And when that happens, the last thing I want to hear from my kids is, "I'm bored. There's nothing to do!"
And when I say it is the last thing I want to hear, I really mean it!
But the reality is, that my kids do say this from time to time (even though it upsets me when they do - i normally give them an extra chore to complete!) and I'd dearly love to give them them the tools so that they can stop themselves from saying it!
Remember I said recently that I love re-organising and taking stock during our summer holidays? Well, one of the things that I've been thinking of doing (for way longer than I care to admit since it will show what a slacko i am!) is to make a photo-chart of activities that the kids can do either on their own or together. Our children are currently 8,7,6 and 21 months old.
Liji especially really appreciates photo charts and since neither of the boys are reading fluently and unassisted as yet (they are getting there though! I'm so proud of them!), I can't just write them up a list of things to do. So photo chart it is!
This is what it looks like on the wall (please excuse the poor dark quality - took these tonight with just the room light).
I took some step by step photos along the way in case anyone else out there wanted to make one and wasn't sure where to start (as is often my issue! lol )
Ok so the idea is that you think of any and every activity that your child/children can do on their own (safely of course!) indoors and outdoors and photograph each thing! Once you have your photos, make a collage so they are small enough to print 6 to a 6 x 4 inch photosheet (just the regular size).
Ok just a quick tute on how to make a photo collage for those who are familiar with it:
I use Picasa to edit all my photos in. It is a free download by Google and I've been using it for the past 5 years (roughly). To create a collage in picasa, simply select and hold (click the green dot down the bottom of your screen) 6 photos. Then hit COLLAGE. Next select the GRID SETTING. For the size, I select A4 FULL PAGE in the page format area. Then add a little GRID SPACING using the slider. Adding a little space in the grid helps later on when you are cutting out each photo. Hit PRINT and select a FULL SIZE CROP TO FIT to get the same size photos as mine.
Ok, so if you have a couple of sheets of collage photos, you are ready to go!
Gather your supplies.
You will need:
Regular Printer Paper (or coloured paper if you like!)
Double sided tape
Your photo collages
Scissors or a paper trimmer
(Laminator - optional)
Cut your photos
You should have a cute little photo stack of all the activities the kids can do :)
Print out THIS PDF I made (hope the link works!)
Using double sided tape, stick down 6 photographs onto each A4 sheet of printer paper.
Leave enough space between each photo so you can write the activity name next to it.
Add your text to each sheet.
I think text is important for kiddos to see (especially for early readers like my boys) alongside the picture so that it reinforces any reading skills they are currently using.
Last step (optional) is to laminate. Because ours are on a wall that is accessible to Zippi's little inquisitive fingers, I felt it was crucial to laminate.
My laminator died at the end :(
It's done well and has probably laminated a good couple of thousand things over the past few years.
I likey my laminator! lol :)
Anyway, stick your sheets somewhere where the kids can see them (i think eye level for them is important) and you are all set!
Just a note...these are things we already had around our house. If you are like me, you probably don't need to go buy anything - in fact this is a good way to remind the kids to use what they already own!
Ok so the activities photographed + listed are:
Build a Cubby House
Step by Step Drawing Books
Make a Pretend Boat
Catch Butterflies with the nets
Use the Magnifying Glass
Jump with Balls on the trampoline
Soccer on the Pole
Pop Rocket (a foam science set)
Stencils (for drawing)
Castle Building (construction play set)
Tap Tap (nail and wood construction)
Cotton Reel Threading
Teddy Bears Picnic
Build with Blocks (Duplo style)
Tangram Puzzles (and book)
Alphabet Fridge Magnets
Noughts and Crosses
Paper Models (from a book)
Board Games Cupboard
Click N Snap Connectors
Front Door Bookcase
Sand Pit Play
Picnic together under the trampoline
Pick Up Sticks
Electronic World Quiz
Other things they love that i didn't list here (just because these are like their default favourites - hide and seek, nature collecting and lizard hunts!)
Sometimes I feel like an idiot for posting things like this because the idea seems so basic.
Please forgive me if it seems insulting - its not my intention! I just know that I really enjoy seeing what works for other people (especially with 4 kids at home all the time - I'm always looking for ideas!) and I just wanted to show that it was actually really easy to make.
Our kids also enjoy doing a WHOLE lot of things that aren't on here like:
* DVD watching!
* Playing the Wii together
* And watching a few select tv shows
I add that because i don't want to give anyone the 'guilts' by thinking that our kids are always outside playing and never whinging for a dvd! Their favourites are still Little House on the Prairie and The Thunderbirds!
I DO however, really want to emphasise how much we desire to encourage them to play, explore, learn, discover and enjoy the things around them.
And it is my hope that this will help them be more motivated to go and do those things without needing as much guidance and prompting from me as they grow.
Well, that's it for tonight.
I'm hoping for a better day tomorrow!
Sleep always helps :)