Musings on Activities With Kids

Friday, 24 September 2010

These days Brandon usually quips that he'd rather not go to playschool. Which gets me thinking, what if one day I really need to pull them out of school?

How would I keep them occupied?

Doing things with the kids at this age (Brandon is 3, Andrea is 2) is challenging for several reasons:

  • They have a short attention span. If what you're asking them to get involved with doesn't interest them, they're not likely to follow instructions
  • Their motor functions may not be that great yet, so even if they genuinely want to tidy up after themselves, you know you'll have to do some follow up cleaning!
  • They use things in unexpected ways.
  • Introduce something that's too cool and there's a high chance that siblings will fight over said cool item.

But hey, I embrace the wild side sometimes (even Han remarks that what I do is a bit overboard, occasionally).

So one afternoon, I lined their activity table with a black garbage bag, broke out my stash of scrapbooking cut-outs, had four, yes FOUR bottles of glitter in a plastic tub, glue, crayons, and some manila cards with their names outlined on them. They couldn't get enough of the gluing and sprinkling and dusting and tapping off excess glitter. To my surprise, they shared everything, waited their turns, followed nearly all my instructions (Andrea forgot to apply glue before sprinkling glitter several times :p ), and seemed rather proud of their handiwork.


Other things that I've done with them are

  • taking armfuls of packages to be sent off to Kinder Soaps customers at the nearby post office. I had Reuben along too (left the servant at home). So when the kids dutifully handed over the packages and payments to the staff, I asked them to take turns to push Reuben's stroller and make sure he was okay. They were happy to shoulder the responsibility and take their turns.
  • asked them to help our servant with picking out ingredients for the meal she needs to cook

Generally I find that they're much better behaved after being given grown-up things to do. They seem to enjoy copying what we do, and seem to have a sense of achievement after. Then after they're done with that activity, when they're back to playing with their toys, they appear to play better with each other (sharing toys, or just avoiding confrontation altogether).

I suppose it gets easier as they get older. 🙂

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