This week on MamaOT we are focusing on expanding your activity repertoire so you can stock up on great ideas for how to play with the kids in your life!
Yesterday I introduced you all to a great kids’ activity blog called No Time for Flash Cards: Learning and Play for Babies, Toddlers, and Kids, which can be found at www.notimeforflashcards.com.
Today I want to introduce you to another site filled with hundreds and maybe even THOUSANDS of educational activity ideas for you do with your minis. It’s called Productive Parenting and can be found at www.productiveparenting.com.
Productive Parenting is a website (not a blog) filled with activity suggestions that have been submitted by professionals with Masters’ Degrees in Education, so you know they are developmentally appropriate activities that are, indeed, productive. You can search activities based on:
- AGE — early/middle/late infant, early/middle/late one-year-old, early/middle/late two-year old, early/middle/late three-year-old, early/middle/late four-year-old
- CATEGORY — daily living skills, exploring our world, fun with numbers, language/pre-reading, science adventures, sensory experiences
- SKILLS LEARNED – attention span, balance, bilateral coordination, body awareness, cause and effect, classifying, concept development, coordination, counting concepts, creative expression, creative movement, emotional development, eye foot coordination, eye hand coordination, fine motor, grasp and release, gross motor, imagination, language development, listening, lower body strength, matching, object permanence, patterning, pre-writing, problem solving, rhythm exploration, role play, self concept, sensory development, sequencing, size and shape discrimination, smelling discrimination, social development, sorting, sound discrimination, spatial awareness, tactile stimulation, trust, upper body strength, visual development, visual discrimination, visual stimulation, visual tracking, vocabulary enrichment
The unique thing about this website is that you can sign up to have them email you a “productive parenting” activity as many days of the week as you’d like, so you can start off your day with a bit more inspiration than that over-sized cup of coffee can give you. Very cool!
I do have two words of caution about using this website:
- Though all of the activities are educationally sound, I’ve found many can come across as “drill-like” (something that yesterday’s website really tries to avoid). While you shouldn’t drill your eleven-month-old on whether the stuffed bear is sitting “on top”, “next to”, or “under” the chair (a suggestion I received in my inbox the other day), those are certainly good concepts to incorporate into and emphasize in your everyday interactions with your sponge-like baby. My advice: keep the activity suggestions in the back of your mind and don’t take them so literally that you end up making learning un-fun for your little one.
- In the “pre-writing” skill area, there is an activity for middle one-year-olds called “Holding Crayons”. In it, they recommend giving the child thick crayons and then encouraging them to scribble while using a pincer grasp (pinching with thumb and index finger while resting crayon on middle finger). First of all, DON’T PUT THICK CRAYONS IN LITTLE HANDS! Thick crayons prevent little hands from developing the small muscles in the hands necessary for strong writing and fine motor skills. Secondly, DON’T MAKE A ONE-YEAR-OLD HOLD A CRAYON WITH A PINCER GRASP. It’s fine — actually, it’s expected — for a one-year-old to hold a crayon with a fisted grasp. Click here for an easy-to-understand image of the progression of handwriting grasp. Give kids regular crayons, trianglular crayons, or short crayons/crayons that have been broken in half (click here to read why).
Overall, Productive Parenting is a really helpful website for anyone looking for an easily accessible list of educational activities for kids under age five. It’s a great resource to help you find some favorite activities, and the fact that they can email you ideas on a daily basis is a huge plus. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Check back tomorrow to learn about a great kids’ activity blog that’s all about getting MESSY!!