In order to give moms some holiday “Food for thought” and just in case you are stuck for fun and educational activities this coming week of holidays, here are some suggestions from a local Durban Principal.
Please share your suggestions with moms too...
Washing the car
Get your child to fill his/her cloth with nice soapy water, stand straight on to the car and wash side to side across the car, with the hand movements going from left to right and back again, right across the body, using either one hand at a time or both together. In this way, your child will be practising to “Cross the Midline” which is an essential pre-reading and pre-writing skill.
“Drawing” on each other’s backs -
Take just 10 to 15 minutes and encourage a quiet time with your child; draw some shapes (some of the older Grade R and A children could even recognise some letters at this stage) with your finger on your child’s back and ask him/her to identify what you have drawn. After a while, swap around and get your child to do the same on your back!
This stimulates the senses to identify what various body parts are experiencing, without being able to actually see what is being drawn, as well as practising the identification of shapes (and/or letters).
Snakes and Ladders -
With a roll of the dice your child will have to wait his/her turn to move the counter, thus teaching patience as well as turn-taking; with a roll of the dice your child could be zooting up the nearest ladder and “beating” everyone else, thus encouraging enthusiasm and, dare I say it, “instant gratification”; similarly, with a roll of the dice, your child could be sliding down a rather long or mercifully short snake, thus teaching children to deal with disappointment and frustration.
All in all, this game encourages children to persevere, share, discuss, observe, count and have fun whilst rolling with the good and the bad. Most importantly though, is the fact that your child will ONLY learn all these life lessons IF you play the game correctly – that means NOT letting little Johnny or Jemima win all the time and not letting him/her have extra turns – life isn’t like that!
Pinching a peg open and closed -
Whilst sitting inactively, give your child a peg and encourage him or her to open and close the peg whilst watching a programme this will stimulate and strengthen fine muscles necessary for writing.
Play outside -
Riding bikes on the driveway, climbing on jungle gyms, jumping on trampolines, throwing and catching balls and having wheelbarrow or crab races are so much more fun and beneficial to your children than sitting and watching TV all morning!
Throwing and catching a ball (or beanbag) -
Set aside 15 minutes just before bath-time to practise this skill with your child. Sometimes a beanbag is easier as it can’t roll or bounce away when your child inevitably drops it! count the times that your child manages to catch the ball or beanbag, as a kind of incentive, but NOT as a form of competition (except with him/herself!). In this way, you’ll be reinforcing counting skills as well as encouraging good catching.
Fastening and unfastening things – allow children the opportunity to open yoghurt, undo a button, fasten a buckle, twist off a cap, do up a zip. This all helps with fine motor skills.
A fun and safe outing –
For example, to the Port Natal Maritime museum at the harbour. Visit the directory for more suggestions.(Family Fun & Things to Do in Durban)
Unloading the dishwasher –
AFTER you have removed any dangerous items. Sorting and organising is something that they need to learn in order to care for their own possessions, as well as for maths and reading.
5 cent coins -
Set out a row of 5 cent coins and get your child to turn them over, one at a time, using his/her thumb and first 2 fingers. Let your child practice doing this for a few minutes and then, if they are willing and enthusiastic, set a timer and see how many can be turned over in 2 minutes, building up to 6 minutes
Play dough -
Rolling the dough into a long snake between hands; rolling the dough into a ball between the palms; squashing the dough into a flat “pancake” between palms; pinching the dough using the tips of all fingers or just the thumb and fore finger and lastly, pushing the tips of all fingers into the middle of a ball of dough and pushing outwards, spreading the fingers as wide as possible.
Then of-course, you can enjoy some imaginative time with your children, making cakes and biscuits for your tea or building nests and eggs for the birds or any number of different creatures and characters for a story.
Most importantly, remember to have fun and that we are not forcing you to spend 2 hours on an activity – just 15 to 20 minutes is ample!
With thanks to Mrs Gibson from Christopher Robin Pre-Primary School.