Calling all toddler leaders!(15 Posts)
Podmog: Any particular areas? I'm looking forward to reading other contributions here. Here's a first salvo from me:
I've been involved in toddlers for over 6 years, and different groups. One thing that seems to work well IME, is to have an 'everybody tidy up session' towards the end, followed by songtime in a circle. This way everyone does stay to the end if they possibly can, and everyone helps tidy up.
Try and have someone responsible for welcoming and getting to know newcomers. Also encourage everyone to get involved; explain about your routines - tidying up, drinks, etc., and tell them ways they can help - joining the 'setting up' rota, or washing up the paintpots, or whatever it is, so that the tasks are evenly shared.
If you can, rope in extra help to serve drinks, and healthy snacks for the children.
If possible, designate a "baby space" where small babies have some sort of protection from larger toddlers.
If you have the space for larger toys, and ride-on things, make sure again that these have a designated space, and probably a limited time too.
Also if you get everyone to help with making the drinks, washing up etc it makes it easier for eveyone to get to know each other. I cannot imagine *any* two women washing up without chatting to each other.
Try to have a 'middle bit' to the session. Read a book, do some arty stuff if you have the kit or use musical instruments (rice in plastic bottles) for some noisy singing as well as a quiet time. Do the same sort of things on the same days so that the children get used to the idea of what is going to happen each day.
Have an agreed policy on behaviour. That way you can nip things in the bud if a toddler is a handfull and the mum/carer not very switched on. Sounds autocratic I know but it can help if eveyone knows the standards of behaviour expected before they start.
Don't buy toys that need bateries! Make sure that stuff is washed regularly and broken toys binned asap. Not only for health reasons, but it makes things look more inviting for the children and parents if the toys are in good nick. Be on the lookout at charity shops for toys, you can often buy a lot with very little. Have a cheep raffle each week to raise funds, small cost to the ticket, nice box of biscuits as the prize.
Podmog - how do you cope with numbers? We have a large group too, some come every week, some just once or twice a month. I don't like to put a sign up saying "We're full, go away", but it gets to a point when you have to.
What is your age range? Target ages?
Here children go to nursery at 3, school at 4, so toddlers tends to be mostly under 3s, and things like dressing up not really appropriate.
Do you end with snack time?
We charge £1 per family - in North West. 15 months ago I was in Oxfordshire, and some groups were charging £2 per family then.
We have craft every week too - very simple sticking or painting, and playdough.
Glad to see this thread as I was just going to post a similar one!
Was wondering if anyone could suggest good resources online for craft activities and also cheap places to add to our toddler group toy collection?
We need some musical instruments and ebay has come up trumps! Have just got the ELC discount card but is there anywhere cheaper than ELC?
2 friends and I have just launched the new group. £2 per family (London area), 9.30-11.30, maximum 30 babies & toddlers, separate baby corner, juice & biccie for toddlers and tea, coffee, hot chocolate and home-made cake for mums! (We've set up a cake rota amongst the 3 organisers.)
Our craft this week was stringing dried penne and alphabet pasta onto string & making necklaces or bracelets which was really popular. It made me laugh to see a mum still sporting her daughters pasta necklace the next day!
cocococo, my favourite - cheapest for most things - supplier for craft stuff is Baker Ross
For activities with littlies just keep really, really simple we tend to do lots of playdough, sticking shapes, and painting. We tend to do colour-based activities - collect cereal boxes then cut out shapes (teddy or heart), and then the kids paint it, or stick it.
Another vote for Baker Ross! I've just taken over the post of "craft organiser" for our toddler group. So far we've done
Octopuses - Paper plate, cut off about 1/4 from the bottom to make a flat bottom. Stick small squares of coloured paper all over, stick on eyes, mouth and thenstick 8 strips of paper on the straight edge for the legs. Thread string through the top and hang up.
Pecking birds - fold paper plate in half. Stick coloured squares of paper on (can you see a theme here??) Stick on an eye on each side and a beak at one end, stick left over long strips from octopuses on the other end and curl for a tail. They rock nicely on the curved edge of the plate.
Shiny fish - print large fish shape on coloured card. Stick on small squares of silver foil/holographic paper. Stick on eye, cut out and hang on a string.
This week we did.... pasta necklaces! Inspired by DS1s gift the day before (which I no longer have to wear BTW)
also ask your local council where the local resource centre , the local firms can get rid of their waste- you can get off cuts of material (ours comes forma tie factory so its wionderful sikly and brightly coloured), sequin waste, paper off cuts , all sorts of things but you have to be a registered group like brownies.
Thanks for those ideas and recommendations. We're doing leaf rubbing with crayons this week, we have been trouble finding good enough leaves to get an imprint on a bit of paper and I had visions of the toddlers just rubbing the leaves with their fingers!! Have just emailed the council to where our local resource centre is - great tip!
I have been busy ordering craft items from ebay - will let you know what the quality is like. Any more crafty inspiration anyone?
oh and will be off to our friendly local POUND SHOP to check out paper plates! Have never been through the doors before but it has been mentioned quite a few times as great for stuff like this!
The pecking birds idea works well for "rocking robins" for Christmas. Make them out of circles of stiff card rather than plates and you can send them as cards.
the early learning centre have some lovely large cardboard stars that you can take home to decorate and then return to the shop for a 20p donation to NSPCC and they will display them in the store. They were more than happy to give me 40 large stars to use for a glueing and sticking session and then the mums have the responsibility of handing them back to ELC. A nice easy craft session for toddler groups!
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