Setting up your indoor space is one of the most exciting parts of running a home daycare. Having a designated indoor play space is important because it allows the children to feel free to explore in a safe environment. My indoor play space is divided into sections to make it easier to clean up and store toys, and the children enjoy the consistency of the placement of the toys. I rotate the toys out on a monthly basis, as the children enjoy using the same toys to continue their play and exploration.
I have a sensory bin that I change out every few months. It allows the children to explore different materials and learn through sensation and touch. They practice their language, fine motor skills, problem solving and more. It’s an essential area to have in an indoor play space. Check out my other post for some ideas for fantastic sensory bins!
Dramatic Play Area
Think back to when you were a kid. What areas did you enjoy the most? For me, it was anywhere that had a tent or house and a play kitchen. I was a huge fan of imaginative games like “pretend house” and “school” so I wanted to create a space with the proper materials that allows the children to use their imagination to create games using these props.
Kitchen sets with play food and dishes become house components or they would also make a perfect restaurant. Child sized table and chairs allow them to have a place that just their size to continue their play. Dress up clothes, hats, costume jewelry and props allow them to dress the part for their game. Baby dolls, barbies and stuffed animals become children and pets in their games. A pop up tent, tunnels, cardboard boxes or fort become a home or a den or a camping game. The possibilities are endless!
Block Building Area
Having a space for them to create using blocks is crucial. LEGO, megablocks, Lincoln log blocks, cardboard boxes, sticks and other loose parts and more become staples to imaginative games. It also allows for them to create spaces for little people, army men or hot wheel cars.
Loose parts, boxes, sensory items and more become exciting tools for older children. They can create habitats, shelters, art pieces and more. I have mostly younger toddlers, so I keep it simple with crayons, toddler scissors and crayons. This allows them to take control and create their own artistic masterpiece!
Gross Motor Toys
I currently have two gross motor activities in my space: a small indoor climber and a trampoline. These prove handy on rainy or super cold days because it gives the children an outlet to burn some steam. Having sufficient floor space is important because it gives them a place to run or move. It lets them push their cars or ride on the ride on toys, it gives you room to create forts or games like hopscotch that require the space. Kids need space to be creative and have fun!
Reading and Quiet Area
It’s essential that the children have a play to go if they’re feeling quiet or overwhelmed. A book corner provides them with the materials to invest their attention into their language and literacy skills, as well as fine motor and problem solving skills.
Including things like puzzles and “game” type books like “Look and Find” or “Where’s Waldo” can give them that opportunity to enjoy some private time but still have the same amount of fun. Make sure to create a space where the books and puzzles are accessible, and provide them with child size furniture where they can be comfortable with their reads.
In conclusion, having designated areas within your home care environment allows for the growth of all areas of child development. It also allows you to remain organized and help the children understand which activities are meant for each area. Have fun with decorating and designing your spaces and the children will thrive with your creation!