A reading area is always good. I have done this several different ways. I made up a corner with small foam couches and a basket of books when I was first starting. I used an area rug of a different color under it.
I like the idea of center time. Not so much this is how you play with this toy or let us all sit at the table for long periods of time. Just; here are some materials and have fun, PLAY, but there are a few rules. Like: (1) no hitting, (2) we don’t take things away from each other, and (3) keep it at the center. How do you tell a child to keep something at a center!? Let’s create areas with a purpose. I have my room color coated with each area defined. You can also do this with rugs. I sometimes use masking tape on the floor some days as a refresher. It worked great for when the boys were all little. But, as they were getting older, I moved it into a shelf. You are all aware on how toddlers put books on a shelf. They stack them and I just don’t like the way they look after.
Then I found this! These are spice racks I purchased from IKEA. The cost at the time was about $3.50 each. On a daycare budget, I can afford $15!
I have an area that is odd shaped and has no real use. I need to go into the doors, but still it is valuable space. (One door is a laundry room and the other door is a closet that holds nap blankets and pillows.) I decided to add a piece of plywood, (Had some in the garage.) nailed it to the wall, and then put the shelving up. I was afraid of the kids trying to climb the shelves or making a large hole in the wall. So, I needed to define the area also. I had left over paint from a room I had painted previously. Watch out here I come!
I installed the plywood and painted the plywood and wall using blue. All skies have clouds at some point. So with white paint, I poured a little on a paper plate. Then I used a plastic grocery bag and squished it up in my hand, dipped it into the paint, and tapped the wall several times adding the cloud effect. Then easy clean up! Tossed the bag and the paper plate in the trash! I also had some wall stickers that are butterflies and added them to the wall a few days later. I think they were a dollar store purchase. My end results are…
With this space, I decided to use the whole area with a dual purpose. I also had all of the teaching boards, letters, and number tools put on the two doors. This is where I start my preschool morning also! The kids are told they can go here for reading or to look at the number and letter charts. I have one year olds over here looking at the pictures and board books. Several of the children start to sing their ABC’s in this area. But, the 3-6 year olds really don’t bring anything in this area because they are getting a book! I still have a random book or two that find themselves away from the area but not the terrible mess I have had earlier. And, the books don’t look messy when they are put away by the children. So, if you have that space no one goes to play in or a place behind a closet door, it is usable and a valuable learning space for children.
I look at my area and think I need the word READ above my books. But that may be for another time…
by Laurie Fisher
Family Child Care Professional