Friday, October 10, 2014

Notes From A Daycare Provider: When Things Don't Go As Planned

The most time consuming part of being a daycare provider is the planning. Planning meals, snacks, activities, making sure art supplies are stocked, toy rotations, and more. Planning and getting the daily activities ready takes the most time. I try to find activities that are interesting, educational, fun, and acceptable for all ages of kids (I work with kids ages 2-6 right now). Sometimes kids LOVE these activities and it becomes an all day event. There's been a few that have been turned into a week long activity because the kids used their imaginations, played together well, and turned it into their own adventure. Sometimes only a few enjoy the activities and participate. Other times everyone loves it and gets involved in their own way. Then there are the activities I think they'll love that turn out to be a big bust.

That happened this week for the first time in a while. Last year when the five of us (hubs, me, and the minis) carved pumpkins, I saved the guts, goobers, whatever you call it, from the inside of the pumpkin. I kept it in a Tupperware container and the kids played with it off and on for a week. So this year I had the bright idea to cut open the top of the pumpkin and let the kids have at it.

They could pull out all of the gooey grossness, play with it, smoosh it, pick out the seeds, play with the seeds, whatever they wanted. I cleared out the kitchen (thank god for tile floors). I set out ice cream scoops (so they could scoop out the pumpkin guts), pans, muffin tins, the whole shebang. The kids came into the kitchen, reluctantly attempted to scoop out "the orange stuff," and then announced "I'm done." All of them. At the same time. Less than a minute into what was suppose to be our all day activity. Shit.

I got down and offered to help them scoop it out. They stood in the doorway of the kitchen and watched me. They asked a few questions "how does it feel?" "Can we smell it?" "I think it will eat our hands." I kept scooping it out for five minutes until I was asked "will you just play with it for us?" Um, no. The activity was done for the day.

I quickly scrambled to come up with a few new activities for the rest of the morning. We made our paper plate spiders (which was suppose to be Monday morning's craft), played instruments, and got out the building blocks to build castles. It all worked out, the kids were kept happy, and I was left confused. We had spoken for weeks about dissecting our daycare pumpkin. The kids spoke among themselves about playing with the pumpkin goop. Yet on this day they were so not interested.

I had envisioned a day spent taking out the pumpkin insides, baking the seeds for a snack, having the kids put together one of their odd concoctions (it's pumpkin muffins, then it's being used as rain) and putting their creativity to the test (they'd play restaurant with it or pretend to cook with it). It would be a great sensory activity. We could read our "From Seeds To Pumpkin" book and we'd talk all about it and tie the activity and book together.

I'm lucky that most of our activities do go so smoothly for most of the kids. But there are those activities and days when the kids keep me on toes. I have to quickly improvise and think outside of the box. Keep them happy, interested, and learning as much as possible. It's all in a day's work as a daycare provider.