One of the joys of having preschool children is that you needn't be confined to your home - there are plenty of places that you can take young children that allow you the freedom to be out, and that extend their understanding of the world around them. When you think of places to go out with your children, some of the obvious places are the local park, playgroups and soft play - these are obviously child-oriented.
But consider also other places that might not otherwise spring to mind. Take them on a bus or a train - you don't need to head anywhere special, just take them for a ride. Take them to shopping centres not simply to shop, but to explore the spaces. Sit and talk with your little ones about what you can see. Go to your local library and swimming pool, visit any local museums or galleries.
Although you may not consider many of these spaces to be 'child friendly', preschool children will find plenty to keep them stimulated in even, what might appear to you to be, the most ordinary environments. Remember that the world offers so many new experiences for babies and toddlers and just being out and about will stimulate them far more than you might imagine. They are constantly taking in new sights, smells and sounds, and everything that they experience is building up their knowledge and understanding of the world. Babies and young toddlers will go wherever you take them and every day presents new adventures for them.
As your baby grows into a toddler and then into a little boy or girl, you'll collect a mass of scribbles, artwork, craft, models and all sorts of other creations. Many of these will carry evocative memories, perhaps their first colouring in, their first writing, their early scribbles, the first time they wrote their name. You probably won't want to keep all of your little one's art, but keep a scrapbook of some, and find a wall to hang some of their art too. One important thing is to add dates to their work so that when you are looking back on it in years to come, you can chart their progression.
In addition to dating work, you could also make a few notes to remind you of the context under which the artwork was created. Write simple notes like 'First day at nursery', 'Our day out at ...' and so on. This will give you a gallery of your little one's work that you can return to and keep your early memories alive!
From their earliest days, babies and toddlers are creating art in their different settings, at home, at playgroup, nursery and school - the progression of their artwork tells a wonderful story of their development. From early splodges and hand and footprints, through to detailed pictures of the family, their house and other scenes that they have witnessed. Every parent is proud of their little one's achievement, and it's lovely to have see their artwork on display in your home.
Here are some ideas on how to display their artwork so that you can be proud of what they make, and they can feel special too:-
- Create a dedicated 'gallery' space for their art; it could be on the refridgerator, a wall in the kitchen, in the hallway or even in the bathroom!
- Look for some cheap frames that you can use in special places, such as the living room or bedroom. You can shop around for cheap clipframes or frames that come complete with prints - just make sure that you can unclip the back and change the artwork for your own
- Change the artwork regularly so that there's always room for newer art
- Keep a large scrapbook and stick in pictures that you have talken down
- Record the date on the back of artwork and write it in the scrapbook too so that you can look back through your child's artistic development
- Turn your toddler's artwork into Christmas Cards or other custon items, see our post on creating personalised Christmas Cards
- Have your child's best masterpieces scanned and printed onto canvas - this turns art into a talking point!