- Take your child to the zoo.
- Teach your child to fold clothes.
- Send your child a letter or a postcard so that he gets his own mail.
- Play peek-a-boo to help teach your baby that when she can’t see you, you still exist. This will help later on with separation anxiety.
- Provide many opportunities for learning through real experiences. More
Children confuse fantasy and reality to varying degrees until the age of 5 or 6. Limit the amount of fantasy she is exposed to through books, videos, and TV and talk about what is real and what is pretend.
Going to the zoo connects the real animal to the picture in a book.
Going to a pumpkin farm, apple orchard, or vegetable farm, or planting your own garden at home, connects the food to where it comes from.
Holding earthworms, ladybugs, or other safe insects and small animals will teach respect for other forms of life and that they should not be feared or harmed. (Never step on a bug!)
Encourage your child to help cook dinner, clean the house, wash the car, grocery shop, sort and fold the laundry, etc. to provide real-life experiences.
- Keep your child engaged while grocery shopping by having him find the needed items in the aisle.
- Establish an easily accessible art and craft area in your house. More
Working with arts and crafts materials develops small muscle control, eye-hand coordination, independence, imagination and creativity. To further develop self-esteem, avoid saying: “What is that?” Instead, say: “Tell me about what you have made/drawn”.
As soon as your baby can hold a fat crayon or marker, provide large pieces of plain paper for drawing.
Provide toddlers and older children with a variety of crayons, colored pencils, and markers and plain paper for drawing and coloring. Limit coloring books and pages—they limit creativity. Don’t require that your child “stay in the lines” while coloring.
Provide an easel or two large clips attached to a plastic-covered area on a wall for painting on plain paper.
Provide materials for making collages: Set up baskets containing different sizes of colored paper and pieces of cardboard; glue; feathers; packing “popcorn”; scraps of fabric; cotton balls; cut straws in varying lengths; pieces of string and yarn; popsicle sticks, etc. Avoid food items such as macaroni.
Provide clay or playdoh to sculpt with fingers and a small rolling pin and cookie cutters for making shapes.
Provide child-safe scissors for cutting up paper for art projects.
Allow your child to use his imagination for making pictures and collages instead of copying a model.
Provide sewing materials for older children: for sewing a large button on a scrap of fabric or felt or sewing on a line drawn on a piece of fabric in a hoop.
- Encourage your baby and older child to play alone sometimes to develop independence, self-esteem, and imagination.
- Allow your child to make appropriate decisions to promote independence, self-confidence and self-esteem. More
Give your children as many opportunities as possible to make choices and respect the choices they make. That means when you give a child a choice, accept it; don’t change your mind. Think about the choices you are offering and make sure they are all appropriate and acceptable.
Would you like juice or milk with lunch?
Would you like to wear your blue shirt or green shirt?
Should we have corn or beans for dinner?
Shall we play Candyland or Uncle Wiggley?
Allow her to choose what she will wear that day and dress herself, and accept her choice no matter what she chooses. If she chooses shorts in 40 degree weather, the natural consequence is being cold. There’s a lesson to be learned from that choice.
- Teach your child to write his name using a capital and small letters.
- Involve young children in the games you play in any way you can.
- Keep young infants close to the rest of the family whenever possible.
- Encourage your child to help with the laundry.
- Provide a small tub of water with different objects to play with to promote learning science and math concepts such as sink and float, full and empty, liquid and solid, etc.
- Teach your child how to tie her shoes.
- Let your child comb his own hair.
- Play hide and seek.
- Identify various buildings as you travel – the library, the post office, the grocery store, etc.
- Teach your child proper public etiquette at dinner, at the movies, in stores, etc.
- Enroll your child in a non-competitive sport or other activity such as dance, swimming, etc.