I'm going to note a few of the different activites that we've been doing lately...please note that while I do have three children, my middle, preschool age child is highlighted in most of these activities. My oldest is school age and therefore home much less often, and my youngest, who is just one, is far more content to get into things on his own time right now than to sit and do activities with mommy.
So...here are a few of the things we have done, and the skills that we're working on building by doing each one.
While my oldest daughter has a responsibility chart for helping her remember and complete the simple task that she's supposed to do throughout the day (things like getting ready for school, putting her clothes away) I've really been mulling over doing something similar, but more age appropriate for my four year old. Though he's certainly not asked to be responsible for any daily chores or tasks, what I would really like to encourage at this age is being helpful...helping out with whatever task your asked to do, with a good attitude and doing a good job. Inspiration for this came in part from
something that Preschooler Man did in his sunday school class, and I've come up with this idea:
Basically, this is a picture of a spider, and the words "I am a helper!" printed on it, with circles on the body of the spider for Preschooler Man to put stickers on whenever he is helpful. In our household this means when we do something without being asked, when we do a good job of something we're asked to do, and when we have a good attitude!
This is also something that we use as a teaching tool, as well as to assist said Preschooler Man with ceasing his fears of all things creepy crawly. When I choose a bug and make a new sheet for him, I look up a bit of basic information about the insect and we talk about why this insect is helpful to our world. Preschooler Man learns a bit about the insect and what makes it a useful creature, and his fears of said creepy crawly are somewhat eased. Right now, he is working on putting stickers on a picture of an ant, and I couldn't believe when he came in the house a few days ago, joyfully telling me about an ant he had caught and put in his sisters bug house, instead of hearing the tell tale screams of terror coming from the yard and just knowing that some small insect had crossed his path.
Really, though, you could use any animal or object, but I love that this idea incorporates an element of learning about different living things, and I would encourage you if you try this to do that as well. I simply googled for outlines of the insects that I was looking for, and then copied the image into a word program. Not incredibly high tech, but it got the job done.
And Preschooler Man is so pleased with himself when he gets to put a sticker on, and especially when the sheet is full! When he puts stickers on all the spaces he gets a special treat-whether it's playing a game of his choice with Mommy or a piece of gum, he thinks he's really done a good job because he's been so helpful...and that's the whole point. :)