Best practices in action

Create Diverse Spaces and Activities

Spaces fully implementing this practice are seen as open and accessible to the community, caregivers, and children. Spaces incorporate a variety of activities, styles of engagement and play, and developmentally-appropriate processes/procedures. They include areas for group activities, individual play or respite and help children explore and experiment, self-regulate, build self-esteem, cope, master challenges, and build positive relationships.


  • Support planning that incorporates a diversity of activities from the beginning of the design process.
  • State a clearly defined space and activity set-up and breakdown protocol in order to maintain diversity and integrity of activities, including instructions for rotation of toys, space dividers, and activity stations to ensure space diversity is maintained.
  • Include a technology policy that guides terms of overall technology use by children and adults in the space (cell phone, Wi-Fi, etc.) and how technology is used within the space as part of program activities.


  • Regularly encourage and promote linkage with local artists/artisans to provide décor/fixtures to inspire children to work with various materials.
  • Use quick messages (e.g., signs, takeaway materials, etc.) to promote diverse play and suggest options for tailoring the activity to children’s interests.
  • Use familiar materials to encourage play that can be used at home.

Physical Characteristics

  • Space includes a larger space with small sections/zones for creative and/or restorative play.
  • Space has varied, multi-sensory experiences (e.g., music, art, water, soil, etc.) to encourage creative and diverse play experiences. Children’s art is intentionally included in the space.
  • The room is arranged to include a wide variety of age appropriate activities and loose parts for creative play.
  • Activities encourage the use of a variety of toys that address multiple ages and developmental abilities (wheeled, stationary, movable, creative play, etc.).
  • Space has caregiver-focused areas/activities (e.g., seating areas, water fountains, shade) to increase inter-generational use of space.


  • Provide training and resources to staff on how to mentor users for optional space use to promote appropriate caregiver-child interaction.
  • Provide opportunities for caregivers to learn about the appropriate use and accessibility of all space features.
  • Staff and caregivers are able to play within the space.
  • Provide staff with training and resources to engage children and caregivers in space activities and provides options to caregivers for fun and engaging play.
  • Support staff through resources, policy, and procedures to allow children to initiate and develop play with found materials.