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

Get Creative: Extend Play Activities!

February 21, 2010 00:09 by Barbara Shelby


As the Creativity Activity Category introduces-
Being creative in childcare programs is presenting ideas that are original, resourceful, imaginative, inspired, artistic, inventive, ingenious, innovative, productive, having vision, freshness, novel, or unique.

When planning curriculum, one of the MOST creative ideas is to build and expand  an activity! Too often a craft or art project is created by the child--and that's it. It's over very quickly!  It will go home with the child and then may stay on the family refrigerator awhile---and then it's retired to the trash heap or a 'memory box' where it may not ever be seen again.

Children often put a lot of time and effort into their projects. Shouldn't we honor those efforts? Adding extension ideas to  art and craft projects that are attempted by children is one way to do that. (Not to mention that it also helps us in planning activities) Expanding on original projects will foster imagination and go far in shaping individuals who think outside the box! Children just may get into the habit of..."Hmmmm, what can I do with that?!"

The ideas presented below are  examples of building on  simple craft, activity and art projects!  If familiar, you may have seen them in other categories about the site.


MAKING PET ROCKS has been around for quite awhile! It's still a fun idea for children who have never made one. Don't stop with making the 'Pet Rock' but continue with some of the extension ideas!

PET ROCKS... Find smooth, flat or round rocks. Be sure to clean off any dirt or sand and dry completely before starting. Paint with acrylic paints. Decorate faces by using google eyes, yarn for hair, markers, glitter, and any other tidbits you like.

Extension Ideas:
Investigate what type of rock your pet is. What are the three main types of rock? Discuss their characteristics and give examples of the different types. Photo from


  • Write down its funniest sayings
  • Dress it up for a costume party
  • Send it on a holiday/vacation
  • Write it a bedtime story
  • Make it a form of transportation or a bed/house/etc.
  • Give it a name
  • Give it a birthday party and a present-Give all the Pet Rocks a Birthday Party! 
  • Take it for a walk in the park and write what the two of you did
  • Have a picnic
  • Teach it a trick
  • Write out a word bank/haiku/pet journal
  • Prepare it to go to a class such as dance class/gymnastics/playgroup/sports day
  • Send it for a sleepover with a friend
  • Write out a menu sheet for its food
  • Photograph it/blog about it
  • Make a scrapbook page about it
  • Inspired by My Science Program


 Yes--we also---Make Musical Instruments! (Homemade and Recycled Material Instruments Here) But...



1. Start a PROGRAM GREEN BAND! (Green-because it's made from 'recycled' materials) Invite children to join the musical group ...OR...
2. Form a MARCHING BAND!...OR...
3. Have a PARADE!!!


  • Practice, practice, practice…then put on a show for a school assembly, a few of the classrooms and/or a parents’ night!
  • How about the Marching Band or parade?
  • You can also take the group "on the road" and entertain an assisted living facility or other community group.
  • Show children how to play the instruments.
  • Play along with a piece of music---Start out by playing some FAMILIAR SONGS with which they can play their instruments. (Maybe sing with them too?)
  • Encourage youth to listen for the beat of the song and match their strokes to the tempo of the music.
  • Give children CHOICE. Before they choose their final "Band Instrument --- let them play from a variety.
  • Put on some lively music and have child practice the instrument. Because it will be loud--you could practice outside when weather is nice!
  • Consider Choosing an instrument for yourself and join the children's' Instrument Parade!
  • It's not enough to just make the instruments - Now have some fun with them!!!

Visit the  Music in our Schools and After School Programs Category for some great Ideas! 


 KIDS ALL PLAY WITH MATCH BOX CARS! How about introducing a little physics into it--and move the cars around? 

•  Ask kids to predict how far cars will roll. Mark predictions with tape and measure the actual distances

• Help children set up ramps at different angles to roll the Matchbox cars. 

  Compare. Change the length and angles of car ramps and compare results. 


  • Ask open-ended questions like "I wonder what might happen if..." or "If we change the temperature (or size, or shape,  or location), what do you think will happen?"
  • Answer their questions by asking, "How might we find out?" Encourage predictions.
  • Offer materials for experiments. Test out ideas. Discuss results. Ask more open-ended questions.
  • Teachers do not need to have all the answers. What you need is curiosity, a little planning, some interesting "stuff," and pleasure in watching young scientists develop.

These ideas are from the Science Category. There are also simple introduction and tip ideas for Biology, Horticulture and more...



We have all made puppets with kids! Bag puppets, sock puppets, paper plate puppets-- and more!

Make puppets but don't stop there! There are so many activities that can go along with making the puppets. Besides the actual production of a puppet show--there is the writing. Have kids write an original play or adapt a favorite short story or chapter from a book.

If you don't have a puppet theater--MAKE ONE from a large box or cloth draped over a table. Then... PRODUCE, PRCATICE, PERFORM! Decide if the production will be for each other, classrooms, the principal and some teachers, or at a parents' event.

Remember too--Children use puppets to say and do things that they may feel too inhibited to say or do themselves. Just as with all drama, you may be surprised when you see some of your 'shy children' doing well. They are NOT playing themselves, but playing someone else! Because of this-there may be a comfort level that is not often achieved.

If you are putting on a 'production' you could also make posters, invitations, and well as fill the position of hosts, back-stage help and announcers.  Much more beyond the making of simple puppets!


THEMES! Themes and interest clubs are the greatest of all ways to extend ideas. There are tons on this site--some very unique!

 With a theme so many ideas can be intergrated. Topics are explored in depth. For example a POPCORN not only make popcorn and maybe see a movie-- but play games, dabble in arts and crafts, try some science and more.


Be sure to often incorporate a day, week, or month-long theme into your programming! It may be a little more up-front work--but then as long as the theme last, your days are planned.



TONGUE TWISTERS! When done right you can have tons of fun with them... don't just say them, try some of these ideas during transitions, down time, drama club exercises and practicing pronunciation! You'll find lots of twisters HERE... laugh and have a good time with them!



What can you do with tongue twister beside say them???

  • Illustrate various tongue twisters...
  • Write a book of tongue twisters...
  • Have a tongue twister contest between groups in your program...
  • Have youth write twisters that will stump other groups...

TONGUE TWISTER BEE: Get twisted without getting tongue-tied.

  • Think of a tongue twister, like "Unique New York," "Don't Drop Double Drum Sticks," or "Sally Sells Seashells by the Seashore".
  • The first person says the tongue twister once. The next person has to say it twice, the third person three times and so on.
  • Keep going until someone's tongue gets twisted.
  • Think of another twister and start again.
    Source: Ivy of Boothbay Harbor, ME

***IDEA: Try to say the tongue twisters with tongues stuck under the lower lip, or stuck out!!!

Also see the 'FIRST LETTER OF YOUR NAME' GAME... while at the 'Tongue Twister Category'.


The above are ideas to get you going! Check out other ideas on the site... You may also be interested in Creative Ideas Page 1 and 2...

Would love to hear how you build and extend your program's simple projects! Send via the 'Contact' page