ever-energetic pre-schooler wound up sitting in front of the television. The
problem becomes when your child starts choosing to watch television over other
activities. Studies show that the brain uses entirely different areas for
viewing television, than it uses for creative play. Here are some ideas for
engaging your little one’s mind, and keeping the television off.
Dish Up Some Fun
From Sweetest Occasion comes a very fun craft that your child can do almost
anywhere there’s a place to sit. You will need some dishes from the Dollar
Store and a pack of multi-color Sharpie Markers. Let your child draw on the
outside of the cups or dishes with the Sharpies. Then, you put the items in a
350-degree oven to bake for 30-minutes. These make great keepsakes.
Read and Listen to a Book Together
Many children’s books have audio CDs, “King Bidgood’s in the
Bathtub” is a great example. Your pre-schooler will enjoy listening to the
story, singing the songs, and enjoying the illustrations. Your local library
will have audio books on CD you can borrow; also online sources such as
Audible.com have a huge selection of audio books for children. You can get free
stories at Storynory.com. Encourage your children to draw while they listen to
books, to get their imaginations flowing.
No Mess Finger Painting
If the thought of letting your pre-schooler finger paint gives you visions
of far too much cleaning up afterwards, relax. There’s a fun way to let your
child use paint without leaving a mess. You need a zip lock back and non-toxic
paint. Just squirt 4-6 blobs of paint inside of a ziplock bag, zip it up and
hand it to your child. Let them squish, and move around the color. Make shapes
and make faces.
Let Your Child Tell a Story
If you don’t have time right now to read your child a story, let him tell
you one. Give your child a paper, crayons, or markers. Ask him to draw you a
story about his favorite things. Ask him if he remembers his dream last night
and try to draw it. Another favorite subject is to draw some animals he’d like
to have as pets if he could have anything. If he wants to include words, help
him spell them. Many children begin to write simple words this way.
Living Room Fort
Almost every adult did this one as a child, and your kids will love it too.
Put some chairs together, use couch cushions, or drape blankets over a table,
and let your kids know the simple fun of a blanket fort. Let them pick out some
books and a flashlight to take inside their fort. Sure, it’s not that dark, but
it’s still fun.
If you have some old magazines, construction paper, scissors, and glue
sticks-you have an activity at the ready for your child. Give her a theme like
“Smile” or “Grandma’s House.” See what she chooses to put
together on her paper.
Let your child sing their favorite song. Queue it up on your
iPod or Spotify.com and let them belt out their tunes. This is also fun to
video and let them watch themselves perform.
Never Underestimate the Power of a Box
Cardboard boxes can deliver a lot of imagination and fun to kids. Get some
clean cardboard boxes, help your kids cut any doors or windows they may want,
and give them markers for decoration and let them have at it. A simple
cardboard box can suddenly become many things and all of them are fun to your
Books, Books, and more Books
It’s a good bet your child has a fair number of books on their bookshelf.
Ask your child to go through them and decide which are for babies, and which
are for big kids. Your kiddo will most likely find some old favorites. None of
the books may be getting donated, but she will spend some time looking at her
books and getting reacquainted with some old friends.
There’s an App for That
If you feel that no television means no screen time of any type, this one
isn’t for you. However, there are a good number of learning apps you can
download for your iPad, iPhone, or Android tablet or phone. Many of them for
free. AlphaTots teaches the alphabet in an easy to learn format. If your child
loves “Sesame Street” there’s an app starring Grover and Elmo titled
“There’sa Monster at the End of This Book.“
Television isn’t bad; however it shouldn’t be on as background noise, or used
as something to keep your child entertained. If you need to do something,
instead of turning on the television, sing songs with your child invite her to
sit on a chair in the kitchen while you make dinner and talk to her about what
you’re doing or play a question and answer game. You can turn any time into a
fun learning experience that requires no television.
Christine J. Williamson is the co-founder and writer for Super Mommy blog.
She is blessed with two amazing boys and a great husband, and 100% Love
blogging at I’m Super Mommy Blog. Connect with her on Twitter! Cheers!
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