A theme day that complements or even contrasts with the focus of the program can give kids something special to look forward to during the week. Plan a theme day for the end of the week or near the end of a multiple week program. Decorate the area with handmade posters that tell kids the name of the theme, the specific day and time, and list a few of the activities.
A day (this could even be something that takes place during a couple of hours, it doesn’t have to extend the length of the program) doesn’t have to be expensive or involve renting supplies or hiring outside entertainment. Instructors can have a part in planning a theme day and they can even have children assist them in creating the materials needed, say for a carnival, indoor Olympics, or indoor beach party.
Animal Theme Day for All Ages
Create several animal-themed craft and game stations that children or families can move between. Some stations can be ongoing while others, such as an animal bingo game area can offer specific times to make and then play the game. Have kids make animal masks, act out the behaviors of different animals, write an animal poem, etc.
This theme day can be geared to animals in general or more specific – polar animals, rainforest animals, African animals, neighborhood animals, insects, birds, etc. Have pictures printed from online or cut from magazines to decorate the area and let kids know the animals of the day.
Fashion Crafts or Personalized Clothing for Kids
Have kids bring in clothing from home to keep costs down for the program. Describe the day as a way to recycle old clothing by giving it a new look. Have inexpensive white fabric cut into square bandanas for kids who don’t come prepared.
Tie dye and decorating sneakers, socks, and shoelaces allow both boys and girls to walk away with a way to creatively express their personal style. Provide inexpensive craft supplies, such as paper plates and recycled gift wrap paper, to make fun hats. Have kids put on a fashion show or create a bazaar in which the children can trade creations such as bandanas for an added bit of fun.
Outdoor Fun for a School or Neighborhood Block Party
Invite kids to make their own bubble blowers and then try them out. If there are a lot of trees in the area, have kids gather short sticks for a variety of stick games. Create a scavenger hunt or quest that will have kids (and their families) moving around a defined area looking for different objects. Have inexpensive treasures to reward participants who successfully get to the end of the quest.
What about kids who don’t want to participate in some of the activities offered, whatever the theme? Have a table indoors or in a shady spot outdoors where kids can paint with homemade finger paints, work with homemade play dough, or try other basic crafts like simple mask making or sculpture. Have scrap paper and crayons on hand for kids who just want to color. Also consider offering story time as a quiet break from an active day.
Holding a special theme day full of crafts, games, and other activities doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Everyone can let their creativity shine through as teams of instructors plan and gather supplies for their activity station. Kids can either move about a play yard, participating in the activities of their choice, or small groups can rotate through different stations. Be sure to let kids know a special day is arriving so they are excited to participate in different activities.