Ever since my son was three months old, I’ve taken him to parks, zoos, libraries, the movie theater, enrolled him in group classes, scheduled play dates, traveled with him, had one-on-one lunch dates, visited bookstores, amusement parks, etc., etc.
What I’ve learned by being so active is this: While being on the go is a lot of fun and can also be completely exhausting, it is also nice (and a lot less expensive) to stay home every once in a while. I try to make sure we are out as much as we stay in. I have also learned that I am my child’s most favorite play thing.
With the infinite offerings of television, computer and Mommy’s iPhone in today’s world, it can be challenging to pry kids away from the screen and convince them that fun, or in our case, being at home, doesn’t necessarily require electricity. This usually means parental involvement!
I believe keeping your preschooler active and engaged is an art and a learned trait, and even though I think of myself as a fairly creative person, I get tired of the same old games that I remember from my childhood. Enter two life saving books:
Baby Play & Learn 160 Games and Learning Activities for the First Three Years by Penny Warner is full of fun games and activities to do with your baby or toddler. Divided by months with recommended ages for each game and activity, it helps you understand the stages of mental growth and what skills your child is learning through play. Step-by-step instructions are provided, as well as a detailed list of materials, most of which are household items.
Preschooler’s Busy Book: 365 Creative Games & Activities To Occupy 3-6 Year Olds by Trish Kuffner takes activities and games a step further and is geared towards older, preschool aged children. Activities include making your own paints, play dough, craft clays, glue, paste, and other arts and crafts supplies and fun reading, math, and science activities, all in an effort to encourage a childâ€™s physical, mental, and emotional growth.
Both books are simple, engaging, creative, and quick enough that they don’t over extend short attention spans, and because they are each “Mom-tested,” they are sure to delight.
My son has enjoyed every activity we have tried in both of these books, and I feel good about decreasing his TV time and increasing his imagination, not to mention our quality time together.
Both books are great resources for clueless mothers (like me) who run out of clever ways to keep their children occupied and happy, while at the same time stimulated and learning. Other caregivers we have had have found them helpful as well, and they also make great gifts for expecting mothers.
I don’t have to tell you that there are tons of resources on the Internet, too, but having these books at my finger tips, where I can make notes in the margins, is convenient.
What is your go-to activity resource? Do you have a favorite book or website?