I found this article on Babycenter.com very useful and wanted to pass it along. Make sure that your child’s toy box provides a range of different kinds of play experiences — and do lots of trades with other parents or happily accept hand-me-downs. Choosing toys from each of the following categories is a great way to offer well-rounded play that encourages physical development.
For large motor skills
Choose toys that emphasize coordination and balance, and build arm and leg strength.
- Push or pull toys: Try pretend lawn mowers, shopping carts, or vacuums; baby carriages; animals on a string; a light wheelbarrow.
- Ride-on toys: These require foot power and can help improve balance. Choose wagons, wide low-to-the-ground vehicles (without pedals at first, then low tricycles once your child can reach them, around age 3 or 4). Avoid battery-powered ride-on toys (aside from safety concerns, it’s better for your child to get the exercise).
- Sports equipment: Playing catch improves hand-eye coordination and involves running, too. Start with large rubber and foam balls. Kicking the ball is also important.
- Action toys: A low plastic structure that includes a slide and climbable surfaces can be kept indoors or out. (If you don’t have room for it, playground visits are a good alternative.) Also consider play tunnels, swings, spinning seats, sofa cushions arranged as an obstacle course, or large cardboard cartons to crawl through.
- Rockers: Rocking horses, rocking vehicles, and rocking chairs all provide the foundation for imaginative play.
For fine motor skills
Choose toys that involve hand-eye coordination. Your child may not be adept at fine-motor action yet, but this kind of play provides practice.
- Art supplies: Always make available different types of paper and large-sized crayons and pencils, sidewalk chalk, watercolors, washable markers, coloring books, and play clay.
- Toys that make patterns: Felt boards, magnetic boards, peg boards with large pegs, and matching games involve precise hand movements.
- Stacking and building toys: Any kind of blocks work well (wooden, plastic, foam, cardboard), as do stacking cups and rings (baby toy holdovers that young preschoolers still enjoy). Shape sorters that allow a child to sort by color and shape appeal to younger preschoolers.
- Toys to manipulate: At 2, your child may still enjoy knobbed wood pieces but is getting ready to move onto jigsaws of up to 20 pieces or foam puzzles with large interlocking pieces. Also good: Lacing cards, large threading beads, tea sets, musical instruments.
For language skills
Don’t forget the following sorts of toys, which emphasize speaking, music, and pre-reading skills.
- Books: Make a wide variety available, from picture books to simple nonfiction you can read to your child. Replenish often with library trips, bookstore visits, and yard sales.
- Dramatic play props: Pretend play encourages making up stories. Include dress-up clothes, miniature household props, play sets (dollhouse, farm, soldiers, castle), dolls, action figures, and dinosaurs.
Another great article from babycenter.com written by Myrna Shure developmental psychologist and educator.
When your youngster grabs a toy, refuses to share, or yells at or hits his friend, ask him, “Do you think that makes Jake feel happy or sad?” (You may need to wait until both children have calmed down before you start this dialogue — and you’ll also need to investigate what started the fracas in the first place.) By helping your preschooler acknowledge his pal’s injured feelings and encouraging his growing sense of empathy, you’ll eventually teach him to choose options with positive consequences for himself andhis friends. The goal, of course, is for him to refrain from lashing out not because he’s afraid of getting in trouble, but because he understands that it causes others pain.
An older or more verbal preschooler is ready for even more prompting: After you’ve inquired about his friend’s feelings, ask your child, “What do you think will happen next?” The answer you’re looking for isn’t about punishment (“I’ll have to sit in the time-out chair”), but something along the lines of “Jake might not like me,” or “Jake won’t want to come over anymore.” Next ask him, “How would you feel if that happened?” This lets your preschooler know that his feelings are important, too.
Finally, encourage him to do some problem solving by asking, “What can you do or say that’s different from what you’re doing now?” Kids are often eager to come up with solutions on their own, and he might offer to let Jake play with a few of his prized Matchboxcars while he busies himself with the others. When he figures out a workable compromise, tell him “Good thinking” rather than “Good idea,” to reinforce that he thinks, not what he thinks. Preschoolers love to hear praise, so don’t hesitate to pile it on (“Boy! You solved that problem all by yourself!”).
Handle the situation the same way when your visitor does the instigating. Ask him how he thinks your child feels, what he thinks might happen next, how that would make him feel, and what he might do instead. Or encourage the children to put their heads together: “Can you two think of a different way to deal with this?”
Keep playdates small. Start by inviting only one or two prospective pals to your house, preferably kids your child already knows. These children should be around your child’s age, “if not a little older,” says Walker. “The older child might initiate a little more.”
Keep playdates short. Between one and two hours is plenty for children this young; you don’t want to overstimulate them.
Plan ahead. Orient the playdate around games and activities your child enjoys and is good at. This will make him more comfortable and keep him feeling good about himself. “Maximize the positive interaction by making sure there are plenty of materials, so children have enough to play with and don’t necessarily have to share right off,” Walker says.
Get involved. Don’t just leave the kids to play by themselves and hope for the best. Your guidance can make children feel more at ease with each other, especially if they’re new friends.
Make yourself available in case they run into conflicts, get distracted and stop playing together, or need a change of activity. Oversee art projects, games of hide-and-seek, or splashing in a wading pool. However, try not to dominate or fill in for your child; the idea is to help break the ice without taking control.
“Mom or Dad can help get things going, then hang back once the kids get into a groove,” Sirl says.
Get a schedule, then get going. To develop familiarity, try to arrange regular playdates with the same kids on a weekly basis. If things are going well, meet in a park or playground or at another child’s house. If the playdates go really well and your child runs off independently to play with the others, try leaving him at someone else’s house without you, first for a short time and then for longer periods.
Be a playdate yourself. Have regular playtimes with your child, just the two of you. This allows you to stimulate interaction while getting to know his playing style.
“You can get a sense of where your child struggles and when it is easy for him,” says Alison Ehara-Brown, a licensed clinical social worker who works with children and families in Berkeley, California. For example, if puzzles and games requiring lots of concentration do little more than frustrate your child, you’ll want to leave them off your list of playdateactivities.
Consider getting a pet. Some young children just aren’t ready to play with peers. If your child clings to you and refuses to leave your side, consider adding a furry friend to the family. Playing with pets requires social interaction but is usually nonthreatening. “This can be a nice way for a child to feel safe and open up his feelings,” Sirl says.
See how others do it. Watching videos or reading books about friends with your child is another low-key way to reinforce the positives of socializing.
Have your own friends over. Since young children pay close attention to what grown-ups do and often imitate their behavior, model for your child by having your friends over, especially in ways that include the younger generation. Have a double playdate with a friend who has children.
Try not to expect too much. By the time your preschooler reaches the age of 3, his interactions with other children will be more involved. But younger preschool-age children play mostly side by side, imitating each other rather than playing together directly.
If your child feels pressure to do more than this, the best intentions can backfire. He is probably already feeling insecure around other kids, and pressure from Mom or Dad can fuel his insecurity. Your child may fear disappointing you, or the issue can become a power struggle.
“Parents should never push very young children to play together; they have to be able to choose some things for themselves,” Walker says. “There’s a fine line there. You don’t want to really push friendship, but you can certainly set the stage for it.”
Get help if you sense a real problem. In most cases, shyness or difficulty making friends in early childhood is normal. But a few red flags could indicate that something else is going on. If at age 3 your child rarely holds eye contact, is unusually withdrawn, doesn’t want to play with other children, or seems terrified of going to preschool or the playground, talk to your child’s doctor.
by Kate Rauch
1. Library-check out books that have IDEAS – give reason for further hands on study (activity). Reserve books through your online service at your local library that have items of interest for your childs age group, how to make paper airplanes, science experiments, craft projects, etc. even as we are learning about different artists we are practicing our learning by completing art projects…get creative with the books you can get…
2. Library-STORY TIME – something about a different setting breaks up the routine for the kids, gives them something to look forward to.
3. Local Park – go early, pack a lunch, bring a drawing tablet, enjoy the outside before its too hot.
4. Take a field trip.
5. Visit a fire department.
6. Play in the water – but aside from the everyday play in the sprinkler, kiddie pool – make games with the water – use the water with paint brushes and paint the fence (it dries clear, lol)…put coloring in the water and stretch paper across a fence – fill water guns with this colored water and then they are really painting with water colors.
7. Build a fort, go to nearby woods, gather sticks, broken branches, etc. build a fort, or house this will provide days worth of enjoyment both in the gathering/building/playing inside.
8. Take a nature walk.. take along a journal, let the kids bring cameras, then go home, identify everything your photographed, create a nature book. Thats a whole nother days activities (paper, photos, glue, scissors, notebook) this is especially good saved for a rainy day.
9. Take an “Alphabet tour”… again camera(s) in hand, journals – letter guides for younger kids – drive to town/city – begin with the letter a (Apple street) b (building) c (colosseum) d(dairy queen) e(eatery) you get the drift – when you are done – each child has a personal and creative alphabet memory book.
10. Check out kids free days at your museums.
11. Make homeade ice cream (if you dont keep heavy cream on hand you will have to buy it, but hey its still pretty cheap entertainment/enjoyment). Make popcicles, smoothies, ice cream sundaes.
12. Go on a scavengar hunt
13. Host a neighborhood carnival (we’re talking bean bag toss, use the water gun to shoot the ducky, egg on the spoon, those kind of games) – each neighbor hosts a game/activity and gives out a snack/drink – makes for a very fun day..
14. Go to an outdoor concert (most towns/cities have a website where you can see what/when and which ones are free.)
15. Check your movie theatre for free summer movies (usually morning showings)
16. Go to the beach.
17. Check out your local hardware store – they offer free kids club building projects.
18. Cook with your kids (my kids are still loving to cook the evening meals with me) but let them plan it, be apart of the shopping, table setting – make dessert!)
19. Host a cooking party – invite some friends (your kids arent the only ones home and wanting something to do) – have each mom bring a few ingredients and spend the day making cookies, treats, etc. (maybe you know someone who could use some extra love and attention – make a whole meal with these friends, let the kids make cards, and go make someones day brighter and happier).
20. Teach the kids frisbee golf.
21. Go fly a kite (why not make them first).
22. Do a sewing project together. Make a picnic or story time blanket, apron, or summer dress.
23. Make sock puppets – put on a puppet shows.
24. Go outside for reading time.
26. Hide all the army men, mini animals, etc. in the sand pit – have a excavation. (even read a book about archeologists before hand).
27. Play dress up.
28. Have a tea party.
29. Make an obstacle course out of your back yard and have races.
30. Play jacks.
31. Go fishing.
32. Go on a bike ride.
33. Camp in your back yard.
35. Visit a local state park.
36. Go bowling (a lot of the alleys offer students 2 free games over the summer).
37. Plant a garden using seeds from your vegetables/fruits.
38. Tour local historic sites.
39. Make a star gazing map.
40. Teach the kids to knit.
41. Check with a local farm – offer to help feed the animals.
42. Set up a lemonade stand.
43. Set up hotwheels races in the driveway. (my guys love this – they always want to see which of their 100’s of cars is awarded ‘the fastest” – have them make a trophy to give to the winning car – then next time – the new winning car gets the trophy.
44. Have a LEGO building contest (using x# pieces, only using blue pieces, creating something a certain height, create something that moves, etc.)
45. Make a doll.
46. Hunt for animal tracks. (get a book from the library to help identify them).
47. Have a dress up party (doesnt have to be halloween to wear those costumes).
48. Learn bird calls.
49. Use magazines to make mosaics.
50. Check your craft stores for make and take craft projects (Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc.).
51. Tour a factory.
52. Make musical instruments and become a ‘home band’ sensation! (think – pie pan tamborine, papertowl holder rain stick, string and cereal box guitar) – dont forget to dress the part!
53. Make tye die shirts. (play some groovy tunes, too)
54. Take a picnic to dad/mom/grandma/ etc… give them a nice break from their work day.
55. Make a tent in the living room.
56. Go to an Arboretum.
57. Make a bird feeder with pine cones & peanut butter (and bird seed of course).
58. Paint with fruit and veggies (and anything else you will let them paint with – think q-tips, old toothbrush, sponges, leaves…. etc.)
59. Play charades.
60. Have a “BORED” game day – pull out all those dusty games and let each child pick a game – if its nice outside – take em out on your picnic blanket.
61. Walk your neighbors dog.
63. Make sillouettes.
64. Check out local VBS offerings – a lot of time you can volunteer while your kids attend.
65. Learn/Go Orienteering.
66. Make a compass. (ties in to 65)
67. Gather friends and have a “clean” the park day – celebrate your good deed with a picnic and play time.
68. Sculpt with homeade SALT CLAY.
69. Collect Seashells. (then sort by color/size. etc. – make a seashell necklace or use the shells to decorate an empty jar – adults should use the glue gun).
70. Play “I Spy” as you walk around your neighborhood.
71. Go to a farmers market.
72. Check with a local pizzaria to see if you can come in for a tour (they will probably want you to buy a pizza – so it may not be “free” – but fun!)
73. Check your newpaper for local summer festivals.
74. Make school related activities fun – create your own matching cards (I make mine using these cute digital supplies found here and here). Use maccaroni for math reinforcement, make a clock with a paper plate, help with geometry by giving building tasks, etc.)
75. Learn (play) street games.
76. Make Taffy.
77. Make a checker board and your own checkers. then play for a bit…
78. Make your own board games.
79. Make a Milk Carton Boat – and head to a pond.
80. Have a Christmas in July party and ask all the guests to bring donations for your local food pantry.
81. Participate in a free activity at Bass Pro Shop.
82. Have a major league team in your area – call about free kids tickets this summer.
83. Take a trip to tour your state capitol, local courthouse, etc.
84. Gather, paint, make pet rocks.
85. Plan a theme week (keep checking back here for more details about our themes this summer).
86. Volunteer at a local charity/Habitat for Humanity.
87. Have a pajama day, enjoy movies and popcorn (great for a rainy day).
89. Make a Windchime.
90. Write your own poems.
91. Do a toy swap (pack up those forgotten toys and swap with a friend – kids love new “to them” toys as much as they love :NEW: toys.
92. “Play” school.
94. Travel around the world. Have English scones for breakfast, Chinese Stir Fry for lunch, Italian for dinner. Make a craft to go with each country, get a library book with photos of these places. (maybe even see if you have a friend your child can become pen pals with.)
95. Have a switcher-oo day, you send your kids to someone elses house and their kids come to yours… kids LOVE this… just plan a few activities (you can choose from some on this list) and give them a great day as your friend will do with your kidos.
96. Play tennis, soccer, kickball, football, etc.
97. Make slime.
98. Make glowing fireflies. we get our glowsticks at Target’s $1.00 bins and they come with 10, so its practically free.
99. Make a sandcastle. If you dont have a sand box, gather up all sorts of containers and some water jugs and head over to your local park – spend the day building a great sand castle together -lots of kids will want to get in on the action so its a great social time, too.
100. Enjoy an art lesson.
Most importantly remember the simplicity of childhood is found in the quality of the time spent together – enjoy each moment, create an environment of joy and excitement, learning and fun and I am certain this summer will be one we all remember for a very long time.
Develop Physical Ability and Agility
It has been demonstrated that one of the best ways to boost self confidence is through sports. Does that mean your child should join a team or league? Not necessarily.
If your child is naturally inclined to play team sports, that’s one way to develop their physicial ability as well promote interaction with like-minded children. However, for a child who is NOT naturally inclinated towards sports, this may be counter-productive.
Why? If he or she is not good at sports, there may be resentment from other team members which can decrease their confidence.
However, the student has opportunities to develop their physical skills
through independent physical activities.
- Hiking and camping
- Running or jogging
- Martial arts
- Weight lifting
This list, of course, could go on, but you get the idea. ANY activity that increases their physical ability will boost their confidence.
Another advantage of individual activity is the amount of time spent developing their skill. With independent sports, 100% of the time is
spent developing their skills. However, a variety of opportunities
Competitive leagues are for the more dedicated athletes. Preference is given to those with better skills. These leagues usually require more committment of time, money, and travel. For the serious sportsman, this provides a solid opportunity to improve their skills.
These teams are formed for the purpose of having fun. They often require less time committment and less requirement for travel. They are not as likely to help your child win an athletic scholarship, but they offer many young people a greater opportunity for social interaction with friends.
These usually have no games or competition. There are likely dancing classes or biking clubs or other opportunities in your area.
This time is well spent in developing physical abilities, whether or not the student is also involved in a group. DVD’s, books, and magazine subscriptions abound for any activiy you might be interested in.
Why is this one of the best ways to boost self confidence? As they
put time into their chosen physical activity, they will see their skill level
rise. Progress may seem slow at first, but it will occur. Physical agility
develops slower than ability, but it also is achieved with time. Self confidence
naturally follows. It is time well spent.
One of the other ways to boost self confidence is by entertaining visitors.
There are several benefits to having your child become a seasoned host or hostess.
- They enjoy it.
- They gain confidence in their ability to plan and to make friends
- There are usually return invitations (but teach them not always to expect
- Increases their motiviation to clean the house and their room.
- Enhances the parents relationship with friends and friends’ families.
- Improves their cooking skills (well, usually.)
Even a young child can benefit from this. Don’t just invite playmates over. Plan the visit – with a degree of flexibility of course.
Invite a new acquaintance over to play in the wading pool, for instance. Lunch plans might include grilled cheese sandwiches and brownies. The afternoon might be spent playing with legos. Even a simple plan will make the visit go better, as well as develop early social skills.
The plans can become more detailed according to the age and desire of the kids. They can invite one person, or several. It might include hot dogs on the grill, or a pig roast. The more they do it, the greater their creativity and confidence.
You do not have to limit this to activities at your home. Invitations to go out are generally well-received. Multiple free or low-cost events abound: parades, hiking, community fairs, historic tours, etc.
Hint: As a money-saver, plan the food before the day arrives. It is much less tempting to stop at a restaurant when you have a crock of homemade soup, hot biscuits, and fresh pie at home. Otherwise, the local pizza joint is going to be more appealing to kids and you than going home to peanut butter
sandwiches and stale chips.
Setting goals is one of the best ways to boost self confidence, especially for teens.
How do we build confidence by goal setting? Look at the advantages:
- Develops personal responsibility
- Time management skills
- Often involves budgeting and money for older kids
- Boredom busters
- Sense of satisfaction in personal accomplishments
Since setting goals is a relative abstract concept, the ability to engage in this will depend on the child’s maturity.
Age 7 to 10: List Useful
At this age, most children are not able to realistically develop goals that have multiple steps for achievement. However, assisting the child to develop a list of activities that they choose is a step in that direction. Here’s an example:
MY WEEKLY GOALS
- Construct a model
- Ride my bike
- Have a friend over
- Read one chapter book (in two weeks)
- Make brownies
- Clean one shelf or drawer in my room
- Take the dog for a walk
- Email Grandma
- Finish one club project
- Put a sticker (or check, or smiley face) on the chart each time one task is
- Each item on the list must be done at least once in a week.
- Need to do a minimum of 30 tasks in a week.
This is an example, and the list can be made specific for each child and his or her interests.
Age 10 to 14: Short Term Goals
This is an
age where many young people are specifically looking for ways to boost their
self confidence. Learning to manage their time is an important tool in managing their life and their self identify. As they age their goals should become more complex. Instead of having a list of ten or fifteen things they might do in a week, they may have only three or four goals for a 12 week period.
These goals often have multiple components and involve a greater amount of time, and usually money. This helps to overcome the tendency of many
young people to “just hang out and do nothing.”
Age 15 and up: Long Term and Short Term Goals
Short term goals may be identified as those that can be achieved in 4 to 12 weeks. Long term goals may take 6 to 24 months. Of course, there is even longer term planning that people do that encompasses decades or more. However, it is a little bit hard to assign that long of goal setting to a teenager. Planning long term goals involves more than accomplishing activities. It entails identifying the most important values in one’s life. Certainly that is one of the most important ways to boost self confidence.
I am very greatful for this wonderful website: http://www.kid-friendly-homeschool-curriculum.com/ways-to-boost-self-confidence.html