One of the biggest challenges in offering quality child care is keeping children engaged and interested. It can be tough to gauge the attention span of a large group of kids, whether they’re at daycare, preschool or after school care. Without the right stimulation, their brains can turn off and create both behavior and learning issues.
At Smart Kids Development Center, one of our primary goals is a diverse group of programs and activities to keep children’s minds and bodies active. Let’s look at some general tips all child care professionals can use to keep things interesting.
Within the classroom or child care facility, use an ever-changing group of activities. Some bits of routine are great to help keep days in order, but look for ways to vary up the time in between these markers. If your kids were doing a couple hours of individual work, maybe look for a group activity to keep them engaged. If they spent a lot of time with math and numbers yesterday, maybe lean toward language arts a bit more today.
Every group of kids is different, so a lot of this process will be up to the individual child care professionals.
All children, especially young children, need physical stimulation along with mental. Facilities with good playground equipment and lots of space (such as at Smart Kids Development Centers around Utah) are a good start, but recess and outdoor playtime aren’t the only ways to keep kids active.
You can design indoor activities that combine mental and physical workloads – these can also be ways to make learning fun. Injecting active periods into days with lots of sitting will help children stay focused and burn off energy.
A trip to see something new is always a great way to keep kids engaged. At Smart Kids Development Centers, field trips are a big part of our childcare program.
A few simple ideas for field trip destinations include:
Don’t box yourself in, though – be creative! If you see a chance to stimulate your kids, go for it.
At Smart Kids Development Centers, we use “party”-type activities regularly to keep kids enjoying themselves. These might be a magic show or some other fun guest, or even as simple as some music and a few treats. You can infuse learning elements into these parties as well, with proper planning.