Centers: There is a time for unstructured play and a time for structure!!

Centers are physical places in a room set up to allow your child/student to practice what he has learned.  If space doesn’t allow for physical centers, centers can be in boxes or containers and brought out at the appropriate time.

Why use centers?

Centers:

Encourage creativity

Keep toys and resources organized

Produces structured play and learning

while at the same time

Induces critical thinking, independent learning, cooperative learning (if a sibling is involved).

It teaches patience that leads to skill mastery.

Fosters one-on-one time with mother while allowing children to remain focus on a task without her.

These are perfect for mom with more than one child (especially little ones).

Lastly they promote fine-motor skills and problem solving techniques.

These are the centers I currently use in our homeschool room.

Reading Center

Children come here for the obvious, to read!

But I also have them go here to practice sentence building.

I bought the pocket chart at Target, $1.

Some of you may remember!

I keep this area current with skills we are learning.

I got this from a teacher-friend. Make friends at your local elementary school and you just might inherit some pretty fun stuff!

Music Center

 It’s portable and use them for worship or just to make a joyful noise!

Art/Writing Center

I combine these because we use the same materials to draw and paint as we do for writing.

I keep a good stock of paint brushes, color pencils, chalk, markers, crayons, paper of all sorts, construction paper, and magazines.

This is also where we turn in our work and display art and daily work.

Math/Science Center

On the bottom shelf I have measuring cups, bowls, bottles, and other materials to scoop, measure, pour, serve, fill, dump, sift etc.

Animals: for sorting, classification, and geography.

From left to right: lacing boards, cubes for counting, patterns, sorting, and estimating, and puzzles,

Left to right: Geometric shapes, beads for beading (Dollar Store), Melissa and Doug stacking game, Geo board

On the very top shelf: Bean bags, trays for Montessori-inspired work, clock with removable face.

Manipulative Center

For the future engineers in all of our children!

Sorry, bad picture

(bought this shelving system at IKEA. LOVE!)

Pipes (Lowe’s), Lincoln Logs, colored blocks (garage sale)

First box is empty, I am debating whether or not to put M&M’s baby toys in here or make it a rotating sensory bin…hummm decisions!

Bottom: wooden blocks, garage sale.

Playdoh cookie cutters, Potato Heads.

File Folder Wall

Although I don’t call this a center it functions as one and serves the same purpose.

All of our file folder games in here,

The organizer to the right, below the map is from IKEA. I use that for skill building. I put homemade games in the pockets.

I will post more on this later.

Hope this inspires all of you in some way. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the space. Clear boxes and bins are perfect. You can hide them away in a closet and only bring them out at the specific time or put them in places around your home so your children can rotate “stations” around the house.  Whatever you choose I pray your children will enjoy them!

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