View Full Version : Afternoon activities?

22-11-2013, 12:44 AM
Ok, I've been minding for 18 months, with a very (it seems now) set-in-stone scenario of an activity, snack, activity, story/song time, lunch, nap, school run scenario going on, but now my babies are 2 and a half and no longer napping after lunch. I am running out of activities!! As a result they are doing lots more free-play (which I'm not averse to) but it feels very unstructured and I don't know how to proceed. Does anyone have any ideas of how I can harness the energy that is building?! Left to their own devices, they will role-play to kingdom come, which is lovely but they can get a bit 'squabbly' over the roles (I'd like to introduce more costumes, but am stuck for cost-effective options) We are very mark-making heavy - we have a lovely home-made pen(cil) caddy that comes out from 7am til 7pm but we are 'craft'-light, if that makes sense?! We have glue and scissors in the caddy but they mainly use these on reams and reams of paper as I rarely have enough ideas/recycled materials to do something more 'meaty'. Any advice or ideas for making our afternoons more productive/fun/interesting? I follow blogs such as theimaginationtree and redtedart but always look on them too late to organise materials/the seasons/my mind to engage the children.... Any comments welcome :)

22-11-2013, 07:49 AM
I use Pinterest and they are an amazing source Of activity ideas. Lots of sticking, and using recycled materials. With Xmas on the way there are loads you could do. We are just starting to make Xmas paper wreaths, using cereal boxes and old wrapping paper!! Paper plates are also a great tool, you can use them to make snowmen, Christmas window scenes, baubles, and so on... We made a lovely weather sign yesterday that I found on Pinterest,


Gillian Haywood
22-11-2013, 08:10 AM
I use the afternoons to "get snuggly " I settle the baby for a nap then have a tidy up ready for after school whilst my 2's and 3's have Cbeebies on...I gather up quiet activities ie, threading, duplo, story books, dollies and clothes box, colander and pipe cleaners.....and we move into the front room where the children know we use as our "quiet room" and we all play on the rug together. I find the children are settled after using up energy in the morning so are able to concentrate more and having me all to themselves for this time reading stories, helping thread buttons, cards lying on my tummy building etc....its lovely especially in the winter months.....sometimes we sit at the kitchen table and do playdoh tea parties for our dollies/teddies... Or I put a sheet over the kitchen table gather books and torches and we have story time and song time in our den. I find that only having a chosen few activities at this time focuses their attention and Im more chilled not having to split myself over lots of activities.

22-11-2013, 08:22 AM
What really helps me when I'm stuck for a craft idea is instead of trawling through website after website I get google images up. Think of what Id like to do ie snow, winter, flowers, dinosaurs...anything really, I get ideas from the children, either their interests or something spontaneous that they would like and then put dinosaur crafts, snow crafts preschool in google images and It usually comes up with some great ideas. (I just use it for looking, I don't click on the image as although I have a good security I only ever visit trusted sites and you can never tell where the images go)
Its also good for the children because they are learning that information can come from the internet.

I too have a (sort of) strict routine with snack, craft, play, lunch, nap/rest and sch run and toddler groups some mornings. My afternoons 1-3pm are usually made up of free play (lots of roleplay) , playdoh, free painting, jigsaws etc. but we do sometimes do a craft, just depends on what time we have

22-11-2013, 08:24 AM
Mine are loving play dough, I've got a box full of smaller pieces that make monsters, funny eyes, wings, clawes etc and they Will play with this for ages. We enjoy sticking too, anything that involves lots of glue!

22-11-2013, 02:47 PM
My posts never seem to come back to the New Post list :(

22-11-2013, 08:30 PM
Thanks all! Feeling a bit more enthusiastic and armed now, lovely ideas. I think I will try to harness their love of role-play into more story-based acting as will get a bit of quiet time in with a story sack. And love the idea of using Pinterest and Google images - although there would still be the risk that I get sucked into the internet by all the amazing things that people do! Thanks again x

22-11-2013, 08:42 PM
Get a tuff spot tray. SO useful.

Fill it with pasta shapes for sorting or necklace making.
threading cotton reels or big buttons
play dough
potato printing
build a den with blankets and cushions
build a car out of a big box
shaving foam

It is really hard to get organised with activities sometimes, it's full on isn't it, but even if the activity only last ten or twenty minutes it is stretching the children's imagination. I would then clear up whilst they carry on with free play or have half an hour of c beebies. Good luck x x