- Books…you can’t go wrong with a great book. Board books for little ones, non-fiction based on something your child is interested in, rich illustrations, rhyming text if your child doesn’t like to stop long enough for the story. If you don’t have Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (lovely and soothing) or The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (perfect for winter), I recommend both. I also like Whoever You Are by Mem Fox and Barack Obama’s new book, Of Thee I Sing: Letter To My Daughters. You can also make great books for your child using photographs of him and her, writing text and laminating the pages. My children really like to look back at books I made for them when they were younger.
- Blocks…especially wooden blocks. Children can create hours of play with these open-ended toys. In my daughters’ hands, they are cell-phones, bridges, castles, and ramps.
- A board game… like Memory or Candyland. One year, I took photos of all my children’s cousins and printed two copies of each. I glued them to a piece of card stock and then laminated them to make a personalized memory game. Very fun!
- An experience…give a gift certificate for the zoo, a museum, a baseball game, the aquarium. Nothing enhances your child’s play more than experiences. You know those coupon books children make for us that often include help with chores and hugs? Make one for your preschooler but include things like “walk around the neighborhood”, “Help bake cookies”, “Visit the pet store” and “Dance party”. Caution: they will try to use all of them in one day.
- Space…create an area in your home that encourages creativity. An easel and paints, recycled materials like bits of fabric, cardboard, egg cartons and boxes, crayons, glue sticks, glue , and paper make up a great art area. My children love their art space in our basement.
- Time…that is what they want most of all. If you have more than one child, set up time to be alone with each. My children even love going to the grocery store if it is just the two of us. These special times may not seem significant, but they create connections, trust and memories.
Enjoy December with your child or the children you work with and happy holidays!