Our kids have been brought up in a world of technology, and while video games can be beneficial for critical thinking it is not really a past-time that gets creative juices flowing. The answer is not to take technology away from our kids but to show them a balance. This will help them to be more grateful for what they have and to create things on their own. I have included five creative ideas for you and your child, and you are welcome to put your own personal spin on these. You may find yourself feeling a little more creative as well.
1~ Wishing on Fireflies
Remember the wishing star? Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight… it is amazing how many children today have never heard of this, adults even. Children love making wishes, why do you think they always want to blow out your birthday candles? So when the fireflies come out this summer make it interesting: get a a jar for you and your child, and whomever else wants to play, go ahead and poke holes in the lid so the little guy can breathe, then start going after fireflies. Let your child know they can make wishes on fireflies just like on stars and birthday candles. This will make it even more exciting and your child gets to be creative with their wish. Once the child has made a wish explain to them that they need to release the bug. The child may ask why they can’t keep it, if so, let them know that the firefly has a family too, and they don’t want to keep their wish locked in a jar. This will teach them kindness and help them to be appreciative of nature and life.
Storytime is extremely underrated, your child can learn so much from reading and being read to, and it does not just have to be designated to bedtime. The sad thing about the popularity of eReaders is that we could eventually lose our little bookstores, but they’re not gone yet, so take a trip to a bookstore or your local library with your child. Give yourself and your child some time to pick out a book. Let your child pick something fun and you pick something fun and educational in some way. Once the stories are chosen, you and your child choose a private corner in the venue and read your child’s story first. Do this because your child will be very anxious to read their story and will find it hard to pay attention to your story if it is first. If your child can already read or is in the process of learning, let them read a page and then you read a page. When you are finished with the first story ask your child what they liked about the book, and something about the characters, then set the book aside. Your child may want to read the book again, if you have the time this is fine, but after the second time you need to let them know that it is time for your story. This will help them to understand that they need to share their time with and be respectful of others. Your book may still be a children’s book but with some kind of educational element, rather it be about history, or a historical figure. You may read this one to them solely or allow them to read every other page. At the end of this story, ask them a few questions about the character, and let them know rather it was a true story or not. You could also look at books about other countries, learn about other cultures, or learn a few words in a different language – keep it fun though, don’t make your child feel like they are going to be tested later. Look up how to say “silly” in spanish, or “I love mommy” in french.
3~ The One Year Time Capsule
This is one you can really add your own ideas to and personalize just for you and your child. Start by buying a simple scrapbook for your child so they can decorate it however they wish. This will be part journal, part scrapbook – and the capsule is the book itself. Have your child put their favorite things in the book and write down big moments, or what wish they made on their firefly, anything and everything. They don’t have to do it everyday of course but see if they can fill up the book over the course of a year. At the end of the year let your child choose their favorite wrapping paper in the store, whatever they want, trust me, it will be funny later. Wrap the book up in the paper and put a bow on it. Hide the book somewhere your child will never find it – give them this as a birthday or graduation gift years later. You may choose to do this every year or just one.
4~ Hide and Go Seek
This is the most fun at nighttime with flashlights. There are a few different ways to play this: you can do it the usual way and take turns counting and hiding, you could also hide objects and the person has to find it with the flashlight. You can also put letters around the room, some in site and some hidden – tell the child how many letters they have to find with their flashlight and once they have all the letters work with them to spell out the secret message.
5~ Bake an “Everything Cake”
This may seem like a waste of food or teaching your child to, basically, play with their food, but if you guide them through the ingredients you may actually make a pretty tasty cake. The whole point is to not follow a recipe and use any ingredients you and your child want. Your child is going to want to put ketchup and mustard in the cake but steer them to the sweets and let them mix things, even if they don’t need to be mixed. You want them to get an idea of what goes well together but have fun with it. The big thing is, you must try the cake once it is finished. It may be delicious, but if it is not you and your child will have a good laugh and it will be a wonderful memory.
Try to think outside the box when coming up with activities for you and your child, because if you do, they will. Feel free to comment if you have any creative activities you have started yourself or even some funny, creative ideas your child has come up with. Don’t let technology become your son or daughter’s childhood – instead let’s put a fun spin on the things we did as kids.