Getting Started with Funsteps
Checking The Contents Of Your Box
The time you spend checking your box at the beginning of the month can save you time and frustration later. Although we do our best to make sure that everything is included in your box, our workers must count thousands of each item each month, and errors are unavoidable. The list containing the Contents of the Daily Packets is located on the top of your box each month.
Please check the number of Activity Pages, punch-out pages, and unusual items for which you won't be able to make substitutions.
Save extra pompons, feathers, cups, etc., from your boxes, so that you can use them to fill in if you do find something missing in a box. Use one of your empty Funsteps boxes as a place to keep this supply of extras.
Please call (1-800-882-7332) and let us know when things are missing so that we can send you replacements in time for when you’ll need them.
Read through the Materials List at the beginning of the curriculum guide ahead of time so you may purchase any materials you might need for activities. Also read the Booklist so you can reserve titles at your local library or purchase them for your child care.
Decide Which Days of the Month You Will Use Each Packet
Look at your calendar and decide how you’d like to set up your month. Write in the date that you’d like to use each of the Daily Activity Packets and Activity Pages in the appropriate box on the overview found on the back cover of the curriculum guide. Perhaps you’ll want to stretch one days materials over more than one day.
It's better to do a few activities in a relaxed and non-stressful way, than to try to pack many activities into a day without time to enjoy them.
If holiday activities are included in the kit, decide whether you want to include them in your program. If not, decide how you will reschedule the activities to replace them.
Preparing For A Unit or Special Day
Plan for any special decorations. Look at the suggestions included for each special day and start a list of things that you want to purchase, if any. Perhaps you want to buy some special stickers, crepe paper, or treats.
Briefly scan the list of activities for each day to see if any require special preparation. Decide whether or not you want to do those activities, and then plan to try them out ahead of time. If possible, try out science experiments ahead of time, so that you know how they will work best in your own situation.
If the children are being asked to bring or wear special items, arrange to have some of these on hand for children who forget theirs.
Scheduling Daily Activities
Remember that young children have very short attention spans. Organize your planned activities in short sessions throughout the day.
Spend a few minutes at the end of each child care day planning your next day and getting materials ready. Go through the list of activities and decide when you want to fit each activity in the next day's schedule. Number the activities in the curriculum guide. Do some imaging as you plan. For example, picture each activity in your mind as it might take place. This will help you to plan for items that you will need, and to decide on the best location to set up various activities.
Integrate activities to make the best use of your time. For example...
Do your Language Activities while your children are having their snack, or in the car on the way to the park.
Listening activities or stories make great lead-ins to nap time.
Large muscle activities can be part of your outdoor time.
Calendar activities can be done during your snack time.
If dressing and undressing children for outdoor play is a problem, plan outdoor play just prior to arrival of parents. Do plan at least a few minutes of outdoor play daily, even on winter days. A brisk walk will be good for all of you.
Plan your more difficult activities for early in the day when you are fresh and feeling energetic, and when the children are more receptive. Children listen and follow directions best when they are not tired.
Keep an ice cream bucket of water and a roll of paper towels handy any time you do an art, science, or cooking activity.
Whenever possible, prepare materials ahead of time, including lunches and snacks. Setting materials for a Science Activity together on a tray ahead of time can help make transition into this activity go more smoothly.
Plan your free play times to allow you time to prepare lunch, or other activities which require more of your undivided attention.
Do your art or craft activities with small groups of one or two children, while the other children are having free play time in a nearby location where you can easily supervise both.
Plan messy activities just before the children have free play or naps so that you will have time to clean up. For example, finger painting might be done at the lunch table, right after lunch and just before naps. It will be a quiet time activity that can work well as a lead in to naps.