Little brains can have big ideas, but only when they’re allowed to shine. Here are a few ways for you to mold imagination and let fun run wild.

teacher and kids playing with geometric shapes, early learning

Environment:

When you want dynamic play, you need a room with personality. Aesthetic details play a huge part in mood and energy.

  • Frame and hang children’s artwork and stories. The kids feel special by having their creations so respected, and it’s an interactive opportunity to paint numbers, maps, and things that would otherwise adorn your day care. Try class murals of the day’s lesson. Parents see progress and you save money on furnishings.
  • Be “open” to a flexible space: fold-out tables, writing boards that can be wheeled away, etc. Room for possibility is more than a metaphor.

Engagement:

If a child has distinct talents and interests, help those come alive.

  • Avoid assigning toys. Dresses and dolls, trucks and balls – trust kids to find what they enjoy.

    Woman and child girl, mother and daughter, gardening together planting strawberry plants in the garden</p>

    • Spice up sensory learning. Try a class garden, so kids get excited about nature, nurturing, and ownership. They can stir the tomatoes they grew for spaghetti sauce.
    • Childhood is when language acquisition skills are at their peak, and bilingual minds are proven to consider things from different angles. Smarten perspective with foreign-word flashcards, picture books, and videos. ASL is a perfect visual-learning exercise.
  • There’s a lot of evidence in strength-based learning. Let kids find their niche. Puppet theater? Train tables? Use fixation to motivate your teeny worker bees.
  • Are there possibilities in community outreach? Taking a stand on values allows kids to interact with the world around them. They can think of themselves in relation to a group.

Comedy in Mistakes:

Scolding can threaten more than pride. Before raising the pointer finger, remember your job is to inspire curiosity and passion, not stunt it.

  • Watch what a child does, but also how and why. If you think of kids as in your care instead of in your charge, “because I said so” should never exist.
  • There’s no such thing as wasted time when you’re giving time needed for learning. If interest is lost in a project, re-evaluate and reset goals so that even if success is lower and more easily achieved, it’s still accomplished.

When kids are taught to expect more from their dreams, you can both dream more than expected. Contact Tend.ly to find out how you can have more time to personalize play.