We try to use open ended material in the home a majority of the time. We have all three categories accessible in one way or another at all times. One area that we have worked on lately has been our communication materials, specifically our art supplies. It goes against my nature to have these out and accessible at all times because it can be messy and hard to manage. But I am growing to see the need for children to be able to create words and pictures to go with their developing communication skills. We now have all the writing material (markers, pencils, crayons, blank paper, etc) in low shelves in the “art room”. Children two and older can go in the art room nearly any time of the day. It is a small room and there are also many fine motor items so we do have to monitor who and how many are in the room. But it does allow them to do expressive and communicative creations more freely than before.

I would like to start doing more with adding these types of items in other stations. Make laminated maps and dry erase makers in the cars and trucks area. Maybe laminate menus or grocery shopping lists in the dramatic play area. Or maybe a small tablet and pencil with an apron in the kitchen so they can take orders. Always something more than can be done to give our kids even more opportunities to use good materials wisely and freely.