Ideas on how you can keep your kids busy under lockdown
Covid-related restrictions may be hampering people’s movement, but they shouldn’t block imagination, a Chulalongkorn University lecturer said.
Asst Prof Dr Soontharee Taweetanalarp from Chula’s Faculty of Allied Health Sciences said that though children may be stuck at home with their parents, they can do so much to ensure the youngsters continue developing and growing.
Here are some suggestions on how parents can keep their children up to the age of four engaged:
“Ja-Aey” (Peekaboo) for children under one
Dr Soontharee recommends choosing toys that have interesting shapes, sounds or movements and those that can promote hand-eye coordination. If it is a book, it should be a cardboard picture book that opens easily to help develop fine motor skills. Even without toys, parents can play easy games like Peekaboo.
For children aged nine to 10 months, who have already started standing, parents can use a chair or a stroller as support to help them walk.
Moving along with one to two-year-old toddlers
Dr Soontharee recommends parents encourage their toddlers to exercise to build their muscles and physical strength. They should also help them boost their fine motor skills by getting them to draw or write with their dominant hand, shape playdough or hold a spoon. These activities will help enhance their hand-and-eye coordination, brain function and motor skills.
Playing and activities with family members are essential for toddlers at this age to develop their communication skills. Apart from reading aloud from picture storybooks, singing to rhythmic gestures also contributes to their development.
When children ask questions, parents should seize the opportunity to heighten their curiosity by answering their questions in a fun, engaging storytelling manner.
Energetic activities for two to three-year-olds
Children at this age are very restless. They are confident in their movement because their muscles are strong, and they can balance themselves a lot better. So, their toys should be energy-intensive, such as a tricycle, bicycle, a football for kicking, jump rope or a basketball for throwing.
Besides energetic play, allowing children of this age to draw and write on the wall or on large pieces of paper, and attach stickers at various places is also essential, as their finger and hand muscles require just as much stimulation as their imagination. Beadwork that requires precise eyes and fingers coordination is another great home activity that is suitable for them.
Role-playing for three to four-year-olds
Play-acting is appropriate for this age because it stimulates the child’s imagination through given roles. It can also help them practice their communication skills.
Jigsaw puzzles or Lego is also suitable for this age group because it helps them practice solving immediate problems and stimulates creativity. In addition, activities related to light and shadow, be it sunlight or torchlight, will also help strengthen science-related skills like observation, telling the distance, position of the object and size of the shadows.
Children at this age can do simple household chores and parents can get them involved in water plants, sorting out clothes before washing, hanging them up and putting them away later. Easy baking is also another suitable activity.