When you see your kids all grown up you say ‘time flies’ and you forget all the challenges that you had faced during the growing up years. Most awaited time for parents is the time when their baby takes first steps. Each milestone of my son was recorded by us on video, we were jumping with joy when we saw him taking his first steps. Soon we realized that walking has made things more difficult for us. He would stand on his toes and pull things which were kept on table tops, so all the showpieces and potentially dangerous items were kept out of his reach.
We could not match his energy, it looked as if he is going to explore the whole world in a day. He would run in the park, zoomed on his toy car, enjoy the sand pit and simply refused to go back home. He was always on a move which kept me constantly engaged with him. When I tried to keep him indoors he would land up in front of TV and mobile. Ultimately I planned out few activities and always kept them handy. They are simple activities planned from day to day material available at home and it worked wonders with my son.
Here are few of them which you could try:
- Always keep the toys in your child’s reach. We have a habit of stacking and locking everything in the cupboard, the child feels very dependent on an adult to get those toys. It is best them to keep them at a place where the child can see, make a choice and play with them.
- Always teach the child to clean up his toys. It is a good habit which can be nurtured since childhood. Give an incentive like a smiley sticker to motivate the child. Children can be moulded and trained as per your desire in the early years, you can play any particular music during the clean-up time regularly, gradually the child will be trained to clean the mess as soon as you play the music. Music is more impactful for a child’s ears than your words.
- Stacking of cups is a very good activity as it develops logical skills in the child. Child has to stack the cups according to the sizes. You can give the child pans, bowls etc. from your kitchen (of course the ones which are unbreakable and easy to balance).
- Sorting of things is another pre math skill in young children. Sorting kitchen cutlery, big buttons, cloth pegs, pom-poms, Kidney beans or anything which is not a safety hazard keeps the children engaged. Adult supervision is a must.
- Involving kids in household activities can be fun- they love to peel boiled potatoes or watering plants through spray bottles. These are excellent activities to enhance fine motor skills.
- Simply putting coins in piggy bank improves hand eye coordination in children. Again, there is a risk of swallowing coins by children so an adult needs to be present.
- Play dough stimulates the senses of children, it not only improves finger movements but also enhances imagination. Here is a simple recipe to make edible play dough at home
- Adults want spic and span children and children love messy things. Exploring different textures bolsters their development. So stop teaching ABCD and give them paint, big & flat brushes and open spaces. Leaves, scrubbers, bottle brushes, sponges, scotch brite, etc. infuse some more excitement in painting process. Painting bathroom tiles can be loads of fun with paints and such different materials, you can later easily clean water colors from your bathroom tiles.
- Create an Art Corner where children can create anything of their choice in unhindered manner. Do not expect perfect art pieces to be churned out of this corner. The messier the merrier.
- Transferring water from one bucket to another with the help of sponge keeps them engaged for long time. Pressing the sponge strengthens the muscles of fingers, later it helps in developing good pincer grip while doing writing activities.
- Children enjoy copying the adults around. First game which they play with their friends is acting like mama papa. So give ample opportunities for role play, keep old caps, dupattas, old necklaces, colorful wigs, glittery cloth pieces in a drawer. Let your child play with them. Place a big mirror on the wall, children adore seeing themselves in the mirror in different avatars.
- It is the best age to introduce children to their personal reading corner when they are toddlers. Make a cosy corner and keep hard cover books to free yourself of the stress of saving the books from being torn apart.
- Installing a white/black board gives children ample freedom to scribble and draw on it. Holding chalks or markers strengthens the grip and children feel proud to display their work on it.
- Musical instruments can be kept in a corner, children love to explore wacky stuff so let them select objects to be added here.
Give ample choices and empower them by letting them make a choice. Don’t give them an activity to do but let them choose from different activities. There has to be a structure in these unstructured activities.