Let children be children at Christmas

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As I enter early childhood classrooms in the community, I love the ways the teachers are allowing their children be children in creating simple holiday memories with their own hands and hearts. Children find great joy and pleasure in making and creating their own gifts to give. Children truly exemplify the heart of the quotation, “it is more blessed to give than receive.”
As I glance across the different classrooms, I have observed closely as each child expresses themselves through drawing pictures, finger painting, cutting shapes, making objects out of unusual materials, etc. Children have the basic need to be creative and I am awed at what they produce.
As a parent, grandparent and caregiver, how can I encourage creativity at home? Here are a few ideas I would like to share these few days before Christmas.
Provide the gift of time with your child. Plan out a slot of time during this busy holiday season where your undivided attention can be focused on your child or children.
Time spent with children spells love and nurtures creative memories. Our community offers beautiful sight seeing adventures downtown, in our parks, and neighborhoods.
Taking time to walk, bicycle, or drive your children around are memory makers. The holidays provide opportunities for you to talk with your children. Redeem the time you spend with your child by really “focusing in” on what they are saying. Listening to our children as they express themselves is a gift to them of love and significance.
Keep materials around the house to be creative. Someone else’s trash is an early childhood teacher’s treasure! I am not talking about garbage, but things like scraps of material, yarn, toilet paper and paper towel tubes, gift-wrap, buttons, etc.
Children of all ages hop on the creative train when it comes to creativity during Christmas! Also it is a parent’s treasure to encourage their children to be creative.
When it comes to creativity during Christmas, creative food crafts such as icing and decorating sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, making food ornaments out of simple sugar cubes, marshmallows, pretzels, etc. is fun and a true memory maker!
Free yourself up and play with your child! With toddlers spend time playing with them with a blanket or quilt spread out on the floor. Spending time with your infant or toddler increases their verbal and curiosity skills. Elementary age children love to do pretend play but they love to engage in board games or computer games.
Be sure to circle the dates of Dec.13-15 from 5-8 p.m. for the Reindeer Express at Monkey Park which is beautifully decorated and fun!
The train rides are just $1 each and children 2nd grade and younger will truly enjoy this play-date!
All aboard for a wonderful holiday season!

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