One of my biggest challenges today is keeping children engaged away from the screens. Play seems to be a lot harder to engage in then in the past. I use to be able to set out a large container of magazines, papers, scissors, glue, pasta or beans, construction paper, crayon, markers and so on and children would play for hours. Today I am lucky if I can get one child to engage for 30 minutes. Children today seem to play in a less creative way. I will, however, say that reenactments of everyday living and tasks are still present but to have a child create off the wall creations or self-constructive ideas are lacking. Children want planned structure activities or familiar ideas. Arts and craft is one of my favorite activities I love to get messy and sometimes children have an issue with that. But putting those activities outdoor seems to make them forget about getting messy. I have outdoor time as much as our weather will let me. Children seem to engage in more play when they are outside. Therefore I bring my indoor outside. This allows me several options for mixing up my play activities. One of my favorite outdoor activities is making mud pies or dancing in the rain. Children most likely will not get these opportunities at home to do such things. Providing activities that are rare, provide the best memory the child and have.
Storage is always an issue with every daycare home. I have tried various ways and ideas in the last 20 years and I am still open to any new ideas. It is important to have some organization to keep the children happy and myself sane. I just made a lego table that provides drawers for the legos and extra storage for other blocks and cars. Perfect space saver for my situation. My swingset provides me with the opportunity to store my bikes and other toys underneath in a storage room.
Materials itself can be very expensive to free (recycling). I use all these methods. Just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it is any better than something that is not so expensive. As long as the material is durable that is all that matters.