Kids crave sensory and emotional experiences. Experiences that involve a combination of visual, auditory, kinesthetic and other senses are the most compelling for kids of all ages. Experiences that teach about emotions are sought after also.
It doesn't matter where they get them but, of course, it matters a lot who provides them. And it looks like it's mostly parents, at least for a while.
I've worked with some really awesome parents over the last 43 years as well as over 800 awesome kids. I know that some activities draw kids in like magnets, and some repel them like liver and onions.
The trick is knowing how to tell the difference.
My specialty is multi-age experiences that keep kids occupied for hours. Want to hear more?
Activities like building an obstacle course and timing family members with the goal of beating their own best score, or setting up a grid chart with dots that includes the results of
polling family members on things like favorite ice cream or favorite funny story tend to draw kids in. That's because they're multi-sensory in nature and they include an emotional component,
One such activity that's actually been researched extensively and proven to make your kids happier, smarter, and more emotionally intelligent is reading to them. Ad d the sensory aspect of snuggling up or holding them on your lap when you read and you have an excellent multi-sensory learning experience. Add the experience of talking with your kids about feelings and you have an experience that can't be replicated even by the most talented teacher on the planet.
Since I know behavior can be a huge challenge, I've included a link to an article about dealing with challenging children that you might find helpful and one about the S.T.A.R. method of calming down from Dr. Becky Bailey.
Last but not least, I've included a link to an article about my rock art project that's fun and rewarding for everyone in the family. It helps kids learn, keep productively busy, and creative. It's all about giving back and helping others. Soon the complete rock art kit (rockits!) will be available on-line for a donation and even sooner you'll be able to submit photos of your kids' best rock art to be displayed on our rock art gallery page, here.
You can learn more about the giving aspect of our early childhood rocks not-profit organization here!
Join our community here and never miss a new activity or way to stay calm in desperate times. Be the first to hear about the online availability of Rockits! and our upcoming free course on what to do when your toddler hits or hurts. Join now before you forget!
Nanci J Bradley, 60ish, is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, SELF-care facilitator, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI