From time to time, make alterations in the room environment. Put up a canopy or hang new and interesting mobiles to add interest and encourage children to look up as well as straight ahead and down.

Arrange some new areas for privacy or one-on-one time for children.

Bring fresh flowers into the room or bake cookies before children arrive in the morning to stimulate their sense of smell.

Add a variety of textures to the physical environment. Add a fluffy rug for children to explore with bare feet or attach bumpy-textured fabric to a low classroom divider.

Provide fabric tunnels and other pieces of equipment for children to crawl in, under, and on to. This will allow children to experience the room from new vantage points.

Introduce different sounds. You might play recordings of waterfalls, birds chirping, or other interesting and unusual sounds as a backdrop during quiet activity times.

Experiment with both direct and indirect lighting as children move about the classroom. (Shining a large flashlight on a small group of toys will help children see them in a "different light"!)

Share the changing sights outside the window or during outdoor play time by encouraging children to notice leaves blowing on trees, clouds in the sky, birds flying by, and so on.

This article originally appeared in the February, 2001 issue of Early Childhood Today.