25 Creative Activities For Infants Essays

Running contests on your Facebook Page is an easy way to get new Facebook likes, email subscribers and sales leads for your business. We've seen amazing Facebook contest ideas succeed across industries with both our clients and for Wishpond.

But sometime it can be difficult to come up with Facebook contest ideas. An idea that will captivate your audience and get you leads interested in the products you sell.

From experience we know the worst thing you can do is give away an iPad and expect a slew of interested leads in return. Anyone who entered would do so only for the iPad. No, we know that an ideal contest has to benefit your business and your fans.

You need to have an idea that not only captivates your audience in a way that gets them to consider your products/services, but is also simple enough for everyone participate in.

Confused yet? Don't panic.

In this article I’ll give you 25 creative Facebook contest ideas that you can use to create highly engaging and targeted contests on your Facebook Page.



Facebook Contest Idea #1: Tell Us How You Would Use [Product] to Win it!


This Facebook contest idea is very simple: Take a product you sell and ask people how they would use it if they owned it. Push people to think about something fun, interesting or unusual they would use it for. You can then give the winner the product and have them send in a picture of them using it in the way they described: Giving you some bonus user-generated content.

It’s my personal favorite. It forces entrants to get highly engaged with your product by thinking of interesting ways to use it. This is great for two reasons:

  1. It gets entrants thinking about reasons to use (and thereby purchase) the product - making them more likely to purchase the product if they don’t win it.
  2. It creates tons of social recommendations (testimonials) for your products.

If you use a Facebook contest app, like Wishpond’s Essay Contest App, to run this type of contest, you can utilize built-in voting on entries to determine the winner. Entrants will be propelled to share as much as possible with their friends to get the highest vote count. This will get each of their friends to read their recommendation of your product and pique their interest in checking out your products and business.

A recent Forrester Research report found that 70% of US online adults trust brand or product recommendations from friends and family and 46% trust consumer-written online reviews, while just 10% trust ads on websites and 9% trust text messages from companies or brands. This makes each entry in this type of contest a promotion for your company that is 10X as effective as any advertisement you can run.

Best Practices for Facebook Contest Idea #1

  1. In the contest description/details provide some icebreaker examples to get people
  2. In the posts you make on your Facebook Page to promote the contest include user entries (and your own favorites) of how to use the product - photos of the use cases are a bonus
  3. Choose a product that’s easy to think of interesting uses for. The product should be fairly mainstream that most people would have a use for, so everyone can easily think of something. The more niche the product, the less people will know how to use it, and therefore enter.

Facebook Contest Idea #2: Take a Photo of Yourself Using [Product Name] OR At [Location] OR Doing [Activity]


This Facebook contest idea entices your customers to take photos of themselves interacting with your products/services or while they’re at one of your brick-and-mortar locations. It’s similar to #1, in that it creates a personal recommendation/testimonial for your business, but has both a major advantage and disadvantage:

Advantage: A photo provides convincing proof that you recommend a company and its products, as you either need to have purchased a product/service from the company or have visited one of its locations.

Disadvantage: An entrant must have already purchased your product/service or visited one of your locations, which is a high barrier to entry.

For this type of contest to be successful you need to already have a lot of customers and fans on your Facebook Page. Why? Only a moderate percentage of your customers will see or enter your contest. And to enter they need to take the time to take a photo of themselves doing something very specific. This again will decrease the number of willing entrants in your contest.

To get a successful return on your investment (number of leads) from this contest, I would only recommend using this contest idea if you have at least 5,000 Likes on your Facebook Page. This will provide you with enough entries to make the contest engaging and entice people to share with their friends to get more votes than any other entry to win.

If you have less that 5,000 Facebook likes don’t fret! I would recommend using Facebook contest idea #1: It will get you a ton of entries and product recommendations by making it much easier for people to enter.

You can run this type of contest using a Facebook Contest App like Wishpond’s Photo Contest App. Just like with contest #1, you can utilize built-in voting on entries to determine the winner. Entrants will be propelled to share as much as possible with their friends to get the highest vote count.

Check out an example below using Wishpond’s Photo Contest App:




Best Practices for Facebook Contest Idea #2

  1. Choose a product that a lot of people own, or a highly popular store location, to maximize entries
  2. Do your best to choose products that are not prone to having inappropriate pictures taken with them to avoid unwanted photos
  3. Provide images built into the contest design of people using the products or at your store location to give them ideas on how they can do it themselves.

Facebook Contest Idea #3: Name our new [Product]


I’ve found that people truly enjoy this type of contest: They get to have fun thinking creatively about the product and get the chance to actually make a decision in a company. This second one is especially important for generating good will for your company, as people will see you as caring about and listening to your customers.

Letting your customers name your product also gives you great insight into what they think about it, what they value about it and . The name they choose will reflect their first impression of what they think it does and what they think is its strength.

This is a great way to build buzz around a new product: People will be reading about its functionality and benefits far more intently than if you showed them an ad. And they’ll be sharing about it with all of their friends to get votes for their entry. This is even a great way for new companies to generate initial buzz for themselves when they’re just starting out.

Check out an example of a “Name our new [Product]” contest from Cotton Carrier:




Best Practices for Facebook Contest Idea #3

  1. Similar to #2, try your best to choose products that don’t lend themselves to inappropriate names to avoid unwanted entries
  2. Provide details on the specification and uses of the product so people will have a good understanding of how it works and what to call it
  3. Make sure you actually use the name that wins the contest. To ensure the name is one you like, choose the top ten names with the most user votes and then have an internal panel of judges (or just yourself) decide on the final winner

Facebook Contest Idea #4: Caption This to Win [Prize]!


The rise of memes on websites like Reddit have made photo caption contests a popular way to engage fans. The basic premise is that you post a picture of something funny or outrageous and then ask people to write a caption (title) for it.

A great way to utilize this to create buzz for your products is to include one of your products in the photo. Two great ways to create “photo caption contest” worthy photos with your products are to show an animal using it or to show a baby using it. These types of photos immediately make people chuckle and put them inside the mind of the pictured animal or baby to think about what they think the product is/does.

For example, this photo that Walmart recently posted on its Facebook Page just puts me in the mind of the cat thinking “I do not find this amusing human!”:




Best Practices for Facebook Contest Idea #4

  1. Use a very simple image that people don’t have to think about or decipher
  2. Do not use religious or political figures or symbols - this can lead to much controversy
  3. Use animals or babies in your photos - these are statistically the most engaging photos on Facebook

Facebook Contest Idea #5: Vote on which [Product/Service] We Should Put on Sale


This is one of the best facebook contest ideas to drive new sales. To run this contest you simply choose 2 - 8 products, display them on a page and allow people to vote on each one (Wishpond’s Vote Contest App provides a complete out-of-the-box solution for this type of contest). Include a title that reads “Whichever product gets the most votes will be 50% off next week”. When the contest ends post on your Facebook Page, and send an email to every person who participated, saying which product won and how customers can redeem the discount on it.

This will get people sharing with friends to help their choice win and even start comment discussions about which product should win, and why. This will create new recommendations/testimonials for your products as everyone clamors to prove that their chosen product is the best one to vote for.

A twist on this type of contest is to ask people to vote on which [Product/Service] you should add to your seasonal line-up

Mountain Dew does this successfully with its annual Dewmocracy Challenge in which people vote for which new flavor Mountain Dew should release that year. Check it out below:




Stitch Collective has built a niche for its business by completely crowdsourcing it’s product design through the use of voting competitions. It asks their customers to vote on which bag designs they should turn into real products to sell. Check out our case study of how they have used Wishpond’s Vote Contest App to do this.

Here are a few best practices to follow when running this type of Facebook contest:

  1. Provide an equal discount for all item. If the discount is higher on some items than on others, it will skew the results to those with the highest discount. This will minimize any discussion or engagement about which product is best, as people will focus purely on the price points.
  2. Provide different categories of products to cater to your entire customer base (don’t put six different types of dishwashers up, it will not be very interesting to anyone who doesn’t want to buy a dishwasher right now)
  3. Entice people to add comments about which product is better by telling them in the contest details/description

Facebook Contest Idea #6: Win an Adventure


Who doesn't love new adventures? The promise of adventure is hard to resist especially in an age where new experiences provide highly shareable social media content.

A children's gymnastic and activity centre gave away a massive adventure package in their Facebook contest. The prize package included a 2 week apss, 1 birthday party, and 4 nights out for the parents.

What we like about this contest is the wide range of appeal of the prize. It was something both the child and the parent to enjoy. It was also a prize that allowed the customer to fully experience what Kerrigan had to offer.



Facebook Contest Idea #7: Vote For Your Favourite Product


Let your fans have their say with this unique spin on a Facebook vote contest.

For this contest your fans will vote on their favourite product of yours. Once the contest is over, a winner is chosen at random to receive the grand prize.

What makes this vote contest different is the fact that you win too. Having your customers vote on their favourite product is valuable data. It can help you decide what product to order more of or what to invest more in.

Lisette L ran a Facebook vote contest to see what pair of leggings their customers liked most. The winning fan received their favourite pair of Lisette L leggings and $1000 in cash. Lisette L received invaluable data of the product their fans liked most which influenced their buying decisions in the future.



Facebook Contest Idea #8: Sign Up And Win


Do you market a digital SaaS type of product? Looking for more users and sign ups?

Then a sign up and win is what you need. Reward those who sign up for your platform by offering a chance to win a free year of service.

BitPages created a massive Facebook contest giving away a car to one lucky user. By signing up for BitPages you are entered to win. It doesn't get much more complex than that. It increased sign ups for the BitPages platform and garnered a ton of exposure in their industry.

Facebook Contest Idea #9: Update Your Cover Images


This is more of a tip than an idea but it's really worth mentioning. Update all of your creative assets across your owned properties. We see marketers forget to do this all the time.

Once your Facebook contest is live change your cover images, pin a post about the contest, and update your links. It's the best way to let everyone who follows your business know you're running a contest. That way the contest will receive more exposure and be in a prime location to receive more shares.



Facebook Contest Idea #10: Refer 5 Friends


Amongst all the contests we run here at Wishpond, referral contests are one of our most popular. Not only do people enter the contest with their emails, they receive bonus entries by sharing the contest with their network.

This type of contest leverages your followers and their network to help extend the reach. As long as you're offering a prize that your audience desperately wants to win you should have no trouble getting them to share it.

Mobogenie ran a referral contest just as I described and gave away awesome grand prizes that included cell phones, headphones, backpacks, and more. Entrants were encouraged to share the contest with as many people as they wanted to, to receive bonus entries and more chances to win.



Facebook Contest Idea #11: Selfie Contest


If you've had any experience with social media at all you've likely seen your fair share of selfies. Like them or not, lots of brands love leveraging people's selfie addictions. A selfie contest involves having participants enter a selfie under a certain theme for their chance to win.

One of the sillier Facebook contest ideas we've run involved taking and sharing a selfie with your horse. Fun spins on a selfie contest like this can be adapted for any brand. Take a selfie with our product. Take a selfie at our store. Take a selfie of you doing anything! You get the point.



Facebook Contest Idea #12: Tell Us Your Story


Rather than submitting a photo this Facebook contest takes a different approach. For businesses looking to learn a little bit more about their loyal fans they can request story submissions.

Wonder Bread wanted to learn more about the people who loved their product. They requested that fans enter the contest and upload a photo of their hero and tell their story. It gave Wonder invaluable insight into who their customers are and what things they value.



Facebook Contest Idea #13: Brand Battle Vote Contest


If the rise of the UFC and mixed martial arts tells us one thing it's that people love a great battle.

Pit two brands or products against each other and have your fans vote for their favourite. Seeing which wins out will give your business valuable data on the products your fans like most.

Lego did just that with a vote contest that pit Minecraft, Lord of the Rings, and Lego City against one another. Fans got the chance to vote for their favourite lego series and Lego got valuable data to use on their next production run.



Facebook Contest Idea #14: Caption This


Pick a funny photo that involves your team and have your fans submit captions. This is all that's involved in a classic Facebook caption contest.

The Chicago Bears and Dunkin Donuts teamed up for a Facebook caption contest to engage their fans. Fans were asked to create and submit their funniest captions. All captions were posted on the contest page for everyone to see and vote on to encourage group participation.



Facebook Contest Idea #15: Back2School


Tired parents everywhere rejoice every time September and the back to school seasons comes around. For those in the business of preparing students for the new school year a back to school themed contest works perfectly.

In anticipation for the new school year, Brentwood mall ran a back to school contest. For the contest students were asked to submit their freshest school outfit photos for a chance to win a $500 gift card.



Facebook Contest Idea #16: Your Daily Driver


Do you sell products, goods, or accessories that your customers use everyday? Find out just how your customers use your product with a daily driver photo contest.

In the example below the blog EveryDayCarry hosted a contest to see what setup their readers used on the daily. Fans would submit photos of their every day carries and be entered to win an awesome gadget prize pack.



Facebook Contest Idea #17: You're The Designer


Don't leave all the creative work to your designers, let your fans have a say.

Mindzai hosted a design contest to let their fans become the designers. Fans could submit their t-shirt designs for a chance to win $500 and have their art featured on Mindzai apparel. Mindzai also made it a requirement to have participants follow them on Facebook and Instagram.



Facebook Contest Idea #18: Sporting Events


Is there a major sporting event happening in the near future? Sporting events that draw massive attention are perfect opportunities for Facebook contests.

Like they do every year, the NFL used Facebook to give away tickets to the Super Bowl. All fans had to do was submit a video of their end zone dance for a chance to win free tickets to the Super Bowl.



Facebook Contest Idea #19: How Do You Use It?


As much as we like to think we know, our fans don't always interact with our business in ways we think they do. They might use our products in a different manner for example.

REI ran a Facebook photo contest to see just how their customers are using their products in the great outdoors. The winner received a REI giftcard and REI got some great user generated content in return. Not to mention some insight into how their products were being used in the real world.



Facebook Contest Idea #20: What Type Are You?


You shouldn't be surprised to hear that not all your customers are the same. They all have different reasons and stories for why they chose to do business with you. If you're interested in finding out the "why," (which you really should be) a Facebook contest can help.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts used a Facebook contest to find out a little bit more about their customers. They wanted to find out what type of travelers their customers were so as to serve them better in the future. Contests like these that produce valuable data and delight customers in return are our favourite because they're a win for the company and the consumer.



Facebook Contest Idea #21: Changing Of The Seasons


This contest involves exactly what you think it does, a celebration of the changing of the seasons. If you're not into massive sporting events or selfies you can at least get behind a celebration of the warm summer months. (We get a lot of rain here in Vancouver so we're always ecstatic when the sun starts coming out)

Worldwide beauty powerhouse Sephora ran a contest to celebrate summer and their line of surf themed beauty products. Winners received an all-inclusive trip to Costa Rica and a year's supply of surf product—not too shabby if we do say so.



Facebook Contest Idea #22: Co-Promotion Team Up


Up until this point you should understand the benefits of a Facebook contest. But you might be thinking, "I don't want to put in all the work and spend money on a prize." A legitimate concern for many businesses. But what if I told you it doesn't have to cost much money OR take up much time? This type of contest cuts things in half.

Team up with a partner company to run yourselves a co-promotion. Split all the production work, prize, and promise to share the leads when it's all over. Each company commits to half the prize (e.g., a gift card or a free one-year membership) then both companies actively promote it. It adds twice the promotional power and results in twice the number of leads you would receive otherwise.

We recently did one ourselves and teamed up with the graphic design app Snappa. The prize was free subscriptions to both Wishpond and Snappa, and we both promoted it to our networks. At the end the leads were shared, a huge success by our standards. Outstanding results like our partnership with Snappa have us always on the lookout for more co-promotion opportunities.



Facebook Contest Idea #23: Next Model Search


No not to the level of America's Next Top Model… but similar. If you're looking for a brand ambassador or need some pretty faces to help rep your business, turn it into a Facebook contest.

Dove and their "real beauty" campaign was looking for their next model to be the face of Dove in Shoppers Drug Marts across the country. Participants were asked to submit photos of their friends and tell Dove why they represented "real beauty". The winners received a boatload of Dove products and became one of the faces of Dove marketing.



Facebook Contest Idea #24: Our Next Recipe


Trying to drum up some creativity for your next product launch? Like we've seen before a vote contest is a great way to drum up some input from your fans.

Everyone's favourite out-the-box waffle brand Eggo, ran a vote contest to see which recipe should come out on top. The contest was meant to create some user generated content and build hype around a brand that could use some excitement. Judging by the mouth watering food photo submissions we'd say the contest was a huge success.



Facebook Contest Idea #25: Anniversary Celebration


In the list of reasons to run a Facebook contest you'd be hard pressed to find a better one than a business anniversary. A one year anniversary is the perfect time to recognize your accomplishments and reward the customers who helped get you there.

San Churro jumped at the opportunity to celebrate their milestone with their audience. They gave away a year's worth of churros to the lucky winner (gasp!). Inline with the theme of the contest, participants also were asked to tell San Churro what makes them happy. Perfect content to use in the future when sharing stories about their customers.



Final Thoughts


Facebook contests are a great way to drive new, targeted leads for your business in short bursts over a long period of time.

If there's one thing I'd like you to take away from this article, it is to think of creative ways a Facebook contest can be beneficial for your business and your customer. That could mean collecting user generated content, surveying your fans, or finding your next hit product. The opportunity for a Facebook contest to help your business is boundless.

Over the long-term these types of contests are meant to develop the relationship you have with your customers. Engaging with them is a great start.

Regular interaction with the folks who love your brand is vital and overtime it builds trust. And as we all know trust is what leads to lifelong customers.

Are you looking to run a Facebook contest?

Or if you've already run one, what was your experience like?

Share your comments with me below!

Related Reading


INFANT/TODDLER ENVIRONMENT RATING SCALE-Revised Edition(ITERS-R)

Statements of Developmentally Appropriate Practice for items included on the Tennessee Child Care Evaluation Program

Space and Furnishings

1. Indoor Space

Children need sufficient space that is well lit and has a comfortable temperature for learning and playing. Indoor space that is well maintained and in good repair sends a message to the young child that is welcoming and inviting.

2. Furnishings for routine care and play

Furnishings should be provided for use by both children and adults.

Routine care furnishings (for meals, sleeping, diapering, and storage of children’s possessions) should be comfortable, supportive and appropriate to the size of the child. This allows them to focus on developing self-help skills like feeding, rather than being hindered by discomfort and instability. Furnishings for play (blankets, exersaucers for non-mobile children, or chairs/tables, play furniture for toddlers) need to be easily accessed and used by all children in order to encourage exploration and independence. Furnishings used to store play materials (i.e., shelves, baskets, etc) should be on children’s level to promote self-help skills and independence of choice. All furnishings for routine care and play must be safe for children’s use, therefore they need to be sturdy and in good repair.

Adults working with children need easy access to routine and play furnishings, as well as storage facilities. This convenience allows adults to maintain proper supervision and to provide smooth transitions between activities. Seating for adults should be used when assisting children with routine care needs. Adult seating may vary according to children’s needs, but should provide comfort for the health and well being of caregivers.

3. Provision for relaxation and comfort

Soft furnishings and toys allow children opportunities for daily relaxation and comfort. Cozy areas provide a place for quiet activities to occur and should be protected from active play so children can snuggle, daydream, and lounge. The designated area should be away from active play areas and be protected by caregivers.

4. Room arrangement

Space that is arranged to promote safe care means that all children can be observed at all times without being hidden from view by furniture or other obstructions. Quiet and active play spaces should be separated, but still allow free movement from one activity to another, to encourage exploration and self-choice. Independence is also encouraged when materials are placed so that children can access them easily.

5. Display for children

Colorful pictures and mobiles promote visual stimulation and active learning. They should be displayed at child eye-level. Play items should be placed within easy reach of the children. Pictures, created by the children, should be talked about by the caregiver and should be displayed in order to promote feelings of positive self-esteem. This sends a message to the child that his/her work is valued and appreciated.

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Personal Care Routines

6. Greeting/Departing

Parents and children need a warm, welcoming, and pleasant atmosphere to make the daily greeting and departing routine a happy one. Positive greetings help to promote the children's self-esteem and create a welcoming environment for parents. Parents should enter the classroom with their child and should be able to move around the room freely. Caregivers should be sensitive to separation anxiety by parents and children alike. The child's daily schedule should be made available to the parents.

7. Meals/Snacks

Meals and snacks that follow USDA guidelines contribute to the health of children and provide a model for good nutritional habits for life-long practice. Proper hand washing and careful food preparation both teach children proper hygiene and promote sanitary conditions. Children’s safety is a concern during mealtimes. Precautions should include posting of food allergies and making necessary food substitutions. In addition, children need to be carefully supervised while eating or held while taking bottles. Mealtimes should be relaxed and scheduled to meet children’s individual needs.

8. Nap

Naptime should be scheduled to suit the individual needs of children. Each child should have his/her own crib/mat separated from others to help prevent the spread of germs. Caregivers should stay alert to handle potential problems that arise and to help provide a peaceful rest/nap time for young children.

9. Diapering/Toileting

Young children need appropriate supervision of the toileting process in order to care for basic needs and to teach the importance of good health habits. As children are ready, parents and caregivers should work together to introduce toileting practices that encourage positive self-concept and self-esteem. The schedule should be individualized. Provisions, such as soap and steps near the sink, should be convenient and accessible so that children can wash hands or have their hands washed after toileting; this promotes self-help skills and good personal hygiene. Diapering should always be managed in a manner that promotes safety and good health practices.

10. Health practices

When caring for young children, caregivers must take action to prevent potential health problems and promote positive health habits. Since young children are especially vulnerable to illnesses, caregivers should be alert to handle children’s health needs. Medicines should be administered appropriately. Preventative measures should be practiced with consistency. Prevention includes properly washing hands after handling pets, wiping noses, etc. The spread of germs should be minimized by providing children with clean toys, contaminate free sandboxes, and clean classroom surfaces. Protecting children’s health includes taking appropriate actions to remove sick children from contact with others. Children should be provided with a change of clothes if needed due to accidents, weather conditions, or messy play.

Caregivers are great role models for promoting positive health habits. They are a valuable resource in educating young children about life-long health practices that prevent illness and promote good health. Caregivers should model and encourage self-help skills through activities where children are actively involved and encouraged to be interested in learning personal hygiene.

11. Safety practice

Protecting children is critical in providing quality care, whether through adequate supervision or minimizing hazards both inside and outside. Caregivers should anticipate potential safety problems and demonstrate, model, and teach children safe practices.

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Listening and Talking

12. Helping children understand language

The importance of exposing children to language, even very young children, cannot be emphasized enough. Children’s early language experiences influence many areas of their development. Language is best understood when modeled by caregivers who are attentive and talk to children in a warm, supportive manner. Children need to be talked to frequently with simple, exact words. Children learn language within meaningful contexts where adults name objects and describe what children are doing and feeling.

13. Helping children use language

Children, as well as adults, use language to communicate their needs. Children’s initial use of language is often expressed in their cries and sounds. As children grow in their understanding of language, their language becomes more distinguishable as words and phrases. When adults show interest in understanding what the child is trying to communicate, language is encouraged because the child learns their voice is heard and has meaning. This “give and take” is an early form of turn taking in communication. Children feel valued when adults respond in a positive, timely manner to their use of language. Adults also become language models by describing their own actions, introducing children to new words, and asking children questions.

14. Using books

The use of books and pictures with infants and toddlers is an important means of language learning for children as they make sense of the world around them. Books and pictures should be available in sufficient number for both independent use and use by a caregiver with the children. Early experiences with books, such as when caregivers are involved and interact warmly with children, encourage continued interest in literacy. Literacy is further encouraged when books are kept in good repair, thus sending the message that books are a valued resource. Children should be allowed to choose from a wide variety of age-appropriate books. The use of sturdy vinyl, cloth, or hard page books make them easier for children to explore independently.

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Activities

15. Fine motor

Infants and toddlers need a variety of age-appropriate toys and materials that they can manipulate and play with at will. Materials should be in good repair, organized for play, and stimulate children at different skill levels. These activities strengthen fine motor control while encouraging and reinforcing skill development that contributes to academic readiness.

16. Active physical play

Young children need ample opportunity to exercise their gross motor skills. Opportunities for active play should be available both indoors and outdoors. Age-appropriate equipment and materials should present interesting and challenging options and should be supervised by attentive caregivers.

17. Art

Young children benefit from exposure to child-initiated art activities that are open-ended and process oriented. Children's art should be respected and appreciated as individual creative expression. Materials and opportunities to create art projects at a beginning level should be available as children are developmentally ready for them.

18. Music and movement

Music and movement are valuable means of learning and expression. Children’s educational and developmental needs are better met when recorded music is used purposefully. Children need supportive caregivers that encourage self-expression and free choice in music and movement experiences.

19. Blocks

Block play, with a variety of blocks and accessories, allows young children the opportunity to explore spatial, mathematical, and role-play possibilities. Block play requires sufficient space in a protected area and time to expand on concepts and ideas.

20. Dramatic play

Dramatic play gives children opportunity to discover an array of roles and responsibilities as well as providing a vehicle through which they make sense of their world. Space, time, props, materials, and supportive caregivers enhance dramatic play.

21. Sand and water play

Sand and water play gives young children the opportunity to learn concepts through active exploration with their senses. The learning potential is extended when a variety of toys and different activities are used with sensory play.

22. Nature/ science

Even young children can appreciate the wonders of the natural world. Children need experiences with natural things both indoors and outdoors. Children benefit from hands-on experiences with the weather, natural objects, living things, etc. Realistic portrayals of nature in books, pictures, and toys enhance children’s understanding of their world.

23. Use of TV, video, and/ or computer

Since children benefit more from hands-on experiences, the use of television, video, or computers is not recommended for infants and should be limited if used with toddlers. Children’s experiences are enhanced when caregivers are involved in viewing and limit materials to those that are appropriate and educational. If media materials are used alternative activities should be available to children.

24. Promoting acceptance of diversity

Children need to learn about similarities and differences and acceptance by exposure to diversity through pictures, books, dolls, and other materials. Activities and classroom interactions are valuable resources as well. Exposure to diversity among peoples encourages respect for others and lessens misunderstandings.

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Interaction

25. Supervision of play and learning

Supervision of infants and toddlers means meeting individual needs with a flexible schedule and providing for a variety of play activities. Caregivers should be tuned in to routine needs, but also should recognize the need for a balance of quiet and active experiences. Caregivers should provide and watch over the use of materials that stimulate the senses and interests of children.

26. Peer interaction

Infants and toddlers begin to learn how to interact socially and engage in peer experiences when they are allowed to move freely and encouraged to develop positive peer relationships. Caregivers need to promote early social skills by guiding and reinforcing the positive efforts of children interacting with each other.

27. Staff-child interaction

Caregivers, who are nurturing and responsive, promote the development of mutual respect between children and adults. Children, who trust adults to provide for their physical, psychological, and emotional needs, develop their own sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

28. Discipline

Infants and toddlers, who are nurtured with appropriate expectations and who experience consistency in disciplinary care, receive the first lessons in managing their own behavior and learning self-control. A stimulating environment in which rules are simple, explained, and consistently enforced is key to managing discipline and promoting good behavior.

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Program Structure

29. Schedule

Infants and toddlers thrive on a consistent routine that provides a balance of activities designed to meet individual needs and foster physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth. Play activities, basic routines, and transitions provide opportunities for learning and growing.

30. Free play

When children are permitted to select materials and companions, and, as far as possible, manage play independently, they learn to make their own choices, tailoring their learning to their personal needs. When giving opportunities to explore, children will choose to play and learn in the way that is most effective for their own personality by following their interests and working on the skills that they really need to develop. Caregiver intervention should be in response to children's needs, an invitation, or an opportunity to expand play activities.

31. Group play activities

In group-care situations, the focus needs to be on meeting individual needs and guiding children as they interact in small groups. If whole group activities are used, they should be limited to a small number of children, limited in time, and flexible to allow for the individual interests of all children.

32. Provisions for children with disabilities

Meeting the needs of infants and toddlers with disabilities requires knowledge of routine care needs, individual assessments, developmental levels, and the integration of the children in ongoing classroom activities. It also requires the involvement and establishment of a partnership between the parents and staff in setting attainable goals that will assist the child in reaching his/her full potential.


May not be copied, shared, sold, or distributed in any manner. Unauthorized duplication is not permitted. Items and indicators reprinted from Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale – Revised Edition - Updated by Thelma Harms, Deborah Reid Cryer, and Richard M. Clifford. (New York: Teachers College Press, © 2006 by Thelma Harms, Deborah Reid Cryer, and Richard M. Clifford.) Used with the permission of the publisher and the authors. This project is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Human Services and the University of Tennessee, Social Work Office of Research and Public Service.

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