year, so I'm happy I told my siblings last year was the last year I was buying for any nieces and nephews because they got plenty already. Saves me the cash now! Besides, (I don't have kids yet, but when I do) I am going to ask if they want to give lots of gifts, just choose a good quality gift and then spend the rest on the child's saving's account or bond or something. JMO
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Old 12-04-2010, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendallina View Post
As most of you know, I run a preschool 3 hrs/day 4 days/week. I wanted to try an experiment the week of December 13th (their last week before a 3-week break). I want to have a no toy week. I will have available containers, boxes, some art materials, blankets, pillows, preschool-made books and other materials from around the house. Here is my letter to parents about it:

During free play on Thursday, I watched the children play with just 2 large storage baskets for over 45 minutes. They were climbing in them, dragging each other around and putting them on their heads. I started thinking about what children did years ago before toys were mass produced and before their parents had the means to purchase toys. Now our children are surrounded not only by an abundance of toys, but expensive toys. And toys that DO everything for them. Instead of opening children's minds, many toys today can only be played with in one pre-determined way decided by a manufacturer, not a child.

So, in revolt (lol) I've decided to have a NO TOY week at preschool. When your child arrives on Monday (or Tuesday) next week they will find no toys in the playroom, none in my livingroom and none outside. That's right, NO TOYS!

How will we manage? Instead of toys, I will supply an abundance of everyday and recyclable materials: baskets, boxes, tubing, ribbons, packing materials, pillows, blankets, fabric scraps and several other items from around the house. The children will be encouraged to use their imaginations. If they want to play with a train, they can use boxes to be the train. Or they can draw a train. Or they can use people to be a train. The point is, they will have to figure out how to do it. I will encourage and support, but won't do it for them.

Really, no toys? Ok, I'm keeping in our wooden block set (it's homemade so I figure it's okay...hahaha), crayons, glue, paper, and other art materials so that we can make our own toys if we desire. We'll probably also have several balls available as those are difficult to reproduce from everyday materials and are a wonderful open-ended material that can be played with in a multitude of ways.

How can you help? In addition to NO TOYS, we will have no books! I know, I know, books are important for children's understanding of the world, and their language skills and social skills. I will have book-making materials available to the children all week and I'd like you to work with your child to make a few books for the preschool.

You can pick up all of your book-making supplies at preschool. You and your child can make as many as you'd like.

Book-making suggestions:

1. Follow your child's lead.

2. Don't do it for them!

3. Use simple materials. Allow them to use crayons, markers, paint, whatever (but please, no stickers, glitter paints, sequins etc.).

4. If they want to make a 3-d book, they might use yarn, popsicle sticks, cut up boxes, cotton balls, etc. Whatever you can find around your house.

5. Older kids might tell a story about what they are drawing, feel free to write it on the book.

6. Make sure that you (or the child) puts their name on it.

I will be sure to take a lot of photos and let you know how the week goes!! I've never done this before, so I can't wait to see the results!


This is manageable, right? Do you have any other suggestions for what I should make available to the children? Any other ideas on how the parents can help (they really like to be involved)? Yikes...I can do this, right??
Anything you can do to create excitement around your business is very pleasing to your customers. The parents will love this and so will the kids.
I wouldn't be able to get my parents to make books with them because their lives are VERY busy with their families at night and weekends. I wouldn't want to infringe on their family time and most are not crafty people.

I will have available containers, boxes, some art materials, blankets, pillows, preschool-made books and other materials from around the house.
and

I will supply an abundance of everyday and recyclable materials: baskets, boxes, tubing, ribbons, packing materials, pillows, blankets, fabric scraps and several other items from around the house.

The kids will love this because it is new to them at your house. ANYTIME you introduce new toys/material the kids are going to like it. The ones you choose will be something they normally don't get to play with at your house so they will love it. You would, however, get the same reaction out of all new toys introduced. It's the newness of it ... most likely not the material, that will keep them occupied.

One of my experiences with adding anything new into the day care is that I have to gradulally add it and not allow a lot at one time. In "my" group the excitement of something new can lead the kids to move to hoarding behavior or increase the tension between the kids and their basic play rules start to get challenged. Our supervision level has to go up a LOT on days when new stuff enter the day care. We counteract this by having single or two kids play with it for a set time.. then offer to the next.. and next over a period of days. We mix and match kids together with it so by the time it goes in play everyone has played with each other with it. When they start to get bored with that we put the toy into regular play just like the other toys. It takes a week or so of rotating them thru before we introduce it.

I can't imagine having everything be new on the same day. My little ones would have a hard time with that but you know your group and it sounds like you know they can handle it. Mine would LOVE it but they couldn't handle it and remain within our rules of play.

I watched the children play with just 2 large storage baskets for over 45 minutes. They were climbing in them, dragging each other around and putting them on their heads.

Part of our "rules of play" is that we don't allow climbing inside the house, we don't offer ANY containers to played with by the children (the contents can be played with but not the container) , we don't allow ANYTHING to be put on their head or shoulders and we since we don't allow containers and climbing we wouldn't allow a kid climbing into a container and another pulling them.

My kids would LOVE that for sure but I would be worried about them getting hurt or getting too excited and getting physical with each other. It's high level excitement and the after time of that excitement that you have a high incidence of interpersonal issues with each other. They don't want the excitement to end so when it is over they are full of tension and stress that they can't work off without letting it go on something. Since you only have them a few hours a day... they are not there every day... and then they go home it surely could work for your group. My group are all full time kids who have been raised with each other their whole lives. They would still have a significant amount of time with each other after doing these activities.

The always available art would be another thing that we couldn't manage. Crafts require a certain level of supervision that when we do them we have one adult just there doing/supervising crafts. It pulls one of us away from the group so we have to meter our WHEN we can do crafts built into our feeding/diapering/outdoor/rest schedules in order to maintain the supervision and assistance they need.

So for me this wouldn't work BUT I do think it's darling and I know your parents and kids will LOVE it. It will be a lot of work for you so if you are willing to do the work GO FOR IT.

I started thinking about what children did years ago before toys were mass produced and before their parents had the means to purchase toys. Now our children are surrounded not only by an abundance of toys, but expensive toys. And toys that DO everything for them. Instead of opening children's minds, many toys today can only be played with in one pre-determined way decided by a manufacturer, not a child.

This is a VERY VERY good point and it's the foundation of how I set up my two play rooms and what toys I have available to the kids. I've been collecting toys for 17 years and I'm very very picky about what I allow in the toy areas.

Every single thing available to them has been really thought out. I do not want toys that DO something. I want toys that they can INDEPENDENTLY play with that the child has to DO everything. I don't have battery operated toys at all in either play room. I only allow battery toys for the little mobile babies. Once a baby is old enough to set off the battery powered buttons or action REPEATEDLY and they choose to do that persistently and shun the non battery toys then they are too old for battery toys. I only allow the battery toys when they will not choose them exclusively over regular toys. That happens around a year to fourteen months. When they have the physical ability to fixate on that toy and set it off continuously they are put away or given to the children underneath them in age.

So after a year they never have access to toys that DO anything. Every day their life is playing in a large playroom filled with toys that they must figure out what to do and create their OWN play that is fair to others, keeps them entertained, and does NOT involve an adult.

The toys that do involve and adult such as puzzles, play doh, Mr Potato Head, and any small pieced set toys... are done at a time when we can just like the art activities.

So we don't have any need to give them a non toy day. They really DO know how to play toys with what we have and what we have is abundunt and developmentally appropriate. We are able to just SUPERVISE them while they play and they all keep themselves very busy every day. They love when we add new stuff (carefully thought out) and are introuduced to that gradually over a couple of weeks before it goes on the floor.

It is brilliant and will be a wonderful large activity for you guys to do. I think it will endear the parents to your business and the kids will LOVE it as they would any opportunity to have new stuff available.
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Old 12-04-2010, 04:42 AM
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I love it! Keep us posted.
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Old 12-04-2010, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
One of my experiences with adding anything new into the day care is that I have to gradulally add it and not allow a lot at one time. In "my" group the excitement of something new can lead the kids to move to hoarding behavior or increase the tension between the kids and their basic play rules start to get challenged. Our supervision level has to go up a LOT on days when new stuff enter the day care. We counteract this by having single or two kids play with it for a set time.. then offer to the next.. and next over a period of days. We mix and match kids together with it so by the time it goes in play everyone has played with each other with it. When they start to get bored with that we put the toy into regular play just like the other toys. It takes a week or so of rotating them thru before we introduce it.
that's a good point. it might be a good idea to have materials grouped into centers and let small groups explore the diff. items. THEN come together and talk/brainstorm about what they did with the materials and what else they might be able to do with them. THEN talk about what materials could be mixed TOGETHER to do even more. actually, if it were done that way, it could probably last 2 weeks.
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:48 AM
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The plan for the first day is to take the toys out, but leave all the containers in their regular spaces. We'll talk about where the toys went and what we might want to do with what's left. I might that day or the next day bring out some more materials. But really, the kids have been playing with blankets, pillows, boxes, containers all along. I don't have any battery-operated toys anyways (well, I have a cash register that we haven't used in a while), have all open-ended toys and many natural things for them to play with normally. So I don't think there will be a huge spike of craziness due to novelty. But, we'll see....

Also, another point that Nannyde brought up was that the children will enjoy anything new and novel for a week. That's very true and my honest hope is that this will change the way I run my preschool. There will be some toys that I expect I'll bring back in immediately because they open the children's imaginations, the animals, the books, blocks. But, I also hope to leave in a lot of the recyclable and every day material and I hope that the children will continue to use them in creative ways.

Love all the suggestions and thoughts...keep them coming!
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:48 AM
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The only thing I don't like about having all the recyclable material available all the time (I have a lot out for them daily) is that they enjoy ripping or cutting paper like crazy some days and don't like to pick it all up.
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Old 12-05-2010, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by kendallina View Post
Also, another point that Nannyde brought up was that the children will enjoy anything new and novel for a week.


Did I say that?

I didn't speak of your children. You know your group best. You know what you can and can't do. I think you have mentioned that they are over the age of two and all are part time for a few hours a day? I think I remember that?

If so, I couldn't compare my group to yours. The population is as opposite as could be. Mine are currently 18 months to 4.5 and are all full time. They have been here their whole lives.

I don't have kids currently that started as anything BUT babies and all of them come Monday thru Friday for nine hours or less. That's very different than your population.

I think it's exciting for you and your crew. I couldn't manage it but I have a completely different set up and many many years of doing this. I also have a second person I employ so I have to consider her costs and what work needs to be done operating this longstanding business.

It's good to have a niche and this could well be one for you to try out. Mine is that I'm a RN, we have a one to four ratio, organic foods, a long solid sleep time, and outdoor walking every possible day. With the focus on food, exercise, sleep, and free play we don't have enough hours in the day to accomplish much more.

I can't wait to hear how it works for you. I have heard of some versions of this but haven't known anyone to go whole hog as you describe. I think if I understand your crew stats that you have a perfect set up to give it a shot. It's a wondeful idea.
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:06 AM
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I love the idea of all of the recyclable "loose part" materials. I love that the children will be able to have containers for climbing, pulling, hiding, seeking, building, and simply using their imaginations. I love the idea of art always being available to the children.

Now, I don't have "no toys" but I do not have any battery operated toys, and I have LOTS of the elements that you describe. I offer lots of loose parts....boxes, fabric pieces, tubes, planks, rocks, piecs of wood and bark, pine cones, etc. We also have art available to the children at all times and much of it is readily accessible, to all of the children, from a young age. The easel is typically set up and available for use, and we always have glue/collage materials, markers, crayons, colored pencils, drawing paper, etc. within reach for the children to use when they choose. I have found that having it accessible and teaching them proper usage for materials from a young age allows them to be self-sufficient with the materials by the time they are about two years old. It takes a little extra patience and guidance when they are little, mostly redirection, but I find it is well-worth the extra effort, as they are allowed to expore materials in depth at will they become very creative and I never have to do CRAFT type activites....they create beautiful pieces of art, without any direction from me, and they elarn to manage the materials and clean up after themselves. In the end, there is alot less work for me involved.

Have fun with your experiment....I hope (and trust) you find it truly engaging and inspiring!
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Old 12-05-2010, 10:43 AM
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I love the idea of all of the recyclable "loose part" materials. I love that the children will be able to have containers for climbing, pulling, hiding, seeking, building, and simply using their imaginations. I love the idea of art always being available to the children.

Now, I don't have "no toys" but I do not have any battery operated toys, and I have LOTS of the elements that you describe. I offer lots of loose parts....boxes, fabric pieces, tubes, planks, rocks, piecs of wood and bark, pine cones, etc. We also have art available to the children at all times and much of it is readily accessible, to all of the children, from a young age. The easel is typically set up and available for use, and we always have glue/collage materials, markers, crayons, colored pencils, drawing paper, etc. within reach for the children to use when they choose. I have found that having it accessible and teaching them proper usage for materials from a young age allows them to be self-sufficient with the materials by the time they are about two years old. It takes a little extra patience and guidance when they are little, mostly redirection, but I find it is well-worth the extra effort, as they are allowed to expore materials in depth at will they become very creative and I never have to do CRAFT type activites....they create beautiful pieces of art, without any direction from me, and they elarn to manage the materials and clean up after themselves. In the end, there is alot less work for me involved.

Have fun with your experiment....I hope (and trust) you find it truly engaging and inspiring!
Crystal, one of the most frustrating things about my current set-up is that I cannot have 'messy' art things available to the children all the time. When I worked in a center I had messy art (glue, paints, markers, etc) available to them all the time, but right now my playroom is in a carpeted bedroom. So, we do messy stuff everyday in my kitchen, but they're not able to freely pick and choose the materials they want, use them exactly how they want, and for as long as they want. So, that's a little frustrating. Completely off-topic and really just a small vent on my part. I'm really wishing I had a different set-up when I hear about how the children are able to have access to all of this at your place.
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:18 PM
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I hear ya. Before I moved to this house, everything was carpeted. This house is ALL tile, with area rugs separating my play spaces. So I don't have to worry about the mess so much.

One thing I did when I had all carpeted space was put tape down shower curtains under the easels and messy areas. I also used (and still use) my dining space for some art and I have a rolling cart that contains many open ended art materials. I just roll it in near the dining table and let the children choose what they want and create whatever they want.

You keep on doing what you're doing. Your idea is AWESOME! I am INSPIRED by what you are attempting and am anxious to hear all about your's and the children's experiences!
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:51 PM
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I have laminate wood floors but I still didn't want the art mess getting on my floors. I bought a scrap of linoleum from Home Depot, about 5x6 and laid it on top of my wood floor, under the art table/easel.
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystal View Post
I love the idea of all of the recyclable "loose part" materials. I love that the children will be able to have containers for climbing, pulling, hiding, seeking, building, and simply using their imaginations. I love the idea of art always being available to the children.

Now, I don't have "no toys" but I do not have any battery operated toys, and I have LOTS of the elements that you describe. I offer lots of loose parts....boxes, fabric pieces, tubes, planks, rocks, piecs of wood and bark, pine cones, etc. We also have art available to the children at all times and much of it is readily accessible, to all of the children, from a young age. The easel is typically set up and available for use, and we always have glue/collage materials, markers, crayons, colored pencils, drawing paper, etc. within reach for the children to use when they choose. I have found that having it accessible and teaching them proper usage for materials from a young age allows them to be self-sufficient with the materials by the time they are about two years old. It takes a little extra patience and guidance when they are little, mostly redirection, but I find it is well-worth the extra effort, as they are allowed to expore materials in depth at will they become very creative and I never have to do CRAFT type activites....they create beautiful pieces of art, without any direction from me, and they elarn to manage the materials and clean up after themselves. In the end, there is alot less work for me involved.
When you say you have your easel set up does that mean with paint and brushes available at all times? Are your kids able to paint with these art projects at will and with little adult involvement as early as a new two year old? What about glitter, and small things like googly eyes, beads. beans ... stuff that is small.

From the list you gave yes that woud be very easy to manage: As long as the glue was supervised .. using collage materials, markers, crayons, colored pencils, drawing paper, boxes, fabric pieces, tubes, planks, rocks, piecs of wood and bark, pine cones, etc would be pretty easy.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:47 AM
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I informed my parents on Friday that we'll be doing this the week before Christmas (20th - 23rd) and they are super excited!!

I'm going to gradually start pulling toys from now until then and adding more open ended items. Then that week before Christmas we'll be completely "toy" free.

I'm so excited to try this and think like pp said there will be toys that after this activity will not make it back into the mix .
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:55 AM
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When you say you have your easel set up does that mean with paint and brushes available at all times? Are your kids able to paint with these art projects at will and with little adult involvement as early as a new two year old? What about glitter, and small things like googly eyes, beads. beans ... stuff that is small.

From the list you gave yes that woud be very easy to manage: As long as the glue was supervised .. using collage materials, markers, crayons, colored pencils, drawing paper, boxes, fabric pieces, tubes, planks, rocks, piecs of wood and bark, pine cones, etc would be pretty easy.
Yes, the easel is set up, most of the time, with paint and brushes available for use. We just facilitate it by dding paper and paint as needed, and yes, at two they can go to the easel and paint when they want. The little stuff, like beads, buttons, etc. are on the higher parts of shelves and the bigger kids can get them down on their own....they use them at the bigger table so the little kids don't get it without adult supervision.

I do very little supervision of the glue. I am in the room and if there is an issue, a child will let me know, but they all can handle the glue. For the glue dumpers, I have glue colored with liquid watercolor and and stiff pieces of cardboard so they can use as much glue as they want. Sure, sometimes it spills over, but I don't mind. And, yes, the collage, drawing, etc. is pretty easy. I don't really do complicated artwork....no "crafts" at all....everything is open-ended and the children create as they wish. I rotate materials so they always have a variety of options.
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Old 12-06-2010, 06:06 AM
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I also used (and still use) my dining space for some art and I have a rolling cart that contains many open ended art materials. I just roll it in near the dining table and let the children choose what they want and create whatever they want.
Do you by chance have a picture of your cart and the materials you leave accessible to the kids throughout the day. I would love to do this too but am just worried about a few aspects. I think if I could get an idea of the materials you are leaving out that might help. I'm ok with my whole group (all over 3) except one LO that is 15 months.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:28 AM
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I'll post a pic for you later today
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Old 12-06-2010, 10:28 AM
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i also have open ended art just like crystal, and it is available all the time to anyone over 2. it is messy at times, but worth all the effort. they learn from an early age how to handle the materials, and honestly, its not as bad or chaotic as you may think. smaller items are up a little higher for the older kids, the young two's do require a little more supervision. and they even know how to mop up spills themselves now.

just last week i set out about 15 rolls of different colored masking tape just to see what they would do with it. some taped cardboard together, some taped each other together, lol, but a few actually cut it in little pieces and made really neat abstract designs on paper.

this week i hot glued cardboard boxes together to form a HUGE gingerbread house, put out paint and all the collage stuff, and plan on letting them go to town decorating it. so far today, it's been painted brown, and thats as far as they got. we'll see what happens!!!
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