Our lifestyles are so busy that many moms and dads struggle to find time to cook dinner and get through bath time, leaving precious few minutes to play with our kids. Despite our full schedules, however, it is important to carve out some quality family time on a regular basis.
For many parents, family time is easiest to manage over the weekend. To make sure this important time doesn’t fall through the cracks, it is a good idea to ‘book out’ Saturday or Sunday afternoons for family activities (even if you’re just going to ride bikes in the park or bake biscuits together). Then, plan the rest of your work and social calendar around these events.
Playing together as a family enables you to build stronger bonds with your children, helping them to feel more secure, appreciated and confident as they grow up. It also gives you more opportunities to teach your little ones valuable life skills in a fun, loving environment.
Family time needn’t cost a cent. Often, the most precious memories are made and the most important lessons are learned when you’re just doing puzzles on the mat together or teaching your kid how to kick a ball in the garden.
Great games for family time
Grab a large, lightweight ball and find a patch of grass to teach your little one how to throw and catch a ball. Start a metre apart and slowly increase your distance as their confidence and skills grow. Once an older pre-schooler can throw and catch with ease, try playing a simple ball game like Piggy-in-the-Middle.
Use chalk to draw a hopscotch pattern on your driveway or patio, or alternatively use masking tape to lay out the pattern on your kitchen floor (an ideal option for a rainy day). The pattern has eight to ten numbered squares, each large enough to fit one foot. Give each family member a stone or bottle cap to use as a marker. Each person gets a turn and throws their marker into a square, starting with square one. Then, he or she must hop on one foot and land in each square in order, skipping the square that has the marker in it. You can only have two feet on the ground if you land on two squares next to each other. This game is a fun way to teach your children how to balance and count. For younger kids, don’t bother using the marker until they have mastered the art of hopping on one foot.
Teaching your child to use a skipping rope is a fun way to develop his or her sense of balance, jumping skills and hand-eye coordination. First teach your little one to jump with both feet and land in the same place. Then show your child how to swing the rope with both hands over their head, back and forth. Once both skills are mastered, you can proceed to skipping!
All of these games encourage gross motor skills, which are required to control the large muscles of the body including those in the arms, legs and feet. Working on these skills helps your child build strength and gain body confidence. It also lays the foundation for learning more complex skills later on, such as playing school sports.
Arts and crafts
At the same time, your child also needs to develop his or her fine motor skills. Tower kids has a range of educational art and craft activity kits which are perfect for the whole family. Sit down at a table and get creative with sand art, glitter art or a foam mosaic with your child. These activities are designed to help strengthen your little one’s hand and finger muscles through the repetitive use of various types of important finger grasps and hand postures. This enhances your child’s fine motor skills – while providing you with a relaxed and fun way to be creative together as a family.
For more information, ideas and inspiration, visit http://www.towerproducts.co.za/