Kid Activities
1000's of Ideas for Childcare Professionals & Teachers!

Why Don't Some Activities Work?

September 1, 2011 01:02 by Barbara Shelby

 

 

So you think that kids may be doing a great variety of activities at other programs--but they just don't work at your site?

 

That Just Doesn't Work Here is a phrase that is all too common to avoid change. Other versions of this statement could be:

• The children in this program only want to_______

• My kids arent interested in anything else.

• It's different here.

•The older kids just want to sit and do nothing.

 _______________________

Quality school-age programs are designed to meet the needs of  children. How can the activity in question be adjusted to meet those needs and interests? Consider the following statements. Can one of these be the reason That it Just Doesn't Work Here?

1. Same-old-same-old.

  • Making a hanging skeleton at Halloween is fun if it's the first time, but is it still stimulating when you're in the fourth grade and you've made one every year?

2.  Not informing all the children of upcoming events, in a timely manner.

  • Be sure all the children are aware of upcoming events.
  • Advertise and inform in postings, newsletters, talks, in the daily schedule of events and information center.

3.  Failure to build excitement and anticipation! 

  • Post and count down the days to the activity sign-up day. This builds anticipation.
  • Staff needs to display enthusiasm for innovative endeavors to work.

4.  Not including the children in planning. Ask the kids what they want!

  • Knowing what YOUR children like will ensure that they will want to attend your school-age program.
  • Including children in planning also may encourage them to try new things.

 5.  Not getting to know YOUR kids!

  • All children are unique. Building rapport with each child will help you plan a curriculum with their interests in mind. 
  • Children may say that they only want to color, play outdoors or in the gym; however, getting to know them as individuals will help provide quality programming based on their individuality.

6. Failing to pre-plan.

  • Pre-planning curriculum ensures that activities will be scheduled and facilitated as intended.
  • Pre-planning allows for continuity with a variety of choices.
  • Pre-planning lessens the likelihood of last-minute scrambling.
  • Pre-planning allows staff time to organize materials and to have a say in what they do.

 7.  Not being ready before activities begin.

  • Staff should understand the directions of the project.
  • If an art or craft is involved, a pre-made sample is recommended. This sample is only a visual goal---which the children can adapt to their own personal vision.
  • If possible, pre-test scientific experiments and cooking projects.
  • All supplies and centers should be ready and set-up before any activity is scheduled to start.
  • Not being ready causes:
    • Long transitions and waning enthusiasm.
    • Unnecessary stress.
    • Possibility of behavioral challenges due to waiting.

8.  An activity that is either too young for the older children or too challenging for the  younger child.

  • Example: A game of Duck, Duck, Goose, would not appeal to most fifth graders.

9.  Activities or meetings that are held too long to sustain interest.

10. The #1 reason for a creative (or any) activity failing is the lack of consistent follow-through.

  • If something such as a School-Age store is to be open the last Wednesday of each month, then it needs to be open on that scheduled day. 
  • If a new and different Activity of the Week is to be scheduled each week, then that new activity must be on the agenda as promised. 
  • If a club meeting is scheduled every Tuesday at 4:00…then that is when the club meeting is held.

Children lose faith and interest when planned events aren't held consistently. Nothing kills creative programming faster than failure to follow through with the proposed agenda. Consider then, how program structure may be leading to mistaken beliefs and assumptions such as: The children in this program only want to play in the gym or go outside! or...That Just Doesn't Work Here!

Barbara Shelby~Tip page published in school-age-note of the day, April 2007

_____________________________


When Kid are Bored

July 22, 2011 22:54 by Barbara Shelby

What's Behind Children Saying:
 "I'm Bored?"

1. First, look at your program---is it stimulating where children will not be bored? Do you address the needs of the whole child; do they have enough to do?  Can they choose from: Art, crafts, science/nature, music, gym, outdoors, community service, RAK, cultural diversity, clubs and classes, dramatic play, fine motor, and so on? 

Honestly evaluate your program; if it is lacking -- meet with your co-workers and offer curricula with more variety and choices. Meet the interests and needs of the children!
 
2. Second, ask yourself if the child is seeking attention? If this is the case, notice, pay attention, and listen.  Give attention to appropriate behavior whenever you can. Sometimes a short conversation or some one-on-one attention is all the child needs.
 
3. Next, is there something the child wants to do---but for some reason just can't at this time?  Often when a child says, “I’m bored,” You can say, "Are you bored", or is there something you’d like to be doing now…that you can't?” You may be surprised when you hear, “Yes. I want to be on the computer, and I’m number five.” I’ve been in this position a few times over the years; each time I've asked, the child looks surprised and then responds, “Yes, I want to________."

4. Last, some kids just haven’t learned how to make decisions or entertain themselves. Our children live in a world of constant external stimulation; they are overscheduled where they go from home to school-age care to class, and back to SAC. THEN… there are the sports, dance, music, dinner, homework, and a multitude of other things thrown in.

They haven’t had time to figure out that “doing nothing and just vegging out" is O.K. Help them learn their rhythm, rhyme, and reason. When you feel this may be the case with a child, you can help them along by asking, "What kind of mood are you in?  Do you feel like being slow?... Fast?... In-between?"  Get them to think about what and how they are feeling. The goal is to teach children to find things to do on their own--to relax and reflect -- to figure out what THEY like to do!

   • Suggestion: Put together a very long eye-catching list (in large type) of all the activities that are easily available in your program. You should be able to come up with more than 50 ideas. You can ask the children if they looked at the list for something to do. 

 • Read note below from Tasha Palmer/California and Click for a sample

___________________________

 7/27/09 A really good idea...from Tasha Palmer who directs a program in California.

She wrote: My kids and I sat down one day and created a list of things that kids can do in the program when they are bored. It started out as one child claiming to be bored. Then it became a challenge. We came up with 100 things by the end of the year. The kids were really creative!

Address the above points and you'll seldom hear again, "I'm bored".

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Barbara Shelby
Training, Program Assessments & Consulting


SAC Program Activity Reminder List!

June 21, 2009 22:03 by Barbara Shelby

 I'm Bored! (This list of ideas goes with the I'm Bored Tip page

I believe that something like the BELOW long list of activity ideas is a GOOD TOOL to post on a program wall.

• When a child says, I don’t know what to do, after talking to them a bit, you can ask if they checked out the list for some ideas of what they feel like doing.

Additionally, this list serves as a reminder to staff members of activities that could easily be accomodated! 

And third, when anyone passes your posted areas-they may think -- Hey! They do a lot of stuff here! (Of course the list is in addition to having a monthly activity calendar posted) See the below List for a sample...

__________________________________________________

HEY LOOK!!! Don’t Know What to Do?

Ask one of the caregivers, maybe you can do something from below…

1.  HOW ABOUT THE ACTIVITY OF THE WEEK?
2.  PLAY WITH SOMEONE YOU NEVER PLAYED  WITH  BEFORE--MAKE A NEW FRIEND.
3.  PLAY A FAVORITE GAME.
4.  LEARN A NEW GAME.
5.  DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PLAY CHESS?
6.  COLOR A PICTURE…
7.  DRAW A PICTURE…
8.  WRITE A STORY…
9.  LISTEN TO MUSIC…
10. DANCE... EXERCISE TO MUSIC…
11. HELP A CAREGIVER.
12. DO WE HAVE ANY MELTY BEADS? MAKE A  REFRIGERATOR MAGNET—GET CREATIVE.
13. ASK IF YOU CAN FACE PAINT.
14. MAKE A FRIENDSHIP BRACELET…
15. MAKE ANOTHER FOR SOMEONE ELSE…
16. MAKE A YARN DOLL…
17. DESIGN SOMETHING WITH POPSICLE STICKS.
18. MAKE BRACELETS WITH THE BEADS.
19. DO SOME MACARONI ART OR A COLLAGE.
20. HAVE YOU EVER MADE A GOD’S – EYE?
21. DO SOMETHING WITH THE YOUNGER KIDS:
     • READ THEM A STORY.
     • PLAY A GAME.
     • TEACH THEM SOMETHING.
22. START A PUZZLE.
23. READ A BOOK (WE HAVE SOME!)
24. WRITE A LETTER TO A FRIEND OR RELATIVE.
25. DO SOME MAD-LIBS. 
     • DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE?  ASK!
26. PLAY IN GYM:
     • LEARN A NEW GAME.
     • TEACH SOMEONE A GAME!
27. HOW’S THE WEATHER FOR GOING OUTDOORS? CHOOSE FROM SWING--JUMP ROPE--PLAY CATCH--HOPSCOTCH-- PLAY SOME BASKETBALL OR TAG...THINK OF MORE!
28. DRAW ON A WHITE-BOARD /BLACK BOARD.
29. DRAMATIC PLAY OF: DRESS-UP, RESTAURANT, BANK, FAVORITE MOVIE, OFFICE, STORE, SCHOOL, GOVERNMENT, TV PROGRAM OR NEWS AND  WEATHER (WHAT ELSE?)
30. MAKE A COLLAGE, CARD, OR POSTER (ASK FOR  THE  CARD  BOX)
ANY ONE SICK, HAVING A BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY, BABY, OR WEDDING?
31. PLAY A CARD GAME. ANY ONE FOR UNO, SPOONS OR WAR?
32. THINK OF A NEW CLUB. . . . .
33. TRY ONE OF OUR CLUBS…
34. MAKE A MAGAZINE COLLAGE…
35. DESIGN A FUN WALL MURAL...GET A FRIEND OR TWO AND PUT IT UP!
36. DO THIS WEEK’S CRAFT…
37. HOW ABOUT PLAY DOUGH?
38. IS IT ABOUT TIME TO SEE DVD OR VIDEO?
39. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME WE MADE GLARCH, GOOP, GAK, OR FLUBBER?
40. GET A JUMP START ON HOMEWORK.
41. START A JOURNAL…
42. TAPE A PRETEND RADIO SHOW. INTERVIEW, OR  MAKE UP A STORY--HAVE FUN LISTENING TO IT.
43. MAKE A PAPER PLATE, SOCK OR BAG PUPPET.
44. CREATE WITH THE LEGOS & BLOCKS; MAKE A  LEGO CITY!
45. TALK WITH A FRIEND.
46. THINK OF SOMETHING WE CAN EASILY COOK HERE & EAT!
47. GET SOME FRIENDS AND PUT TOGETHER A PLAY. PLAN IT...THEN WRITE, PRODUCE, MAKE COSTUMES AND PERFORM IT.  HOW ABOUT A SKIT?
48. WRITE SOMETHING FOR OUR NEWSLETTER.
49. TELL SOME JOKES; DO SOME TONGUE TWISTERS; HAVE A SING-A-LONG
50. WE HAVE MANY DIFFERENT PAINTING THINGS-- LET US KNOW IF YOU’D LIKE TO EXPERIMENT.
51. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME WE HAD A PARTY?  LET’S PLAN ONE. HOW ABOUT ONE FOR THE MORNING?
52. HOW ABOUT GETTING A LIMBO LINE GOING?
53. DO SOME TIN FOIL ART.
54. LISTEN TO MUSIC, AND DRAW OR PAINT TO HOW IT MAKES YOU FEEL.
55. HOW ABOUT A MAGAZINE SCAVENGER HUNT?
56. HAS IT BEEN AWHILE SINCE WE’VE HAD BINGO?
57. LOOK THROUGH THE ACTIVITY BOOKS--PLAN  SOME THINGS FOR SAC TO DO!
58. THINK ABOUT BEING A SAC PHOTOGRAPHER OR  NEWS PERSON.
59. WRITE SOME NICE THING IN THE “WHO WHO'S  BOOK"
60. PLAN A TREASURE HUNT OR SCAVENGER HUNT  (OUTSIDE, INSIDE, OR MAGAZINE)
61. IS THERE SOMETHING YOU CAN TEACH US & THEN WE CAN TEACH THE OTHER KIDS?
62. TRACE YOUR BODY ON A BIG PIECE OF PAPER--- FILL IT WITH THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF. (YOU’LL  NEED A PARTNER TO TRACE YOU)
63. START AN “ADD ON” STORY---EITHER WRITEN  OR  VERBAL. (YOU START A COUPLE SENTENCES,  AND STOP IN THE MIDDLE. THE NEXT PERSON  FINISHES THE SENTENCE, STARTS ANOTHER, AND  SO ON)
64. WITH SOME FRIENDS, MAKE UP SOME COMMERCIALS ABOUT REAL OR IMAGINED  PRODUCTS.
65. ARE THERE ANY JOBS AROUND HERE THAT COULD  USE SOME EXTRA HANDS TO GET DONE?
66. ASK FOR A MEETING TO PLAN THINGS. WE WANT  YOU TO HAVE A FUN TIME! 
67. LET’S PLAN A FAMILY NIGHT! RUN SOME LAPS, VEG-OUT, DAY DREAM, DO SOMETHING NICE FOR SOMEONE, AND ON, AND ON, AND ON...

YOUR TURN, WHAT CAN YOU THINK OF?

 

 Compiled by Barbara Shelby

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