I am not a very crafty person. My head is full of ideas, but my hands rebel. I rely a lot on technology: on my computer for writing my blog (doing this by hand wouldn’t be fun), on my camera for taking pictures because I can’t paint. While I have many ideas for blog posts, it’s a pity that this doesn’t translate into inventing games with my children. A pity, but what can I do. Luckily, my daughter is very inventive and comes up with great ideas that I wanted to share.
1) Writing with colours
Does your child know to spell her name? Klara does, and she likes to draw letter everywhere, on paper, in the air, or… using colourful blocks. She came up with this a few days ago. She took some colourful blocks and wrote “Klara”, using different colours for different letters. I had to help her realize that in her name, “A” appears twice, but the idea was hers. Try to get him or her to write her name, just use blocks instead of letters.
2) Playing “Let’s go to another country”
Ever heard of children who played “war” in times of actual war? Expat children play “let’s go to another country”. Another country (or continent) is actually the other end of the garden, or the house. Ask your children how they want to go there, what they want to do there, and for older children, what the country is like. In our case, Klara wanted to go to Africa to get some bananas, and she wanted to go there by bike. You can use this game as a springboard to talking about other countries, cultures and traditions, or to teach geography.
3) The multilingual telephone
Multilingual children learn to differentiate between their languages, but you can help them using this simple game. One day, Klara wanted to pretend to make some phone calls. So I had her call her grandparents in Warsaw. She pretended to talk to them in Polish. Then, we also called the other grandparents in Germany (she spoke German), and then we had her call her Dutch friend from daycare (she spoke Dutch). If you have multilingual children, this exercise will be a fun way to help them develop the awareness of what language to use with whom.
4) The Airplane and the Boat
This is a great one for children who are bored, in a tantrum, or not ready to go to sleep just yet. Lie down on the floor, and put your child on your lower legs. She will be stretched like an airplane. You can move her front and back to pretend she’s flying. You can talk about where you’re going, but you may be too tired for that. Next, keep her in the same position, but this time, you’re a boat, and to be exact, a sailboat, a yacht. So, imagine that the water is deep and that there are waves and then you go from left to right (there’s wind!) and going up and down there are waves!). It’s fun and makes you connect with your child and allows her to feel more relaxed.
Hope you enjoy these activities. Have your children come up with any games or activities- please share!