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How to make reading fun for your child - All about Parenting Toddlers , Issue #003
January 02, 2003

Shaping the life of your precious ones

All about Parenting Toddlers
Issue #003
2nd January 2003

In This Issue:

1. How to make reading fun for your child

2. Easy Recipes For Children

3. Simple Ideas For Great Fun With Your Child


How to make reading fun for your child

Does your pre-schooler detest reading? The minute you open a book, he flips it to the back and say "Finish". When you try to coach him in his reading, you can feel your blood pressure rising when he cannot recognise the words which he has read just a minute ago.

Whilst recognizing that each child develops at different pace, it IS possible to interest them in reading at a young age. However, you must first set the stage before you get down to the mechanics.

Read to your child every day if possible, even if it is only for ten minutes. Take him to the public library. Buy gifts of books for him. Let him see you read your own books, magazines or newspapers (children learn best by imitation).

Make reading fun for your child. If you act as though it is a terrible chore to be endured, chances are he will not enjoy it either. Even reading the dry "Peter and Jane" series can be perked up by using different exaggerating voices. For instance, you could read with the shrill pitch of a little girl on one page and the deep booming resonance of a giant on another. My children are tickled silly each time I do so. If the book has a lot of dialogue, animate it by assuming the voice of the character who is speaking. In "Goldilocks and the Three Bears", let baby bear speak in a high pitch, mama bear as motherly as you can sound and papa bear in a rumbling voice.

Sometimes your child may be watching you instead of the book when you read. Exaggerate your expressions for his benefit. When Hansel and Gretel find the delicious cottage made of chocolate, cake and candy, open your eyes and mouth wide in wonder. Or when Foxy Loxy eyes Chicken Licken and her feathered friends, put on your most cunning look.

Use flash cards. If your pre-schooler is learning sentences like "Here is Sam, the dog", write out each word on a card. Wherever possible, illustrate the word. Draw the picture of a dog on the "dog" flashcard and a skirted stick figure on the "girl" card. When his reading has improved, you can strike off the pictures. Write out other words that appear in the book and make sentences that are grammatically correct but sound silly like "This is Kate, the dog" (Kate is a girl in the LadyBird "Read with Me" series).

Reward your child for his reading efforts. For my five year old, each time he finishes a reading assignment from school, he earns a sticker. When he has collected six stickers which he pastes on a piece of paper, he can redeem his prize which can be an ice-cream cone or a small packet of potato chips. On completion of each book in his "Peter and Jane" series, he gets a book gift which he chooses for himself.

Always be positive. Do not deride him when he falters. Just help him along with a gentle reminder. As he practises his new found skill, watch his enjoyment as he recognizes words on his own and cherish those moments.

For more on reading & books, Click Here

Easy Recipes For Children

Cooking with children can be truly fun and easy provided you know how and what to do.

The following are some recipes that do not require any cooking or heating.

No Bake Cookies
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 cup Rice Crispies
Mix well.
Shape into cookies.

Rudolph Sandwiches
Cut a slice of bread in half diagonally.
Spread the bread with peanut butter.
Add two raisins for the eyes, half a cherry for the nose and potato chips for the antlers.

Jello Mix
Add food colouring to water and freeze in ice cube tray.
Prepare jello of another colour with boiling water.
Instead of adding cold water, add in the ice cubes.
Watch the colour change as the ice cubes melt.


Simple Ideas For Great Fun With Your Child

In today's commercially orientated, battery operated, remote controlled society, there's a need to return to good old fashioned no-cost or low-cost fun. After all, what do we do to help entertain our children while the batteries are in the solar charger waiting for the sun to come out?

Here's some ideas to help you think along the lines of simple, cheap fun - like we used to have when we were children...

Horsing Around
Indoors or outdoors, children love to play 'horsey' type of games with each other and with adults. Let them climb on your back and take them for rides, do play wrestling, tickling, chasing and crawling games, or for small children, bounce them up and down on one leg - it's also good for your leg and stomach muscles.

Shadows On The Wall
After dinner, turn off the lights, light a candle, or shine a torch, and play shadow creatures on the wall.

Old Newspapers
We usually have some type of junk mail or local newspapers lying around, so before putting them out for recycling have some fun with them. Many games and activities can be done with old newspapers. You can make newspaper hats, shoes, dresses and suits, paper mache projects with wallpaper glue. You can roll them up into sticks, tie with string or cellophane tape and use them to bat a ball around, you can lay sheets out on the ground and play musical newspapers, instead of using chairs, or play a game where the newspaper sheet slowly gets smaller and smaller and you have to fit as many children as possible onto it.

Pretend Games
Most children will develop their imagination by playing pretend games, which you can encourage by playing along, and asking questions about what they are doing and what is happening. Other children will need to be encouraged by you to begin with. Try sitting on the couch with a pillow as a steering wheel - the floor is the water with fish in it and you have a pretend fishing line to catch them. The couch or a bed could also be a truck, tractor, car, swimming pool, an island in the ocean, a pretend kitchen, etc.

Dressing Up
I'm sure we all played some sort of 'dress up' games as children. Collect up your old clothes and anything that your children would laugh at you if you wore, and put them into a box or clean sack. As well as just letting your children explore through the clothes, suggest they only dress up in white clothes, blue clothes, furry clothes, etc. You could also time them to see how quick they can get dressed or undressed again. Grandparents are quite often a good source of old 'funny' clothes, so check with them too.

Large Boxes
Children love boxes and they can be used in so many imaginary play ways. Looking back on a home video taken of my first son when he was 14 months old, I noticed how much fun he had with a large cardboard box made of quite stiff material. He repeatedly climbed up the side, walked along the top and then jumped off into his father's arms. He also hid inside the box, and got pushed around the lounge in it. To us it was just an old box hanging around, but to him it was a great new toy.

Bucket and Spade
Even if there is no sandpit or beach in sight, children as young as six months old love to bang a bucket and spade together to make a sound. It can also be used as a hat, to play peek-a-boo, to put things in and of course for playing at the beach or in the dirt-patch.

Keep a bag of balloons in the cupboard for a quick entertainer. Only blow up half way for small children, and a little more for bigger children. For a variation on just patting it around up in the air, tie a piece of string to the balloon and then to your child's ankle, and let them run around without popping the balloon.

For more activities for toddlers, Click Here

or refer to Past Issues for Ideas on creating toys from recycled household items

If you find any of the above articles useful, feel free to forward it to your friends.

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See you in the next issue. Have a blessed year ahead of you. :-)

All the best,

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