Let’s Play!

Tally Flint

Color Riot

Fireworks: baby style.

Materials: A bag or two of multi-colored pompoms (available at craft stores).
What to Do: Have your child sit on the floor. Gather the pompoms into a pile in front of her and scoop your hands underneath them. Say, “Hooray!” as you toss them up into the air, having them shower over your child.
Hint: Make it a game to collect the pompoms and pile them up for a repeat performance. If your child is timid, start by showering just her feet, gradually working up to her head, or let the pompoms land on you so she learns it doesn’t hurt.
Variations: Practice naming each color as you retrieve the pompoms or divide them into color groups. Change up your sound effects to words like, “Tada!,” “Surprise!,” “Boom!”

Cause for Applause

Go on a scavenger hunt of celebration.

Materials: A willing toddler and a mom with an eye for everyday gifts.
What to Do: Take a walk outside or through your house and look for things worth celebrating. When you find one, stop, name it and make a show of clapping loudly.
Hint: These don’t need to be earth-shattering. Look for the extraordinary among the ordinary: a leaf just starting to turn color, a favorite comfy pillow, a beloved stuffy or laundry that (finally!) got put away.
Variations: Keep count of how many things you can find on any given hunt. See just how high a number you can get. Experiment with different styles of clapping: How softly can you clap? How loudly? Give high fives and tens instead of clapping.

Dance Party

See how many ways you can cut a rug.

Materials: A selection of different music and an open area in which to move.
What to Do: Start the music and make a point to change your moves to fit each different style of song. Surf boogie, disco, classical, hip-hop and global are all fun options. The more variation between one song and the next, the better!
Hint: If inhibitions run strong in your family, start by focusing on your feet, seeing how many ways you can move them. Then move on to your arms, or your head. See how much space you take up by using big movements, and how little space you use by making your body small. Remember there aren’t any judges here!
Variation: Have a box of props at the ready for impromptu costume changes. Wigs and funky hats make for great quick-changes.

Giggle Garland

Get your daily dose of laughter with this creative activity.

Materials: Several 8-inch strips of colored paper, marker, glue stick and some silly knock-knock jokes like the ones at amomwithalessonplan.com/knock-knock-jokes-for-kids.
What to Do: Write a joke on each strip, leaving space at each end. Glue the tips, forming a link. Intertwine the strips, forming a paper chain. Continue using all your strips. Hang your chain and each day remove one link, treating yourselves to a silly joke.
Hint: Kids love making up their own jokes, so be prepared for some that don’t make any sense! If your child is able, they can copy down the jokes, or have them dictate to you.
Variations: Have a special trip or event happening? Make enough strips and use as a countdown. Instead of jokes, use silly commands or tongue twisters.

fall-15-coverThis originally appeared in Hello, Dearest Fall 2015. If you didn’t get a copy and would like your own, you can subscribe to get Hello, Dearest in your mailbox every season. If you subscribe, forward your receipt to magazines@mops.org and we’ll shoot a copy of the current issue in the mail to you for free … just because we like you.

Tally Flint is a freelance writer and editor and the Children’s Nurture Coordinator at her church. She makes her home in Denver, Colorado, where she and her husband are vastly outnumbered by their four children, ages 11, 9, 7 and 7.