Had a great vacation over two weekends ago and wanted to put up some pictures and write about it...but it never really happened.
Meanwhile the Hubby was travelling, the Sonny Boy was ill, the ageing parents busy and cranky, my boss missing in action, and my life pure hell.
In the meanwhile, lil boy had to be entertained. I'm starved these days for ideas. Bangalore evenings in November and December can be cold. Which means visits to the park are few and far apart. Moreover, considering Sonny has pathetic immunity, I'm not willing to risk taking him out in the evenings and put him on one more bout of antibiotics for a cold and congestion he will catch (it's ok if i sound like a paranoid mom).
Here are things we've been doing in the evenings at home and might help you keep your li'l one entertained on cold winter evenings (P.S. My Sonny is a li'l over 3 years so do keep that in mind in terms of kind/level of activities)
1. Play pass the ball -- All forms of it still excite my Sonny. I thought they grow over it fast. But hell, no!!! Change the ball, (colour/size/type -- plastic, rubber, inflated etc). Play alternate days. If you have a long hall, sit on the floor at opposite ends and just roll the ball across back-and-forth. I didn't know kids can derive such fun out of such simple things. Tell her/him it has to come straight to mummy and watch them concentrate.
2. Dribble the ball -- Sonny loves it and can sometimes go up to 26 at a stretch when he's concentrating. I'm proud of him, and it gives them a sense of achievement. If they can't dribble, play bounce. You bounce the ball off the floor once and he/she catches it and then he/she bounces it off the floor once and you catch it. Needless to say, it improves their eye-hand co-ordination (realised Sonny's a bit slow on this too probably coz he doesn't play ball with the other kids at playschool!)
3. Honestly, he didn't know how to hop on one leg (wish i could find the link to a story on how most kids these days lack this "skill". Went back after reading and checked on Sonny -- of course he didn't!). So one evening we practised hopping on one leg. He really loved it! Now he can hop a few steps without falling down. We tried it with him holding one leg up, with me helping him by supporting him with one hand etc. Since he knows the rhyme "Hop a little, jump a little, skip a little.." he told me "Amma next we'll do 'skip'." And quickly followed it up with "What's skip?" Some games we played so naturally as kids just don't exist any more. I remember playing hopscotch where we'd draw these 7 squares and play what was called "bachcha" doing all sort of combination hops, with a piece of stone placed on an outstretched hand, or on the head!
4. Paints/crayons/sketch pens -- the best forms of evening entertainment. When he's really bored with freehand painting and scribbling and scratching on white paper sheets, and is done with his numerous colouring books, we "finger print". Paint various colours on all finger tips -- all together or one by one and keep pressing it on plain paper. Random prints will do fine. Or draw an outline of something easy -- say a star fish and print within, if the child is older. Finger-print a border and it's good to go on display. Kids love to get their hands dirty. I think at least 80 per cent of them should!! Keep an old cloth handy to wipe away. Use water colours.
5. Make a slide indoors. The foam cushions we have on the sofa come in handy. As do the little diwan cushions. We throw in a teepoy/rectangular coffee table and we have our own slide! Make a path of small cushions and tell him those are the "steps" up the slide. Then create a tiered layer of cushions, where he can climb up and come "sit" at the head of the slide. The "slide" is a really tiny short legged side table we have that we slant against the tiered cushions and wedge against other cushions that are wedged against a wall (all this to make sure nothing slips out of place). It's not hurt-proof I agree, but he can't really harm himself much doing something like this. Besides, once they get a kick out of it, they love arranging the cushions themselves. Just make sure if you use a table/wooden board etc for the slide, that is one thing you, the parent, adds on.
6. One more good ol' simple game from the good ol' days. Snakes and ladders. By now they get a thrill in "winning", "getting there first", feel sorrow when "bitten by a snake" and have to slide down...I'm having a tough time teaching him it's fine to lose, but boy! Is that a tough lesson for these brats to learn?!! Working on it.
7. Puzzles are an alltime favourite. If your child likes puzzles, put the favourites away for a while and bring them out after a month or a few weeks. There is a thrill in being able to recall the puzzle and doing it instantly. By now, if your child can identify numbers, letters, there are many flash card games for the age group that combine a bit of learning too.
8. Books. Reading. Storytelling. Always wins hands down.
9. Sticker books!!! I love them. And so does Sonny. Those that leave a page blank for you to fill on your own and make your own story (I think Paragon books has a series on animals) are the best. Then there are those where you have to stick it in place -- a sort of fill in the blanks.
10. Play outdoor things indoors. Kids hate being told "not inside the house". But when u give in, they derive a vicarious pleasure from it. A game of plastic bat and ball cricket inside is not too bad (stay away from the TV). Or teach them traffic rules -- you become traffic cop and they have to go around the dining table on their tricycle/push car/truck and follow your signals -- stop at red, go at green, no speeding etc
11. Ok....watch some TV. It's the laziest of things to do, and hence down on my list, but it can be a lifesaver sometimes, specially on days when u just want to plop down yourself, after a hard day's work outside ;-).