For the new year, have adventures with kids. Today’s post is still in alphabetical order because V=adVenture and we can do them every now and then. In a way, new year’s resolutions are also a sort of bucket list. Where would you and your child like to venture? Here are some ideas, some from an earlier post and some new ones:
Adventures will depend on the age of interests of your child, as well as the rest of the family. A sleepover at a relative or friend’s house can be exciting and a special treat, even if it’s only a few blocks away. There’s an extra element of independence and a bit of risk of the unknown.
If your child is too young for an overnight visit, you may be able to go spend an afternoon. Baking a batch of cookies and inviting a friend to have some play-time in the park can be an adventure too. There may be a local facility or attraction. In our area, we can go to a butterfly and bug zoo, as well as the pool or skating rink. There are often numerous parks and playgrounds. What is available in your community? Is there a story hour for kids at the local library?
Going out for breakfast can be special to a child, or staying at home and having a big spread for the whole family on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Eating outside is always fun but if you can’t, any meal can be a mini-adventure by putting a blanket on the floor and having a picnic. Or, a real tea party using the play dishes. Turn an ordinary Friday night into a beach party, movie night, or pizza and popcorn feast.
Grocery shopping with kids doesn’t count as an adventure, or does it? There might be an outdoor market or place where you don’t regularly go. Instead of the main objective being to get in and out as quickly and simply as possible, go with the idea of exploring. Check out what’s new and different, as well as what’s the same. Treat it like a new venture and take a selfie of you and the kids in front of a display. Maybe pick up one or two edible souvenirs.
With a different focus, even the ordinary can be a way to have adventures with kids. Got any on your new year’s resolution-bucket list?
Allowing risky play is such a concern for adults as we balance kids’ safety and needs but, hard as it is, we need to help kids manage risk during play. We’ll all have different views and places where we draw the line as children’s parents, caregivers, and educators. This post is a sort of discussion to encourage thinking about the issue. Looking up the topic on the internet reveals that is a subject for debate in homes, around staff meetings and school boards, at neighborhood playgrounds and international conferences, and all the levels in-between.
Just as we have our own ideas about risk and risky play, so do kids. Some children are frightened by change, the unknown, and anything out of the ordinary. Other kids seem unafraid of anything so we end each day with a few new, gray hairs. We need only pour ourselves a cup of coffee to find the gate across the stairs totally unnecessary as the baby has climbed up the outside using the rails and the little edges. Or, the toddler has climbed from the floor to the top of the wall unit and is jumping from up there down to a landing spot made of sofa cushions. What kind of risky things did you do as a child? Does that make your fears worse or better?
Most of the time, kids have some ideas about how much risk to take on at a time. They’d like to try the slide but make sure we are there at the bottom to catch them. They only go so high on the monkey bars. Our job is to help kids manage risk by judging if it’s safe to encourage them to try a little more or to put on the brakes. This is a fine line. We hate to see kids hurt themselves but it does happen.
Is this a concern and worry for you? If so, it might be something you choose as a new year’s resolution, to help kids manage risk. In the book, Children Who Soar: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children Take Good Risks, psychologists Susan Davis and Nancy Eppler-Wolff state, “As parents, we have a fundamental responsibility not only to understand the inevitability of risk, but to know the importance of taking life’s risks, small and large. Risk is part of development….” As theywrite, risky play now becomes risk-taking in business and great discoveries. Parents get this task too. Really, do you think the world gives enough credit to the hardest job on the planet, raising kids? How are you coping with this challenge for your child?
A great new year’s resolution is to include more laughter; for kids laughing means learning. There are benefits for mind, body, and heart for all of us.
There are aspects of laughter that we are born with as part of our personalities, but a sense of humor is something that we develop. Besides needing a funny bone, we also need some specific brain connections.
In any situation, to find it humorous, the brain needs to recognize that something is unexpected or unintended. An ordinary action isn’t followed by a usual or predictable result. Very quickly, the brain has to decide if it’s hurtful or scary, or just unusual. The next step is figuring out how to react, like laughing or ducking for cover, squealing with delight or simply smiling. Getting all those steps coordinated is complicated. We can easily understand why kids often get the punch lines to jokes mixed up, find things funny that adults don’t, or don’t ‘get’ a joke. There’s a great deal to figure out. Humor builds on experiences.
Humor has a social context and gets passed along. Often, when one person laughs so will others. Sharing something humorous creates a link or bond between people. Kids laughing means learning and also connecting.
A few ways to include laughter in a day are to share jokes. Knock, knock jokes are fun and can go on and on. Making silly faces can happen almost anytime. Read some funny stories, or share any book and imagine a different outcome. Do something unexpected, like answering a banana when the phone rings or eating cereal with a baby spoon or putting on glasses upside down.
The number of times in a day children laugh is sometimes stated as 300-400 times. Even for those who find this to be great exaggerated, kids do laugh more often than adults. Did you know as grownups we only laugh 17.5 times a day? What’s happened to our sense of humor? Can you include more fun and laughter in each day?
What fun with kids imaginary journeys! Today’s new year’s resolution word goes on a journey with children’s author and Storytime Pup creator, Bill McManus. This is an on-line interview with Bill about both real and imaginative journeys. No need to pack, come enjoy the trip. To start, I’d like to ask: What journeys did you … Continue reading Kids Imaginary Journeys – New Year’s Word #9: J for Journey
Today’s new year resolution-of-the-day post combines two ‘i’ words, imagination and IQ, because kids need imagination. Thinking and feeling both use it. Here is a post from a few months ago, but imagination is so powerful, we can use the reminder. While we don’t think of imagination as part of IQ, it is a powerful … Continue reading New Year’s Resolution Word #9: Kids Need IMAGINATION
As parents and caregivers, we don’t get a chance to see the tremendous role feelings play in learning. For this series of New Year’s resolutions in just one word, this post is brought to you by feelings. And, the play-of-the-day is having fun with feelings. What are some ways for your child’s playing and learning … Continue reading New Year’s Resolution Words: Role Feelings Play in Learning
Many adults have made a New Year’s Resolution about eating; kids are picky eaters but there are some great ways to promote healthy eating for kids. This is another post in the New Year’s Resolution in a word series and today’s word is e for Eat. One of the simplest, but perhaps not the easiest, … Continue reading New Year’s Resolution Words #5: Ways to Promote Healthy Eating for Kids
New Year’s Resolutions aren’t typically for fun, but this resolution word and play of-the-day certainly is; kids learn and play with DANCE. This is an earlier post to inspire some dancing fun. May I Have This Dance? One of the easiest music activities with kids is to put on some music and dance around. From … Continue reading Resolution Words for the New Year #4 – Kids Learn and Play with DANCE
We did this wishing star craft last year but the wishing stars have disappeared so we’ll need to make new ones. Thankfully we have lots of pipe cleaners and a variety of sticks of one sort or another. This time we used some take-out chopsticks and twisted two colors of pipe cleaners together. As we … Continue reading Wishing Star Craft for the New Year
Last year, we made a happy or joy jar for the new year. After a whole year of popping in tickets, event programs, and small reminders, we opened it up and checked what we did. What fun to look at the items and remember doing them! Each of us had something different that was especially … Continue reading Happy or Joy Jar for the New Year