Child led activities are a major part of early childhood. This enables young children to make decisions and create items that are meaningful to them. Child led may be a selection of materials and goods on a table were a child has the option if they would like to participate, or it may be during creativity the adult questioning the child. For example, when making something asking the child their opinions and following their lead. It may also be a game outdoors were the child makes a suggestion and following their lead. This is a happy, meaningful experience for children and enables them to feel that their opinions matter within the early childhood service. The benefits of child led activities are as follows; the child is taking the lead in the activity, the learning outcomes make the child feel less pressurised, the child is interested in the environment around them, the learning is meaningful to the children and their experiences within the service, questioning skills – this may include questioning the adult or the other children, it shows the child’s own love for learning new things. This may include curiousity skills. The learning happens fastly and while the child is talking or quickly comes up with a new idea. The ideas the child comes up with gives multiple learning opportunities. Child led within the early childhood service may happen throughout the day or maybe the service sets an hour where children can express their ideas and take charge within activities. It may also happen during quiet time where the child notices an activity another child is doing and expresses their ideas. Engagement in child led activities is vital for young children development. This includes hand eye coordination, cognitive thinking, expression, problem solving skills, language skills, play skills, fine and gross motor skills and a child curiousity. Below is a list of activities for child led play;
Art and Activities;
- Play dough table. This may lead to the child creating buns for the kitchen in the early childhood room or making dinner within a restaurant.
- Water play area. This provides endless opportunities. Maybe props such as diggers, tractors, pots and pans, drains, bottles and piping.
- A recyclable creativity tables. This could include children bringing materials from home such as shoe boxes, magazines, yoghurt pots etc. The children may come up with a creative idea.
- Lego or blocks. This provides endless opportunities for child led play. Maybe child A takes the led and creates a castle, while child B and C decide to make a carriage for the castle.
- Spaghetti sensory, this may include food colouring spaghetti or pasta. Maybe the children decide the spaghetti is snakes or worms, maybe they decide the spaghetti is for the rooms kitchen or maybe they decide the spaghetti is a muddy field and use construction toys to go through.
- Sand tray. This could include various props such as animals, cars, nature materials such as sticks, leaves or stones. Maybe child A and B decide it is a safari island or maybe child C decides it is the beach. Another child may decide it is a sandy road.
- An area with items such as rocks and shapes. This gives children the opportunity to create items such as a house using the different rocks and shapes or maybe an animal. The list is endless.
- Corn tray or rice tray. This gives opportunity for ideas such as questioning and maybe the children decide it is a corn field at their farm or maybe they want to create art using the corn or rice.
- Different paint trays. This may include paint, ice paint or painting with sticks and leaves or maybe stamp painting using different materials.
- Child led could include the child deciding when they want to have their snack within the service.
- Child led includes the child hanging their own coat up.
- Child led could include the child cleaning the tables before snack or other activities.
“Let the child be the scriptwriter, the director, and the actor in his own play”