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Family Day Care Activities

by Erica Loop

Roughly 70 percent of moms and dads send their young children to some type of day care, according to the child development website KidsHealth.org. While plenty of different kinds of centers and programs exist, a family day care can offer a smaller, more home-like environment. If you operate a family center, or place your child in one, an array of activities can keep the kids busy.

Environment

Unlike a school-based program or child care center, family day cares provide a less formal learning environment. Typically held in family homes, these programs use the house space as classrooms and activity areas. Because of the nature of the family day care setting, activities that might work well in a larger facility won't work as well in a school-based program. For example, a preschool might have a gym or a room big enough for indoor athletic activities such as basketball or even riding tricycles. On the other hand, a family day care might only use one living room space for all activities combines, not allowing room for larger motor games or lessons.

Capacity and Activities

While a school-based program might have multiple classrooms that have 20 or more children, home day cares are typically not allowed as many children. For example, the state of California notes in its licensing regulation highlights that small family child care homes can only have four infants or six children and large home cares can have a maximum of 14 kids. This might make it easier, in some ways, to plan and deliver activities. With a smaller number of children at hand, each little one can get more attention. This means activities such as more intricate crafts might work well.

The Home Environment and Mess

Activities at a family day care are often bound by the mess factor. As an actual home environment, the family's living space might double as the child care area. Home care providers might not want to ruin their own personal furniture or room decor elements such as carpeting with messy activities. Overly wet projects such as finger-painting or water table play might not work well in a home day care. Nor will crafts that involve lots of glue, glitter or permanent markers.

Activities

Easy activities for the family home care setting include those that make good use of limited space and keep cleanup to a minimum. Fine motor manipulative activities such as building blocks or stacking cups work well for older infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Art activities that involve low-mess mediums such as crayons, colored pencils or cut paper shapes can also easily fit into this type of care setting. Keeping indoor gross motor activities at a minimum is often a necessity, but home day cares with a fenced in outdoor space can try having the kids toss a ball around, play kick ball or even use a slide and climber set.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

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