Yesterday, through the wonders of modern technology I was able to watch Daisy playing at home with Mummy and Daddy. When Daisy plays at home, her play is different from the play she has when she’s at a playgroup or with the childminder. In Early Years environments, activities usually have ‘zones’ for different types of play. There’s a quiet area to enjoy books, there’s a messy craft area, a physical play area and there are pretend/imaginative play spaces.
With imminent early years settings and school closures there will be pressure on the home environment for many weeks to come. If you can set up similar zones at home, you might find that you are able to do some work during the daytime while young children can continue to play (play is how young children do their learning).
Depending on your available space, put some cushions on the floor beside the books, set up a small occasional table for crafting, put the physical play in the hallway or outside and leave the toy corner for the imaginative play. The craft table only needs to be set out for one particular craft, not all crafts at once. And if you don’t want your children to play TOO physically indoors, then encourage some music and dancing instead.
Once the zones are set up you will need to encourage your children to play in each one and not just play in one area. How you encourage this will depend on your children, but if they are familiar with these different areas because they regularly go to playgroup or nursery they will happily adapt to that routine at home, with your guidance.
It’s useful to have a timer to hand; anything will do from an egg timer or cooking timer to your phone’s timer for activity timing to encourage play in each area; then reset the timer for the next play area. You might consider using incentives or small rewards for your child to complete activities.
Home doesn’t have the same big space as most early years settings but any garden play, park or covered outside play area is a welcome change. When appropriately dressed for outside play, most children will stay outside for ages!
Then they’ll be ready to come indoors for a snack and some quiet time with CBeebies.