Sand and Water Play Supports Children’s Development
Sensory play – including play with sand, water, Styrofoam peanuts, bubbles, beans, dirt, and other materials – can be an important part of the child care classroom or family child care home. Children exploring in the sensory center are learning some important skills.
Math and science skills: Sand and water play introduces scientific concepts such as sinking, floating, and changes of state (e.g., dry to wet). Exploring sand, water, and other sensory
The sand and water center, sometimes known as the sensory center, is a great place for young children to explore, experiment, and practice fine motor skills. Playing with sand, water, and other sensory materials helps promote development and teach math and science skills. This center provides the opportunity for children to explore with all their senses.
Setting Up a Sand and Water Center in Your Classroom
Location: The sand and water center, or sensory center, can be set up
Music Supports Children’s Development
A music center is an important part of any child care program. Listening to music, singing, playing musical instruments, and moving to music are all activities that support children’s development across several different domains.
Language development: Children practice words and phrases in repeating patterns by listening to and singing songs. They also become aware of the rhythms of language and the patterns of poetry. These skills help them become better at understanding and producing language
Manipulatives and Table Toys Support Children’s Development
A wide variety of materials used in child care and early education programs fall into the category of “manipulatives,” including different types of building bricks and toys, collections of objects for sorting, small dolls and animals, and many other types of toys. Manipulatives, sometimes referred to as table toys, are an important part of the early childhood curriculum because children can use them to practice a wide variety of skills. Some …
Science in early childhood is all about prediction, exploring, and discovering answers to questions. Children learn scientific investigation skills through hands-on exploration and play. An effective science center should be a place where children can use their curiosity to manipulate and investigate objects from the world around them. They should have opportunities to explore “what if?” questions, to make guesses about what is going to happen, and to test out those guesses.
Setting Up a Science and Nature Center in
Dramatic Play Supports Children’s Development
Engaging in dramatic play enhances young children’s development. Pretending builds social skills, makes children more aware of their own emotions, and encourages shared language and problem solving. As children play and interact in the dramatic play center in an early childhood program, they practice skills in the following areas:
Social/emotional: negotiating different roles and themes, cooperating to keep the play happening, acting out roles and situations
Physical: using large and small muscles to
Science and Nature Support Children’s Development
Exploring the natural world through hands-on science is an important way that children learn. Hands-on science activities encourage children to observe and manipulate items from the environment, while making predictions about what will happen and then testing those predictions. Science allows children to explore, experiment, question, discover, and understand natural and human-made objects and forces. Experiments and activities with science and nature also stimulate children’s curiosity, encourage use of all five senses, and help …
In order for children to create art, they need an inspiring space. The art center should look like an artist’s studio, filled with children’s art as well as that of well-known artists. The art center should allow children to feel creative as they explore materials to express themselves. The art center also allows children to make their own discoveries, either independently or together, and to feel confident in the choices they make.
Setting Up an Art Center in Your Classroom
Books are very important for young children. A book center can help stimulate children’s imagination and creativity while also building language skills. The book center is a great place for adults to read to children and for children to spend time looking at pictures and interacting with different books.
Setting Up a Book Center in Your Classroom
Location: The book center should be located in a quiet area separate from noisier activities such as block building and active play.
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license. Photo posted to Flickr by Diane Bales on November 23, 2015 with title “Dramatic play area”.
Dramatic play allows children to express themselves and use creativity. It also introduces symbolic thinking and encourages cooperation among children. In a dramatic play center, children will often act out behaviors and actions they see in real life (such as shopping at the grocery store) as well as make-believe situations (such as a princess in a castle).