First, remember a five-year-old is light years away from a 10-year-old in both development and interests. If you have children at home who are different ages, then you know the challenge to provide activities that keep both occupied. My daughters are six years apart (hey, I'm one of six A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts authors - hmm, is there significance in the number?). There were times my kids went different directions in their play. But, many times I had to find middle-of-the road activities to keep both happy so I could be involved with them together.
I share the developmental norms and suggest age-appropriate resources for 0 - 5 year old kids in The Birth to Five Book. You could use this information anytime of the year or pull out the book for holiday gift-giving ideas.
Three of my favorite, kid-tested activities are below. Maybe you already do them, but, if not, give 'em a try. They may help calm the Christmastime chaos in your home:
- Playdough. This squashy stuff offers tactile and olfactory benefits. Its calming power is akin to doing art therapy. If your older child is ready, he can follow pictures or word directions to make playdough from a recipe.
- Bubbles. Bubbles teach kids how to blow out, which is great for children who may have speech and some facial issues because blowing strengthens oral motor skills. Bubbles can also be just plain mindless fun. Simple recipes are on the internet.
- Books. Take a field trip to your public library and check out several children's Christmas books. Then cozy up on the sofa with your children and read aloud. Even children who are nine will enjoy hearing your familiar voice, using her imagination, and receiving undivided time from you. I'm a big proponent of books and the benefits of reading aloud!
by Brenda Nixon