Text by Sheila Kolesar
It’s summer. You’ve got kids at home and no idea what to do with them. Better yet, you have kids at home that are different ages. What can you do? Read on care-givers, read on.
Children develop strength from top to bottom, inside to the outside, large muscle group to small muscle group. They are born with a brain that is ready and eager to learn. The activities that you do with them from birth to 10 will determine how their learning patterns develop. And please, always, always remember that some children progress faster (or slower) than others and that the time spent in one development stage to the next does not reflect their intelligence (or lack thereof). Case in point, I have one son who moves more slowly than my other children. He eats more slowly, he plays more slowly, but he does that in order that he may enjoy life as a whole.
At six months babies are ready for swimming lessons. After spending 9 months in water, it won’t be foreign to them, especially if you’ve been allowing them to have bath time fun with you. If you choose to bring a child younger than six months, and upon walking into the pool area you can smell chlorine, it’s too strong for baby.
Ages one and two are really big into hide and seek. They think it is such fun to hide from mommy (or “Auntie” if you are the caregiver). How much fun it is to streak when they are found.
For ages two and three, not only is Hide and Seek still fun, but now we can tell stories together. We can also do scavenger hunts or hiking together. Giving your children a clue and helping them figure out where to go helps with their cognitive thought process. As your child grows older, you can increase the difficulty of the clue. If you choose to go hiking, make it for a short distance, and enjoy the process. Count things out. How many steps to the next tree or how many berries are on this blueberry bush?
At ages four and five, their language skills have increased to the point that you can completely understand them. They love squirt bottles, or bubbles, and face painting. They are now also at the age where they can start “gardening”. Plant seeds in dirt in a baby food jar and watch them grow.
Ages five to eight love acting. Putting on plays for their family is right up their alley. They are also in the time of their lives when they want to see pictures of themselves as babies. Another big thing is car games.
Ages nine and ten are not so much into the pictures. They might actually get embarrassed by some of the pictures. Another great activity is safe web surfing, showing them sites that are age appropriate, as well as fun.
These are just a few ideas. Remember as well, that the activities you do with your children from birth to 10 will determine how their learning patterns develop.