Block Center

Set up a special writing area for signs and messages. Materials include sturdy tagboard oblongs that can bend for standing next to (or on top of) buildings, as well as markers, craft sticks, masking tape, scissors, and plasticene for making those extra "traffic" signs.

Art Center

Decide on a specific part of the painting paper for a child's name, but encourage children who want to write their own names, or letters in their names, to do so wherever they want on the face of the picture. Consider table painting with small brushes and pots or lids of tempera as an alternative to the easel or large painting set-up.

Science Center

Whatever your theme, be sure to display books related to the science materials under investigation. This is also a wonderful area in which to keep reference books such as primary encyclopedias of natural phenomena, physical principles, or animals.

Dramatic-Play Center

This area is a gold mine of literacy possibilities! The "office" can include pencil holders and pads for memos and lists, an electric typewriter (it doesn't matter how old, as long as it works), typing paper, and a stack of checks (run off on a copy machine and cut to size). if a "store" is the focus, everything for sale will need to be labeled. Boxes and cans of food on display will provide plenty of reading opportunities. Keep a supply of old menus for times when a "restaurant" is the central theme, or encourage children to make their own. Also provide pads and pencils for taking orders.

Cooking Center

Recipes come in all sizes. Experience charts that feature the kind and amount (cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, and so on) of ingredients are great for a group. Smaller pictorial recipes can be duplicated, laminated, and kept on the table while children engage in the actual food preparation.