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Activities, stories, and ideas for parenting 

What do we do all day?

Parenting is one thing when it is distributed among work, school, and child care, but it is a whole other thing when it is all day, every day.   In school or child care, children are used to scheduled activities throughout the day.  The term "High Structure, High Nurture" is used to refer to preschool programs and classrooms that provide a warm, creative atmosphere within a highly structured environment.  If that appeals to you, you could try this daily schedule at home.


New Activities, Ideas, and Resources 

Activities

Feel free to explore these simple activities.  They are meant to be easy to set up and clean up.

Art Exploration

The point of art exploration is to simply play with and explore different materials. It can be a creative and sensory-filled experience. There are MANY sites online that demonstrate art activities for young children.


Here are some simple ideas:

  • Drawing and coloring circles and lines: What can we make?
  • Nature decorating: Tree branches, pine cones, acorns, rocks
  • Pipe cleaner shapes
  • Play dough (see recipe)
  • Watercolor paint with food color
  • Feelings faces from magazines, cutting and glueing
  • Safe cutting with scissors
  • Tape! Lots of things can be taped
  • Tearing paper, making designs with glue
  • Magazine cutouts and glueing
  • Paper plate masks
  • Newspaper masks


Things you may have at home that can add to playtime:

  • Fabric napkins to make dancing scarves
  • Kitchen items: Old pots, pans, plastic bowls, measuring spoons, wooden spoons, ice tray, muffin tin
  • Recycled materials (paper towel rolls, empty milk cartons, water bottles, newspaper or magazines) for art
  • Boxes (delivery, shoe) can be made into forts, train cars, or for obstacle courses.
  • Laundry baskets. Get in, weave scarves and ribbon through the holes, or use them to catch balls


Dress up

Adult clothes can be worn as costumes and towels or old sheets can be used as capes. Scarves, sunglasses, and gloves are great additions for dress up. But make sure you give your kids items to play with that you no longer care about. Otherwise it would be stressful rather than fun!

Imaginative Play

Many play activities with your children can be done with common household objects or no objects at all! These activities take advantage of children's everyday experiences and turn them into simple, imaginative play. For instance, your child can be the doctor and you could be the patient, or your child could be the teacher and you could be the student. By setting up the environment and participating with your child, you can create a low-stress, lasting activity. Here are some ideas:

  • Shoe store
  • Hair salon
  • Eating at a restaurant
  • Grocery store shopping
  • Camping
  • Cooking show
  • Bus driver
  • Drummer in a “kitchen band” (pots, buckets)



Fantasy play

We can also take advantage of children's imaginative ability by engaging in just plain fantasy.  We can pretend to be:

  • Wild horses
  • Space explorers
  • Monkeys
  • Sailors on a ship
  • Mountain climbers

      What else can we be?



Stories

Audible (an Amazon company, no financial connection to OPS) is providing free stories for children for as long as the shutdown lasts.   Check out their large collection here: https://stories.audible.com/start-listen

StoryBed

StoryBed stories are designed to help very young children sleep easily and soundly.  

They will be posted soon.  

StoryBed:  Going to the Playground



StoryBed:  Going Swimming


StoryBed:  Riding in a Spaceship


StoryBed:  An Animal Adventure


Daily Schedule

It can help to have a daily schedule.   Childcare programs do it so children learn the routine, and knowing the routine helps them stay calm and regulated.  You can do the same at home.  Here is a sample schedule.

Morning

7:00

Wake up, wash up

Breakfast

Morning story

Art or play/Activities by Leah

Outdoor excursion or Virtual excursions

12:00

Lunch

12:30

Rest time - story or music to encourage sleep

Time for you to breathe

Afternoon

2:30

Art or play activity

Snack

Outdoor walk/Exercise with President Austin

Puzzles, games, music

6:00

Dinner

Wash and pajamas

Quiet play

8:00

Bedtime story and bed  

After the children go to bed, it's time for you to do something to unwind.  You could read, do online yoga, watch a movie, or listen to guided relaxation, or take a bath.  You could talk to friends, practice meditation, play music, write a story, color a work of art, or come to an online parent support group.  You could even listen to an adult story read to you by LeVar Burton, the Reading Rainbow guy.  You need this time to decompress so you will be prepared for the next day.   Here is a list of strategies that may help.