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As a home daycare provider you need some activities that will help keep your home daycare business running smoothly and also teach and entertain your young charges. Here are a few ideas to help you out. All have been successfully incorporated into a daycare, so they are tried and true activities.

Finger painting is fun, but messy, try painting with cotton balls, or cotton swabs, messy but not as bad, and the mess will clean up with a trashcan and some water and paper towels. Using finger paints helps eliminate some of the mess, since it is thicker than water colors or tempura. You can create your own finger paints by making a medium white sauce (use water instead of milk) and adding food color or tempura (this works well at Easter to color eggs with).

You have a pile of mending, and the kids are cooped up inside. Have them play dress up with the mending. You can for the most part do the hand sewing while it is on them. They enjoy the pretending to be a maniquin, gives you some one on one time with each child and gets your mending done.

Need to dust? Put an old sock that is damp on their hands and let them help wipe doors, doorknobs, and shelves that they can reach, while you get the top shelves, and knick-knacks.

Sort socks together, they will learn valuble skills for matching, and color and best of all your socks will be matched.

Have a tea party/picnic at meal times occasionally. You can use this activity to teach manners, and more formal behavior. They will think it is wonderful and amazingly enough they will usually carry the manners they learn over to a few more meals.

Gardening can be a wonderful activity for little ones. Let them plant a few carrot, radish, or lettuce seeds in a flower pot. Check on them daily and water. When they grow and become edible they will have learned many things about plants and food.

Need a rainy day activity to use up some extra energy? try making bread with them. The kneading process is a great energy depleter for children, and then they get to eat the results. Talking about how bread is made and what makes it rise is a science lesson that has practical applications.

Make sugar cookies and then have them frost them. These make great gifts for mothers day/fathers day etc. They will enjoy the cutting out and baking, the frosting of the cookies, and the sampling of the finished product.

Play I spy and use the letters of the alphabet, for example, "I spy something that starts with the letter B, Buh, Buh" They will learn the alphabet and the sounds associated with each letter.

Sing a song like "Old McDonald had a farm" but use a child's name instead of an animal, and a favorite phrase or comment for example. ... On his farm he had a Joey, with a yes yes here and yes yes there, old mcdonald had a farm ei ei o.

Use your imagination, enjoy the children, and try to look at the world from thier point of view. Everything is new and wonderful, so make a game out of it and they will learn so much it might scare you.