Anticipating a break from child care in addition to stresses that families are under with planning for travel and parties at this time of year can affect children’s behavior. Part of this is can be due to not having a good sense about what to expect. One activity that can help children make sense of what is coming up is to make a paper chain to count down the days until the break or event.
Have children help to cut strips of colored paper and use one to make a loop that you glue or staple closed. Add the number of loops onto the chain for the number of days that you have left until break and each day a child can remove one of the loops. This give a visual indication to children about how many more days it will be until the break.
You can make one chain for the group or each child can make their own. You can practice counting up and counting down using the number of loops on the chain. You can also encourage children to make patterns with different colors of paper as they create their chains.
Goals: Help children manage their behavior around anticipation of the break. Practice math concepts of patterning and counting up and down.
Do you have a fence in your yard?
If you do, you can give children yarn, fabric scraps, streamers, paper strips, and more, to create a weaving in the fence. After children have a chance to explore and get the idea about how to weave the material in the fence openings, you can encourage them to create patterns or scenes.
Goal: Children will refine fine motor skills while creating a pattern through weaving.
Give children a spray bottle with water or a small container of water with a brush so they can wet a window. Have a variety of foam shapes that children can stick to the window to create scenes or patterns. You can buy pre-cut shapes or you can cut out your own shapes from fun foam sheets, both of which are relatively inexpensive at the craft store.
Goal: Children will enjoy sensory play with water while creating patterns or scenes with shapes.
A fun activity with old books or magazines is to create story cards that show a sequence. Cut out 3-6 pictures that show actions as part of a sequence of events. Glue the cut out pictures to construction paper or cards. You could laminate them or cover them with clear contact paper for extra sturdiness. Children can work individually or in small groups to place the cards into order. These sets of cards can be made available for children to choose to work on independently. If children need help you can use sequencing language (first, next, last, etc.) to support children’s vocabulary growth.
Goal: This activity supports children’s language skills and cognitive development in terms of memory, sequencing patterns, and problem solving.