- Make sure children can choose from the same activity options as the other children.
- The appropriate level of 'choice' may differ between children. Some may be overwhelmed by too many options or need help to decide.
- Some children may decide to not pick any activity options during playtime – opting, instead, to relax or take part in self-directed play. They may need help with self-directed play.
- Some children may be more likely to display escalated behaviours during unstructured play and will require greater supervision (to reduce this likelihood, consider creating a timetable for the child with more scheduled activities).
- Create a space in which children can independently move about, switch between activities or play areas, and go inside or outside with little help (make sure doors are easy to open).
- Place equipment and toys somewhere that all children can access (unless there is a safety reason to keep them out of reach). The Inclusion Development Fund and the Specialist Equipment Library may be able to help your service with equipment and toys.
- A child may prefer a space to relax or play depending on their emotional state or energy that day. Set up different play areas so children can choose between quiet and busier spaces, and group or solo play. Rugs and floor markings to mark a space can work well.
- To keep activities away from busy entries and exits, so children are less distracted and the activities are calmer.
Case study: Jamie gets to be a role model
Jamie is 15 years old and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder and an intellectual disability.
As the oldest child at his OSHC, he sees himself as a role model and leader. He likes to invent his own games for others to play and enjoys the responsibility of running activities and his favourite games for the other children.
This also provides him with the opportunity to work on his goal of practising playing with others without displaying aggressive behaviours when he thinks someone is cheating or if he loses a game.