Brain Building Activities to Try This WinterJanuary 8, 2020
When winter weather has you stuck inside at times, you can use everyday moments to foster your child’s development in playful ways. Read below for some ideas:
1. Make it count – Kids love to count everything! Try playing a game where you choose an object and count how many of them you can find around the house. Count everything and anything. Try counting how many plates there are in the kitchen. Then, try counting how many you can find in the living room. Are there more or less in the kitchen? Even toddlers use math on a daily basis, and by playing games like these, you can help your child grow their early math skills.
2. Tell a story – Listening to stories, nursery rhymes, songs and conversations will help your child first learn that speech is made up of sounds, syllables, and words. Try coming up with a story with your child. By making up your own story, you can change the ending and teach your child about story structure. You are also encouraging your child’s creative thought coming up with new ideas, characters, voices, and story lines. For added fun, try acting it out or using dolls and puppets.
3. Play pretend – Pretend play builds language and literacy skills, problem-solving skills, and the ability to sequence. Try letting your child dress up in hats and clothes. You can encourage their independence by letting them decide what to dress up as. By trying on different roles, your child will get experience seeing the world through other people’s eyes and adopting other perspectives – a key skill in developing empathy.
4. Get creative – When you and your child do arts and crafts together, you are actually nurturing their fine motor development. Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscle movements and typically occur in the fingers. Fine motor skills develop over time and eventually allow your child to complete tasks like writing, drawing, tying shoelaces, or getting dressed. Try using household objects, like noodles and cotton balls, to make a mosaic. Not only will you be honing their fine motor skills, but you will be encouraging their creativity as well.
5. Matching Games – There are many available to buy, or you can make your own. Show your child how to spread out all of the pictures and then put the pairs together. “Here’s a picture of an apple and here’s another picture of an apple. Can you put the two apples together?” Then let your child use the pictures in their own way.
6. Hide and seek – You can play hide and seek with a doll or with each other. Be sure to give him clues. When you hide, let your child know where you are by using your voice. When your child finds you, be sure to get excited.
7. Water Painting – Give your child small cups of water and a variety of paintbrushes. Model dipping the paintbrush in the water and “paint” a piece of paper. Point out how the water dries. Explain what is happening to the paper when it gets wet. Try out different strokes, some thick and some thin, some long and some short. Label these for your child. You can introduce other painting tools such as old sponges, feather dusters, fingers, etc.
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