Especially around the holidays, you have a wonderful chance to make some truly lasting memories. So, take advantage of these times of wonderment and renewal to make a difference in your child’s development by taking part in these fun, and stimulating, activities together. They’ll keep your child progressing developmentally and provide opportunities to grow your relationship even more.
Infants — Place a sock on your hand and another sock on your child’s hand. Open and close your hand so it looks like your puppet is talking. Have a conversation with your child; talk about some of the activities you have just done together, what the weather is like or even sing one of your child’s favorite songs. Does your child try to open and close her hand also?
Young Toddlers — Place several ice cubes inside a plastic container and put the lid on. Shake the container and place it on the floor or a table near your child. Say something like, “Did you hear that? I wonder what’s inside the container.“ Encourage your child to try to open up the container. Help him if you need to. Once the container is open, show him the ice cubes and encourage him to try to pick them up using his hands.
Older Toddlers — Sit on the floor across from your child. Ask her to bring back something from one of the rooms in your house. Say something like, “Can you find a pillow and bring it back to me?” After she brings it back say, “Where did you find the pillow?” Name different items you want her to find and bring back to you as long as she seems interested. And keep asking questions to promote problem solving.
Preschoolers — Sit on the floor with your child and place a deck of cards facedown between you. Make sure you take the face cards out of the deck. If you do not have any cards at your house, simply write the numbers 1-10 on 2″x2″ pieces of paper to use instead (make a couple of each number). Help your child sort the cards by numbers. Can he or she count the number of cards in each pile?
School-Agers — Look through magazines together with your child and cut out pictures you like. Tell your child that you are going to turn the pictures into puzzles by cutting them into pieces. Figure out how many pieces you want to cut each picture into first (do you want small, medium or large puzzle pieces?) and then cut the pictures up. Make sure you keep each picture puzzle separate. Work together at putting the puzzles together.