Daily Activity Tubs - Guest Blog from celebrateplay

//DAILY ACTIVITY TUBS// - a guest blog by Erin at celebrateplay.  

...so one of the best known organisational strategies at celebrateplay HQ, is the Daily Activity Tubs (DAT's). Why? Because they are a sanity saver. Bold statement, right? Let me explain why I can say this with such confidence.

Daily Activity Tubs are a concept I created and have used here at celebrateplay HQ with what I feel has been a success. They came about as a solution for creating meaningful play experiences for my eldest whilst I was feeding my newborn. As time has passed and my newborn has grown, the tubs have been introduced and used during evening meal prep time. That time of day is quite commonly referred to as 'witching hour', where children seem to be tired, whingy, restless, difficult, clingy and a time where parents begin the evening routine in the hope for a restful night ahead. So, as I said-a sanity saver.   

Now that I have got your attention, let's dig deeper and talk more about the nitty gritty of these Daily Activity Tubs and then the ways you can implement them in your home, because that is what we are about - supporting and empowering parents, like you, with ideas and inspiration to create meaningful play experiences with your early learners. 

...so our Daily Activity Tubs are a series of ten (5 per child), light weight flexi-tubs purchased from Big W. Each tub is labelled with the days of the week using custom made vinyl labels from Pretty Paper Label. They contain approximately two to three developmentally appropriate and high interest based activities. The trick to keeping these activities interesting and of value is to only use them when you really need to eg. entertaining an older child whilst feeding a newborn, during meal preparation, while hustling if you are a bizMum. 

Each Sunday the activities are rotated ready to start the new week. Activities are chosen based on each child's interests and skills. They are also determined by size so that they fit in the tub neatly. 

Some examples of activities are:

• magnetic tiles
• mini small world scenes
• wooden handheld toys 
• school readiness games (number wheels, peg games, first readers, tracing sets, threading sets, alphabet fishing, sightwords, pre writing tasks)
• puzzles
• colouring in
• paper and crayons/pencils
• ten frames (mathematical activity)
• maps
• books
• playdough 

Sound like a concept that would work or you want to try in your home with your early learners? Fabulous, here are some ideas to help you get started: There are two ways to begin - either immediately with five/seven tubs per child (one for each day) or with one tub with a few activities in it, to test the waters before going all out for the five/seven tubs per child.

Once you have determined which way you will start, the next steps to consider are:

· Logisitics - Where you will store these tubs so children can access them easily, will you need to move them out of their reach when not in use so they hold their high interest value, will your learners benefit from different coloured baskets specific to them, and what type of daily labels will work best. 

· We recommend batch collecting your activities in a scheduled time each week/fortnight, where you can focus on selecting developmentally appropriate activities. These are activities, your learners can complete independently whilst still enjoying a challenge. 

· A place to document your DAT's ideas (such as our Daily Play Planner - available as a celebrateplay subscriber) so that you are planning based on the interests of your early learners. 

· Introduce the concept with some basic instructions eg. including the place you wish them to complete the activity, only using one tub per day, the activity is designed to be completed at a particular time/s of day and why that is important. 

· Monitor how your children are interacting with their activity tub and each other, have the activities been engaging, will you need additional resources, will changes need to be made to meet the user's needs. 

Does anyone have daily activity tubs in their home? 
How and when do your early learners use them? Do you find them handy? 

To learn more about our DAT's, and be inspired by our other early learning ideas, you can find us at:  
Website - www.celebrateplay.com.au
Facebook Page - www.facebook.com/celebrateplay
Facebook Online Support Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/celebrateplay/?ref=group_header
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/celebrate_play/

Erin is a Mum, wife, Early Childhood and Primary School teacher and the Founder of celebrateplay - an online learning space where she supports and empowers mums to create fun, engaging and intentional play experiences, by sharing early learning ideas and inspiration through education and community. When she is not working in the classroom, playing with her early learners, making lunchboxes, organising playspaces or folding laundry, she is teaching and learning at celebrateplay.

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