View Full Version : Activities all day yes or no !

09-05-2014, 02:40 PM
I go out with the kids every morning either to toddler groups, soft play or friends houses and after lunch and sleeps I tend to just let the kids have free play and ime their to guide them if needed. We do crafts and follow kids interests occasionally but not every day.
Why do I feel so guilty about not doing enough with the kids in the afternoon. It makes me question wether I should be doing this job? I often wonder if it's because there is so much emphasise on the EYFS. I feel guilty if ime not setting up crafts etc. I feel that as a childminder I should be doing things with the kids all the time, similar to being in a nursery and I can't stop questioning myself about this job.
when I read other posts and see what some people do I just think where do they get the energy and enthusiasm. Maybe that's the problem, ime not into it as much as I should be.
Does anybody else feel like this or is it just me?

09-05-2014, 02:50 PM
The Eyfs says we need a balance of adult led / planned and child initiated / free play ... it's important children can potter around and learn to play by themselves ... and it's important we guide them to support their learning.

It's a constant process - watch, listen, plan, support, watch... :D

09-05-2014, 03:22 PM
We all do this job differently and as long as you are planning some structured activities it's fine. I for example might plan the activity of rice play. I will let them explore it on there own first and see what they do (free play) I may then sit down with them for a while and try to enhance the play by bringing things in (adult let) so one activity can come into both categories and both is as important as the other. I also like you go out to groups most days. a lot of which ask for our input into the activities. I will therefore give suggestions of activities that I have included in my planning (normally the messy ones to keep my house tidy for a change lol). Takes some of the work out of it but I'm still doing the things I need to do.

09-05-2014, 05:35 PM
Sounds to me you're doing just fine. We can't offer non stop activities and as Sarah said a lot of their development comes through child led play. I find children learn and develop a lot whilst playing with each other. Those times are great for tidying/catching up with something which we are all guilty of at times but if you stop and observe them at play you can see a lot going on.
I get despondent at times thinking I should do more activities and feel I'm not doing enough. At those times I think of a new theme, google lots of crafts around it and create a wall mural of the theme. Eg my jungle theme involved one day painting huge pieces of palm trees, sticking green crepe paper on huge leaves and sticking them on the wall. Another day kids could stick bright feathers on parrots. One day we coloured / painted snakes and monkeys which hung from "vines" slung around the room. We made cookies of dragonflies and snakes. We made jungle camps, read stories about tigers etc. the list is endless and the resulting mural looks amazing - parents love it. Just a suggestion.

09-05-2014, 05:47 PM
I tend to only have one planned activity, and the rest of the day is free play.

A couple of times I have spent a whole week doing nothing with the children. In my planning I wrote 'no planned activities this week to leave time to observe children's interests to aid future planning.' We then spent the week doing what ever the children wanted (mainly building dens out of the sofa cushions and going to the park). This have been some of the most relaxed and constructive weeks I have had.

I think it is really important that children learn to amuse themselves from a young age. I also find lots of free play helps to develop their imaginations.

10-05-2014, 09:49 PM
sounds like your children are getting plenty of stimulation, i wouldnt worry about doing activites every day, i certainly dont and i dont worry about it either! i have recently been on a childminding facebook page and the minders seem to be doing non stop activites/craft, i personally find this totally unnecessary and the children need time to play together without being directed/instructed and told what to do! dont beat yourself up and do what you and your children are happy to do!

hectors house
10-05-2014, 09:55 PM
I sometimes worry that we over entertain the children during the week with Nursery and planned, adult led activities at the childminders - parents complain that the children sometimes say their bored at weekends while not getting 100% adult attention - children need to be able to entertain themselves sometimes to let their parents get on with chores.

11-05-2014, 09:09 AM
The Eyfs says we need a balance of adult led / planned and child initiated / free play ... it's important children can potter around and learn to play by themselves ... and it's important we guide them to support their learning.

It's a constant process - watch, listen, plan, support, watch... :D


Ofsted-wise, I'm struggling to know what to do with this. Are we expected to provide this at each individual setting? A number of my lo's come to me in the afternoons, after a highly-structured preschool, where they do lots of planned stuff and very little free play. I therefore now do most my 'activities' in the mornings, with the ones who don't go to preschool, then have a very freestyle sort of afternoon.

It's a sort of 'holistic' approach to the child's day (ooooh gosh, don't I sound trendy? :rolleyes:) but I can't help thinking it also makes me look reeeeeeeeeeally lazy. :yawning:

My concern is that any inspector coming here in the afternoon would only see me give them lunch, then spend my time helping them put the dressing-up clothes on and picking up Sticklebricks*. :p Hardly impressive stuff, though it seems to be what the children need (though when did that have anything to do with 'educare' expectations? :confused: )

(*Other construction toys are available. :))

11-05-2014, 09:59 AM
(*Other construction toys are available. )
Lol Bunyip you do make me laugh :laughing:

11-05-2014, 10:43 AM
I think if your mindees seem happy and secure then you are doing it right! As long as they can follow their interests knowing you are there to support, I think it is great they are having some 'down time'.

11-05-2014, 04:29 PM
(*Other construction toys are available. )
Lol Bunyip you do make me laugh :laughing:

Hey, on my fees, I simple can't afford a law suit from the Lego corporation. :D

11-05-2014, 06:36 PM
Hey, on my fees, I simple can't afford a law suit from the Lego corporation. :D

Haha! Too true!

watford wizz
11-05-2014, 07:05 PM
Rest, contemplation and relaxation is not wasted time. I have this written in my policies. We have a whole thriving industry of teaching adults how to "switch off" and unwind. I think we should be teaching children how to do this themselves in this constant wirl wind of activity many think they need to progress.

11-05-2014, 07:48 PM
I'm the same, I worry, but I also think (hope) that if questioned I can demonstrate that I plan a balanced day that allows time for them to discover what they like doing, and then do it before I hustle them on to something else! My afternoons are taken up with nap and school run, so free play, or very quick planned activities are the only options!

12-05-2014, 07:25 AM
Thanks for your replies. I don't feel so guilty knowing there is others out there that take a more laid back approach to childminding xx

12-05-2014, 07:59 AM
I attended a start to play course for 2 year olds and the focus was free play. We were told children need a lot more free play with natural materials such as boxes pots pans etc. I don't normally plan activities except for special occasions. That's not to say I don't do any. The older children will ask for painting art craft or baking and I set it up. Some days I can't carry enough activities to them at this stage I cut all activities off by 4.30pm other days they are not at all interested and just want to mull about the house with toys or sometimes ask for a film on. I offer a home to home environment not a pre school one. The after schoolies can be tired and want TV for a while before they are ready or willing to play. Although I have one afterschoolie who has no interest in the TV she only cones on a Friday and tries to pack in as much as she can so I do plan an activity for a Friday afternoon. Last Friday it was planting sunflowers. This didn't take long but thankfully weather was good so they spent the afternoon outside

12-05-2014, 08:52 AM
We'd soon burn out ourselves if we didn't have an ebb and flow type of day (as well as the children) because we work alone we should remember that we also need to slow things down at times during the day for our own health :thumbsup:

12-05-2014, 09:00 AM
Busy mornings and lazy afternoons are what we do here too.

However if you look at your relaxed afternoons properly you will find them very constructive. I see them embedding their learning. Manage to get some lovely observation. Also I may throw in a spontaneous activity. For example, a mindee was playing a hungry hippo type game but was matching the coloured balls to the same colour crab. I then grabbed four bits of coloured card and lots of objects in those colours. We then had a game of placing the matching items on the coloured card. Or we could have tried counting balls or even letting the children search for objects in those colours. Therefore a bit of down time became a structured activity, albeit not planned.