Each year as I am preparing for my return at the beginning of the school year I gear up for a great year. I think about all the new kids I am going to meet and what they are going to be like. Will there be more boys or girls? Will they like outside games or crafts more? What will their favorite books and hobbies be? Usually I am very well-prepared — I’ve laid out lesson plans and event ideas that are sure to keep everyone happy, safe and entertained. I have my magic sack of handy dandy, tried and true games and activity ideas that I just know the kids are going to love!

But sometimes, I feel like a repetitive machine, those tried and true games are great, but leave me feeling like I’m on auto-pilot.  Besides, being at an After-School Center you don’t automatically get a brand new class at the start of each school year – some of your young ones will be returning (and may be doing so for the next five years!.) So it is essential that at the start of each year you try to breath some new life and ideas into your program. Idea-sharing is a perfect way to do this! Someone else’s tried and true activity or game may be new to your program and children may get a kick out of it. Before you know it it may become the new “hot trend” for the year.

In the past this worked for our school with the introduction of Speed Stacks. I was able to see it on display at a Child Care Expo. Wow, I was enthralled by how fun, intriguing, and competitive stacking cups could be. I brought the Speed Stacks to our school a few years back and they were an instant hit.

This year, I have been searching for new math games to play with our younger kids and via Matt Halpern’s blog found Heidisongs Resource. We are going to try to incorporate her version of, “The Cup Game” in our lesson plans this year.

This idea-sharing concept inspired me to add a new feature to After School Club Ideas that will allow us to share ideas in a community forum. You can check out the forum by clicking here. Please be sure to become a member and read the forum rules if you would like to participate.

Happy Back-to-School Planning and Idea Sharing everyone!

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