Finding home daycare activities that are simple and inexpensive is key to being able to sustain them all year and still make a profit. Check out these ideas for help in running a home daycare.

Home Daycare Activities

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Finding home daycare activities that are simple and inexpensive is key to being able to sustain them all year and still make a profit. Check out these ideas for help in running a home daycare.

Daycare kids doing activities with toy food at a table

There are so many things out there that cost a ton or take a lot of work to do with your kids, but if you’re like me and you don’t have a lot of profit and you work by yourself so you’re a one-man show, you need simple!

I hate working hard for 12 or more hours a day all year and then checking my profits at the end of the year just to see that I spent all my income on things for the kids and didn’t have much left to contribute to my family. So, I love to use paper towel rolls and recycled boxes to make as much as I can for the kids to do. These Bruce and Nemo milk carton catching games are a great example.

Another great way is using what you can find, like these pine cone crafts you can make from the pine cones you can find. Or use some inexpensive paper plates to make one of these paper plate crafts for kids. This thing 1 and thing 2 pencil craft is oodles of fun too! You can teach shapes and colors with aliens made from what you probably already have. If you don’t, it can all be found at the dollar store.

I also think it’s important to make sure when I do spend money that it’s on quality items that can be used over and over again and not a lot of one-time use things. Here are more ways I cut down on waste in my home daycare. I also love to grab what’s on hand and use it to make something like these catapults for kids to gain fine motor skills and science concepts. They can be taken apart and used for something else or played with over and over again as they are. You can make so many good teaching tools from craft sticks. Like these Craft Stick Building Set for Preschool.

But we need to keep these kids busy, don’t we? And they might as well learn something from what they’re doing. So, planning home daycare activities is an important part of the job. And parents love to see their kids learning too. So, what should we do? Whether you buy a premade curriculum or make your own as I do, it’s important to be concerned about the budget. We aren’t only working for fun, right?

Daycare activity plan

I love to print out a monthly calendar for each month I’m going to plan and do my lesson plans on that. The day consists of breakfast, lunch, snack, nap, potty time, and cleaning. So, I try to plan about an hour a day of teacher-led activities.

The morning arrival time and afternoon pick up time are tough times to have them. So, I do them after breakfast in the morning before I have to start diapering and then cooking lunch.

My contract states that kids have to be here by 8:30 if they are coming that day, so we can eat and get right to it. That rule has helped me a ton. I love it. I hate to get started and have kids dragging in during what we are trying to do.

The next step I take is to plan out what days we are going to have activities and what kind. I like to have fun Fridays and let the kids plan out the day. So, I plan activities for them 4 days a week. We always have music and free-choice art on Wednesdays. The kids choose the medium and they get to draw or paint what they choose and then we turn the music up really loud and get out the instruments and get down!

We always have a structured day where I help kids learn their names, parents’ names, and their phone numbers. This is a safety thing that is important to me for kids to be able to stay safe. This would also be the day we do something to work on learning to hold a pencil or scissors or whatever for school readiness.

Then there are two days left to plan art, science, math, or even once in a while a craft. I’m not big on crafts, I prefer creative activities but parents REALLY like crafts so once in a while, we throw one in there. I like to have balance.

I don’t follow a certain type of teaching; I have my own ideas. I like things about Montessori, I LOVE a ton about Reggio Emilio, I like nature school, I like certain things about other types of teaching and parents love hardcore preschool.

No matter how many years and times I talk about it, they just don’t seem to understand developmentally appropriate practice. I know it’s because public school doesn’t and people want what is familiar.

But what’s important for me is to get lots of business to my home daycare so I can make a living and to feel good about what I send my kids out into the world with. So, I mix it all up and put a lot of my own heart in there and do what I think is best for everyone.

That’s why I like to make up my own plans. There is nothing wrong with buying curriculum and using it. Whatever time and effort you put into your kids has value and that’s great. Do what you enjoy and what works for you!

Daycare activities list

There are so many things we can do with kids and in home daycare we have so much freedom to enjoy our own tastes and interests and those of the kids we work with. I love being my own boss and being able to do what I think is best with my days. I have always felt so fortunate about that.

There are tons of fun activities like making your own homemade Shrinky dinks with what you already have at home. Or letting kids paint with yarn, marbles, or other things like in these painting ideas for kids. Or try some fine motor activities with what you have on hand like this feather beading activity for daycare. Or make up a batch of homemade kinetic sand.

kids painting with yarn on a picnic table

There are activities that build strength for kids for handwriting in the future. What about music and movement activities? There are tons of science activities for kids too. Just click on the highlighted links to go to ideas that will help you plan each thing mentioned.

Kids singing baby shark and dancing wearing shark hats in home daycare

What about throwing a circus party, a dinosaur party, an all about me dance party, or a shark party? Kids have tons of fun with activities for those. I love doing activities with kids that celebrate friendships too. A whole theme about art and letting kids explore all kinds of mediums to create with would be super cool. Or water parties are fun as well. What about cooking activities like making recipes with kids? And don’t forget how important calming activities for kids can be!

kids blowing bubbles at home daycare water party
kids picking up bread they shaped and cooked
teddy bear picnic celebrating friendship in home daycare

Another important subject is rainy day ideas. You always need a backup plan if the weather doesn’t turn out like you thought it would. One of my favorites is the indoor obstacle course idea. There are always hours of fun in that one.

And if you’re looking for low maintenance ideas, these mess free activities might fit the bill. You don’t always want a bunch of clean up to do. (You can even make your own shape crayons from broken crayon bits you have around)

Check out all these sensory activity ideas for daycare too.

Home daycare activities for Spring

I love fun ideas for spring activities such as Dr. Suess day, learning to compost, gardening and planting, and caterpillars and butterflies. There are so many fun things you can do with the kids outside that are unique to spring.

kids in the home daycare garden picking strawberries

Home daycare activities for Summer

The summertime can be a great time to plant a garden with kids. We have a big preschool garden we raise every year and the kids learn so much from it. Summer is also a great time for camping fun. We’ve even done Olympic games on years the Olympics takes place.

Another great idea is doing garden games with kids. There are a ton of things you can make with what’s already outside that kids will have a ball with.

child holding a pumpkin for pumpkin activities

Home daycare activities for Fall

Some great ideas for fall could be pumpkins, apples, leaves, nature hunts, and more.

fire safety printable mock up

Check out these fire safety lessons you can order and print out for teaching fire safety!

kids cutting up apples for applesauce in home daycare

Home daycare activities for Winter

There are even really fun activities for the wintertime. Think about Christmas ideas like gingerbread and making gifts for parents. We have made some fun ornaments such as twig ornaments or things we’ve made with clear glass balls. Or even this idea for Popsicle Stick Snowflake Ornaments.

There are also fun ideas like polar animals and valentine’s day fun as well.

You don’t have to break the bank or go nuts to plan a few things for the kids to do. It always helps to send them home with a few things because parents don’t see what we do all day, so when kids bring papers home, it shows that something is going on here and kids are learning. That’s great for more business in the future. Parents tell their friends about their daycare.

If you need some quick ideas that you can prep in 5 minutes or less, check out these home daycare activities. 

Home daycare curriculum kits

And remember there are tons of great home daycare curriculum kits out there where the work is already done right for you. I’ve heard of many. One that I like that is really affordable too is Daycare Time Solutions. Check out their website. They have tons of things to help home daycare providers including premade curriculum kits that are top-notch!

If you want to buy curriculum kits and you don’t want to lose profit, don’t forget you can charge a curriculum fee in your payment policies and pass on that expense to parents. Most parents are more than happy to pay for things like that for their kids.

If you are interested in starting a home daycare but don’t know where to start, check this out.

Comment below and let me know if you find anything here helpful. I always LOVE to hear from readers.

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