“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and—SNAP—the job’s a game!” – Mary Poppins
When the east wind blew a magical English nanny to Number Seventeen Cherry Tree Lane in London, two lucky children met Mary Poppins. Brought to life by P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins knows how to handle children. She also knows how to have fun while doing it.
Today, many families forgo personal nannies and choose daycares instead. Can the supervisors at your local daycare follow the lead of Mary Poppins and incorporate an element of fun into your child’s life? Can any daycare ever live up to her kindness and creativity?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Although your daycare workers might not have magical powers, they can incorporate activities to keep your child healthy, happy, and full of life. They’ll help your child explore nature, embrace creativity, and be active. But these activities shouldn’t cease with the brief time your child spends at daycare. You should continue them after they return home. To do this, follow the tips listed below.
Whether you live in a place full of rain, shine, or snow, nature never lets you down. Every child needs fresh air and will flourish when in the company of trees, flowers, and birds. Spending adequate time in nature will allow your kid to make connections with his or her surroundings and become:
- More attentive
- More creative
Find a daycare that encourages outdoor exploration. Seattle and the surrounding areas have plenty of things to explore. While the boundaries of your child’s daycare probably don’t extend to the lush forests of Washington, you can ask the workers at your daycare to help your kid feel comfortable in the great outdoors.
Once your child feels comfortable outside, he or she might even ask you to help them try one of the following outdoor activities on your day off:
- Plant a tree.
- Try geocaching.
- Build a tent in the backyard.
- Play sports in a nearby park.
- Have an outdoor picnic.
- Go bird watching.
- Learn how to fish.
- Play in the rain.
- Build a fire.
- Try snowshoeing.
- Go on a nature walk and collect rocks or leaves.
The more time your child spends outside, the better.
Your child needs to express himself or herself. In an earlier post, we mentioned that “creativity allows the mind to explore new possibilities, learn more about its environment, and express thoughts and emotions in meaningful ways.”
Creativity is a fun form of self-expression and will help your child live a more fulfilling life. Creativity nurtures your child’s emotional health and will help him or her learn how to channel emotions into productive activities. It doesn’t take much to get creative, but when your child does, he or she won’t want to stop.
Make sure your local daycare has art programs and time set aside for creativity. Ask daycare workers to keep your child’s art projects so you can see—and better understand—your child’s self-expression.
Creativity may even help you have a better relationship with your child. Once they have confidence in their creative abilities, theymight invite you to join with them and get creative. If you have time after work or on the weekends, keep your child’s creative juices flowing with the following activities:
- Write and act out a play and/or movie and record it.
- Write stories and read them out loud.
- Dress up and have a costume parade, runway party, or photo shoot.
- Make jewelry out of noodles, beads, and other colorful items.
- Create paper mâché and put it on display.
- Create a time capsule.
- Draw murals on a big canvas or out on the sidewalk.
- Make up a dance.
- Try a science experiment (with baking soda and vinegar).
- Learn to sew a pillowcase.
- Write a song and perform a mini-concert.
- Learn origami.
- Learn about artists and try to recreate their artwork with paint and photos.
- Write a poem.
First Lady Michelle Obama is on a mission to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity. In her “Let’s Move!” campaign, she encourages adults and children to lead healthier lives. Constant movement is one way your children can lead a healthier life. Does your daycare encourage your children to be active?
When you pick your child up from daycare, ask his or her supervisors how much physical activity went into that day’s schedule. If your child wasn’t able to get 60 minutes of exercise, get your tennis shoes on and bond over any of the following sports:
- Jump rope
- Cartwheels, somersaults, and handstands
- Rock climbing (indoors)
If your child puts up a fuss, remind him or her that physical activity comes with an array of benefits, including the following:
- Strong bones and muscles
- Deeper sleep
- Increased attention span
- Better outlook on life
Don’t let physical activity be an option—make sure your child gets 60 minutes every single day.
The activities your daycare incorporates into a typical daily schedule will affect your child’s physical, emotional, mental, and psychological development. Once your child’s daycare sets the ground rules for exploration, creativity, and activity, run with the wind and keep your child satisfied as you explore, get creative, and stay active alongside them.