As we find ourselves in extended community quarantine, finding ways to keep the little ones occupied and entertained can get a little difficult. If you’re already running out of social media videos to recreate or shows to watch, consider maximizing this time to get creative and develop skills together. Besides, too much screen time is reportedly bad for a growing kid’s language and cognitive development. Time spent together, either doing tasks or playing games, is actually more helpful in developing a child’s eight signs of brain development .
Below, we’ve put together some gadget-free activities you can do with your tots to make learning fun and engaging at home.
Bring Me the Letter Game
Here’s a challenging spin on the classic Bring Me game. Instead of plainly announcing the name of the item for your children to collect, give them a letter, and ask them to think of objects that start with it. Encourage them to grab as many objects as they can within a minute and reward the one with the highest number of correct items collected. This way, you’ll get them moving while also being able to test their vocabulary and memory.
Color-Matching Stop Dance
Get grooving and stretch your kids’ attention span in this fun version of stop dance. Aside from a few upbeat songs, you’ll only need colored mats or papers and mad dancing skills to play this game. Here’s the twist: When the music pauses, you will have to follow the pose linked to the colored mat or paper you're standing on before freezing. This exercises your kids’ inhibitory control and ability to focus, teaching them the importance of self-discipline.
Hit two birds with one stone with this practical challenge called Chores Bingo. On the card, write simple chores your kids can do on their own, such as arranging their toys and making their bed. The goal is to have the kids accomplish them, so they can cross each one out, completing a row. The fastest one to create the winning arrangement within the day gets a prize. With this game, you get to teach them to strategize and execute tasks, and get help doing the household chores. Double win!
Help your child recognize and understand different feelings by having them draw and label emojis (e.g. happy, sad, angry, and excited). Ask them to share the times they felt these emotions and what caused them to feel such reactions.
You can also talk about taking cues from body languages, expressing negative emotions, like anger, fear, and sadness, several approaches on how to lift their spirits up, and how their feelings are always valid. Through this activity, you won’t just be able to teach them how to be emotionally intelligent, but also get to know them on a deeper level.
Color Blind Test
Warning: This tricky game can be frustrating, but we can also assure you that there’ll be lots of laughs! All you have to do is read the color of a word. Sounds easy? Here’s the catch: The words listed are also color names. Here is an example which you can print or you can simply create your own list using crayons.
“What is full of holes but still holds water? A sponge.” Nothing tests your problem-solving skills more than brain teasers! Riddles and rebus or picture puzzles are just some kid-friendly activities you can do to stretch their brains, expand their vocabulary, and improve reading comprehension. It also introduces them to intellectual humor!
Now You See It, Now You Don’t
No, this isn’t some kind of magic trick. In this game, your kid’s short-term memory will be put to test. In a box or on a tray, place at least 10 objects and give your child a minute to remember as many items as they can before covering with a towel. Have them write the items on a paper and check how many they’re able to remember. Teach them techniques to improve memory like mnemonics or acronyms and repeat the game to see if they’re able to apply the strategies.
ABCs and Bedtime Stories
Here’s a no-fail favorite: Read to your kids during bedtime. To further boost brain development, make it a point to teach them new words that start with every letter of the alphabet. By the end of the week, they’ll have 26 new words to add to their vocabulary.
But as tempting as it is to turn every moment of your free time giving lessons in the guise of playtime, there’s something to be said about having some free time, too. Our tip: Set a schedule and plan the activities within the week, so you can also give them something to look forward to. Structured days with regular mealtimes, educational tasks, and fun breaks are important. Remember: Balance is always key to keeping your kids healthy and happy.