What exactly do we mean when we talk about loud and active play at daycare and preschool? How do you encourage children to get up and get moving throughout the day? How do you know if you provide enough of the “right” kind of opportunities to help kids get moving? Read ideas for supporting loud and active play in early childhood.
Children gain knowledge through their senses, integrating their bodies into activities to make sense of their environment. In short, activity helps children learn and develop! Research, such as the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scales (ECERS), recommends at least 60 minutes of active play per day. By providing a wide variety of activities focused on movement, your children will be more engaged, healthier and excited about the day. Bring on the noise!
Establishing Rules for Loud & Active Play
Though active play is essential in your classroom, there needs to be a balance between active and quiet play. The best way to do this is to establish rules and guidelines around expectations for children in each of the areas. Older children are able to partner with teachers to create these rules, giving children ownership and control over how to act while engaged in the activity. Some examples of expectations might include:
- Gentle words and hands
- Take care of materials in the classroom
- Wait our turn to have some fun!
By allowing children to create the rules for the classroom and outdoor space, you promote safety, boundaries and problem-solving skills through positive guidance. Read more about How to Create and Implement Preschool Classroom Rules.
Modeling Appropriate Play Behavior
Children are always watching! What you do and what you say greatly impact the children in your care. When children see teachers participating in physical activities, like dancing to a song or joining a game of Four Square, they learn that physical activity is a natural and enjoyable part of every day. Take time to lead some structured activities, and let the kids lead you through unstructured activities. Ensure that you can see the children, that they are visible and accessible. Give examples of conflict resolution, and have the children practice as well. Just like we ask families to supply outdoor attire, dress appropriately for movement and outside activities. How you participate will encourage children and inspire them to join in the fun!
Read: Ways to Incorporate Loud & Active Play in Daily Routines.
Scheduling Time to Be LOUD!
To support young children to develop the diverse skills they need to succeed, they need to have opportunities to different settings and activities throughout the day. Creating an effective schedule with clear routines, or steps done along the way, are exposed to patterns, predictability and play opportunities in their own timing. Give choices throughout the day to participate in structured, or teacher-led, and unstructured, child-led or child’s choice, play routines.
These routines for loud and active play may include:
- Outdoor activities
- Blocks or building experiences
- STEAM play
- Music and Movement
- Sensory Table opportunities
Read more about the benefits of Loud and Active Play Centers.
You can eliminate many problems simply by helping children understand the expectations around loud and active play activities. Helpful reminders around rules and guidelines, as well as modeling appropriate interactions, will help your classroom run smoothly and limit conflicts. Get down, get dirty and have a blast as you engage with your children in loud and active ways!
Brightwheel. (2022). How to create and implement preschool classroom rules. https://blog.mybrightwheel.com/how-to-create-and-implement-preschool-classroom-rules
Cryer, D., Harms, T., & Riley, C. (2012). All about the ECERS-R: A detailed guide in words and pictures to be used with ECERS-R. Kaplan Early Learning Co.
Jump In For Healthy Kids. (2017). Physical activity at daycare: help kids move more! https://blog.jumpinforhealthykids.org/physical-activity-at-daycare-help-kids-move-more/
Virtual Lab School. (2021) The environment: schedules and routines. https://www.virtuallabschool.org/preschool/learning-environments/lesson-5