10 Engaging DAP Classroom Activities

Developmentally Appropriate Practice or DAP is thought to be one of the effective ways to meet kids where they are and provide them with the tools they need to succeed. It is an essential and important tool that has the potential to shape and enhance the overall development of early learners. It is a way of teaching which is usually implemented in early childhood education where educators nurture a young student’s overall development which comprises the dimensions regarding their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive enhancement. 

This approach was adopted and implemented by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in the year 1987. NAEYC dictates five essential domains of early learning practices for efficient teaching; they include: establishing a compassionate, concerned, and kind community of learners, and educating to enhance the overall development and learning in major areas. 

A DAP-inculcated classroom is a perfect and potent environment to support the growth of knowledge, curiosity, involvement, and interest in studying. DAP Classroom activities act as a catalyst in the process of the overall development of young students. The various activities can enrich the time that students spend in their classrooms with playfulness, innovation, and creativity. The following activities of DAP are all-inclusive, they focus on the overall development of students and are well-rounded and balanced in their structure.

Effective DAP activities for an engaging classroom 

DAP can be better implemented with the usage of creative activities that enhance the learning environment. With the use of these activities, teachers can create a successful learning environment with creative processes and ideas.

1. Art is Everywhere!

Art is Everywhere!

Art is an activity that can be used to develop and channel the hidden creativity of young students through the means of art. Any form of art or craft can be used in this activity. Liberty needs to be given in the way of executing their art form.

  • Give students a color or a theme of colors
  • Ask them to keep that color in mind and draw, sketch or paint a particular drawing
  • Here, students can do anything with their crayons, sketch pens, or other stationery considering the color theme

Art helps boost creative thinking skills and helps students in developing innovative ways to think. This activity can then be explained by the teacher to give insights into how art is hidden in everything and is there everywhere around us.

2. Oh! The Drama

 Oh! The Drama

Any drama activity is a fun-based activity that promotes role-playing and acting skills. This activity is rooted in the domain of learning through experience and observation. In this activity, what one observes in a particular situation needs to be applied smartly. 

  • In this activity, give students a particular situation in which they have to act
  • A situation can be anything such as they are working in a school, hospital, airport, fire station, or something like that
  • Divide the classroom and create teams of 5-6 students and assign them particular situations
  • Give them a time limit to enact every situation 

Such an activity helps in the development of learning through observation, critical thinking, situational thinking, role-playing, and empathy. This activity is best done when assigned in a group and has the power to light up a classroom with fun and joy.

3. Sort it Out!

In this activity, the task is to sort items in a given frame of time. Sorting things is one of the fundamental requirements for developing organizational skills in students. It also promotes a healthy learning environment. 

  • Divide the class into teams of 5-6 students
  • Give them the bucket
  • Each bucket will have a fixed number of sports, school, stationary and other items
  • Assign different stations at which all these items need to be submitted
  • Only the items related to one station can be submitted at a time ie: at a time only items related to stationary can be submitted first, after that the team can move to the next station.

This activity focuses to enhance teamwork and coordination in students. It also helps them in learning the necessary organizational skills which are required in various aspects and dimensions of work. 

4. My Huge Collage!

My Huge Collage!

Students are more likely to be inclined to the learning process when they are given creative freedom. This activity focuses on building concentration and patience while keeping oneself busy with art.

  • Give students a bunch of craft papers, waste magazines, or chart papers
  • Give them the choice of using the same colors or different colors
  • Ask them to create a collage and make something creative through it
  • Ask them to then describe their art done with small pieces of paper 

This activity helps boost the artistic skills of children and helps them become better at abstract thinking. This is a fun, engaging activity which demands maximum involvement

5. Read Out to Us 

 Read Out to Us

Reading-based activity is ideal to enhance the reading and comprehension skills of students. This activity focuses on engaging students effectively in a classroom and promotes the qualities of active listening and reading in them. 

  • In this activity, take an interesting storybook that most students already know about
  • Each student will read a paragraph or more of the story until the teacher stays stop
  • The other students who are listening have to be attentive as the teacher will ask the listeners to start where the previous student left
  • Before moving on to the next student, ask the student to explain in brief in their own words what the story actually meant

This is a helpful activity to promote attentive listening and reading comprehension in students. It also makes students think about the meaning of the story rather than simply reading it for the sake of it.

6. Puzzles All the Way!

Puzzles All the Way!

This activity is meant to develop the visual, organizational, comprehension, and cognitive skills of students. Puzzles are always a good way to start with a DAP practice approach.

  • In this activity, various types of puzzles like word puzzles, picture puzzles or puzzles related to treasure hunt or riddles are introduced.
  • Divide the classroom in a group of teams
  • Give each group a puzzle 
  • Give them a time limit in which they have to solve the puzzle
  • Guide them in understanding the purpose of the activity

This activity will help in introducing a true challenge that can motivate young students to persevere, think, reflect and carry out certain actions. Students also get to sharpen their critical thinking skills.

7. Where’s My Card?

Where’s My Card?

This particular activity is a memory-based activity that helps in the development of memory, cognition, recognition, and recall. It is a fun-based activity through which a lot of things are being learned inherently.

  • Every student will be given a set of flashcards
  • Two students will have the same type of flashcard
  • Then the activity starts and the music plays
  • Students dance and the music stops
  • When it stops, students show the flashcards
  • Then the music begins again
  • The team members have to then find members who had the same flashcard as them

When using DAP strategies and practices, it is significant to consider memory based activities to give students a chance to strengthen their thinking skills. Also, it is an appropriate way to engage them in a challenging environment.

8. Clap at 4

This activity is a simple activity with many variations which can be used to create and add different types of challenges. In this activity, the skill of active listening is enhanced. Along with it, the alertness to think and act and not react comes into the picture.

  • It is a simple activity in which students have to clap whenever the teacher says 4
  • The teacher will say any random number from 1 to 10
  • Students have to say the number which comes after the number which teacher says
  • For example, if the teacher says 1 then students have to say 2, if the teacher says 10 then students have to say 11
  • But when the teacher says 4, students have to simply clap
  • The one who doesn’t clap or say 5 is out

Such an activity tests the concentration skills of students. It also creates a balance between active listening and motor skills as it involves clapping on a certain number.

9. Best Out Of Waste

Best Out Of Waste

This activity is often done in schools to encourage the creativity and innovation hidden in young students. It can help students think creatively and promote the development of their artistic abilities.

  • In this activity, ask students to create something from the dry waste they find at their house or in the class
  • Waste such as newspaper, pencil shrapnel, candy sticks, wrappers, buttons, or paper plates can be used 
  • They can use colors, craft papers, sketch pens, or glitters to make something creative out of the waste they have collected

Creative thinking is measured when students have to make something unique from waste materials. It also results in brainstorming between students thereby encouraging their critical thinking abilities.

10. Add and Subtract 3

This activity is meant to engage and warm students up before a classroom. The activity focuses on basic mathematical operations however, it also tests the thinking capabilities of students.

  • In this activity, students have to add 3 while going from 1 to 100
  • For example, 1, 4, 7, 10….
  • Then they have to come back reverse from 100 to 1
  • While coming reverse they have to subtract 3 
  • For example, 100, 97, 94, 91…

Such activity can foster better involvement, attention, and cognition of what is being taught in class. This is an activity that can be introduced or conducted when the educator finds that students are acting a bit lazy in class.

Wrapping up…

From Drill and Practice teaching method to the chunking method, a lot of methods are available today to help teachers educate the kids more efficiently. However, helpful teaching methods for educators are determined by developmentally appropriate practices, which don’t just include age or grade. DAP targets whatever abilities and interests emerge from children’s development in order to take advantage of their strengths as they mature. It’s crucial to remember that children develop in a variety of ways and at a variety of rates. DAP strategies when used along with these DAP activities enhance the overall results of the effect of the strategies. 

With the inclusion of activities, students are provided with various measures to channel their potential in various domains and dimensions which will ultimately promote their overall development. These DAP activities have the potential to quench and satisfy the thirst of knowledge that young students have in a refreshing manner.

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