1. An enveloped neighbourhood. Glue open envelopes along the bottom of a few large pieces of paper to create a banner. Each envelope will represent a house or building (school, store, church, etc.). Let children decorate them with markers. They can, for example, draw windows, doors, chimneys, flowers, driveways, etc. When they are done, display the banner at the bottom of a wall in your construction/toy car area. Children will love playing in front of the banner with figurines and vehicles.
2. Paper maracas. Invite children to decorate envelopes with markers, stickers, rubber stamps, etc. Before sealing the envelopes, pour uncooked rice, dried peas, or dried lentils inside each envelope. Add a strip of heavy adhesive tape along each envelope flap to guarantee they are well sealed. Encourage children to shake their paper maracas to produce various rhythms. These maracas may not be very durable, but children can easily make new ones. After all, creating them is part of the fun!
3. Number game. Stick several envelopes on a large piece of cardboard or construction paper. Glue or write a number on each envelope. Set a bowl containing bread ties (or any other small object you have on hand) nearby and invite children to insert the correct number of bread ties in each envelope. Children will have the opportunity to count the bread ties twice for each envelope. At first, let them count the bread ties independently as they drop them in the envelope. When they are done, remove the bread ties one at a time, counting them with your group to verify if they had initially counted correctly.
4. Letter game. Along the same lines, glue several envelopes on a large piece of cardboard or construction paper, but this time, write a letter on each one. Print several word flashcards and invite children to deposit them in the envelope corresponding to the first letter of each word. Accentuate the beginning sound of each word as children associate the words to the envelopes.
5. Attendance chart. You will need one envelope per child. Glue them on colourful construction paper so that you are able to lift the envelope flaps. Use foam letters, alphabet stickers, or markers to write the name of each child on an envelope, near the bottom. Write "Present" under the flap of each envelope (open envelope) and "Absent" on top of each envelope flap (closed envelope). Display your attendance chart on your bulletin board. When a child arrives, he/she can lift his/her envelope flap and use a tack or adhesive putty to indicate he/she is present. At the end of the day, before a child leaves, he/she can close his/her envelope to indicate he/she has gone home, once again using a tack or adhesive putty. During the day, you can slide a drawing, a reward sticker, or a note for a child's parents in his/her envelope. Parents will see them when they go to your attendance chart with their child.
6. Crown. You will need yellow envelopes for this very simple craft. Of course, you could also have children color several white envelopes. Lift the envelope flaps and arrange them in a row, overlapping them. Use glue to hold them together and glue the first and last envelopes together to form a crown. Provide glitter, beads, and gems children can use to decorate their crown.
7. Portable snacks. When you are out and about with your group (or just in your yard), use envelopes to distribute snacks. Prepare your envelopes before heading out, filling them with dry cereal, dried fruit, crackers, etc. Seal the envelopes and write the name of a child on each one. At snack time, tear one corner of each child's envelope and show them how they can pour a small quantity of cereal, fruit, or crackers in their hand at a time.
8. Personalized banner. Once again, you will need several envelopes. The more you have, the longer your banner will be. Place the open envelopes upside down in front of your group (with the pointy tip towards the bottom). Let children decorate the envelopes with markers, glitter glue, feathers, foam shapes, etc. When they are done, glue the envelopes on a pretty ribbon or piece of yarn to complete your colourful banner. Hang it within your daycare.
9. Book checkout. Glue a small envelope inside the cover page of books children may borrow and take home with them, over the weekend for example. Inside each envelope, place a small index card and write the book's title on it. When a child wishes to borrow a daycare book, he/she must give you the book's card. Write the child's name and the date on the card, just as you did when you visited the library when you were young. This will help you keep track of your books.
10. Mime game. Print several word flashcards related to your current theme. Purchase safety envelopes (printed on the inside so you can't see through them). Glue a word flashcard inside each envelope, under the flap. Children take turns picking an envelope, lifting the flap to see the word/drawing and miming the illustrated item or action. The other children try to identify the word.