A to Z – 26 Activities for You and Your Child
By Kimie Bringle
Aa…Arrange all of the clothes in your child’s closet by color, from lights to darks or to resemble a rainbow. Not only will you be teaching your child about colors and matching, it’ll give you a chance to weed out those clothes that are too small or no longer worn.
Bb…Build a playhouse out of assorted boxes. Cake boxes stacked on top of a bigger box makes for a great roof. Get creative and help your child decorate the outside of the main box with crayons, markers, or glue and bits of fabric.
Cc…Color a picture with your child. Make sure both of you sign the beautiful masterpiece before you hang it up. Be different…Maybe a purple cloud or a blue horse. Let your imagination equal your child’s.
Dd…Donate old toys and clothing to a local charity or shelter. A child is generally very giving. Let them pick out things to donate. You’ll probably be surprised at all of the items your child will gather up. Let your child know where the things are going and who will benefit from them.
Ee…Eat a meal that your child has created the menu for. One night of Spaghetti-O’s and ice cream won’t hurt. The next night, you can get silly! For example, you must eat all of your dessert before you can have any dinner. That will bring a grin to your special little one’s face.
Ff…Flowers make great collages. Collect flowers, grass and other growing pretties with your child. Then, let him/her glue them to paper or press them in a book.
Gg…Guessing games are fun and can be as imaginative as you like. Guess how many cans are in the cupboard…How many cups of water can fit into a pitcher…How many socks are in a drawer. Let your child decide what guessing game to play.
Hh…Help your child make a card or picture for someone special. Use everyday items like buttons, magazine cut outs, and bits of thread.
Ii…Ice cream sundaes can be messy, but they are always fun to make. Add a little food coloring to vanilla to create different colors. Raisins and oatmeal sprinkles make unusual toppings with a tasty flair.
Jj…Jumping rope is something not all of us have a talent for; however, there are a lot of games that you can play using a jump rope. Lay the rope on the ground and see what letters and shapes you can make with it. Maybe it’s a tightrope that you have to carefully walk across.
Kk…Keep a jar with a cover. Let your child put all the “treasures” that she/he finds into the jar. “Junk Jars” are wonderful mementos of a childhood. When it gets full just start another one. Add to it little things that you find…Earrings with no match, marbles, key chains…Anything that will fit into the jar. When your child is older, she/he will love going through it and looking at all the things that have been collected over the years.
Ll…Love your child every single day! A hug or a kiss can bring a lot of security to a child. Write a love note and put it in his/her lunch. Leave a valentine on the fridge, even if it’s not Valentine’s Day. You’ll get so much back in return.
Mm…Make a dream list with your child. Things that you and your child would like to see change, things you both want to accomplish in your lifetimes, anything that you can think of. Look at this list often with your child and see if anything has changed or been accomplished.
Nn…Notebooks are a great way to keep memories. Set aside one day each month to recap all the things that have happened. Write them down and decorate the page with a sticker or picture. The next month, look at what happened the month before and update with current happenings. Make sure you have your child’s input and point of view.
Oo…Open a savings account with your child. Many banks offer children a no fee account. Usually, there is only a one dollar opener required. When the statement comes each month, teach your child how the interest works. Go to the library and learn about it with your child if you are not sure or make an appointment to speak with a bank representative. Bank representatives will sit down with you and your child to explain the whole savings account process. Your child will learn about saving and money management. Let your child do odd jobs around the house to earn a little to put into their account. Let them do the transaction, if they are old enough to write.
Pp…Pretend that you are the child and that the child is the parent. Don’t be a perfect child though. Let your child make disciplinary decisions for something done wrong. You can learn a lot about your child when the roles are reversed.
Qq…Quiet time is wonderful! Lay down with your child and share a story or a special event from the day. Children love to talk and always want someone to listen.
Rr…Relive your childhood by telling your child stories about when you were young. Maybe you tried to dig a hole to the other side of the earth…Or maybe you thought that penguins lived in the fridge to turn out the light when you closed the door. Children love to hear stories about when their parents were young. Something you thought was devastating as a child may be hilarious to your child. Shared laughter is a special kind of love.
Ss…Silly day is a favorite with children. Start the day off by putting on clean pajamas. Do only silly things for the whole day! Have dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. Have dessert for lunch. Put on your regular clothes for bedtime. Let your child come up with some silly ideas too.
Tt…Teach your child a trick. Can you pull a quarter out of someone’s ear? Maybe you can touch your feet to your head. Anything that a child might be able to do is a wonderful and often funny experience. Then, let your child teach you how to do something that they know how to do. Even if you already know how to do it, let them instruct you because it will help build confidence and leadership in your child.
Uu…Use spoons to eat with all day. No matter what it is, use a spoon. A spoonful of spaghetti is a riot! Try not to serve things that are normally eaten with a spoon though. Also, make sure all items are cooled down because they are more than likely going to be dropped and spilled.
Vv…Vegetables are a great art medium. What can you make out of veggies? Carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter glue can be put together to create wonderful designs. What else can you think of to use? Ask your child what vegetables they would like to create with.
Ww…Water is great! Let your child take a plastic fireman’s helmet into the shower. It’s like playing in the rain. During the summer, a little bubble bath in a plastic wading pool makes for a great outdoor bath. Bubbles will be all over everything, much to the child’s delight.
Xx…X-ray drawings are easy to do. Some call them ‘shadow’ or ‘silhouette’ drawings. Tape a piece of paper to a wall. Then, face a lamp so that it shines on the paper. Sit in a position that puts your shadow onto the paper. Have your child trace your shadow. When the tracing is finished, have your child remove the paper from the wall and color it in. It will always be a perfect portrait when it’s done with the love and creativity of a child.
Yy…Yelling contests are a great way to let off steam and relieve stress. Stand in the back yard with your child and just scream about all the things that are really bugging you. “I don’t like having to clean my room!” can make a child feel great. “I don’t like having to pay bills!” will take the edge off of this tedious chore. This is also a way of opening up the lines of communication. Listen to what your child is yelling. Don’t lecture during a yelling contest. This is just a way of expression.
Zz…Zippers, shoelaces, snaps and buttons all help your child to develop fine motor skills. It will take practice, but your child will learn and know the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction in the end. Do not let your child get to the point of frustration. If your child starts to get aggravated, take a break! You could suggest doing something else or tell your child a story about how it took you a long time to learn a certain skill. Let your child know that you’re not perfect either and that most things take a lot of practice. Make sure you point something out that they have learned because they didn’t give up.
There are so many things that we can do with our children if we make the time. A lot of parents time is spent on important things, but five minutes here and there isn’t going to break anyone’s schedule.
Until next time…
Stay busy and hug your precious little one!
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