Child Care Directories That You Need to Be Listed On

Get more ideas in the “Publicizing Child Care Openings” online class

When a parent needs child care, they will most likely do an internet search for child care near them.  It is so important to list your child care program and website on the many child care directories out there.  The more directories you are included in, the more likely parents will find you.  In addition to your state licensing website (who should have you listed), here is a list of many child care directory websites that you can add your program to:

Using daycare marketing tips will ensure that your home based daycare stays full to capacity. According to Merriam Webster, advertising is defined as, “the action of calling something to the attention of the public”.


It’s an opportunity to toot your own horn. You are a professional child care provider and you want potential parents and children in your area to know that you exist.


So, how do you get the word out?


There are two absolutely free ways to advertise child care. Once you are established, these two forms of daycare marketing will likely be responsible for most of the business you receive.



Child Care Resource and Referral. This is an excellent resource and accounted for nearly half my enrollees over a period of a dozen years. This is a service that matches parents looking for providers with available daycare homes in their area. This is a great form of daycare advertising that works year round. Here, in Minnesota, I didn’t need to do anything other than get my license to be added to the list. Once you have your license, feel free to contact them to make sure you have been added.


*This is also an excellent resource for lists of classes or workshops available to enhance the quality of the care you provide. They also provide grant information to licensed providers.


Word-of-Mouth Advertising. Tell everyone you know about your new venture. Daycare advertising is easy when you notify neighbors, co-workers, family and friends. Do not limit yourself to only those that have children. Everyone has the potential to know someone in need of child care. The people who know you best will be able to refer people looking for child care directly to you.


There is no better form of daycare marketing than to have satisfied parents tell others about you. Run your child care home like a professional, keeping both children and parents happy, and over time there may be no need to publicize. Parents who referred other parents accounted for half of the children in my care.


When you are first starting out however, your daycare marketing campaign will have to be creative.


(Taken from Online Article Day Care Marketing)


Preschool Holiday Gross Motor Activities

Preschool Holiday Gross Motor Activities

Here is a list of some preschool holiday gross motor activities to get children moving.  There isn’t as much outside time in the winter months, but gross motor activities are important for young children.  Incorporate these into your holiday parties or holiday themes.


  1. Parachute Jingle Bells: Get a bedsheet and place it flat on the ground.  Put several jingle bells on the sheet and have children gather round and lift the sheet.  Have them shake the sheet gently (like a parachute activity) to make it jingle bell.  Do this while singing “Jingle Bells”.
  2. Present Toss: Wrap empty cardboard boxes with wrapping paper and ribbon.  Like a balloon toss, line up two rows of children facing each other.  Take turns tossing the wrapped presents between teammates.  The opposite player much catch the present to remain in the game.
  3. Avoid the Bows: Place Christmas bows throughout the room on the floor.  Play holiday music and have children move around the room without stepping on the bows. 
  4. Candy Cane Hunt: Hide candy canes all around the room.  Give each child a bag.  Play a holiday song while children walk around the room collecting candy canes.  When the song is over, have the children count how many candy canes they found.
  5. Wax Paper Ice Skating: Give the kids to pieces of wax paper.  Put a foot on each one and glide around the room like they are ice skating.

    Photo Credit: From the Hive

  6. Snowball Bounce: Have children create 2 Snowman Paddles (paper plates with a snowman face and craft stick handles glued on).  Get some balloons and toss them in the air.  The children will use their Snowman Paddles to keep the balloons off the ground. (Source: Dixie Delights)
  7. Penguin Waddle Relay: Divide children into 2 teams. Have them race from start to finish while holding a ball between their knees, waddling like penguins!

    Photo Credit: Brilliant Beginnings Preschool

  8. Snowball Toss: Create a Snowman out of a cardboard tri-fold project board.  Cut out holes in the Snowman and have children toss white plastic balls, bean bags, orlarge pom poms into the holes.  (Source: Leafy Treetops)
  9. Reindeer Toss: Get a large box and draw or add a reindeer face to the front.  Put tree branches through the top for antlers.  Use rings from another game or cut centers out of paper plates and have children toss the rings onto the antlers.
  10. Hanukkah Yoga: Dreidel symbols will represent each yoga pose.  Print out a picture of each symbol and tape to the wall.  One child pins the dreidel and the other kids do the pose. (Source and more details: Bee Yoga Fusion)

We also think these are cute: Download these Christmas action cards and get your kids moving! (Oopsy Daisy)

The Preschool Thanksgiving Word Wall

preschool thanksgiving word wall

Buy Word Cards

Buy Word Cards

Word Walls are important for incorporating literacy into an early childhood classroom environment.  Word Walls are usually bulletin boards that display important words for the children to see.  These words can include names, sight words, theme words, etc.  Word Walls can be interactive and change throughout the year.

Some early childhood educators place the letters of the alphabet across the Word Wall, and have the words listed below each letter, based on the corresponding first letter of the word.  Others simply have a collection of grouped words for students to see.

Thanksgiving is a great time to introduce a variety of words relating to harvest time.  Here is a list of suggestions for 36 words to introduce:

America Indian
Bake Leftovers
Corn Mashed Potatoes
Cornucopia Mayflower
Cranberry Sauce Native American
Dinner November
Drumstick Parade
Eat Pie
Fall Pilgrim
Family Plymouth Rock
Feast Pumpkin
Food Rolls
Football Settle
Gobble Stuffing
Gravy Thankful
Harvest Thanksgiving
Hat Thursday
Holiday Turkey


We like these 5 Tips for Introducing Word Wall Words (adapted from
1. Put the word card with picture in a mystery box. You can give hints and try to get the kids to guess the word or just have someone come up and draw one out and say what it is.

Variation: Use the same mystery box, only put real objects or items in that go along with the word.

2. Pass the word around the circle (musical chairs style) until the music stops and whoever is holding it must identify the word (by looking at the picture) and then place it on the word wall. Also, this gives every student a chance to look closely at the picture before putting it on the wall where it may seldom be looked at again by some children.

3. Play the loud/soft game. Have the children repeat the word loudly at first, then keep repeating it while getting quieter until you can no longer hear them. You can also do it with fast/slow or other variations, just make sure not to do it so much that the word ends up getting distorted and they are not really sure of the correct pronunciation.

4. Sing a song. For example: (Tune of: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush) This is the word we put on the wall, put on the wall, put on the wall. This is the word we put on the wall. The word is ______.
Another version could be a chant or clapping how many syllables in the word.

5. Choose a child whose name begins with the same letter as the word to put the word on the wall. To make it a little more challenging, say the word emphasizing the beginning sound and ask whose name begins with the same sound? Or if no one’s name begins with that letter, whoever thinks of another word that begins with the same letter first gets to put the word up.

20 Pre-K Conversation Starters

Conversation Starters encourage children to talk about themselves.  Talking to children is important, especially when you are trying to get to know them.  Young children develop speech and language skills, as well as listening skills when engaged in a conversation.  As a child care provider and educator, use these conversations starters during circle time, meal and snack times, or whenever you feel like getting to know the children in your care.

Here are 20 conversations starters to get children talking…

  1. Do you have any pets? What kind do you have?
  2. What is your favorite toy?
  3. What did you do last night?
  4. What learning center do you like the best? Why?
  5. What is your favorite book?
  6. Do you like the water table or sand table better? Why?
  7. Who brought you to school/daycare today?  What do you like best about them?
  8. Who are the people you live with?
  9. What is your favorite food to have as a snack?
  10. Do you like coloring or painting better?
  11. What is the best thing about today?
  12. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  13. If you could paint our classroom, what color paint would you choose?
  14. How do you feel today?
  15. Describe someone in this room using three words.
  16. What is your favorite thing to do at school/daycare?
  17. What is something that makes you happy?
  18. Would you rather play inside or play outside all day?
  19. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
  20. What does your bedroom look like?

Download a free printable with these conversations starters.  You can cut and laminate them into cards for when you want to use them.  Click Here to get your download.

conversation starters for pre-K

Ice Cream Shop Prop Box

Ice Cream Shop Prop Box

Prop Boxes are groups of dramatic play materials that are based on a theme.  Bring out an Ice Cream Prop Box in the summer (especially during National Ice Cream Month – July).  It is easy to put together an Ice Cream Shop Prop Box.

Just grab a tote/container, and collect the following items.  Large pom pom balls make great scoops of ice cream.  You can also create a menu board with a dry erase board or poster board.  Ice Cream Cones can be made easily (here is a tutorial).  Click Here for tote label that you can laminate and tape on the tote.  Prop boxes are meant to invoke the imagination of children.  Providing prop boxes with basic items for dramatic play can be very beneficial for children.

Empty Ice Cream Tubs
Ice Cream Scoops Bowls
Homemade Paper
Ice Cream Cones

Pom Pom Balls
for Ice Cream

Empty Chocolate
Syrup Bottles

Empty Whipped
Cream Cans

Play Cash Register
& Money


Shop Ice Cream Toys:

20 Books about Bikes for Preschool

Because of the many benefits of riding a bike, talking about bikes in early childhood can help children become excited about bikes.  We have found 20 books about bikes for preschool children that can be incorporated into your early childhood program.

Many say that riding a bike is a rite of passage for young children.  Children as young as 2 start out on tricycles before moving on to a bike with training wheels and then a two-wheeler.

Biking is a healthy pastime that kids will never outgrow. Here are some of the benefits of cycling:

  • Developing strength, balance, and overall fitness
  • Burning up calories
  • Strengthening the heart, lungs, and lower-body muscles and bones
  • Developing and strengthening the muscles surrounding the knees without impact

Biking boasts other benefits as well. Children of all shapes, sizes, and abilities can ride a bike.

20 Books about Bikes for Preschool:

Stages of Bicycling

(excerpt from All About Bicycle Riding)

Just as babies must learn to crawl before they can walk, your tyke will first pedal a tricycle before graduating to the world of two-wheeling. Here’s what experts at the National Center for Bicycling and Walking say to expect along the way:

Tricycles (ages 2 to 5): Plastic three-wheelers, such as Big Wheels, and traditional trikes are perfect for preschoolers who are testing their newfound motor skills. Tricycles should be ridden only on a playground or within a fenced yard, not in a driveway or street. Toddlers can also get a feel for biking by riding with parents on a bicycle-mounted seat or by being towed behind an adult bicycle in a cushioned bike trailer. The important thing to remember is that toddlers, like all riders, should always wear a size-appropriate helmet when biking.

Training wheels (ages 5 to 6): The training-wheels phase may last a couple of months or a couple of years, depending on the rate at which a child’s coordination and strength develop. Parents can gradually elevate training wheels to help build their child’s confidence. Eventually, when a child shows a mastery of balance on the bike, the training wheels can be removed.

Single-speed bikes (ages 6 to 9): A child’s first two-wheeler should be a one-speed with foot brakes. He won’t be ready for hand brakes and gears until age 9 or 10, when his hands are larger and stronger. Also, kids aren’t ready for street riding until sometime between ages 8 and 10. Until then, they should ride in a driveway or along park paths with an adult.

Multispeed bikes (ages 9 and up): Once your child is ready for a larger bike with gears and hand brakes, he can start riding on quiet streets, where you can teach him safe-riding skills. If your child wants to ride to school, and you feel that he’s ready, help him plot a route that avoids busy streets and crowded intersections.

Spring Writing Prompts for Preschool

Spring Writing Prompts for Preschool

Writing Prompts are a great addition to a literacy center.  Journal writing in preschool can be a good way to help children develop communication skills.  They can practice phonetic spelling and creative thinking.

Here are some good Spring writing prompts for preschoolers:

  • The best part about Spring is…
  • When it rains, I like too…
  • When I see a rainbow, it makes me feel…
  • Jumping in rain puddles is fun because…
  • When I look up at the clouds, I…
  • If I were a butterfly, I would…
  • My favorite Spring flower is…
  • The best part about flying a kite is…
  • If I were a raindrop, I would…
  • I have a magical umbrella that…
  • When I look out the window in Spring, I see…
  • The difference between Spring and Summer is…

To download these writing prompt templates, as well as 8 others, visit Teachers Pay Teachers.

Encouraging Your Preschooler (excerpt from Preschooler Writing Milestones)

  • Show your child the many ways you use writing every day. Call attention to the notes, lists, forms, and letters that you create on a daily basis. When young children have the opportunity to watch adults use writing in their everyday lives, it demonstrates the importance of the written word.
  • Surround your child with signs. Seeing printed words around the house helps your child understand that there is a connection between spoken language and written language. You can label objects in your child’s room, such as “books” or “door.” Making a sign for your child’s bedroom door or a “mailbox” for special notes also draws your child’s attention to the printed word.
  • Spend time “writing” with your child. Provide a wide range of writing supplies–different types of paper, notepads, envelopes, pens, crayons, and markers. Make these supplies available regularly for your child’s use and join in as she draws and writes. As parents and caregivers write with young children, they can also help them learn to form letters. While younger children are not able to form letters yet, they will still enjoy “scribble writing” in ways that mirror adult uses of writing.
  • Write down what your child says about his drawings. As your child is drawing or coloring, record what he says. You can also prompt your child to “tell a story” about the pictures he creates, cuts out, or sees around him and write those down as well. Older children enjoy making their own books that combine pictures and writing (either their own writing or their words dictated to an adult). You can help “publish” your child’s stories by typing them into a computer and printing them out for children to illustrate. Encourage your child to share stories with others by showing them and reading them aloud.

President’s Day Coin Activities

On President’s Day, there are a lot of activities you can do with young children.  However, coin activities are easy and popular.  Check out some preschool coin activities that can be incorporated around President’s Day or any time of the year that you want to introduce money or coins.  Introduce each coin to the children and discuss how much it is worth, and which president is on the front.

  • Coin Sort – Provide a variety of coins and have children sort the coins by size, color, and shape.  Use our Lincoln/Washington sorting printable to have kids sort pennies and quarters to match the face on the coin the president.

Click image to download

  • Coin Patterns – Allow children to line up coins in different patterns (ie. penny, penny, dime, penny, penny dime, etc.).  A variation is to use the same coin and line them up by heads and tails (ie.  heads, tails, heads, tails, etc.)


  • Coin Rubbings – Place a piece of white paper over coins, and have children use an unwrapped crayon on its side to create coin rubbings.


  • Coin Cleaning – In a bowl, add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1/4 cup of vinegar, and stir well.  Place old dirty coins into the bowl. Wait for 20 seconds and then take the coins out and rinse them in water and dry them with your paper towels. They should be now be shiny and clean!


  • Coin Tower – Give children a handful of coins and a die.  Roll the die and stack that number of coins.  Keep rolling the die and stacking the corresponding number of coins.  See how high they can make their coin tower before it falls.


  • Guess the Coin – Talk about the characteristics of each coin (size, color, rim – smooth or rigid, etc.).  Place a coin in the hands of a child who has his eyes closed or blindfold on.  Let the child guess what coin it is by the feel.

Children and Thank You Notes

children and thank you notes

November is the month to give thanks, but with the gift-giving season coming up, it is important to teach kids giving thanks when they receive a present.

Expressing thanks is something that a child can do from an early age.  If a child can talk, they can express “thank you.”  Teaching children to send a thank you note is teaching them about appreciation.  It is a good idea to explain to children that when they receive a gift, the person that gave them the gift took the time to select the gift just for them.  A child should also be told that the gift-giver spent money on the gift, wrapped it, and delivered it (by mail or in person). Children should be taught that a thank you note expresses appreciation to the person who gave the present, and if it was mailed, a thank you note lets the gift-giver know that the gift arrived.

For very young children who cannot read or write, there are other ways to express thanks in a note.  Toddlers can draw a picture of themselves with the gift or a picture drawn with the gift-giver in mind.  An adult can add a note, such as “Adam created this drawing in appreciation for your gift of his puzzle.  Thank you!”

As children are beginning to write, there are many fill-in-the-blank thank you card templates.  It is a great start to get kids to think about how thank you notes should be written.  Here are a few websites that offer free templates:

Kids who can read and write should be able to write thank you notes on their own.  Encourage these children to include the specific gift and how they will use it.  (Example: “Thank you for the puzzle.  I will have fun putting it together.”  or “Thank you for the money.  I plan to buy a new Barbie Doll.”)

(From Tips For Teaching Kids The Value of Thank You Notes)

Think of the educational value of writing notes.

Some teachers and child care providers have children write notes in conjunction with a writing lesson. Some ideas from teachers include writing a thank you note to parents to express appreciation for their support during the school year or to thank them for bringing snacks or treats to a special class party. One provider has her pre-schoolers write thank you notes each Valentine’s Day to their parents for their love. A first-grade teacher has children write notes of thanks each Thanksgiving.


Candy Corn Math


Looking for some ways to incorporate candy corns with preschool math activities?  Try one of these candy corn math ideas with our free printables.

Candy Corn Counting

Cut out our Candy Corn number cards and laminate them.  Have children place the number of candy corns on each card, corresponding with the number on the husk.

candy corn math

Candy Corn Patterning

Cut out our Candy Corn pattern strips and laminate them.  Have children place the next candy corn in the pattern in the box.

candy corn math

Candy Corn Measuring

Print out our Candy Corn measuring sheet and make copies.  Have children find the items listed in the room, and measure each item by lining up candy corns next to the item. They can count the candy corns and write in the number.

candy corn math

Candy Corn Handful Graph

Also try…
Have the children grab a handful of candy corn and count how many each child grabbed. Graph the results. To graph the results you can write each child’s name and number on a small rectangle of card stock, then place them in order from least to greatest along the bottom of a bulletin board. If you have more than one child with the same number, you would stack them. To make it more interesting you can trace the child’s hand, and write their name and number on the hand instead of the rectangle. Label the graph “How much is a handful?”

(Source: The Activity Idea Place)