We are entering week two of the Coronavirus Isolation. Many moms and dads are trying to work from home and take care of their children. For older children, the schools have identified ways to stay connected on-line to help keep the kids learning. However, daycares also closed. These little ones are home now with parents who are stressed. Some are out of work, some are trying to maintain a paycheck by working from home. No one has the time to figure out how to make each day happy for all concerned. That’s where I maybe can help.
Retired Teacher – Grandma
My previous working life was spent with children. I know a few tricks for playing with little ones but this has even tested me. I am dusting off my previous learning and trying to pull together balanced activities for two grandchildren that I watch three days a week. I have the good fortune of living right next door.
So, first I started with a plan to connect some like activities (see previous post). It was pretty simple and involved lots of painting, a little play dough, one book, and a walk outside. As I am sitting here, in my quiet, though I thought I can do better than that. I know some things about learning.
- I tend to go to what I enjoy…art projects. And that does not always satisfy a child’s needs.
- I know there there are multiple ways for children to learn and a good/balanced day will include these multiple approaches.
- I also know that it’s fun to plan everything around a theme. It helps to control my short attention span…and their’s.
- And, above all else, I know that the best laid plans won’t always work.
S-imple is better
M-ake it fun
L-et them lead
E-njoy this time with themS.M.I.L.E
First I Dusted Off My Memory of Multiple Intelligences
There are several great sites online to simply google but this one from Scholastic actually gave a list of ideas. My grandchildren are young so I have to improvise but I always had to do that in my career, so this is just a good creative activity for me. From the list I think the following with work well with my 2 and 3 year old.
Verbal-Linguistic (Word Smart)
- Words, Words, Words, Words, Words!
- Talk to them about everything.
- Label everything.
- Read book after book after book and talk about the pictures.
- Repeat rhymes over and over again.
- Let them make up stories.
Logical-Mathematical (Number Smart)
- Count everything (How many steps it takes to get upstairs, how many books did we read)
- Show patterns
- Make repeating patterns
- Ask questions like “What will happen if we put this color with this color?” “What might happen if we drop oil into the water?” “What will come next?”
Spacial-Intelligence (Picture Smart)
Little ones learn so much about the world from story books: the pictures represent some form of reality. Then, if a child can replicate pictures, characters, settings with common objects is thrilling.
- Break out the puzzle ideas. Make some related to the theme. Cut up pictures into the number of pieces that your child can successfully put back together
- Break out the play dough and the cookie cutters. Make samples of the things that you’ve been talking about
- Draw pictures of the characters, the weather…anything that links to your theme
- Build structures with legos to keep the stories going.
Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)
I can’t speak for all children but I know that my grandchildren love rhythm and music. There is something about music that soothes the soul.
- Listen to all kinds of music. Whether there in car seats or running around the house, music sets a tone. So if you want things to quiet down, play quiet music. If you want them to get up and get moving, play quick music. ETC.
- Children’s music, nursery rhymes, and simple songs are so great to encourage little ones to sing along. Playing the same music over and over again helps them succeed.
- Make up songs. I have been known to turn most everything into some kind of song. It doesn’t fail to put a smile on their faces. In time, I’ll ask them to make up a song.
Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)
It’s a no brainer that little kids need to move but letting little kids just race around and jump off furniture is not safe. And, Grandma has more anxiety about bumps and bruises than when I was younger so…I encourage control.
- Role playing is fantastic. Crawling like a caterpillar, flying like a butterfly, leaping like a frog, jumping like a kangeroo are all controlled movements.
- Find fun movement videos that get kids moving. Here is one called Super Simple Songs
- Take the cushions off the couch and let them climb and jump from a safe height.
Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)
Little ones move through developmental stages. In the beginning they play alone, then slowly move into a side by side and then cooperative. Being able to negotiate the changes as they happen is so important. Right now my 2 and 3 year old struggle with sharing. That makes it more important than ever to give them opportunities to practice.
- Almost all activities we do have a component of taking a turn. Talk them through it. Don’t expect it to be learned easily or quickly. Praise them for their patience and willingness to share.
- Encourage play that helps each child play their part. The 3 year old, right now is into playing a Disney character. She usually dictates what role her sister plays but for right now it’s working and they play successfully this way.
- This is a good time, also, to practice good manners – Saying “Please” and “Thank-you” and “Can I take a turn?”
Intra-personal Intelligence (Self-Smart)
Little ones are developmentally self absorbed so this one is easy.
- Identify body parts – simple point and name games
- Touch your head…touch your toes
- Find things that are their favorites…favorite book, favorite song, favorite toy and name it as such. This is C’s favorite toy, This is N’s favorite song.
- This is a good time to have them answer question like “which one do you like?” This gives them the power of a choice.
Naturalistic-Intelligence (Nature Smarts)
Whenever the weather is nice, we go for a walk. Even during this time of isolation, we can still be outside. So, weather permitting we…
- Go in search of…one day it was finding all the RED cars, one day it was listening for birds, the latest was looking for signs of spring (flowers popping up out of the ground, squirrels running around, birds singing),
- Find nature objects to collect and bring back to use as a paint brush, nearly everything works. Don’t forget to bring along a bag. They will find a lot.
- Plant seeds, start your own garden.
- Walk in a woods to find a greater variety of leaves, plants, animals.
Now It’s Time To Plan
Going through this activity alone has refreshed me on how important it is to vary a child’s play. I am going to print this list off and keep it next to me as I plan this next week. I have been guilty of falling back on what is comfortable for me. I need to push myself out of my comfort zone to make sure that I let my littles practice every way of learning. I am going to develop next weeks theme and I will share it here.