a guide to our skill-based activities
We've taken great care to select activities, toys, and equipment that help young children develop important skills while having a blast. We focus on toys and activities that encourage inquiry, experimentation, and social interaction. In other words, we focus less on what the toys/equipment can do and more on what your child can do WITH them. Read about some of these activities below!
On the playground in the OpenZone, children develop gross motor skills like climbing, sliding, stretching, pulling and swinging. They practice grit and persistence while navigating the structures and problem solving as they tackle new physical challenges. Children can use their imaginations to turn the playground into a make-believe place and personify different characters as they climb and move. Children may also build upon social skills such as taking turns, cooperating and sharing while they use the equipment to interact with others. New vocabulary for this play area includes: pulley, telescope, elevated, fortitude, courage
Children 2-years and younger learn by investigating and interacting with the world around them. They also need plenty of room to explore and practice gross motor skills! The Crawlers’ Cove provides a safe, comfortable area for our littlest friends to investigate and move. In this space, children are able to engage in sensory and tactile play and work on movements like crawling, walking and jumping. Little learners may also build with foam blocks and practice rolling and tossing lightweight balls. The mirrors in this area promote young children’s self-awareness and self-identification and are a great tool for practicing imitation and feeling identification (happy, sad, etc.). New vocabulary for this play area includes: build, roll, jump, balance, toss, slide, happy, sad, angry, “me”
Sensory play is in an important way for young children to explore and learn about the world around them. The interactive water table provides little ones with a space to splash, pump water and experiment with buoyancy as they play with different objects. Children can actively participate in the movement of water through the table and observe as they control the flow with pumps and channels. During the coldest months, we switch out the water for beans that are great for digging, sorting, and pouring. New vocabulary for this play area includes: float, sink, pump, flow, lever
The racetrack is an exciting space for little ones to engage in play with peers and cultivate positive interactions. Your child can experiment with cars of different sizes and weights to test speed and velocity. Children can practice making predictions about the fastest ramp or quickest car, and work on problem solving to change their racecar’s outcome. The racetrack also provides children with the opportunity to build on social skills like using kind words and demonstrating patience. New vocabulary for this play area includes: vehicle, ramp, speed, wedged, heavy/light, race
The FocusZone’s three thematic areas, Animals, Transportation and Home Sweet Home, offer a collaborative make-believe space for children of all ages. The different areas within the FocusZone provide inspiration and tools to enhance children’s pretend play while also drawing on their real-life connections. In the FocusZone, young learners have the chance to interact with peers while using their imaginations, developing new vocabulary and choosing their desired activities.
In this area, little ones have access to a number of engaging thematic materials including magnetic blocks, two dollhouses and smaller animal manipulatives. Children will develop fine motor skills while they lay out different scenes in the dollhouses or create structures with blocks. They may also use the ongoing slideshow of photos for inspiration as they play with animal figures and investigate new creatures in nature. New vocabulary for this play area includes: creature, home, construct, roof, structure
The transportation area contains a variety of models including planes, trucks, construction vehicles and trains. Little ones are able to expand upon their own experiences by using the slideshow images and figurines to create different transportation scenarios. Children will also have the ability to problem solve, use new vocabulary and develop fine motor skills while designing additions to the train table. New vocabulary for this play area includes: vehicle, pilot, conductor, runway, bulldozer, crane, cargo, passenger
Home Sweet Home
Equipped with a full kitchen, Book Nook and workbench, this section of the FocusZone gives children an opportunity to expand upon their own experiences as they play. Children can pretend to take on different roles within a family and prepare ingredients to cook a meal. They may discuss concepts such as kitchen safety and healthy nutritional choices or demonstrate responsibility when cleaning up after a pretend meal. Children can also take on the role of home repair and construction at the workbench, developing fine motor skills as they use the tools to imagine building and fixing things.
In the Book Nook, young learners are able to improve upon emergent literacy skills as they listen to and read books on their own. Your child can practice orientation and directionality by pointing to words on the pages as you read to them. Children may also participate in the storytelling by pointing to relevant objects in the pictures, predicting what will happen next or making personal connections to the story.
New vocabulary for this play area includes: chef, chop, spatula, kettle, nut & bolt, construction, prediction, connection, (book) spine, front/back cover, words vs. pictures