BOZ BUZZ for May: Creative summer playdates
By Dr. Mary Manz Simon
May marks the official end of the MOPS calendar, but before the last meeting, consider scheduling informal gatherings for the summer. Even if everyone can’t attend, anticipating a playdate at the local park can brighten the day for you and your preschooler.
You might include a toy and book swap in your playdate arrangements. (Trading children not allowed!) Simply coordinate with moms who have children of similar ages. Plan to bring five clean toys and 10 books to a local park. When the familiar items return in a couple of weeks, your child will be happy to see the “new” old toys.
Or, plan to meet MOPS group members at a specific street corner to watch an Independence Day parade together. You might also set a time and date to meet at the entrance of a zoo or nature center. If you meet at a splash pad, bring a variety of empty squirt or spray bottles to increase the squeals of delight. In advance, empty and wash a half-gallon container. Fill with water and freeze to make a giant ice cube, which will be the hit of the event. These simple group events take minimal effort to arrange and strengthen connections for both you and your child.
Food always adds to the fun. Set up a hot dog bar, using your choice of dogs (like soy, tofu and turkey). Mustard is the most popular topping for adults (kids prefer ketchup), but also offer relish, chili and other creative choices. Or, each mom can bring one item for trail mix. Line up bags of banana chips, coconut, dried papaya, cranberries, cereal, mini marshmallows and other ingredients on a picnic table; children (and moms) can use plastic spoons to fill cups or bags with self-selected mix.
These casual activities and other relaxed situations this summer will offer endless opportunities for a child to ask questions you’ve never even considered, like, “Why is that bee just sitting on your arm, Mommy?” or “What is that blue stuff on the cheese?” Although preschoolers’ questions can be tedious (and seemingly endless), the fact that you take time to listen and respond can be even more important than your answers.
This month, BOZ themes at MOPPETS will include counting in the Treehouse Time #1 lesson and colors in Treehouse Time #2. Preview activities at http://www.bozthebear.com/moppets.