February is a unique month for all the event: today in the US it’s Presidents’ Day and in most of Canada it’s Family Day. It’s a special day to connect to others.
In looking for an image for today, I found this one of Mount Rushmore built out of LEGO. Mount Rushmore shows the faces of presidents and is recognizable around the world. Would it have such an impact if it showed the shoulders? Or the hands? Of course not, it’s the faces that are meaningful.
What’s so important about faces? Faces tell others about who we are. They show our personalities. So much information is conveyed in a face. Have you ever connected with someone only online or on the phone? We may have spoken many times, but still want to meet face to face. When we finally do, we feel connected at such a much deeper level.
Young children are not as skilled at reading faces and expressions as adults, but they still want to see faces. Have you seen the post of the mom who set aside time simply to watch her twin boys as they played? It’s been shared hundreds of times and has thousands of likes.
The mother, Brandi, counted how many times the boys looked over to see her. Not just to see she was in the room, but to connect with her. “As I sat quietly in the corner of the room I tallied how many times they looked at me for various reasons: to see if I saw their cool tricks, to seek approval or disapproval for what they were doing, and to watch my reactions.” The total was 28 times. Just like these boys, we look to others and want to see their face.
Your family may be able to participate in some community events today or it may be at an home day. Whatever the plan for the day, like the presidents on mountain, can faces and time to connect to others be at the top?
Today’s play-of-the-day is about one of my favorite activities: story telling. In the United States it’s Presidents’ Day, in some parts of Canada it’s Family Day. Story telling is great for both places and everywhere else in the world.
A famous story about George Washington is the one about cutting down the cherry tree. It’s often told to children to encourage them to be honest.
Abraham Lincoln was renowned as a story-teller, one of the best in the nation. His stories often poked fun at himself and he used the power of stories and humor to great advantage.
In both cases, stories are effective and enduring. In a quote from Psychology Today “Telling stories is the best way to teach, persuade, and even understand ourselves.” Stories link us to each other and to history.
To celebrate the day, no matter where on the planet your family is, enjoy some story time together. You do not need to look for a book, you can make up a story. In case your imagination needs a little help, randomly find any two objects that are at hand. They might be two things on the table, such as a spoon and piece of paper. Using the familiar pattern of a problem to solve, maybe the spoon wants to say something and is trying to write but the words don’t show up. The paper tells the spoon it needs to be a pen because pens have ink. The spoon uses some juice for ink and writes Hello. Anything can be used in a story.
Kids love to think of stories and will sort of use the structure of a beginning, a middle, and an end. Their stories may have a problem and solution. Sometimes the stories are so elaborate that the beginning doesn’t connect to the end, but the parts are there. Imagination makes use of dinosaurs or fairies, talking animals or super heroes.
What stories can you and your child tell today?
Different countries in the world today, will be enjoying more than a Monday in February. In the U.S. it is Presidents’ Day; in some parts of Canada, it is Family Day, and everywhere it’s the last week of the Sochi Olympics. But all of these days have something in common, and in a way it’s appropriate that they come right after Valentine’s Day.
Presidents’ Day is celebrated close to the date of George’s Washington’s birthday, the first president. Abraham Lincoln also had a February birthday. Both of these men were beloved leaders who left a legacy for the country.
Families are the heart of any nation, and worth celebrating. Parents too leave a legacy for children. Often, as new adults, we either want to follow the example of our parents, or we vow to change something for our children.
The Olympics are not just a sports competition. They are a recognition of the achievements of all athletes and a display of the incredible feats of people around the world. Records will be broken and new ones set, inspiring new goals and dreams in hearts.
Whatever the day where you live, there are echoes from the past, the events of today, and a challenge to the future. For some fun and learning, your family may go to a community event. There might be a craft activity, such as making a country flag. Playtime could include turning the slide at the playground into a luge track–that’s the one where feet go first, although kids will try it the other way too. This day will leave its tracks as it becomes another part of your child’s early learning and development. Past, present, and future are a package that can also be called kids. What kind of day will this be for your child? Whether a big celebration or an ordinary day, how will your child experience this day?
Today is Presidents’ Day in the United States and Family Day in some parts of Canada. This suggestion is relevant for both. Making Presidents’ Day meaningful for young children is a challenge. There are crafts and other activities to do with little ones, books and stories to read or tell. There are games and songs, … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Presidents’ Day