Activities For Staying Connected

Activities For Staying Connected

I’ve decided to participate in the Green Mom’s Weekly Blog Carnival, and this week the question is, “What are some fun, simple and interactive activities that you engage your children with?”

As staying connected with my son has become more challenging as he now

  1. plays independently much more, and
  2. is all about Daddy; e.g., when Jerry is home I practically don’t exist,

figuring out ways to connect with him when Jerry isn’t home – or sometimes even when he is – is crucial to our continuing close relationship.

I admit: playing with Benjamin gets boring really fast for me. Sometimes, I’d even rather be doing housecleaning, a task which I have never exactly enjoyed. But I have found several activities which both of us enjoy, and definitely fit into the definition of “fun, simple and interactive”.

1. The Calendar

After breakfast we sit on the floor in front of a pocket calender with patterned date cards that I purchased with my own money back when I was teaching Kindergarten. Each month, the cards have a different pattern – one month the pattern is A-B, the next, A-A-B-B, another month A-B-C, etc. – with pictures that go along with the particular month.

For example, the October pattern is A-A-B-B, and the pictures of scarecrows and pumpkins. So the pattern for the first four days of the month goes like this: scarecrow, scarecrow, pumpkin, pumpkin.

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We start out singing a “Days of the Week” song I made up a LO-ONG time ago, set to the tune of “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.” I ask what day is it today (Benjamin usually needs help with that), and then we count to see what the date is. I hide the front of the card from him as I ask him to figure out what picture will come next in the pattern today (he’s doing a lot better with that now at five than he did at four).

We conclude the activity by saying the entire date: “Today is Monday, October tenth, 2011.”

2. Simple food prep

Activities For Staying Connected

We don’t do this as much as we used to, but before B insisted on being with J every moment before J went to work, he would help me make the breakfast green smoothies. I would put the kefir in the Vita-Mix container and cut up the ingredients; B would put in the ingredients and run the blender as I instructed. He also likes to help with the yogurt I recently started making.

3. Sowing seeds

B loves to help me smoosh together moist dirt into balls and then put seeds on top of them. In fact, I am happy to say he is generally enthusiastic about growing things.

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Which reminds me, I promised him a pot of dirt for him to grow some fall veggies…

4. Building “castles”

Basically, whatever non-airplane structure B makes out of wooden blocks is a castle. Sometimes, we will sit down together to build.

This is one activity I don’t get bored with. I think there is something cathartic and relaxing about creating something.

5. Washing dishes

I reallly should ask B to help me with this chore more often, as it is one I plan to hand over to him one day. 😉

While him handling so much glass in the sink makes me a bit nervous, he so far has been very careful and is getting better at actually cleaning and rinsing things.

6. Tickle Chase

I think we’ve been playing this game since B was about three years old, and it’s still a winner.

And as simple as you can get. B will announce, “Tickle chase!”, thereupon Mommy or Daddy is expected to chase him around the house and try to catch him to tickle him. If i have a lot on my mind and/or to-do list, it’s hard for me to enjoy this game, but I usually find it quite fun and it brings me that vital medicine so many adults are lacking: laughter.

These are the main ways I connect with my son with interactive activities. How do you connect with your children? Share yours in the comments below, or write your own blog post for this blog carnival!

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