I very recently started working with a large group of toddlers in an orphanage who are developmentally delayed--and in some cases disengaged--in a rather chaotic setting. OK, I went last night for the first time, but I want to get involved regularly. I am looking for safe large group activities and smaller group activities. If any of them provide some play therapy or have any tendencies to soothe or help with physical or cognitive development, so much the better.
The catch: There are a lot of them (30 or so?--maybe it's less, but it feels like 40). They are not very disciplined and are used to being in front of the television for a large part of the day. They do not interact well with each other. They do not pay attention to any kind of group announcement. Ages vary, but most of them are functioning well below level and all are around 2 or 3 (or appear to be). They throw things at each other. If something can be broken, they break it. If there are small pieces, they put them in their mouths (the smallest ones). They are starved for attention. There is a very tiny outdoor patio area where we will be playing.
I want some ideas of activities to do with them, in large and smaller groups (when possible), when I see them weekly.
My large group ideas so far (some from the internet):
- Blowing bubbles for them to pop
- Colored chalk on the ground
- Bringing "activity bottles" of colored water and glitter and little objects in old water bottles (hot-glued shut)
- Little soft balls (they love to throw things)
- Giving out stickers to put on their hands and shirts (I know they'll love that one)
- Play doh (I'd just make a huge batch)
- Singing songs and clapping (I have got to learn more kid Spanish songs)
OK! So what other ideas do you have for me? I think we could do books or puzzles or coloring in smaller groups, but really, my area is high school. These kids are LITTLE! And there are SO MANY of them!
I was thinking I'd bring things like matchbox cars, but I realized after being there that those would definitely become weapons. Nothing hard or sharp or heavy or metal.
I'd like to bring in some toys, too, simple and not too exciting toys (so as not to cause fights), like soft small balls and things. Any ideas about that would be great, too.
Thanks all! Look forward to reading your ideas!