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The summer break is almost here, and the kids are soon going to be home all day. They are used to being in school, where they are kept busy with a variety of activities. So unless they are stimulated to the same degree at home too, they are going to be bored. This long weekend, was a good preview for me.
I firmly believe, that a little bit of boredom never hut anybody, especially not children. Boredom motivates children to be creative and come up with ways to entertain themselves. It is also important for children to learn to spend time alone. Yesterday morning my daughter was very angry with me, for not playing with her and kept complaining of boredom. But when I did not give in for 5 minutes or so, she walked off in a huff. Then I checked in on her ten minutes later, and I found her reading a book. She has just about reached the point where she can read. But it is not yet easy for her. However, being bored was sufficient motivation to get started. Then of course the story gripped her, and the rest is history.
Having said this, the vacation is also a good time for parents to bond with kids. The kids are not tired from school and are eager to do and learn new things. There is also some flexibility in their schedule, so even busy parents can find some time to spend with them. Indulging in activities, that are simple, don't require much preparation, and then improvising, are are great way to bond.
You are most likely to enjoy it, if it is fun, but not complicated, so you can be spontaneous. Improvising helps kids see that great ideas don't come all in one piece but can be built from little ones.
Yesterday the younger one found a punch lying around in the house somewhere. “Can I play with this mama?” She asked hopefully.
“Sure.” I replied and showed her how to punch holes in paper. She spent a few minutes punching away and giggling in delight.
After a while, I had an idea. I folded up the paper and let her punch a few holes, and then showed her, that lovely symmetric patterns of holes appeared, when the paper was opened up again.
By now, the older one was interested too, and so we had great fun making patterns of holes on paper and watching the holes multiply as we unfolded the paper. Almost the whole paper was full of holes when we had only punched it 10 times. The older one, too, squealed with delight.
Now that I think of it this may be a great way to teach multiplication. 4 punches going through 3 layers of paper makes 12 holes. They can count them and see and learn that 3 times 4 is 12. I am going to try that today.
But returning to yesterdays activity, at some point, the younger one got bored again. At 2 and a half, they have the attention span of a gnat. So she went off to explore the house, again. This time she returned with a torch light. And I had another fun idea. I know, I was on a roll. I put the holey papers in front of the torch light and showed then the projections on a wall. See what it looked like:
The kids were mesmerised by the beautiful light and shadow patterns and had fun playing with the set up for sometime. That's when I spotted my daughter's hat, and we projected the pattern, made by the design holes in the hat, on the wall. So pretty! (Unfortunately the photographs don't do justice to the beautiful patterns. These patterns become even more mesmerising as the hat is twirled in front of the torch light.)
My younger one started playing with shadows. She squealed with excitement and giggled, when she realised that she could make the shadow of her hand grow by moving it closer to the torch light. She did it over and over again. I was so proud when the older one told her. “You know why that happens baby? When your hand is far away from the light you block less of the light and the shadow is small. But when you hand is close to it, you block more of the light and get a big shadow.”
We looked at shadow patterns of kitchen objects too.
Then the older one left to do a painting. I had to keep the younger one busy, so she would not disturb Didi. She has a toy scissor that only cuts paper. So I cut some long strips of paper, and then she helped me cut them to the right size. We applied glue together on the top of a rectangular cardboard piece and pasted on the long thin pieces of paper to make a window with curtains.
The older one, in the mean time, was undisturbed by her sister, and could make this lovely Easter painting, with minimal help from me.
Shadows are educational and entertaining and there is lots more you can do with them. Check out these Tania books to find out how to have fun with shadows.
There is a lot more to painting too, than, brushes and water colours. Find out more about it in the book, Tania Visits An Art Exhibition