By Christine Marchant

As a Child Development Facilitator (CDF), you are expected to have a million ideas and toys in your toolbox. Many people think everything has to be pretty, shiny, perfect, new, etc. But in reality, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on supplies. You need to look at what you already have and make a list of at least 5 different ways to use each item or game. Make a list of every goal each item can be used for. 

The basic goals can be:

  • Short/long term memory
  • Keeping the conversation going
  • Creating a curiosity in peers and environment
  • Paying attention to details
  • Expanding language
  • Taking turns
  • Independent play

I recommend picking up each of your toys, games, items, etc., looking at it, and after deciding what goal you can use it for, detail how you will use it. There are five things that I always ask myself:

  1. Why are you doing this?
  2. When are you doing it?
  3. How will you do it?
  4. Where are you going to do this?
  5. Is it a safe/appropriate activity ?

If you can answer all of these questions, you will know it is a good, safe, and appropriate activity. If you can’t answer all of those questions, put the activity on the shelf or in the box that has all of the “I’ll save this for later” items.

Everything you do as a CDF must have a purpose and you must be able to explain to anyone what you are doing and why. This keeps you on the right track for staying true to your goals and makes writing your notes SUPER EASY. This also makes it easy for you to explain to the adults about what you are doing and why. When the adults you are working with know why you are doing the activity, they get more interested in the sessions and goals. When the adults involved with the child are interested, they become your support system and will become involved with the sessions.

Hide and Find


  • Short/long term memory
  • Language
  • Independent play
  • Paying attention to details
  • Fine motor
  • Predicting
  • Creative thinking 
  • Problem solving
  • Keeping the conversation going
  • Social-emotional learning (SEL) (the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success”)


  • Place out 10 party hats/boxes/containers
  • Place 5 pairs of matching items (e.g., animals, shopkins, pet shop, pictures of items, etc.) in each different container 
  • You and the child each take a turn to pick an item and put it under a party hat/box/container
  • When the items are “hidden”, take turns trying to predict where to find the matching items
  • Each person chooses an item from the container and picks where they think the match is. If it matches, keep it. If it doesn’t match, put it back and try again. 
  • When the child is feeling confident, start to fade yourself out.
  • You fade out by encouraging others to take your turn, then fade out completely.

Sit back and enjoy the experience. You can play this with a group of children or one to one with your child. Smile and show your interest in the activity.

Be genuine with your interest and feelings. The children know if you are genuine. When you are genuine, the children will enjoy the sessions and the activities you have provided. Laughter and eye contact increases and the child’s enjoyment and desire to participate in the activities also increases. When they are having fun, they are learning and achieving their goals faster.

Enjoy the experience.