Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Name tags
- Variety of free play options, such as toys, a puzzle, a story book, manipulatives, dramatic play props, and markers and paper
Preparation for Activity
- Gather a variety of baby-related items, such as baby stuffed animals, diapers, baby clothes, bottles, and rattles.
- Make name tags for the children you are expecting. Set them out with a marker and a few blank name tags.
- Display the free play options attractively, ready for the children to use, such as a puzzle with a piece already put in place, a family of ethnically and gender-diverse dolls sitting together in the dramatic play area, a group of trucks near a block garage, or an open picture book. Include the baby-related items you have gathered, Memory Match Game from Session 5, the Chalice Flannel Board from Session 9, and the Family Jigsaw Puzzle from Session 11.
Description of Activity
Free play time allows children to make individual choices, explore the environment, share time together, and build a sense of belonging and comfort with the group and the meeting room space.
As the children arrive, invite them into the Chalice Children meeting room. Help them get comfortable by pointing out the free play area and noting the options for play that are displayed. Help them say goodbye to their parent(s) or caregiver(s).
Invite and guide the children to play, helping them feel safe and welcomed.
Give a five-minute warning to the children that free play will end and clean-up will begin; follow with a one-minute warning.
Including All Participants
Free play needs to include options for all the children. For example, you might set up a craft project at a table that is tall enough to accommodate a child’s wheelchair, with chairs or standing room for other children.