Works For Me Wednesday

Works For Me WednesdayThis is the last time Works For Me Wednesday will be linked to the original site, Rocks In My Dryer, so please head over there and check it out.

Last night, I was getting ready to make dinner and I wanted something to keep my girls busy besides just turning on the tube.  So, I asked them, “Hey girls, would you like to do Centers?”


So, I made them go into my bedroom and shut the door, while I thought about 3 Centers I could set up for them to do.  (Centers have to be a surprise.)  I’m a former elementary school teacher and currently teach 3-year olds at my Church’s co-op.  Without a doubt, all my students (past & present) favorite part of the day is Centers, when they get a chance to go to a particular location, sit down with a particular task, and work on their own.

So, I took a quick look around the house and thought about skills I’d like them to work on.  When I’m setting up Centers, I usually try to have something art related, something solely for pretending, and something skills (cutting, gluing, counting, sorting, etc.) related.  Of course, most of the time a Center will encompass several of those. 

I quickly spent about 5 minutes setting up a few things in different rooms.  In my 2-year old’s room, I created a Bear Center.  It had little colored bears that my youngest daughter likes to sort & my oldest likes to make patterns out of, and it had 2 little bear activities for them to dress bears in different clothes.  One was magnetic and one had stuffed bears.


In my 5-year old’s room, I set up a Cutting Center.  In here, they were going to practice using scissors & glue sticks by finding things in a magazine they liked, cutting them out, and gluing the things onto a piece of paper (simple, I know but they love it.).  In addition to helping them learn to cut better, it also helps me learn more about them, because I always ask them questions about what they cut out.


Finally, a corner of our family room became the Kitchen Center.  I put 2 play kitchens in that corner, brought out a little table & chairs, and set some paper & pens on the table.  This center was designed for them to pretend.  They could pretend to be cooks, waitresses, or even customers.


Once the centers were set up, I went into my bedroom and asked them to decided together which room they wanted to go to out to the 3 rooms.  I do not tell them what’s in the rooms, and they aren’t allowed to look.  The surprise is half the fun.  They chose Emily’s room, which had the bears.  So, I led them to that Center & explained to them what was in there, and why.

february-2009-204.jpgOne of the best things about Centers is that it is an on-your-own activity.  Mommy & Daddy are not involved at all.  So, after I showed them the bears, I headed to the kitchen to work on dinner.  After about 10 – 15 minutes I will go in and tell them it’s time to switch.  They were having so much fun in the Bear Center, they asked to play for another 5 minutes.

It is so worth the five minutes of preparation to get my two girls to play together & learn for forty-five minutes, all by themselves.  We didn’t turn the TV on all night.

Here’s another post I did on Centers if you’re interested.

Visit the new home of Works For Me Wednesday, We Are THAT Family.

8 Responses to “Works For Me Wednesday”

  1. Tanya

    Great Idea!! My son has centers in his preschool class and he adores them!! Each day when we tuck him in at night and ask him his favorite part of the day was…if he had school that day he always mentions a center he was at that day!! I will have to try centers at our home too!! Thanks so much for the great inspiration!!

    February 17th, 2009 at 11:07 pm
  2. Heidi @ Blue Eyed Blessings

    This is definitely up my alley! I love this!! What great ideas to keep your little ones busy. I look forward to using these “centers” in our household…only a year or so to go when my son will be old enough to participate with his big sis. Thanks for such a great idea. I am a former teacher who is now staying home with my kids. I’ve always wanted to teach the younger grades, but I ended up teaching mostly 5th grade. I’ve always thought about getting back into possibly teaching preschool.

    February 18th, 2009 at 2:22 am
  3. Michelle@Life with Three

    This is a great idea — I’m bookmarking it! I have three children and sometimes it’s hard to keep them all busy, especially in the hour before dinner. I’m definitely going to give this a try!

    February 18th, 2009 at 10:07 am
  4. Anonymous

    This is definitely one for my “Let’s see how it goes with the Bajgier kids” blog? Ha ha!
    Maybe next year Nolan will be ready, but I couldn’t even dream of leaving him in a room unsupervised right now. It makes me shutter to just think about it!
    I do love centers, though. I do them for Madelynn sometimes, but then Nolan is jealous. Your girls are so sweet, I am jealous. :)

    February 18th, 2009 at 3:23 pm
  5. Heather

    What a great idea! I used centers all the time when I was a teacher, but I wouldn’t have thought to do it at home.

    February 18th, 2009 at 3:34 pm
  6. Anne

    You are so funny Amanda. I’m sure he could do a center of some kind for a little bit.

    February 18th, 2009 at 4:38 pm
  7. Angela

    What a great idea! I will have to try that in the future!

    February 18th, 2009 at 6:24 pm
  8. Chris

    Good job, Anne. I’m pretty sure Amanda wanted to remain anonymous.

    February 18th, 2009 at 11:21 pm

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