January Activities

It’s definitely winter! As long as we’re cold and the days are short, let’s have a bit of winter fun with story! Next month, we’ll have some fun with words!Crayon Crunchers These kids range from infants to toddlers. Most of their days are spent close to you as they get a good look at the world around them. For the littlest ones, it’s the perfect time to cuddle up and play counting games with fingers and toes. For the slightly older kids, it’s a good time to do tactile activities with pudding: 1. Use a cookie sheet or paper on your counter for a surface. 2. Make some pudding. 3. Help your cruncher write or trace letters and shapes. You can help by making letters and shapes for him/her to copy, or helping him/her to trace the ones you make. Clean-up is a tasty task.

Pre-K Crowd These kids are often in a preschool program where they are learning about the changing seasons and the weather. Play a game with drawings. You and your child can each draw things you associate with a season. (Make them on 3×5 cards so the drawings are the same size and shape.) Then, use the drawings in a game where you each get three cards. Write the seasons on cards that go in the middle of the table. Have your child pick a card. Then each of you matches the pictures in your hands with the season. See how many you can come up with each time. When that gets old, write several more season cards. Put the cards face-up on the table and match them to the season. Then, play a memory game by turning all the cards over and making a match with the picture and the season.

K&1 Kids At this age, my kids were dedicated to playing in the snow as much as possible. The cold didn’t bother them until they were done – then they were FREEZING. Make sure you’ve got all their gear where it’s easy to get to. Bundle them up and help them roll a mini-snowman family. These can sit on the steps where they can admire them. They can make eyes, nose, mouth, arms … Or they can make the form and go on to the next. When they’ve had enough, take a picture of their work. While they’re warming up, ask them to tell you a bit about each of their creations. No snow? No problem. Go on an explore – although they may not be that keen to go outside without the snow. Whether roaming outside or peeking from the window, play a game of I Spy to spot and describe the things that are different now that the season has changed. You might say, “I spy something that is normally leafy green but is now brown and bare.” The answer – a tree. Take turns, then talk about the way things have changed between Fall and now. Help your child make up a story with a beginning, middle, and end for one tree or bird’s nest …

2nd Grade Bonvivants If you read these on a regular basis, you know that 2nd-grade kids make me laugh. It’s not that the others don’t; it’s that these characters make me laugh more. This is a terrific time for your child to write a book. Some of the kids will want all the pages stapled together before they begin. Some will create the pages as they go and put them together later. Remember – if they are going to fold the pages and do their work, the folds won’t work unless the book is put together first! Rather than go through a gazillion pieces of paper that never get used, give them paper that is a bit smaller than the page size will be. Then paste their drawings into the book when it’s assembled. To get him/her started, supply a prompt. It could be, What happened to the snowman who was out there last week?, or Where do the snowmen go in the winter when there’s no snow?, or Tell me about the birds that were in that nest in the fall …

3-5 Big Kids Make a snack. Sit at the table. Take turns providing sentences for a story about a topic your child selects. The way the game works is that you say, “Once upon a time there was -” Your child takes it from there and says, “a grizzly named Bert who loved to -” You take it from there. If you have other children, they can join in, but let your 3-5 grader keep things moving. (Do NOT be surprised if the story suddenly involves bodily functions and expiring. To keep that from happening, it helps to set the rules at the start!) If your kids are really engaged, have them draw pictures to go with the story. If your child is oh-so-not a storyteller at this age, have him/her write a story. You can supply pictures to act as reminders of the things to include. You can also supply a picture that tells about the Beginning, another about the Middle, and let your child supply the End.

The most important thing is to have fun with stories. If none of these activities work with your gang, read a story to them instead. You can also check out the ASL Storytime videos that will be up on ASL Storytime.

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~ gina