The goal for our days with young children is simple - happiness, creativity, kindness, and fun!
Variety is the key to a calm day with a preschooler, so even changing simple things can be impactful! Notice what your child loves to do. Do they often ask for paints, or do they prefer markers? How do they use the materials? Are they experimenting? How can you help them extend their investigations? Often the best days (with few tears and disappointments) come from following the child's lead.
Recently, some children were having fun hiding under their classroom tables. Their teacher was inspired to set up an upside down drawing invitation. Butcher paper was taped around the table by a teacher, but the kids didn't engage with it right away. Instead of removing the paper because it didn't pique their interest immediately, the teacher left the paper to see what the kids would do. At first, they used the table like they would typically, for slime, puzzles, and manipulatives. But then, one child happened to be drawing and cutting on the floor nearby. She made a small mark on the paper, but hesitated. With encouragement from the teacher, she began scribbling. Other friends saw and rushed to get their marker boxes.
Soon, all the children had a turn to draw upside down! An invitation to play doesn't mean that children will use it as you intend it right away. Give them space to think about their plans and encourage their curiosity when it's displayed.
Want to learn more about child-led learning? Check out this article from Generation Mindful.