Daycare providers are busy keeping up with groups of small children. Fun activities help fill the time and educate young children about the world around them. Because young children have short attention spans, make sure to plan many projects for little hands. These activities use basic materials and can be accomplished with a group of children.

Abstract Finger Painting

Start by designating a project area for messy activities. Cover a table with a tablecloth and place a tarp onthe floor. This will help ensure easy clean-up and that nothing will be permanently stained. Gather materials for the project, such as sheets of paper, tape, crayons and primary colored (red, yellow and blue) finger paint.

Cover children with smocks and position them at the worktable. Place a sheet of paper in front of each child and a selection of crayons. Tape the four corners of the paper to the worktable. Allow young children to color on their papers without worrying if they are scribbling. Remove the crayons from the table and place a spoonful of each color of finger paint on each child's paper. When children are finished, remove the paper and write their names on the bottom of the paper and allow to dry. When the paint dries, the crayon will be visible underneath creating a finished artwork.

Hide-and-Seek with Clues

Gather young children in a circle. Explain they will be playing a game that involves paying attention to clues given to them from another child. Have one child leave the circle and select his favorite toy from the room. Show the toy to the children and return it to the child chosen. Have the rest of the children put their heads down and close their eyes while he hides the toy.

When he is finished hiding the toy, have the other children look for it while listening to the clues given by the child who hid the toy. Keep playing until each child has had a turn.

Nature walk

Take children on a nature walk, which can be done anywhere. Provide each child with a small basket or container to use. Have children collect items they find while walking outside. Take magnifying glasses along to use for a close up look at flowers and plants. For small children who aren't able to walk, use strollers and collect items that catch their eye.

Return to the daycare center and use glue and a sheet of construction paper to create a collage of the nature walk. Help younger children with the glue if necessary. Ask children to tell about their nature walk and write on the collage the interesting things they have to say.