Written by Monica Kranz, YMCA Administrator
As parents, teachers, aunts and uncles, and even as people without kids, we all know that children’s interests and moods can change on a dime. One day, their stuffed dragon is their most prized possession and something they can’t even imagine leaving the house without. The next day, they want nothing at all to do with it.
It can sometimes be difficult for adults to organize games and activities for children with so many different interests (especially when they vary on a day to day basis). Childcare staff at Saddletowne YMCA Child Development Centre, however, have done exactly that.
For the past few weeks, staff and Room 2 children (aged 3 – 4.5 years), have been on a treasure hunt – a pirate themed one that is! When staff discovered a strong interest in pirates amongst the group, they jumped on the idea to create a rich play experience. They placed arrows all around the centre, created costumes, and hid treasure for the kids to find. When kids arrived the following morning, there was excitement in the air.
“What’s that?” asked Rudra, when he first saw pieces of fabric, necklaces and paper towel rolls on the table. “We are going treasure hunting, and these are your pirate costumes”, said Ritu. “Treasure hunting!” yelled Sebastian and he quickly put a necklace on and took the longest paper towel roll. When everyone was dressed up, the children proceeded into the hall. “Look Ritu, that’s an arrow! Let’s go!”, said Snena when she noticed some arrows pointing towards the office. When they reached the front of the office, Pratik noticed an arrow pointing to the staff room. “There!” he shouted and pointed with his paper towel roll. “Look, there’s another arrow!” Peyton exclaimed. Rudra was the one to notice a cluster of arrows on the cupboard in the staff room. It was agreed upon that the treasure must be hidden in the cupboard. “Open it”, said Sebastian excitedly. When the children opened the cupboard, they found a delicious bag of candy. “Yeah! We found the treasure”, stated Sebastian as he put the candy in his pocket. Play experience provided by Ritu Bhagirath and Nadiya Tretyakov, Saddletowne YMCA
With a small amount of material and a lot of creativity, Ritu and Nadiya maximized a common interest within the group of diverse individuals. They put together an activity that allowed the children to utilize their imagination, while promoting creative expression and fostering social and cooperative play. Most importantly, they created an activity that the kids will talk about for days, and one which is providing the foundation to ensure their continued enthusiasm for learning the way they learn best – through play!
For more information about our Child Development Centres please visit www.ymcacalgary.org
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