As a Child Minder you are at an advantage over a larger setting such as a nursery (I’m my opinion anyway) when it comes to planning activities for the children in your care. For example; I like to think that when I was a child minder I knew the children I looked after really well and could therefore plan activities to suit individuals.
I had one boy, who loved vehicles and anything associated with them, so we went out for a walk, taking my camera with us. I let Mark, take photos of Road Signs (under supervision, to ensure the camera didn’t get damaged) We discussed what each sign meant and the different shapes and colours as we came across them.
When we got back to my house, I set up the computer and Mark helped me to print off his photos, he managed to feed the paper into the printer with a little guidance and he pressed the appropriate buttons (this covered the ITC section of the early learning goals)
Another boy I looked after, was struggling and showed little interest in activities. He had recently been to the cinema with his family to see the film “Madagascar” which he loved so I planned an activity for him around this. I took him to the library, where we searched together for books about animals featured in the film and discovered one on meercats and lemurs. Back home , we looked at the book and talked about the animals – how many legs they had, what they may eat and so on. I also encouraged him to draw his own pictures of the animals and to colour them in the correct shades of colour by referring back to the book.
I once was child minding a boy who was a little slow to learn things and was I was struggling with activities to cover the mathematical early learning goal with him. He enjoyed playing with toy cars in the Playroom so my husband made a wooden ramp to slide the cars down.
When he slid the toy cars down the ramp, I encouraged him to measure how far it had travelled. He would not have understood the concept of centimetres so instead we used cars as a measuring tool; e,g, the red car moved a distance of 6 carwriting my observation, of this activity later I said that as the child progressed and began to understand numbers better, we would re-visit the activity and use a ruler or tape measure to calculate the distance using centimetres this time, so he learnt maths language.
Another child; who was also a little slower than average, was having trouble learning the names of colours. Each time I asked what colour an object was, his younger sister would reply for him. I came to the conclusion that he really had no idea where the names of colours were concerned, so instead of asking, “What colour is this?” I held up a blue crayon and told him “this is blue, can you find me another blue one, please?” He liked this game and found it quite easy to recognise the same colour and eventually he started to tell me the names of the colours as he picked them up.
One afternoon I set up an activity using some empty cardboard boxes an other junk making materials. We sat together and began making models. We all had great fun doing this!
I also had an 18 month old baby in my care, that day, who wanted to join in, so I presented him with a small box and some masking tape. He spent a considerable amount of time concentrating sticking pieces of tape onto his box and pulling them off again. He giggled as he did this, while also watching the older children creating their masterpieces.
Another group of children I was minding were enjoying having running races in my garden. I had a disabled child at the same time. To ensure that she didn’t miss out, I took them all to the local park, when the children started to race I ran pushing Mary in her wheelchair along side them. She screamed in delight and stretched out her arms, pretending she was an aeroplane.
These are only a few examples of ways that activities can be amended to suit children at different stages of learning and development. Use your imagination and have fun helping children to learn as they play.
As always questions/comments are most welcome.