Easy Activity Round Up


 Easy Activity Round Up 

For a couple months now I have like many of you amazing mamas, are at home working my day job, with my toddler and the million other things to tackle that have come along with this pandemic.

Almost immediately my inbox messages on Instagram jumped to around 1200-1400 in a 24 hour period!  Most of what was filling my inbox was a plea for easy activities to do with your child/children now that they are at home full time 24/7!

As a blogger, one who has spent most of this time creating and curating beautiful activity content for you on https://www.instagram.com/mylittlelambblog/ I felt like I was letting you all down because I 100% did not have the time or mental capacity during this to create that content for you.

My solution to be able to support you all through this time was to use my expertise in Early Learning to search through Instagram and share to my stories activities every evening, created by other talented creators that I know would be achievable for you during this time. I highly recommend checking out this accounts and showing them some love for all the hard work and dedication they do to provide amazing content to make our lives easier and help support our children’s development.

This post is going to be a permanent resource that I will share those activities with you so you can reference and do with your child/children when it works best for YOU ( because that’s important) and your family.



Letter Match Sensory Play

Want to spice up your kiddos’ learning this week? Turn it into sensory play! We used our dyed beans as a way to practice uppercase and lowercase letters but you could do letters in their name, numbers, shapes, or even finding letters and building sight words for older kiddos.👍🏼

Other sensory bin fillers you might have on hand: rice, dried black beans, coffee beans, cereal (Cheerios, fruit loops, Chex), uncooked pasta, oats, chickpeas, feathers, cotton balls, pom poms, cut up plastic straws. – Post Caption 


Trace the Rain Pre-Writing

Here’s a quick, easy pre-writing activity to go along with the rainy days we’re having over here (😩 anyone else?).

I drew dotted lines going in different directions from each rain cloud for Kade to trace. For the slanted lines, we were able to talk about and make connections to the way he writes the letter “K” in his name.

It’s important to focus on nailing down the simple strokes before really trying to push turning them into actual letters- that will come much easier if they are comfortable with the different types of lines and curves!✏️ – Post Caption


Nature Paintbrushes

This was so fun! Kade and I went out in our yard with a bucket and collected items we thought might be fun to paint with. We grabbed a few sticks and then brought it all inside and I used rubber bands to turn them into paintbrushes!

I put some paint on a paper plate and we painted away. We loved seeing what we could do with the different textures and I loved watching Kade get creative. He used brush strokes, swirled the brushes, splattered paint with them and tried making prints with them.

Such a simple, fun way to get outside, engage in a sensory experience and also be creative.🌿🎨 -Post Caption



This Flower Threading Activity is an easy and fun way to use up old flowers. Isn’t it nice to have an activity ready for your toddlers without heading out to the store for supplies? I love it!

Threading activities are one of our favorites. Kids are always thrilled to create their own designs, patterns and choose colors. Better yet, they’re having a whole lot of fun and improving many skills all at the same time. Fine motor, concentration, focus, creativity and in dependency are all areas of childs’ development involved in this activity. How awesome! –Post Caption



It’s quite simple to make, so even the littlest ones can follow along. They’ll love using the q-tips to make the dandelion which makes this card craft a unique one! – Post Caption



Turning a NO into a YES!

I decided to turn her love of pulling clothes out of the cupboard/basket/washing line into an activity!

My biggest tip for baby play (or any age play really), is to turn all the things you find yourself saying “NO” to, into play 👌🏻 you won’t go wrong 😜 (eg. See my ‘no-tub’ post from a couple of weeks ago!) .
There were two parts to this:
1. Pull the clothes off the wall
2. Walk around the house with them draped over her shoulders 🤣

Miss 11 months is very much in the Envelopment schema right now and loves draping things over herself and walking around with them. So the second part to this activity was important 😜

An activity like this develops:
👉🏻 Gross motor skills – reaching high and pulling hard develops large muscle groups 👉🏻 Can fulfil the enveloping (wrapping self in clothes) trajectory (pulling down) and transporting (carrying clothes around) schemas 👉🏻 Hand/eye coordination 👉🏻 Emotional development – fulfilling an observed interest and saying ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’
Post Caption 



Something we’ve used for a long time, when the temptations of all the ‘no’ objects get a little too much!

The no tub is personal to each child – anything that you find yourself saying ‘no’ to them having, place in a tub and make them as safe as possible for baby to explore – eg. Wind up cables and put masking tape around them, remove batteries from remotes, use an old phone, clean keys etc .
The idea is to take the ‘power’ out of these objects that babies become obsessed over, because they hold a lot of power through curiosity! Babies want to explore everything – it’s only natural that the things we won’t let them explore, drive more curiosity. .
People often as me how I deal with a baby and an open art area (for example), but the truth is – the art area has become so normal, because it’s there all the time, that she doesn’t obsess over the things in it – most of the time, she doesn’t even go there! I’m using the same concept with this tub – make ‘exciting’ things into ‘normal’ things .
This activity is great for:
👉🏻 Curiosity – they get to explore things that are new and exciting, in a safe way
👉🏻 Fine motor skills – manipulating the objects 👉🏻 Normalising everyday objects .
*** if you are using objects that pose a safety risk, make sure you are supervising closely and remove those objects if you leave the room . -Post Caption



I can almost guarantee you’ve got everything you need for this activity already 🙌🏻 if you don’t have ribbons, use pieces of string, streamers etc .
I set this up last night as a distraction for Miss 11 months (and the big girls) this morning, because I desperately need time to wake myself up before being climbed on in the morning 😬
This would work really well in the kitchen drawers as well, as a way to buy you a bit of time prepping meals!

Just cut different lengths of ribbon and place them inside drawers, with a little bit sticking out to pull on!

An activity like this is great for: 👉🏻 Fine motor skills – grabbing the small pieces encourages the pincer grip (thumb and forefinger) 👉🏻 Gross motor skills – reaching, crawling, standing and pulling 👉🏻 Cognitive development – making connections between action and reaction, thus developing understanding of cause and effect .
** always supervise baby activities, ribbons can pose a strangulation hazard! Make sure any free standing drawers are anchored . -Post Caption



1. POM POM BATH – pom poms, food colouring (no it won’t stain their skin!) and a bath 🙌🏻 originally got the idea from @simply.play.today

Post Caption


Dandelion Rock Family

These are super simple to make and you can recreate them over and over.
They look so cute when finished and you can make up your own story about your dandelion family. We infused interesting dandelion facts into our story. Meet our dandelion family: 👩🏻‍🦰Momma rock loves her new purple earnings,👨🏼 papa rock’s beard is filling in nicely, 👶baby rock needs a quarantine haircut, and 🦁 dandy-lion in looking cute as ever! They live happily among the dandelions and love playing in the sunshine! They welcome the bees on their fancy hairdos and their flowers open in the morning to greet the sun and close at night when the go to sleep. -Post Caption 


Stacking Rocks



This classic lava lamp science experiment is a perfect one for toddlers and preschoolers. It uses just a few materials from around the house, is practically mess free, and is mesmerizing to observe 🙌🏼. I loved how simple this experiment was to prepare and was amazed with how long it kept Em (3Y) engaged.

You’ll need: vegetable oil, water, food coloring, clear glass, Alka Seltzer tablets
1️⃣ Color about 1/2 cup of water with food coloring.
2️⃣ Break the Alka Seltzer tablets into 2 or 3 pieces and place in a small container.
3️⃣ Fill a clear glass about 3/4 full with vegetable oil. Then add the colored water. Don’t fill the cup more than about 2 inches from the top.
4️⃣ Add a piece of an Alka Seltzer tablet to the cup.
5️⃣ Watch the blobs of colored water travel up and down the cup like a lava lamp!

-Post Caption


Infants love staring at faces! Your baby might be staring because they love you so much they just can’t look away…but research also shows that babies, even those less than an hour old, tend to stare at face-like images longer than any other pattern. This simple activity is perfect for infants and toddlers (and is also a sweet activity while staying distant from family and friends during the pandemic).

You’ll need: photos of family/friends, tape or frame
1️⃣ Collect photos of family and friends- I printed these from our printer at home on card stock paper
2️⃣ Hang, laminate, or frame the photos- I used plastic standing frames from Ikea, they are child-friendly! You could easily just tape photos to the wall instead.
3️⃣ Select up to four photos for your child to observe at a time. This is great for practicing tummy time or sidelying.
This activity requires adult supervision. -Post Caption



🧽 Outdoor practical life work is not only engaging and fun, but also purposeful. Toddlers especially love anything that involves a water + sponge. I set this large bowl up with water and Sonny-sized sponges and demonstrated how to wipe the dirt off the garage door. ⁣

He had fun wiping, splashing and working on an activity that took me seconds to prepare. My expectation was not to have a sparkling clean door, but rather introduce Sonny to real work we do at home that he can also be a part of. 💦⁣

As the weather gets nicer, we will be looking for lots of ways to work outside. Cleaning the garage door will certainly be a work to return to. ⁣-Post Caption



All you need are two things and you probably already have them. LEGO bricks & a box! I wrapped our box in white paper to make the colors stand out, but that’s optional.
Use a knife to make a different slot for each color brick, outline it with color, and then let the kids drop them in! Easy peasy! We’ve been doing this for years! Kids can repeat it again and again.
This works on color recognition, color sorting, and some simple motor skills. -Post Caption



 I’ve done this with students before and thought it was high time to try it with my kids! 🙌 Annabelle was SO EXCITED and thought it was pretty funny that we were going to pretend to paint the “ceiling” like Michelangelo… but instead paint UNDER the table.
WHAT YOU NEED: paper, painters tape, scissors, WASHABLE paint, paint brushes, somewhere to put your paint, and a table or chair. You can find most of our favorite art supplies linked in our Amazon shop. ☝️
SET UP: Tape pieces of paper on the underside of your table. Bigger is better. Try to tape most of the way around the paper to hold it in place. I used my feet to hold up some corners while I was doing this under bigger tables.🤣
WHAT TO DO: Since we’re talking about Famous Artists this week, we told kids a little bit about Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel before we got started with this and how he painted the ceiling… but you can also just introduce this as a fun painting activity!
Encourge kids to lie on their backs or sit up under the table to paint! Each kid will have their own style. You can see ME and my kids in action doing this in stories right now. ☝️🤣 It was pretty entertaining trying to fit under my daughter’s tiny table. 😜 -Post Caption



Do you remember the paper tunnels we love to make for balls and cars? We thought we’d change them up a bit and use them on the WALL, instead of the floor! All you need is paper, Pom Poms, and painter’s tape! We also grabbed a few paper tubes from our recycling bin! This is an activity we love to do again and again!!
Just fold the paper into tunnels and tubes, tape them together and stick them to the wall. Easy peasy! This is a great way to use up all of your TP rolls too! -Post Caption


This is done with paper towel and fine tip markers, how fun!


If you’ve never made a bubble tower, here’s how it works…
– Fill a small bowl with water
– Add a drop of food coloring for a fun “pop” of color 😉
– Squeeze in a few drops of dish soap
– Give the kids a straw and start blowing bubbles until they begin to topple over!!
And of course remember to remind your children to always blow OUT of the straw so not to accidentally suck in the soapy liquid 😝. For safety, this activity is likely best for children over age three!
I hope this fun little activity brings you just as much joy as it brought these little cuties!!!
      -Post Caption


✨Beads on a Line✨

Today we tried a new activity I like to call “beads on a line”. Not only did it provide a rare moment of peace and quiet, but it also worked to strengthen those important fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. The tactile sensation of the glass beads was also a beautiful and irresistible addition. Simply spread out a large piece of paper, draw a few squiggly lines, and pair it with whatever small objects you might have on hand- glass beads, coins, beans, or even legos! Once the older kids had their fill of fun, Teddy jumped in and happily turned clean up into a bead transferring activity 🙌🏼 -Post Caption


A tray of baking soda and coloured vinegar. 💥⁣

Such a fun and easy exploration for kids that incorporates ⁣
colour mixing. 🌈⁣ -Post Caption 


One of our favourite little activities: play dough puzzle. ⁣

Find some objects and make some imprints in the dough for your child to match up. ⁣

My kids then always enjoy making imprints for me to match up. ⁣

It may last a few minutes then lead to more play dough play… or they may do it for a while. ⁣

Either ways, it’s great for developing fine motor and problem solving skills. ⁣-Post Caption




A simple nature tray! 🌿🌼⁣

I set up this #invitaitontoexplore for Ben, and while he was looking at and touching the different items we would end up going over what they were called! ⁣we reused our @melissaanddougtoys tray to set this up #recycleandplay ⁣
He’s so into finding different things outside that I knew this would be a hit, after a while he started collecting his own items and putting them in the tray 🙌🏻 I would label them as he would bring them, and he would try to say the word.⁣

I love how much early literacy can be explored through just everyday simple play! 🎉            -Post Caption




Here is a simple diy colour sorting activity. All you need are some wood slices from a fallen branch (I actually bought mine from the dollar tree) and some acrylic paint!⁣

Paint a portion of the wood slice in the colours you want and you will have a colour sorting activity that can be used for so many other things as well. ⁣

For older children you can turn it into a memory matching game! Swipe ➡️ to see. ⁣

For toddlers, it’s a great way to start introducing colours and how to sort them. You can bring this activity indoors or keep it outdoors (stored properly). ⁣

I LOVE using natural elements for play and learning and usually find children super receptive to theses items 💚⁣I can’t wait to use them in our classroom! ⁣
TIP: Have your children participate in searching for the wood/sticks and help with the painting part 👍🏻⁣ -Post Caption



Modified Painting for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Modified Painting for Infants , Toddlers and Preschoolers

                 infant toddler preschooler painting activities 2


The days in mama land seem to be getting longer and longer as we exit January (which was cold and snowy as hell) and enter February with not much warmth in sight.

All us moms are feeling it, cabin fever to the max! Guess who else is feeling it…… bingo those little gremlins that we’ve birthed! We are all just starting to really go stir crazy with the mixture of a million cm of snow piling up outside our doors and the polar vortex taking in effect any simple creative activity we can implement to break our day up is SOOOOOOO valuable! Doing this can actually help reset those irritable moments of boredom mixed with just a little bit of psycho!

Rekah from @mama.in.a.mad.house is a fellow educator and we started bouncing off the idea that once in while it would be great to collaborate some simple easily activities for parents to implement and it would also be a great opportunity have some adult conversations and our children could get together as well.

Between the two of us we have one infant, one toddler and one preschooler so we thought what better way but to do some simple, easy and cost effective painting activities parents can easily do with their children at any of those stages.

Infant – Ziploc bag painting

When doing any sort of painting project with an infant its always a good idea if they are going to be touching the actual paint that its non-toxic because everything, I mean everything, gets put into their mouths. But there’s a easier no mess (oh yeah mama I said no mess!) way of doing a painting activity with your infants!

Materials used :

  • Paper
  • A large Ziploc bag
  • Paint

Place the paper into the Ziploc bag and add dabs of paint inside, then seal the bag and voilà, its that simple! Give to your infant to explore!

*****Infant disclaimer, anytime you are doing a activity with an infant supervision is required at all times for their safety!

This painting activity is great to help make tummy time more stimulating as well as letting them explore new senses and colours up close. I always love seeing the reaction from infants when you do an activity like this, that in its self is worth any sort of prep.


My child also attempted to eat and roll around on the mat with his plastic bag and paints.


Amadeo was super proud of his art work!


Toddler – Simple stamp painting with household products

Bekah brought over different textured items that where around the house for Juni to stamp with. She placed the items into the paint and then stamped them on the paper to reveal an imprint. For each item she used a different piece of paper as well as paint colour.

**** Toddler disclaimer, my kitchen is white from top to bottom so for my sanity and kitchens cleanliness we taped down brown Ikea craft paper and used washable Crayola paints.

Materials used :

  • Paper
  • Scented, washable Crayola paints (I picked these up at Scholars Choice)
  • Tray for paints
  • Stampers used , Duplo block, plastic screw, plastic rake, and silicone brush.
  • Apron of some sort is handy but not necessary (super cute accessory though!)

Juni really enjoyed stamping the different tools and seeing what was left on the paper once she was finished. We used this opportunity to ask her about what colours she was using and what shapes the stamps were leaving on the paper.



Pre-schooler – Salad spinner marble painting

This is a classic daycare no mess painting activity that’s great for preschool, and kindergarten age children.

Materials used:

  • Salad spinner
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Paint
  • Marbles

All you need to do is trace the inside of the salad spinner onto a piece of paper, cut it out, place inside said salad spinner, dip the marbles in the paint and woohoo spin away! Again this painting activity will leave no mess and your kids will love how fun it is for them to spin and the sound it makes!

**** Pres-school disclaimer, Some children will need help holding the salad spinner so they can turn the top:)

Max was too busy playing with all the toys so Juni our artist extraordinaire did this painting activity as well.






Bekah and I hope this can easily add some excitement to your everyday at home with your little ones! If you try these simple painting activities please tag us in your posts, we would love to see how it turns out!

Bekah: @mama.in.a.madhouse

Vanessa: @mylittlelambblog

Happy Painting!




Top Ten Toys for Babies 5 months and Under


Top Ten Toys for Babies 5 months and Under


Over the past couple months my most requested blog post my followers have asked me to write about is what toys and activities I use daily with Amadeo and what I recommend for which ages. So here it is mamas all our FAVOURITE toys we own and love!

***I will include all links and prices to these items but this is in no way a sponsored or affiliated post, this is purely my opinion of the items I have purchased myself or have been gifted to me and Amadeo by family or friends :)***

  1. Skip Hop Vibrant Village Play Mat – $149.99

I added this play mat from Skip Hop on my baby shower registry from Buy Buy Baby, because I LOVED the modern design that had beautiful high contrast colours that are perfect for infant development. Another bonus to this mat which I have grown to love and recommend a million percent over the foam tile play mats, is that its SOOOOO EASY TO CLEAN, super hygienic, and SO comfy and squishy, I wish my whole main floor was made out of this material. I’m able to run my Dyson vacuum on it on either setting no problem and use non toxic cleaning products to easily disinfect germs! Win Win!





2. Skip Hop Vibrant Village Smart Lights Activity Mat – $134.99

Same as the Skip Hop Play Mat I chose this Activity mat for all of the features it had for infant development. It hits all of your babies senses and is really great from infant on again because of the high contrast colours and patterns. It also lights up and plays music, so cool! Amadeo has loved this mat from day one!






3. All kinds of Sensory Balls – Prices range from $5.00 to $15.00


Infantino textured ball set, we own a couple different sets and Amadeo loves playing with these balls for so many different reasons. He’s able to explore and feel different textures, some are super easy for him to grasp and suck on, and he is always mesmerized by the beautiful bright colours!



Oball ( my favourite ball EVER! ) Amadeo has been confidently playing with his ball as young as 2 months old! It’s his favourite toy and likes it so much that I have multiples for outings and at home play. Its light weight and super easy for them to grasp and hold on to, plus Amadeo favourite game is sticking his tongue through the holes and thinks its hilarious.


Spiked rubber shapes are from the Dollarama, they were $2.50 each and are sooooo cool! Amadeo loves putting them in his mouth and feeling the spikes. We’ve been playing with these from 2 months old till now. He also loves when I take his socks off and put them where he has his naked feet, its a different sensory experience.


Stress Balls from Terra 20 were a gift from friends and they are SO cool! I definatly recommend purchasing, they are a really cool texture and feeling and they are good for mommy to fidget with too in stressful situations! Bonus!




4. Squiz from Scholars choice were a gift Amadeo got from my co-workers at daycare! This hands down is my FAVOURITE daycare toy for quiet table top play. They are so cool and suction to almost any surface including eachother so they can be built up. I add other toys to this for example, I use the green ones as trees and add farm animals, I used all the blue ones and add boats, fish or marine animals, I mean the possibilities for different play set ups are endless. These are also amazing for child directed play, their imagination runs wild and its so cool to see their suction creations. I have been giving these to Amadeo since he was two months. They are AMAZINGLY easy for him to grasp as well as a great teething aid! I HIGHLY recommend adding a set or two to your child’s toy collection for any age range, its a toy that will grow with your child beautifully as they use it in different ways at different stages.




5. Grimm’s Conical Stacking Tower is such a beautiful hand crafted wooden toy Amadeo got for Christmas. I cant wait to grow his Grimm’s wooden toy collection. Amadeo LOVES the beautiful bright colours as well as the texture of the wood in his mouth, the pieces are also easy for him to hold at 5 months and challenges him because they are heavier then his plastic toys he’s used to. Grimm’s toys are pricey but you have to look at these toys as a true investment, they will be played with by your children 5 months all the way till grade 6 at least! I HIGHLY recommend checking out all of the different Grimm’s creations accounts I have listed on my Grimm’s post on Instagram, its crazy what children are creating independently as well as with their parents!



6. Anything Eric Carle! As an educator and now mommy I LOVE all of the stories, art work and toys that the company The World Of Eric Carle puts out. I love the brand so much that it was the theme for our Baby Shower, check out that blog post for pictures! So far all the Eric Carle toys and books we own as from a mixture of Amazon, BuyBuyBaby and Winners, Homesense and Marshalls. They are affordable and bring so much to the table developmental wise!






7. The Infantino Pat and Play Water Mat – $7.99

As an educator I know how crucial it is to have sensory be a big part of a child’s learning and development, however as an infant it can be difficult to incorporate. Amadeo is at the age were EVERYTHING he gets his hands on will go into his mouth and he also hasn’t started eating solids so we are limited to contained sensory play. I love the infantino water mat because its affordable and I hate the diy sensory bags out of ziplocs because its next to impossible to have them not leek fluid, and yes I’ve tried everything after a couple plays or elapsed time they also leek fluid. I use the water mat for keeping tummy time interesting as well as I put it under his feet for a different sensory intake.




8. Teething Toys!

The Zoli Teether – $19.99

Baby Banana Toothbrush – $9.99


I realize there are a lot of AMAZING teethers on the market and I own almost all of them but my son started teething at 3 month ( ugh ) and even now at 5 months its really difficult for him to properly grasp and use any of the other teethers properly because he’s so young. These are the ONLY two that from 3 months to now that he can use 100% on his own with confidence and provides him with relief!


Follow my Instagram account @mylittlelambblog and you will see these in use almost daily in my stories!


9. Stacking cups!

You can find all sorts of different sets and shapes of stacking cups. Amadeo got his as a Christmas present and loves them because he can hold them with use do to the thin lip on the cups. They are light weight making them easy for him to hold for long periods of time and these one even have holes so are perfect in the bath as well!




We also play a really fun game together as a family with Amadeo when he is in his Bumbo. He ends up throwing and pushing off the cups and my husband and I have to get them back on within 5 seconds, like a the floor is lava game, he laughs and just loves it!



10. Evenflo Jungle Quest Excersaucer – $143.99

Last but certainty not least is an Excersaucer. Amadeo is 5 months old and has built up enough strength in his neck to confidently play in a Excersaucer which equals the HAPPIEST day in motherhood. You can go pee, do dishes, shower, etc and not feel guilty! They are happily having independent play and entertain themselves for a bit (FINALLY) so in my eyes its a WIN WIN and I 10000000 million percent say as soon as your child is capable get them in one! This Excersaucer is super cool because I actually bought it for my nephew 6 years ago and now Amadeo is using his cousins, woot woot!



Once you pass the six month mark there is SO much open to keep them entertained and growing developmentally, most of which is extremely cost effective and you can easily DIY.

Let me know if you have any other questions pertaining to our daily activities I always love hearing from you, as well as if you have or purchase anything I’ve recommended let me know how you and your children like using them!



Ten questions to ask a potential provider

Ten questions to ask a potentional daycare provider picture

You’ve done the research of which type of childcare best suits your family, you’ve found a couple daycare contenders, now what?
I’ve seen and experienced first hand that usually this next step comes with a lot of anxiety for parents. I see that they are wanting to ask me important questions about my program and style of education, food, first aid, policies etc., but once they are in the space its almost like it all goes blank. When I’m giving a tour and summary of the programs we run at my location, I try to give as much information that we believe is important for a parent to make a confident decision to have their child in our program. Realistically its one of the biggest decisions a parent can make, your child will be spending the majority of their early years with these staff and children, you want them to know it will be a right fit for their families.
After you make those appointments to tour and get information of the different programs, make a list of questions you’d like answered and the information that’s important to you.
If you are choosing a licensed center usually information is as easy as looking on their websites and being able to download their policies and procedures. If you are going to visit unlicensed home daycares and are having a hard time getting a good picture of what your child’s day will look like if xyz happens before you meet with the provider, I recommend you go with these questions in tow to help alleviate the stress and anxieties that come with making this decision.
Ten of the most important questions to ask your future child care providers.
1. What type of licensing or accreditation does your center/daycare go through and how often?

Like I mentioned in the last blog, understanding what to look for in a Daycare, if the daycare is licensed it is mandatory that you have access to seeing their up to date licensing inspection reports. If your looking into a homecare provider that isn’t licensed, you will need to ask those questions yourself and trust that the answers given are true. (I would say always trust your gut, mama you will have some sort of a sense after asking some tough questions)

Some questions you should ask a none licensed home daycare:

• What are your daycares policies and procedures?
• What are your group sizes and day to day supervision look like?
• Is everyone that will be in contact with my child, as well as reside in the home, have a criminal background check, if so can I see a copy?
• Do you have an up to date first aid training certificate as well as anyone else who will be caring for my child?
• If my child gets injured what are your practices and procedures on notifying a guardian?
• What are your policies on having children immunized in your care?
• What are the action plans put into place in case of emergency, for inside your home or on an outing? (if your child is anaphylactic you need to ask how that would be handled as well in and outside the home.)
• What is your food prep and storage practices? What do your weekly menus look like? What is your special dietary and allergy arrangements and practices.?
• How are hazardous materials stored in your home and how do you keep them safely away from the children?
• What are your qualifications and education behind working with children?
• What do your daily programming plans look like?
• How do you deal with disciplining children in your care?
• What does nap time look like in your care? What if my child stops napping/ or doesn’t nap?
These are some of the main questions I would recommend asking and having the answers either in paper form or at least verbal. When your looking into a licensed center all of this information again is very easily accessible or is visible within the center or online for you to have, but the ministry of education is making sure this is all being done properly to their standards of the law or the center wouldn’t no longer be open and operating.

2. What is required for the educator’s background checks, and who needs to have them?

Its hard as a parent to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s before you enrol your child in a daycare. One thing you’d want to make sure of is that everyone that will be in daily or even occasional contact with your child has no criminal background especially working with the vulnerable sector. At our center we require all staff as well as students and volunteers to provide an up to date criminal reference check that we keep on file.

3. Are the educator’s CPR/ first aid certified and how often does this need to be updated?

As peace of mind its good to know as a parent that your child is left in the care of someone who will know what to do in case of an emergency. Its one thing to take a first aid and CPR course ten years ago and needing to update your knowledge and stay fresh every two years. CPR and First Aid id hope isn’t being practiced every single day in your center (other then little band aids or a child being sick) so its important to always be up to date and practice what needs to be done to save a child’s life in case of emergency.

4. What is an average educator turnover rate look like at your center?

This question is usually never asked and in my opinion as an educator at a daycare center one of the first questions I would ask. A month down the road if you and your child aren’t going to recognize the staff and have to constantly get used to new people there’s going to be a problem. You won’t feel as secure and at peace with leaving your child constantly with new people as well as your child’s behaviour will most likely be affected from having to get used to and get comfortable with new staff. At my center we are just starting to see more turn over because staff that have worked there over thirty years are now retiring but we have a very low turn over rate in most of our programs. I myself have been there right out of high school!

5. What are the staff to child ratios in the program?

In a licensed center this should be posted and visible for parents to see, however it is good to have the knowledge and be aware. Now with the new ratio laws, ratios actually are different depending on time of day as well, so its always good to know if your dropping your child off at a certain time and its so busy and ratios are not being met, that you need to bring it up to the staff, board, and maybe the ministry of education and a resolution will need to be made.

6. What is the information needed about my child as well as how is it stored and filed?

This can look different at every center. We have enrolment packages we give to parents filled with information as well as a registration form of information that is needed for our license to be in good standing. Things like emergency contact information, their allergies or medication plans, depending on the age of the group a photocopy of the child’s vaccines. This information should also be stored in a locked cupboard that only staff should have access too.

7. What is the cleaning and sanitizing practices, how often are carpets and surface areas cleaned?

Again, this will kind of align with your gut feeling as well as hearing or reading their practices. You can visually see how an area where kids learn is kept. If things are tidy and in place, the children are taught to respect the toys and have responsibilities to tidy their own areas, if you go in and it visually looks clean with no dust, the staff is constantly cleaning and sanitizing.
At my program we have cleaning schedules posted but you can visit almost any time of day and any point and our daycare is clean and sanitary. Its important for learning and helps keeps germs at bay.
8. What are the safety and security policies and procedures?

In a licensed center there should be these policies and procedures easily accessible for you to have but to actually have a conversation about it will make you feel more secure. It’s a crazy world we live in today, just a little over a month ago it was suspected that there was a protentional child obduction attempt in our city and because of the safety practices of the center the child was not released and was safe from harm.

9. What are your disciplinary policies as well as everyday practices?

Depending on your beliefs is how you will feel about the response, but to be honest if you ask this question and the provider answers with “time outs” you may want to reconsider. You should hear words like redirection, we try to not give attention to the behaviours we don’t want them doing, we give praise to the children who are doing what they should, we will give praise to your child as soon as and whenever we see them listening to offer them positive reinforcement and attention… these are better strategies for teaching and working with a child with behaviours.

10. What is your centers philosophy on learning?

For most early learning centers, we are educated backed by science, experiments and years of implementation that children learn through play. There are many different styles so before you pick which centers, you’d like to go visit and potentially enroll your child in, figure out which style matches your family’s belief’s best. Some are very similar but some do focus a lot more on structured education even in the younger years.
Finding a childcare center or home daycare can be stressful just for fact that you will no longer be with your child and are now trusting someone else to add value, love, support, teach them, care for them etc. to your child’s everyday. I know for me whenever I’m anxious about something new research, attaining knowledge and speaking with professionals in that field will always make me feel more at ease. I hope these two blogs will help give you the tools to do your own research and give you the questions to confidently pick the right care for your little ones when you go back to work!

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