Activities to Expect at Daycare

As you tour various daycare centers, there are many factors you will want to keep in mind.  Your child’s safety and the daycare’s environment are key concerns.  But they are not your only determinants. You should also consider what your child will be learning.  Sure, daycare is about playing and making friends, but they are also learning.

Studies show that a child’s brain develops and grows nearly 90% between birth and age 5.  In fact, at birth, a baby’s brain is only around 25% the size of an adult’s.  As such, these early years are crucial.  When choosing a daycare, you want one that understands the value of learning through play.  This will ensure your child develops the skills needed for their future education.

Activities to Look for When Touring a Prospective Daycare

Activities1. Water Play – This helps children learn that actions have reactions. For instance, smacking the water causes a splash. With older children, a tub of water with items floating/sinking in it helps develop eye-hand coordination.
2. Sand develops muscles and control through scooping, digging, pouring, and building.  And what’s not love about building sandcastles or digging for ‘buried’ treasures?
3. Dress-up Clothes – Prince and princess attire is great, but don’t forget the doctors, firefighters, chef hats, and other items that inspire and encourage imagination. In addition, fastening buttons and using Velcro, zippers, and laces will reinforce skills needed for dressing themselves.
4. Dolls and stuffed animals- Helps develop nurturing, social play, and imagination. It is also beneficial in helping children learn how to express emotion healthily.
5. Books/story time – There is much to learn from a book, no matter how old one is. Introducing the joy of reading at an early age benefits them for life.
6. Manipulatives – Puzzles, blogs, shapes, large and small dominoes – the list is endless. These items provide many learning opportunities.
7. The playground – Kids need a safe place to run, jump, climb, etc., and the playground is the ideal option. The playground offers ways to develop strong muscles, from swings to riding toys. It is also excellent for learning skills like tossing a ball and negotiating whose turn is next.

Remember, the activities should vary by room. They should be based on that age group’s skill sets, safety needs, and teacher-to-child ratio.  Not every daycare will have the same activities available. The important aspect is that they create a space encouraging learning through play.

Activity Environment

Beyond the offered activities, the daycare should also have an appropriate environment.  Elements of a healthy learning activity environment may vary based on your preferences.  However, there are some common factors to watch for.

    • Supervision – Play centers and stations need enough supervision so children can play safely. The teacher(s) should watch the children playing and their social interactions. If necessary, they need to be ready to step in.
    • Compassion – Teachers and caregivers need to be loving and compassionate. Their goal should be to keep your child safe, happy, and accepted for who they are. But also encourage them to explore and try new activities.
    • Age appropriate – Toys and activities need to be engaging but safe for whatever room they are in. For example, water play via a tub is excellent for the three- and four-year-old rooms. But it would be better experienced using a colorful water pillow in an infant room.

At Early Year Academy, we recognize the value of age-appropriate play-based learning. We have created inviting spaces and activities designed to prepare your child for the future. Reach out to us today to learn more about what we offer.