Make cleaning up a game. Have a contest to see who can pick up the most toys in five minutes. Give each child a category to look for: a specific color, size, shape. When the time is up, count the objects in each group to see who found the most.
This is a fun way to clean up for the night and learn concepts, such as shapes, and colors. You can also talk to your child about the size of her toys and compare them. Which one is the largest? Smallest?
Create stars in your child’s room. On a clear night, take a piece of aluminum foil and a toothpick outside. Look at the stars and then map them out on the foil by poking holes in it with a toothpick. When you go back inside, turn off the lights and shine a flashlight behind the foil. The “stars” will show up on the wall or ceiling.
Read a story to your child before he goes to bed. Make it a time to relax. Find a cozy spot, or sit on his bed to read. Explain that when you are finished with the story, it will be time to go to sleep.
Making activities like story time part of a routine helps your child know what to expect.
Take a few waterproof toys with you to the bathtub. Drop them in the water to see if they sink or float. Ask your child what she thinks will happen when you drop each item. Will it sink to the bottom or stay on the top of the water? Why does she think that happens? Playing with objects that sink or float is helping your child learn science concepts like predicting and testing her prediction.
Give your child empty bottles, plastic bowls, sheets of foil, or other objects that are safe for the water. Ask him to create a boat using the materials. Once he has made his boat, test it to see if it floats. Add small objects to see how much weight it can hold.
Ask your child:
Before bedtime, have a family meeting. Talk about what happened that day and what will happen the next day. If something is bothering your child, help your child think of a solution to her problem.
Having time to talk about something that is on her mind before going to bed can make it easier for her to fall asleep.
Pretend that you are camping. Turn all of the lights off and use a flashlight to see each other. Take turns holding the flashlight. Whoever is holding the light gets to tell a story. When that person is finished, she can pass the light on to the next person.
Telling stories helps your child build comprehension and listening skills.
Make a chart with your child to help him remember to brush his teeth every night. You can make the chart on a piece of paper, or use a blank calendar.
Each night after he has finished brushing, let him cross off the day or put a sticker on the day to show that he has finished. When he fills up the chart or calendar, give him a special reward like staying up five extra minutes!
Before going to bed, plan out the next day. What will you do? What should you wear? Talk about what the weather will be. Give your child two or three clothing options to choose from. Let her choose what she will wear the next day and lay it out so it is ready to go when she wakes up.
Help your child learn about body parts as he is taking a bath. Sing a song like “This is the way we wash our arms, wash our arms, wash our arms. This is the way we wash our arms, when we take a bath.” Repeat the song, using a different body part each time.
This song will help your child learn new vocabulary words and better understand her body.
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