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  1. #11
    Euphoric !
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    Free play daycare here. I have a ton of toys but my space is large. Not everything comes out everyday. My kids love free play. They have excellent imaginations and I love to watch them play!

    I prefer a child sized table with kid chairs myself.

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  3. #12
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    we free play a lot too, I find most kids don't get enough time at home to use their imagination. I have a lot of toys, but I've been transitioning away from the typical toys most kids have at home. My goal is to have all open ended toys, and nothing that requires batteries!

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  5. #13
    Euphoric !
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    I'm like you superfun. We have free play here but most of my toys have to be played with, not just buttons to push and batteries. Those kind of toys drive me crazy tbh lol (but I do have them) I'd say I'm half and half of free play and structured play. I consider art, circle time, story time, music time, baking, play dough, sensory play all structured though because we tidy up and than do these type of activities together and is usually lead by me. I like and need structure in my day to feel like it wasn't a complete waste of a day though lol.

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  7. #14
    Euphoric !
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    Free play is so incredibly important at this age! I think free play gets a bad rap because it can be perceived as laziness on the caregivers part. But it isn't. There is thought put into what toys are out when, how toys are set up, where they are set up. The caregiver is still available to extend the play and expand their knowledge...it's just child directed play and learning instead of adult led.

    I have chunks of free play each day. Our day is structured though, we have a routine and pattern to the day, with chunks of free play within it. Kids don't get bored and into trouble because they are not left for hours on end. There are smaller mini lessons, circle times etc., dispersed throughout the day.

    It is through that free play that children solidify all that they see, hear and do. Right now I have young 2yr olds that are endlessly spending their free play time cleaning up fake pee and poop off the floor because they are continually trying to train the dolls and animals to use the potty. But the darn animals keep waiting too long to run to the potty. You know how much cow poop we've had in this house?? I laugh because the cow poop follows us to the grocery store and the darn cow pooped all over the Home Show last weekend because my daughter brought it with us...she was on her hands and knees cleaning up pee and poop all over the place. The trademen were cracking up as my daughter cleaned poop off their show floor telling them that her cow pooped and didn't get to the potty in time.

    Free play rocks!!

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  9. #15
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    Yep, sounds the same 5LM. Except lately story time just happens randomly during free play for whichever kids want to read with me. We eat around the same time each day, art happens in the morning when they're done free play. We haven't had a lot of time to do much of anything else, because we're all so happy to be outside and find puddles. Who needs toys when you've got puddles right?

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  11. #16
    Euphoric !
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    Lee bee, I agree with you too! If done right, free play is awesome

    Unfortunately, I have worked with far too many staff who used free play as an excuse to be lazy!!

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  13. #17
    Shy
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    lee bee good lord that is hilarious!

  14. #18
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    I strongly believe in a playbased learning environment. That's part of why I am doing this. In my opinion, they are kids. And you only get to be kids once. They have their whole lives ahead of them full of structure and learning. This is the time for fun!

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  16. #19
    Euphoric !
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    I was not saying free play is bad. I said that I find that a day home not need a whack of toys and that I find, a whack of toys not keep children entertained if that's all they have. Free play all day is not something I do - if others choose to, that's their choice. My personal experience is that children get fed up when a long day is filled with doing same thing and that boredom not relived by having lots of options to do same thing with. For me, changing up activity often is key in making sure children not get fed up, especially in long winter months.

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  18. #20
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    I guess I have to agree with everybody. You do what works for your group.

    There is a lot of free-play here, I have lots of toys but that also doesn't mean the kids don't get bored too. I always try to look at the daily routine as flexible and change it to suit the needs and styles of the group I have. When I first opened, everything was scheduled, kind of like what Suzie describes. It really worked for that group. But after a couple of years, the group changed, new kids and others got older. And their schedules changed too. So originally, all my kids would be here before 8am. So they had lots of time to play with their friends before snack and going outside. They would tidy while I was making lunch. Then that stopped working, they wouldn't tidy anymore, they just wanted to play, and it took me about a week to realize it was because they were all coming after 830am, some right at 930 for snack. They had no time to play with their friends before snack and going outside. So I changed the schedule to meet them where they were. It happened to be winter so I thought we would go out after lunch instead. That worked. They had time to play after snack in the morning and went back to tidying before lunch because they'd had the chance to play with their friends.

    I still plan this way today, when I had 5 toddlers, they needed more structure and more hands-on supervision. Today, my group is so awesome, I can sit and watch them play for 1.5 hours (like today cuz it was raining) and they had the freedom to decide what they want to do. They painted and did puzzles and fed all the dollies too. We were supposed to have our first picnic of the year today but with the thunderstorm, that didn't happen so I set up the play table in the playroom and they ate in there instead.

    I don't have a big house either, but the three main rooms are accessible to all the kids, livingrom, kitchen and playroom. They can run around too, that takes up a lot of their time.

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