Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for Young Children

Young children are harder to entertain than older ones who may want to just sit around and talk to their peers and play on their I Phone. So give some consideration as to how you will find ways to occupy the younger children’s time.

Arrange crayons and photocopied pictures on low tables for younger children to color when they get bored with adult talk, or if it rains and outdoor games have to be postponed. Make an outline of a family tree on sheets of paper, and the children can fill in the blanks with people’s names, using the main family tree for reference.

Sometimes younger children get tired more easily of an activity, and so you may need to have several on hand to give them as boredom sets in. Creative projects are always a good choice. What to do with all those extra photos you have in shoeboxes? Give them to the kids to sort through, allowing them to keep three, and then toss the rest away.

Have mini easels you can get from a crafts store and display small pieces of art they’ve created with watercolors. These can be centerpieces along the length of a table when it comes time for lunch or dinner.

Make homemade play dough ahead of time in several colors. Demonstrate how to sculpt with play dough and after they dry out a bit, display them on a crafts table.

Another way to occupy small children is to have a story hour. Get a volunteer of an older child to read stories to the younger ones. Afterwards, have craft items available to make drawings or cutouts on construction paper of the characters in the story. Your display table should be up and ready by now!

Select a good animated movie and pop it in a DVD player. Have lots of pillows on the floor for lounging. It could be that some of them will fall asleep during the movie. A little naptime without being forced to do so is a good thing.

Organize a walk to the park and let them play on the merry-go-round, swings, jungle gym and whatever installations they have available. Ask for a couple of volunteers from the teen age group to supervise. If someone gets a skinned knee, then there’s an older person to tend to the trauma. Fill a small ice chest with frozen popsicles and after a reasonable length of time, distribute them to the kids. After that snack, they should be ready to start playing again.

For the girls, set up an afternoon tea party complete with treats and dolls. That will keep them busy for a long time. For the boys, organize a rough and tumble game of kickball.

If you’re in a place with a swimming pool, make sure there are plenty of pool toys and floats for them. Adults may want to cool off in the pool too! With a little organization, younger kids can be kept occupied and happy for hours.

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