Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Name tags
- Variety of free play options, such as toys, a puzzle, a storybook, manipulatives, dramatic play props, and markers and paper
- Supplies for a free play activity relating to children with mothers, fathers, and caregivers
Preparation for Activity
- Make name tags for the children you are expecting and set these out with a few extra blank name tags and a marker.
- 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, if you have these, the Memory Match Game (Session 5), the Chalice Flannel Board (Session 9), and the Family Jigsaw Puzzle (Session 11).
- Add supplies related to children and their mothers/fathers/caregivers, for example, a variety of family dolls and home settings; if you have these in the dramatic play area, move them to a special activity table.
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 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.