1 Set up shelves for easy access. Place materials at children's eye level on low, open shelves in clear, see-through containers so children can easily select items they would like to play with together.
2 Arrange items to encourage sharing. Place a large, open box of new crayons in the middle of a table. Put four chairs at a table to invite that number of players to share a board game and discuss their moves.
3 Start simply. At first, arrange for young children to share in modified ways. So they are not overwhelmed, put out a few basic items, such as four-piece puzzles or two color of paint. Then, increase the complexity of the materials to stimulate sharing by adding figurines to a set of blocks or putting birthday candles out with the play dough.
4 Discuss sharing rules. Talk about the importance of asking before taking or touching others' playthings. School items (blocks, books) may need to be shared, whereas personal things (nap blanket, favorite "teddy") are difficult to share.
5 Develop a sharing system. Use a "lap counter" for taking turns outdoors on a special tricycle. Set a kitchen timer or tip over an hourglass to show when it's time to hand over the colored flashlights to the next dancers.
6 Provide duplicate materials for toddlers. It's hard for toddlers to share, so provide extras of enticing toys (balls, sand shovels). Also, two toy phones encourage fascinating shared conversations!
7 Plan for pair play. Place two chairs at the computer so children can share the mouse and their ideas. Provide a ball for two-way catch. Two puppets inspire a shared scenario.
8 Work in small groups. When children don't have to wait forever for turns, sharing is easier. Cut up pieces of fruit to pass around and combine together for a delicious shared fruit salad for snack.
9 Share related tasks. Provide fun opportunities to work together-one child sweeps with the broom while the other holds the dust pan; one pulls the wagon as another fills it with leaves. Foster cooperative cleanup: One child can put away blue blocks while another gathers the green ones.
10 Create traveling materials. Organize boxes of specialized theme materials (hats, "beauty salon") or expensive items (magnets, prisms, dinosaur models) to share with other classrooms on a rotation basis.