Promoting Play Through Independent Activity Centers

by Katie Brazerol

Children benefit from choosing and freely exploring materials in interactive learning centers throughout your setting. Providing a space that encourages children to explore, interact with others, and use critical thinking skills without constant adult direction allows them to gain independence. Children can use independent activity centers during free play or as transition activities while waiting for others to finish a task.

Set Up the Centers

  • Include materials to support current concepts and topics of interest to the children.
  • Offer age-appropriate materials that can be used with minimal adult supervision.
  • Promote multiple learning domains. Rotate activities that focus on language/literacy, math, science, social studies, social/emotional well-being, physical development, and creative arts (music, art, and dramatic play).

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Fun with Fall Leaves

by Judy Mullican

fall-leavesDepending on where you live, the leaves may be changing colors or may be about to change soon. Even if you live in an area that does not experience fall color, leaves offer many opportunities for fun and learning! Some plants naturally produce leaves that are red, yellow, or orange all the time. Leaves also come in different shapes and sizes. Take your children outside to explore! (Caution: As always, be sure to explore safely. Check Know Your Plants or other sites to find out if any plants in your surroundings are poisonous or cause skin irritation.)

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Dinosaur Egg Hunt

by Judy Mullican

Do your little ones love dinosaurs? There’s something about these prehistoric creatures that has huge kid-appeal! This fun Dinosaur Egg Hunt activity is from the October Buttercups® curriculum and is found on page 45. It’s part of the Big and Little theme that focuses on exploring big and little dinosaurs and more.

dinosaur-egg-huntWhat You’ll Need:

  • Small toy dinosaurs *
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Bowl or plastic tub
  • Spoon
  • Baking sheet
  • Trigger-spray bottles
  • Vinegar

*Caution: If you are working with children under three or older children, who still place toys in their mouth, be sure to choose dinosaurs that are not a choking hazard.

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The Importance of Play

by Kelley Jilek

Baby newborn in the shirt closeup on white background.When children play, they develop their knowledge of themselves and others, learn to make sense of the world around them, and learn to communicate with peers and adults. As children grow and develop, play changes, but the importance of it remains. There are a number of ways that educators and other adults can support play for various ages of young learners. But first, you need to understand how it evolves.

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Homemade Beach Sand

Homemade-Beach-Sandby Katie Brazerol

Not everyone is lucky enough to live near a beach, but you can bring the feel of beach sand to your backyard! This activity is featured in our August Fireflies® Island Getaway theme on page 35.


Note: Sand play can get very messy. We highly recommend you take this activity outdoors for easier cleanup. This sand may stick to the children’s hands, so have a water hose and towel handy for washing afterwards.

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