Activities related to the goal of developing self-confidence and awareness of others:
- Make an "All About Me" Book –
Select some photographs with your children and put them into an album or paste them on paper. Ask your children to say something about what they were doing or feeling when the picture was taken. Write down what they say as a caption. Read and enjoy the book often.
- "Who We Are" Poster - Gather photos of each person in your family. Glue the photos onto a large sheet of paper. Write each person’s name under the photo. Ask each person to dictate or write one thing they like about themselves. Display the poster so that everyone can see it and use it as a discussion starter.
- Make an "I Can Do List" - Hang up a long piece of paper in a place where your children can see it easily and title it the "I Can Do List". Whenever your children learn a new skill such as "I can slide" or "I can feed the dog" or "I can clean up my room" add it to the list with his or her name.
- Play the "I Like You Rhyming Game" - Tell your children something you like about them and make a rhyme serious or silly. "I like your nose it smells like a rose." "I like your hair it’s really there." Let your children have turns doing the same thing for you or others in the family if they want to.
- Make a "Family Tree" Book - Help your children locate on a map where their ancestors were born. Which family member was born farthest from your current address? What kinds of transportation did members of your family use to reach your current hometown? Together list three main personality traits of each family member. Select some photographs with your children that can be included in their book. Encourage your children to draw a picture of each family member for their book. Ask them to interview a grandparent or aunt to find out a favorite childhood memory. Or at your next family reunion plan an informal storytelling session in which older family members share their stories and reminisce with the younger generation. You may want to capture these stories on audio tape. Help your children include some of these stories in their book. Read and enjoy the book often or give the book as a gift to someone special.
- Play the "I Like the Way You ......Game" - Take time every week to let each family member recognize other family members for something special they did. " For example: "I liked the way you fed your dog without being reminded. You really showed responsibility." "I liked the way you helped your sister pick up her toys. It gave me time to read the newspaper." "I liked the way you went to your room and cooled off when your brother made you so angry. I see you are learning self control."
Activities related to the goal of nurturing your children's creativity:
- Make an Imagination Bag – Put various household items such as a paper towel roll, a spoon, a scarf, a small plastic bowl into a bag. Taking turns with your children close your eyes to pick out something from the bag. Then use it in an imaginative way announcing what it is. For instance: "This paper towel roll is now my telescope."
- Take an Imaginary Trip – Ask your children to pick an unusual place to visit such as the moon a cloud a mountain top. Figure out together what you would want to take and what would happen. Act out your trip together.
- Play the "What If Game" – This is a good activity for long car rides waiting in lines or drying off after the bath. Give your children a situation and ask them to figure out what should happen. "What if you got to day care and your new teacher was a Giraffe?" "What if you had magic power every time you clapped your hands… what would you make happen?"
- Act Out a Story - Ask your children to pick a favorite story. Let them decide whether to make costumes or puppets to help in their acting out of the story. Provide needed materials: old socks or paper lunch bags for puppets; pillow cases large paper grocery bags or dress-up clothes for costumes; fabric or paper scraps ribbons feathers water color markers glue or needle and thread to use for decorating.
- Celebrate Your Children's Work - Create a special area to display your children's artwork and writing. Let your children decide what should be put up and when it should be taken down. Set aside a special time each week when they can share their storiesreports and experiments with the whole family. Encourage your child to be the teacher. Let them teach you how to use the computer, navigate the Internet, set your VCR to record a program for later viewing.
Activities related to the goal of thinking about what we hear and see:
- Play "The Echo Game" – Take turns with your children making sounds and echoing them back. First make sounds using only your own bodies – vocals hands and feet. Try to imitate the sound as closely as possible.
Then try a rhythm echo. Tap out a beat with a spoon or your hands and have your children repeat the rhythm.
- Become Color Detectives – Pick a place to walk with your children. Take crayons with you. Each time your children notice a color write a description of what has that color. Ask your children to find the crayon that most closely matches the color and make a mark next to the description. If you go on several expeditions you can put your lists together and make a "colors in my neighborhood" booklet.