1. Let’s act it out. Let your child choose a favorite story and act it out. Pick out just one small section of the story, if your child is young. You can do several sections with older children. You can have neighbors join or you can each play different parts. Make up costumes from things you have around the house – just different hats can work, if that’s all you have. If you are playing more than one part, having a different hat for each part can help you switch from one to another. Perform the “play” for your family or neighbors. Be as fancy as you like – with tickets, refreshments, etc.
2. Let’s play house designers. Make a new room. Choose a spot in the house – child’s bedroom, play area, TV room, etc. Tell your child you are going to play being “designers.” Together, take all the moveable stuff out of the room. Tell your child he can decide where to put things back into the room. Tell him you will leave the room “his way” for one day to test how it works, and when the test is over, you will be in charge of what to do with the room. Take before and after pictures. Be sure to check in with your child about how the room worked during the test period.
3. Let’s wonder. Play “What Do You Wonder About?” Pick a state or country to learn about. Ask your child, “What Do You Wonder about Alaska (or any other state or country he might be interested in)?” You’ll need your computer or some books to find answers to his questions. Here is how you play.
- You each take turns asking the question, “What do you wondered about …?”
- After each question, the person being asked the question makes a guess about the answer and the other person agrees or disagrees.
- Then, look up the answer together in a book or on the computer.
- If the question is too complicated to easily find an answer, break it down into parts and try to find an answer to just part of the question. Over time, keep looking for more information to add to the answer until your child is satisfied with the answer. Remember, young children like simple responses, so don’t dig more deeply than your child seems to need.
4. Let’s have Sunday sundaes. Make your own ice cream sundaes. Set out several ice cream flavors and toppings and let each person make their own. Once their sundaes are built, let each person tell the group what it is and what it is going to taste like – as though they were the star of a cooking show.
5. Let’s play storyteller. Help your child tell you a story. Notice the types of characters he chooses – children like him, superheroes that can’t be real, or animals that come to life. Notice what the problem is in the story and what feelings are in the story – is someone mad, scared, happy, sad? About what? Notice how the story ends – good, not so good, or not at all. If the story doesn’t end at all, you could talk about possible ways it might end and let him choose the way he likes best. If your child is old enough, you could have him write his story or use a keyboard, if he is old enough to learn this important skill.
6. Let’s draw a story. Draw a story. Have your child draw the pictures for a story. It can be a story your child tells you (or has told you in the past) or one you tell your child. Even older children can enjoy doing this if they have any interest in art. They might prefer to use photographs, make a movie, or cut out magazine pictures to illustrate the story.
7. Let’s train pets. Plan to take your child to see animal training classes. Talk to the workers about what types of animals can be trained, how long it takes, and how important the owners are to the success of the training. If you own a pet, decide whether training classes would be helpful for your pet and family members. If you do not own a pet yet, decide whether you want to arrange for training classes for your pet if you get one at some point.
8. Let’s parade. Have a costume parade. You can use old Halloween costumes or you can make new costumes out of things you have around the house, including old newspapers and craft paper. Don’t give out any candy at your parade – so this doesn’t just become an early Halloween. For a bigger parade, ask neighbors to join or dress up stuffed animals and dolls.
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