It's never been easier to make video - most of us now walk around with a video recorder in our pocket...a mobile phone. If you haven't got a swish mobile with video capability then unless your still stuck on a traditional film camera, the chances are that you can record video on your camera. Use video as a tool to engage your little ones. Older children can make their own 'film' - have them record a scene that they play out amongst themselves. Record younger children singing or acting, or just playing. Demonstrate how you can record and play back. If you can show your video on a television then do that - that is certain to delight the children!
Record older children as they learn to read and record them explaining concepts to you. For eample, ask them what a volcano is, or how rain occurs. Really clever kids might know the answer, but if they don't, you might get some really funny explanations.
Dressing up offers a great opportunity for children to learn about professions and what different people do, or perhaps used to do in the case of pirates! But another way to expand children's knowledge of professions is to act out what people do. This is a simple and easy game to play in a group. Go through a series of professions and act out what they do. Here are some ideas:-
Act Like A...
Farmer: drive a tractor, scatter seeds, cut grass
Firefighter: drive a fire engine, put the siren on, put up a large ladder and climb it, point a hose at the fire
Doctor: mime putting on a stethoscope and listen to each other's chests, put on a plaster or bandage, administer medicine
Explorer: hunt aroudn with a torch, look amazed as you find spectacular things, cut your way through the jungle
Footballer: dribble a ball around, shoot at the goal, celebrate a goal
Have fun thinking of all sorts of things that people can do, and help your children learn all about various professions!
Listening to and recounting stories is a terrific exercise for toddlers as it helps them think of a series of events and to develop their language skills. Sit down with a story that you enjoy and read it to them. At the end, ask them to act out the story themselves, with the help of a few props such as teddy bears, dolls and other relevant toys. See whether they are able to recall the story and act it through. Help them through if they struggle to remember it, you could even read the story again and again in order to help them.
Young children have the most remarkable memories and will quickly learn whole stories, such as The Gruffalo or Fix It Duck, after hearing it just a small number of times. If they can learn a book then have them recite the whole book and act along with their props. Books that rhyme are easier to learn because of their rhythm but even fairly long passages of prose can be committed to eager young memories with little practice.
Have your little ones take on the different characters in a story, and use different voices for the different roles. You can play along too, take on one of the roles, or perhaps act as narrator to tell the overall story while they act out the details.
There's nothing more heartwarming than watching your children perform Christmas songs to the rest of your family at Christmas! If they are old enough to talk and in a playgroup then it's likely that they've already learned at least one or two festive songs that youcan encourage them to perform to grandparents over Christmas. If they aren't yet singing, then put on some festive music and encourage them to wiggle in time with the music!
Ask older children to act out the nativity story, playing the different parts. Acting forms a fundamental part of pretend play that is so important in developmental terms.
You will be proud, the grandparents will be moved and your little ones will be delighted! Practice a few songs or stories now so that they're ready for the big day, and have them bring the house down for their Christmas debut!