Well, baby, it is cold outside, and if your kiddos have a Grandma like mine, you are soon to have several large boxes in your home. It’s age-old wisdom that the box may be as good of a gift according to your child as the gift inside, so before you throw it away, here are a few developmentally awesome activities to do with your child before you throw it or burn it this holiday season.
- Use it to Teach Your Toddler New Vocabulary. Moving children are learning children, and by using your toddler’s body (or favorite stuffy), you can convey and teach the concepts of in, out, over, and on through a game. If your child repeats these words, make sure to convey your praise with a cheer or clap for their new words! You might also try hide and seek with a stuffy to work on the phrases, “Where did it go?” and “I don’t know!”
- Make a House. It could be a house for your kids, their stuffies, little people, animals, or figurines. This type of play is known as dramatic play in the Early Childhood world. This type of play aides in social-emotional growth and development as children have a chance to try out new words and conversations, practice them over and over again, and make sense of their environment. As an outside observer, you might have the chance to see some of the emotions that your child is experiencing as well.
- Put Stickers on It and Color It. Truth be told, I have seen children you might typically describe as over-active sit and do this activity for upwards of 45 minutes uninterrupted. Stickers are a well-known Occupational Therapist trick for fine-motor development and eye tracking. Allowing or assisting your child in pulling stickers off of a sheet helps them develop a pincer grasp, which is needed for writing in the future. You can find stickers for cheap at the Dollar Tree. If your child is beyond the developmental stage where this activity alone is fun, write their name in crayon or draw a line and see if her or she can attach stickers to the line.
All of this fun, for free, in the comfort of your warm home. It’s just like getting two presents for the price of one!