Wednesday, November 2, 2011

{Guest Post}

Today, I have a special guest post by Emily Patterson. She is an early childhood practitioner for Primrose Schools. Although the school is based in the US, the below article is a good example of how kids, no matter where they're born, are the same universally. They just wanna have fun. Or sort of. Or unless your kid believe that he is Spongebob Squarepants, then that is another article altogether. Enjoy.

Fun Ways to Beat Boredom without Beating Your Wallet
Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools: early child care services by Emily Patterson (@epatt1062)

wo words that have never changed through the years and generations of children are the inevitable; “I’m bored” that every child utters at some point in time. Regardless as to whether it’s a rainy day that keeps them inside or a beautifully sunny day that presents a variety of opportunities, inevitably at least one child will offer this observation. 

One of the best ways to beat boredom is to come up with imaginative ways for children to play that will keep them thinking and engaged during the down time.
 Just remember that a child using their imagination is the key to keeping their mind active and thinking, and just as importantly, such activities do not have to be expensive. A child’s imagination is limitless and it doesn’t require a grand vacation or a lot of money to fuel it. 

Below is a list of ideas to help keep child’s mind active at the same time.

1. Jar of Ideas to Beat Boredom: When summer begins have your family sit down and come up with a list of ideas that can be done alone or collectively. Make certain that your kids share their ideas and help with constructing the jar as well. This helps to let your child know that they are a part of everything and their ideas are important.

2. Bringing Stories Alive: Although it sounds simple, reading will keep a child’s mind active during the summer. But a good way to enhance this is to find a way to make the story come to life; some books describe things like creating an imaginary world out simple things found in the back yard and such, challenge your children to do the same.

3. A Treasure Chest for Art: This is a chest with art supplies and even items such as foil, paper towel rolls and such. The idea is for your child to find uses for these items and to create artistic creations, this helps to challenge their mind and their creative nature.

4. Performing as a Family: Let your children put on performances for the family. Challenge them to create plays to perform and allow them to utilize their imaginations by dressing up and acting out their creation for you. Another good idea would be to video or record these performances, this not only shows your interest in your child’s creations but it also records some of your family history.

5. Build a Fort: Children love to build and challenging them to build a fort will keep them occupied as well as challenge them to solve problems and the best part is the items can be found around the house.

6. Fun from Cookbooks: Share your cookbooks with your children, let them pick out a recipe and help them cook it. The measuring helps encourage their math skills.

7. Scrapbook: Use a spiral notebook and encourage everyone to draw a picture of what their favorite activities are. Also collect mementos of events; this gives your children an album to look back on as well as encouraging them at their story telling skills.

8. The Listening Game: This is simple and all you need is nature and a set of ears. Just lie down on the grass and see what you can really hear and if you can imitate it. This gets everyone to slow down and increases a child’s focus on listening.

9. A Scavenger Hunt: This is also a simple activity and can involve as many people as you want. Simply make a list or use pictures of common items and have the participants find them, you can even find ways to make this extra challenging by using clues.

This is just a list of ides to help give you a jumping off point, add or subtract to the list as you see fit. Activities that give you a balance in the freedom of child initiated play and structured activities can be a big advantage in keeping your child thinking and active intellectually.

Keep in mind that when a child says they are bored, this is usually because they don’t feel that they are being challenged by the activities they are engaged in, or they are too difficult. This is why it’s important to keep age appropriate activities in mind.

Of course every child is an individual which means different interests and different learning styles. That’s why it’s important to provide a wide variety of suggestions for the summer months to avoid brain drain. Just remember it’s also important to give the child a creative hand in the process of the ideas to make it as personal and tailored to them as possible, this encourages their interest all the more.

Now that you have some good ideas in mind and a starting point, you can easily help keep the dreaded cry of ‘I’m bored’ from being uttered by your children.

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