This year, the Week of the Young Child (WOYC) occurs from April 11-17. As many of you know, the WOYC was established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to shed light on the needs of young children and families and to recognize the work of early childhood educators. This year marks the 49th celebration of WOYC! Be a part of this amazing lineage by celebrating in your setting and encouraging families to commemorate the occasion at home. Make the WOYC memorable by celebrating with something special each day! Choose from the following activities, and get the word out by choosing one of NAEYC’s recommended activities for Kick-Off Saturday.
- Survey families about music they listen to at home with their children. Make a playlist of their favorite songs and play it throughout the day.
- Teach the children how to sing a round such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Songs that can be sung in round require concentration, good listening skills, and teamwork.
- Bring out a parachute during music time to promote teamwork, as well. Play songs with different beats and melodies and invite children to wave the parachute to the beat/melody. Place balls on top and see how long children can keep them in the air. Invite children to take turns running and dancing under the parachute.
- Stone Soup is a classic children’s story. Choose your favorite copy and read it with your group. Talk about how the characters worked together to make soup. Talk about community and sharing. Invite children to make a “stone soup” with you. Make this a family engagement opportunity by asking families/caregivers to bring in each child’s favorite vegetable for the soup. Extend the opportunity by inviting families to join you for soup if time and space permits.
- Engage children in chopping and sorting by making a fruit salad. Again, invite families/caregivers to bring each child’s favorite fruit to prepare the salad. Help children wash the fruit and divide it among them to cut into pieces with child-safe knives. Layer the fruit by color in a large bowl or mix it up.
- Mix up a batch of Friendship Bread starter with the children. When it’s ready, divide it among the children to take home (attach your recipe and baking instructions) and save some to bake together in your setting.
Work Together Wednesday
- Reinforce teamwork and challenge children by building a fort together. Take this outdoors and collect sticks, pieces of wood, and other types of nature to assemble the structure, or stay inside and use blankets, cushions, play tunnels, and other open-ended items you have on hand.
- Build engagement and relationships by making an interactive bulletin board. Simple boards might offer an “I Spy” search (include a key for items to find), a memory game where children/families search for matching items, or a lift-the-flap board where the outside of folded papers contain clues about what’s hidden underneath the folds. The lift-the-flap board could include facts about the children in your setting (their likes, interests, etc.), be about the spring season, or a topic of interest to the children.
- Host a Beautification Day. Invite families to come to your setting and spruce up the space. This might involve planting seeds, raking leaves, painting, or cleaning toys. Beautification Days are common at learning settings across communities and offer families a chance to have an impact on the places where their children learn and play. You can also encourage families to host a similar day at home to support their children’s independence and nurture responsibility.
- Offer supplies and mirrors for children to make self-portraits. Frame these by mounting them to larger sheets of paper and hang them throughout your setting.
- Promote self-esteem and identity by exploring name art. Make rainbow names by inviting each child to write his/her name in the center of a sheet of paper. Offer markers for them to trace concentric lines around the names. Or, make ribbon names by writing each child’s name in large letters on a sheet paper and offering various types of ribbon for them to cut and glue over the lines.
- Set up a “creation station” by offering loose parts on art trays and inviting children to engage with the materials. Children may be interested in creating a piece that stays together with tape/glue, or they may want to simply play with the materials. Take pictures of the children working and post them on a bulletin board to capture the creative process.
- Welcome families at drop-off with a photo shoot. Share the images on your setting’s social media, print them and hang them in your setting, or frame them and send them home as gifts.
- Host a “Family and Special Friends Day.” Plan to offer a special snack and read a book or sing songs. Display children’s artwork and offer an interactive bulletin board. Or, plan for outside activities by offering hula hoops, riding toys, sidewalk chalk, and blankets/books for reading.
- Find out what early childhood questions/concerns are of importance to your families and host a “Parent Morning.” Offer coffee/tea and read a short article or listen to a podcast about the topic. Discuss the topic and any shared information with families and allow time for families to discuss the topic among themselves. This would be a great opportunity for you to share you early learning knowledge!