Pick up some books. Sure, reading isn’t likely atop every child’s list of favorite activities, but the simple fact is that humans are all drawn to stories from an early age on. Besides, there are many children out there who do enjoy reading—when given a choice in what to read.
One of the great things about living in our current time is the sheer volume of literary choices. Parents benefit from being able to recommend both timeless classics and modern works from children’s and young adult (YA) genres.
With so many options, you can definitely find books your child will be excited to actually read—even if he or she thinks they don’t like reading.
A particularly nice element to this activity is the fact that it doesn’t actually have to cost anything. Sure, you can purchase books—and if you do, consider a locally-owned or secondhand book store as possibilities—but you can also pick some up for free from the Washington-Centerville Public Libraries.
Even better, you can use this as an opportunity to spend some quality time with your child by forming your own little book club with just the two of you. Read the same book, come up with some questions, and have discussions about it! Your child will love the attention, and you can feel good about the fact you’re helping them develop reading and critical thinking skills.
Check out these great reading lists to expand your (and your little one’s) horizons!
- Newbury Medal Winners and Honor Books. This award is “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” and a surefire way to find awesome books!
- The Ohioana Book Awards. State pride shines in this list that honors books that have been “written or edited by a person born in Ohio or who has lived in Ohio for at least five years.”
- Children’s Book Council. Check out these diverse children’s and young-adult books that will help your kid expand their worldview!
Give your child’s “left brain” a workout. Something you may want to pair with artistic activities are puzzles to develop and strengthen left-brain thinking abilities.
Crossword puzzles, sudoku, word searches, logic games, and other such activities require children to use the analytical and logical skills commonly associated with the left brain. When you do this, make sure to pick ones that are appropriate for your son or daughter. Both “too hard” and “too easy” can be problematic in different ways, so choose puzzles that provide just enough of a challenge to keep interest, without being so difficult they will get frustrated and give up.
In addition to those kinds of puzzles and brain teasers, you might also want to see if your child would be interested in attempting to piece together a traditional jigsaw puzzle. This is a great way to develop visual and spatial processing, but in a way that is fun and can provide a sense of accomplishment. You may even want to offer to glue the completed puzzle together and frame it for their bedroom, and then grab another one for them to solve!
- Learning Express Toys. Visit this store in Dayton for story time, tot art programs, and more!
- Print Your Own Worksheets. This site lets you choose the type of puzzle and even the general age range!
- Get Creative. Grab some graph paper and let your child create their own wordsearch, crossword, and more!
- Build a model. Cars, plains, ships, and more!
- Legos. Little kids and big kids alike love a good Lego build!
Let them play (some) video games. We fully understand if you have any initial resistance to this idea—there are instances where kids play video games way too much—but hear us out on this one. Yes, there’s no denying the fact that excessive video game playing can be a problem. However, the key to that is the word “excessive.”
(Remember, almost anything in excess can become a bad thing.)
The way to avoid that is by establishing concrete time limits with your child, and then sticking to your guns about the limits. Naturally, the odds are pretty decent they might try to push the limits—“Just five more minutes!”—but keep this in mind:
Children are constantly trying to push the limits. It’s part of how they learn boundaries. Part of a parent’s job is to make sure they are firmly held.
Some parents are opposed to kids playing video games because they think there’s no value and it’s just a waste of time. To that end, there are now published studies indicating that there are cognitive benefits from playing video games (as reported by Psychology Today).
One final concern is the actual content within video games (excessive violence, etc.). To this end, it’s up to any parent to decide what they deem as appropriate/inappropriate for his or her children. If you have concerns in this regard, keep in mind that it is easy enough to research video game titles online (so you can stay informed as to what your child may experience during any game).
Something you can do to add value to the video game experience is find ones that you can play with your child. As with the aforementioned options, this is an opportunity to spend time with them and possibly even show that you’re willing to laugh at yourself. (Let’s be honest—your child is likely going to be way better than you at video games, so you might as well have a good time with it!)