By Judy Arnall, director of Attachment Parenting Canada, www.professionalparenting.ca
Are you worried about your children’s bent necks and poor posture? Do their batteries run out at the wrong time? Concerned that your toddler might drop your iphone? You don’t have to rely on cell-phone applications, portable handheld gaming devices, media players, and other electronic devices to occupy your kids during waiting times.
These constructive ideas will stimulate imagination, creativity, intellect, problem solving, and social skills. Best of all, they don’t require cable or batteries, can be taken anywhere, and will amuse toddlers to teens.
The lot of these items should fit in a small 9-by-12 inch container, such as a rectangular plastic box with a snap lid, a backpack, or even a laptop side pocket or briefcase for ease of carrying to restaurants, appointments, or airports.
The play value in this box of items will last a long time, especially if you only keep it for on-the-go errands. In the rare event that your child might get bored, you could also bring a book and read to your child. Encourage your older child or teen to bring along a book, too.
The Busy Brain Kit
- Pipe-cleaners — These versatile little wires can be molded into cars, people, and many other items for make-believe play.
- Playdough — Keep moist in a plastic bag. Kids can make sculptures for toys. With a digital camera, teens can make animated figure movies.
- Small whiteboard and dry-erase markers, with a cloth for erasing — Endless opportunities to make signs, keep game scores, or play picture games.
- Markers — My kids used to color the doctor’s waiting room bed-covering paper!
- Pens and pencils — Play hangman or other word games. Write in a journal or just draw!
- Plain paper — Draw houses and scenes; construct cars, buildings, items, and people, to be coloured, cut out, and assembled with tape and scissors.
- Deck of cards — Great for teens to play Cheat, Snap, Spoons, Blackjack, Uno, and many other games.
- Dice — Play addition, multiplication, and chance challenges. Dice also work with homemade board games created from above items.