I'm always trying to come up with new and interesting activities that Aaron and I can do together. Sometimes, I'm after an activity that can keep him engaged by himself. Other times, I enjoy exploring and experiencing something new with him.
Here are 5 activities that we have enjoyed together in recent weeks. Perhaps this list will come in useful for another mother somewhere else in the world:
1. Leaf Identification and Exploration
Using a clipboard and a blank sheet of paper, we went in search of 10 different types of leaves. We did 5 leaves one day and another 5 the next. After selecting a leaf, and inspecting it, we talked about how it was different to the previous ones. Then, we sketched them as best we could and wrote down the name of the plant it came from. To identify the type of leaf, we turned to Google. That's also where we went to learn about the different parts of a leaf. Finally, we had a look at it under a microscope and tried our best to look at a cross section of it.
You may think that a four year old would have no interest in leaves but its actually all in the presentation of the topic. Its an investigation and we're botanists. Aaron had a great time.
2. Insect Hunt with Magnifying Glass
This is very similar to the leaf hunting activity above. The only difference is that we went about with a magnifying glass when looking for and drawing the insects. Again, we used Google to help learn about the various parts. We did use the microscope as well but only to look at the outside of the insects, not a cross section.
Personally, I thought this would be more interesting than the leaves so I chose to do this after the leaf hunting.
3. Snakes and Ladders Variations
Original way: We played it the normal way.
Variation 1: I introduced a die and we added the rolled number to the number we were on. As opposed to just moving the token along and counting the number of places to move.
Variation 2: We had two dice and had to sum up the numbers to determine the number of places to move.
Variation 3: We used a soroban to sum up the rolled numbers from two dice.
Variation 4: Once again using the soroban, we added the rolled number from one die to the number that we were on.
4. Memory Walk
This is a good indoor or outdoor activity. All you need is a digital camera and to make it more fun, let the child take the photos. Aaron and I went for a walk around the neighborhood and took photos of ten items. To help him remember what each of the photos were of, we stopped to talk about each item so that some sort of story could form and it would be easier to recall them. At the end of the walk, I scrolled back to the first photo and as he recited each of the items, we would look at the photo to see if he was correct.
5. Sorting a Cupboard
The classic two birds with one stone approach. Pick an easy and safe cupboard and have your child help you sort it. We picked the plastic containers cupboard a.k.a. Adrian's rummaging cupboard. All the lids had come off and it was in such a mess that things had a tendency to fall out each time we opened it. We found all the matching lids and then stacked the containers back in a different cupboard. The reason I did this was so that we could put together some new things for Adrian to rummage. Aaron felt very useful, responsible and grown up when doing all this. Of course, I used it as an excuse to bring up messages of "helping his brother", "helping me" and "helping his family".
And thats all I have for today. Hopefully, it will bring some fun to another mother/child pair out there.