Independent Activities

“Independent activities in the Early Childhood Classroom”

Last night 20 teachers from the metro chapter of Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children came to Chrysalis for this workshop that I taught. I felt it was valuable because often when I visit other schools and classrooms, I don’t see much for children to do on their own. There are lots of opportunity for building and pretend and group activities—all of which are important. But I don’t see puzzles or opportunities for children to work alone on challenge games or independent learning. Even simple "put and take" and pouring and scooping, so valuable for helping children strengthen their fine motor skills, are often missing from some classrooms.

I showed lots of examples of independent activities—penny polishing, putting coins in a bank, toothpicks into small holes in a box. I talked about the importance of puzzles and challenge games that allow children a sense of accomplishment when they can finish all by themselves. In attribute games and sorting, children learn descriptive vocabulary and how to categorize.

After talking about it all night with a bunch of adults, it felt great to be back in the classroom watching children do what they do!

Today the butterfly activity was finding a letter amongst lots of print. this boy was looking for Os and poking them with a push pin. "Pokin Os" is a game that allows children to look very carefully at small print and find particular letters. this kind of careful concentrated searching is a great precursor to reading.


These two were looking for letters too. She had a yellow marker to mark all the "I"s and "i"s she found.


These two children were putting cloves into an orange. Other children at the table were shelling corn for the crows, and practicing opening and closing bottles and jars. All good for developing the pincer grasp! And you can see Pumpkin pounding in the background--they love pounding the golf tees into the pumpkin with a real hammer!