Naptime can be challenging for children and staff, be they in a child-care or home day care setting. What to do with non-sleepers and/or children who wake up early? This is a project solution that will require initial set-up money and on-going maintenance, but it will be worth it in the long run.
My idea is to set up a station in the room — a rolling shelf or trunk that contains individual activities. These activities/materials are “special” and only brought out at naptime. Try to find containers that are small and same-sized so that they stack easily. Each provider can decide when they allow access to the station and for how long, depending on individual considerations.
Here is a list of activities I have compiled. Again, you will base your materials on budget considerations and what supplies you have on-hand. I tried to give emergent and non-emergent activities.
- felt board stories
- magnetic story books
- colouring books and crayons
- small puzzles
- scratch-and-sniff books
- lift-the-flap books
- clipboards with paper and pencil crayons (avoid markers and pastels that are messy)
- lego or other small manipulatives
- small dolls/figures or animals
- sticker books
Again, use your imagination and consider your budget to come up with fun, creative activities. I have always discussed the rules around the “station” beforehand, making it clear that each child must tidy up their bin before putting it away and choosing another one. Of course it is a privilege and if the children do not respect the materials, each provider can determine the natural consequence of that behavior. Maybe “John” won’t be able to choose that activity next time, etc.
Kids are happiest when they are busy and the rules are clear. Try this “naptime made easy” idea to keep both you and the kids happy.