Ideas for creating a safe and fun environment
Sit down with your kids and ask them, “What do you like to do for fun?” Expose your child to new things that can help them discover strengths, passions, and interests. Think about areas of your home and how you can create settings where they learn new skills. Like Plato said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
Play helps kids regulate their emotions and get tired before bed. Why? Moving your body, like going for a walk, can lower your blood pressure and release happy endorphins. A little planning is required. But when brainstorming some engaging activities, think of how you can help them tap into their imagination, creativity, and spontaneity.
Here are a few suggestions for creating a safe and fun environment:
Buy second-hand acoustic guitar, ukulele, drums, or turntable. Set up a little music zone and place some music magazines to inspire them to create music.
For younger children, buy a play kitchen with old cookbooks. Have a tea set, picnic basket with a blanket inside ready to use. To inspire children interested in cooking, place cookbooks somewhere where they can see them, ideally inside the kitchen. Have a basket full of cookie cutters, sprinkles, cupcake liners, and cake pans at their disposal.
Buy a second-hand sewing machine with simple sewing patterns. Look for simple sewing projects and place items near the sewing machine, along with fashion magazines.
Save kitchen scraps and start a fruit and vegetable garden. Buy some seeds and plant them in pots. Buy a bug catcher kit and look for insects that are beneficial for your garden.
Buy any second-hand art books, like drawing or painting, and place them near the art zone. Display all the art made by your children in the art room and rotate new creations. Place different mediums of art inside, such as acrylic, watercolor, clay, and charcoal.
Buy a second-hand typewriter and place it on a desk near a window. Next to the typewriter, place books written by children, poems, and a blank journal, along with a quill.
Find and read books that share how kids are making a difference. Then ask your child, “How would you like to make a difference?” Do one thing a month to encourage philanthropy in your child.
Buy wood pieces and challenge them to build a treehouse or go-kart with parental help. Place nails and hammer next to the wood.
Buy a second-hand video camera and ask them to film a movie. If the child is older, buy an inexpensive drone. Let them practice in the park until they are ready to use it for the film. Use free movie maker software and have a movie premiere party.
Buy a second-hand cash register, monopoly game, and piggy bank. Ask them to think of some business ideas and help them create one. Some examples include bake sales, lemonade stand, dog walking, or car washing business.
Encourage computer programing
Teach children how to code by buying coding books for kids. Teaching them new advances in technology can help them learn how to make their own computer games and possibly discover a new passion.
Activities that encourage prosocial behavior:
- Board games teach children skills like turn-taking, impulse control, and fairness.
- Large floor puzzles teach children how to achieve common goals together.
- Blocks help children learn the art of cooperation and build a base of working.
- Cooking activities are also an excellent way for children to learn the art of collaboration and work as a team.
- Crafts help children learn how to share as long as you have the proper amounts of materials for them.
Ways to encourage prosocial behavior:
- Teach your children to be kind to other children by asking them to help a child in need. For example, “Noah, junior tripped. What could we do? Can you help junior up?”
- When a sibling or friend can’t find a toy, “Can you help your brother find his toy?”
- When a sibling cries, “Sarah is crying. Can you hug her?”
- Encourage Noah to share his cookies by telling him, “Junior has been nice to you. Can you give him a cookie?”
- Ask your child to invite other children to play.
- Label prosocial behaviors as they occur.
- Read books about friendship and manners.
Markie-Dadds, C., Sanders, M. R., & Turner, K. M. (2003). Every parent’s family workbook. Milton, Qld.: Triple P Internat.