Classroom Centers That Work

May 30, 2019

Ideas for Classroom Centers

 

Finding classroom centers that work for everyone can be challenging. What to plan so that students can work together on common activities, meet the needs and goals of a diverse group of kids, and also allow the staff to manage many children at the same time, doing different activities? Perhaps we can help! Here are 6 that are working in the classrooms at Crossroads Center for Children.

Fine Motor Center – From building with legos to working with PlayDoh, little fingers need activities to practice their fine motor skills.

 

 

Tons of other skills can be reinforced in learning centers, too! Children can make shapes, share colors, form letters, build and tall or short towers…. so many things while their fingers are busy.

 

More ideas for fine motor centers:

Dressing skills such as buttons, zippers and latches.

Learning Without Tears magna-doodles to practice letter formation.

Cutting with scissors

Tracing

Using utensils – forks, spoons, knives

Using pencils, crayons

Car Center – Playing with automobiles and tracks is not only fun, but also involves strategic skills. When moving a car along a track children can learn about force affecting speed, and when using toys with ramps and slides, they can experience principles such as velocity and cause and effect. Sharing, turn-taking, and language skills are social-communication skills that come into play. Hand muscles can be strengthened by using 2 hands at the same time, as can eye-hand coordination by placing and moving cars.

 

 

Dress up Center – Got costumes or pieces of uniforms? Scarves, hats, ties? Putting them together to make a center is a blast for children. A great activity for a center can include not only the clothes but also kid furniture to expand the theme. For instance, dressing up like a chef and then cooking in the play kitchen is fun and allows students to explore roles and tasks. Dressing up like a police officer or fire fighter gives children a chance to pretend at rescuing their friends, and act out those roles. Teachers here are vigilant about sanitizing clothing and toys, and recommend that others do the same whenever kids are sharing items.

 

Puzzle Center – Another great center for kids is puzzles. There are so many different kinds of puzzles as well as numbers of pieces. Puzzles help develop cognitive skills like problem solving and memory. They can increase a child’s ability to do a little at a time and come back to it later. Shape recognition and the art of “flipping” and “turning” pieces to find the exact fit are also benefits of puzzle-doing. Puzzles work on fine motor skills, too, and turn out to be one of the leading activities for lifelong leisure enjoyment.

Art Center – Another great center is this one. It’s important to give kids opportunities to be creative, choose their own colors and materials and set their own goals.

Centers provide opportunities for students to work together to solve common problems or meet mutual goals. Along with that benefit is the independence and confidence that comes with acting as a part of a group. Children need to learn to do for themselves and each-other as they grow older, and centers can be great arenas for those needed skill-sets.

What are your favorite activities for centers? What are you going to try that we are doing? We’d love to hear from you!

Strengthening focus through classroom activities

Super Hoopers in Room 5!

LifeSong Volunteers at Crossroads Center for Children!OT and PT put the FUN in FUNCTIONAL!