Turning Daycare Fun Into Learning Opportunities in Newport NewsJuly 23, 2014
Turing everyday daycare fun into learning opportunities is not always easy.
How do you tell a child, “No”, when they ask to beam colorful, ice cold water balloons at the side of the building on a hot summer day? Simple! …you don’t. (Unless you want an angry mob on your hands). Instead, you tell them exactly what they think they want to hear,
“Certainly! What a great idea. Here’s what we’ll do…”
The following few moments are crucial: These enthusiastic and anxious children are now expecting a Water Balloon Pallooooza …and you’ve got all of five minutes to prepare. So what do you do? Think “fundamentally”; think of numbers, colors, shapes, animals, sight words ….and intertwine it all!
Here at The Garden of Children, daycare fun is a plus, but learning is a must! Throwing water balloons gives the children a little practice with motor skills, but it really holds no educational value …or so it was thought. A part of teaching, or providing child care of any sort, is creativity and a vivid imagination. There is no “cookie cutter” way to handle such a profession. Give yourself a schedule, or a lesson plan of sorts – but understand that it is just a tentative outline for your day …anything could happen. As shown by this real life water balloon example – a day on the playground can quickly turn into a day of water play. Take advantage of the kids desire to do this activity; their attention and eagerness make it a perfect time to sneak in some learning! There are many different ways to turn a water balloon toss into an educational activity, but what we like to do with our water balloons here at The Garden of Children, is create!
We first allowed our children to take giant (washable) sidewalk chalk and draw their favorite shapes, animals and words using their favorite color chalk. We, the teachers, also added our own shapes and numbers to the side of the building to raise the difficulty. One at a time (to practice taking turns), the children lined up and threw one water balloon at the drawing that was yelled out by the teacher. If they hit the right drawing, they got to go the end of the line to wait for another turn. If they got it incorrect, they had to sit down and wait for the start of the next game (to encourage patience and good sportsmanship). The awesome thing about this Water Balloon Pallooooza, was that right or wrong, the children got to create a huge marbled, water color image on the side of their very own daycare! As the children screamed and laughed in excitement, the different vibrant drawings began to drip down the cement wall to create a (temporary) class-made mural. The children we asked to calm down, and take a step back to look at what they had just done. Their responses were more than we could have imagined!
“It looks so cool!!”
“Our triangles are dripping, why did the circles stay?”
“It’s not my turn, go ahead Elijah.”
“I threw 2 balloons, Lamont did too! That’s 4 balloons Miss Nel!”
And our favorite response,
“Um …Miss T, this was fandansdic!” (Which we can only assume meant “fantastic”).
So in a matter of minutes, the children displayed knowledge of more shapes, and could recall them much faster. They also worked out math problems without realizing it, and most importantly, they showed us that they could share, take turns and show great sportsmanship without being told to! See, there is always something to be taught when you’re caring for young children. Every single thing we do with our kids is an opportunity to teach them something new. So in all things, I encourage you, teach! For even when they don’t think they’re learning, they are.
If you would like more information about our exceptional summer camp or any of our learning programs, please feel free to contact us anytime! We would love to show you how your child can Learn, Grow and Play Everyday at The Garden of Children, LTD!
The Garden of Children is a STAR Rated Facility as graded by Smart Beginnings.