Activities That You Can Do With Your Child
It's important to keep learning fun with your child. Children need the space to explore and experiment for themselves. As practical adults, we are fixated on doing things a certain way. Toddlers and young children might find unusual ways of doing things. For example: Painting without a brush. Everything is possible! Encourage your little one to explore. It’s important to send the message that there’s more than one way to do something.
Play Idea #1: There Be Monsters!
This can get pretty messy; be warned. Cover your table with old newspaper to prevent paint from getting on them. Fold a A4 sheet of paper or larger in half then unfold it. Get your child to put blobs of paint on one side of the paper. You don’t have to use a brush. Experiment with fingers and cucumbers and potato and…. Well, you get the drift.
Fold the paper over the paint while it’s wet and give it some time for the paint to dry.
Unfold the paper carefully to reveal … a mystical creature! Encourage your child to add details to the picture – for example, spots, antennae, legs, a hat, maybe even a wand!
Bonus Activity: Turn your Monster into a cutout puppet and use it to tell a story.
Play Idea #2: Pirates Ahoy!
One man’s junk is another child’s treasure. Heard that before? Probably not; I just made it up; but you get my point. So the next time you’re doing your spring-cleaning consider which items deserve a second lease of life in the Prop Box. If you think you require more unique outfit, try the Salvation Army. It is a great place to source for cheap and unusual (read: weird) clothes.
I ran this particular programme with kids from both the nursery and kindergarten level and it was one of the best sessions we had. There is something about lost treasures, high sea adventures and a bearded man who goes ‘Arrrr’ that excites children.
I first told them a story about a treasure buried on an island inhibited by angry tribal people. But that’s not all! They have to find a way across the quicksand, survive the hungry lion, and swim through a waterfall. Depending on how good a storyteller you are, you may not even require complex props to pull off this daring heist.
Bonus Activity: Perform or improvise a skit together in front of live audience.
Play Idea #3: Music, Movement and Dance
If improvisational acting isn’t your cup of tea and paintwork is too messy, then consider this Play Idea. Ransack the kitchen for saucepan lid, wooden spoons, plastic bowls, Tupperware, and put together a drum kit for your child. Note to fathers who are reading this article: Please get clearance from the wife first before attempting this activity.
You may read a story off a book or tell it like a professional. The idea of the game is for the child to add sound effects to the story at various juncture. My favourite story for this activity is Where the Wild Things Are. They have a jungle boogie time in the story that sets up the perfect opportunity for your child to go Dave Grohl on your kitchenware. Experiment with volume and speed. Which scene requires the soft tip-tapping sound and which scene requires loud clanging? Swap roles where necessary. Encourage your child to march, stamp, hop, slide and twirl.
Bonus Activity: If you are the father, hide all evidence of this Play Idea before the wife comes home, and try not to break anything.
Written by Eugene Tay, founder of Brain & Butter and Monsters Under the Bed.
When Eugene was a young boy, he wanted to be an astronaut. When that didn't take off, he decided that he was going to be like Indiana Jones and explore the world as an archaeologist. Eventually, he figured out how he can do both. That's when he became a writer.
Co-Written by Grace Chai, mother of a newborn baby boy.
Grace is a new mom and currently undergoing intensive On-The-Job Training for her new role. Between pumping milk, changing diapers and taking selfies with her baby, Grace manages stress by writing about her motherhood experience for ParentTown.