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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Encouraging Independence

by Kelley Jilek

“I want to do it!” How often have you heard your child utter this phrase? It’s a true sign of a child trying to establish a new level of independence.

Baby girl creeping at homeIndependence is defined as “not requiring or relying on others for care or support.” Of course, children cannot be expected to become totally independent until they’re grown and out of the house. However, they do establish a higher level of independence with each stage of development. For example, infants gain more independence when they learn to crawl or walk, toddlers when they begin feeding themselves, and preschoolers when they begin dressing themselves. As parents and caregivers, there are many ways we can encourage children to strive for, and eventually reach, higher levels of independence.

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