Running out of ideas!

Lindsay - posted on 07/28/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )




Hi everyone, I have been running a dayhome for about 6 months now. I have in total 7 kids but I never have more then 5 kids in a day and even that doesn't happen very often. I have two 3 year old girls that I am having an issue with!! They don't seem to have an imagination! My own son is 4 and is always asking them to play and they either say no or they go with him and sit there and watch him, he is getting just as frustrated as me! I do playdough, crafts, outside play, coloring and painting...and they do each thing for MAYBE 20 mins if I'm lucky and then they are back sitting on the couch watching the other kids play! I find it so strange that it is both 3 yr old girls and they are not even sisters! Any ideas or suggestions?? I am going crazy with this and I spend my whole 8 hour day stressed and trying to get these girls to play!!!

Thanks!! And I'm so excited to have found this website it is great!!


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Tiffany - posted on 08/04/2011




Twenty minutes per activity is not atypical or a bad amount of time for a 3yr old. I think it's odd they'd want to just sit on the couch unless that is where you are or if they think they'll get to watch TV. I take care of that by not even having a TV in the area kids are in, well honestly I don't even have one plugged in at all in my home, but that's just me. It sounds like you are heavy on the aesthetic domain, but maybe that's not their thing or maybe they’re bored doing the same things each day.

You could provide blocks or even marshmallows and toothpicks for constructing. Read stories. Create stories as a group and write what they come up with down. Have the kids act out a story as you read it. Provide or be a puppet to introduce an activity/concept/book. Provide a felt boards that extend a story you have read. Have them change the ending of a common fairy tale. Provide props and costumes for dramatic play. Provide prop boxes with materials for dramatic play (hair dresser, restaurant, zoo, pet shop/vet, doctor, hospital, dentist, etc). Sing songs, play kids CDs and let them play instruments along with it (even if it's beans, rice or pennies in water bottles). Let them have a pots and pans band. Provide scarves or ribbons to dance with. Play freeze dance (you turn on music and then when you stop it the kids must freeze in place). Play games and provide puzzles. Provide large tubs for scooping, pouring, dumping, sorting, counting, pattern making and exploratory play (pom-poms, foam shapes, buttons, magnets, flour, sand, are all good options. In the fall fill it with leaves from outside. In the winter fill it with snow. In the summer rocks are fun and in spring flowers are good choices.) Cook and bake with the kids and let them add ingredients and look at the recipe as you read it to them. Let them finger paint or provide water colors to create paintings. Freeze Kool-Aid in ice cube trays with popsicle sticks and let them paint with it. Create a nature collage. Let them cut up magazines. Provide bug homes and magnifying glasses and let them search for bugs. Hold different types of races outside (egg race, fill the water cup, relay, etc.) Set up an obstacle course. Toss balls/bean bags at targets or in buckets. Kick or pass a ball back and forth with the kids. Toss a ball/bean bag in a circle and have each child say something in a category (animals, foods, rhyming words). Provide a balance scale to weigh different objects. Have them measure things with non-standard units (i.e.: how many scarves long is each child or how many leaves long is the stick?). Play shape detectives and search for certain shapes around the house or neighborhood. Graph/chart how many foods of each color there are in the refrigerator. Make goo together and let them play with it. Fill a baby pool with water and foam letters and have them fish for letters with a butterfly net. Provide tricycles, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk. Make them a hopscotch board. Go on a walk and have them pick up litter or search for American flags. Teach them about other countries. Give them a box and see what they do with it. Ask open ended questions. Ask them what they wonder about and record it on index cards. Then ask them how they could find the answer to their questions. Record it and have them try it. Do experiments (sink/float/ what will happen if…) Chart the weather. Make “about me” posters. Fill a jar with items and have them guess how many are in it and then count them out to see how close/far off they were. Have a picnic. Help them create a fort. Have them put on a talent show. Provide a wood working area.

These are just a few ideas and you can find many many more ways to get them engaged and provide stimulation for the kids you care for if you look on the internet.

Melissa - posted on 08/18/2010




I agree, have you talked to the parents? Maybe they know how to get them to interact. Other than that, please don't stress over it. It's not worth it. Do what you can to try and just go on. Show them you can have fun without them and maybe they will eventually join in.

[deleted account]

Hmmmm....I had a temporary 3 yr old girl that was quite similar. I tried not to stress too much about it though. I would let her stand back and watch the other kids if that is what she chose to do. In time, she did start to interact with the other kids a little bit more. Unfortunately, like I said, she was a temporary placement and left before I could see any real results.
Try talking to their parents about it. Let them know what is happening and ask them if they have any advice. Other than that, I wouldn't stress about it anymore. Let them sit there if that is what they choose to do. You've done your best to involve them. The rest is up to them. Eventually, they will find their groove in your home!

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