Any time is a good time for creativity but cold, rainy or snowy days are especially good.
Look around your house for things your child can use — rolling pins, foam rubber to make shapes for stamps, scotch tape, paint, pens, crayons, brushes, paper, sticks, rocks, Play-Doh, glue, clay, scraps of material, buttons — and something to use under the table to minimize the cleanup.
Make sure you find some paint containers which decrease paint spills. They can be plastic pots you buy or ones you make from liquid containers. You need to keep them with a small opening so when they are tipped over, they do not spill quickly.
Try to have a different brush for each color or pretty soon they are all one color. Thicker brushes are probably best for little children.
You can make paint by making a thin sauce of flour and water and adding color from powdered paint or food coloring.
Short, stubby crayons are best for little hands. Old cards, envelopes and packing material are all great to use for painting.
Remember when you were little and you made stamps out of potatoes? Let your child have fun with a potato stamp you make for him.
Shelter, create in place
Make a point of having activities like these available when your child is stuck in the house because of the weather, being quarantined because of COVID-19, or some other reason. Planning activities now is a lot better for him than his watching television or asking you what can he do.
Art project encourage his creativity, develop his brain and eye-hand coordination, and keep him happy. That is a lot to get from potatoes, brushes and paint.
If there is enough time you will want to find other things for your child to do. Certainly you can play with him. Playing ball takes time and is a shared activity between you and your child. Play games with him that has some type of physical activity. See what ideas you can come up with or that come from him.
You want to encourage your child to keep on moving. Your child’s physical development has an order just like his learning. He crawls, then walks, learns to march, loves to gallop and then hop, masters running and then learns to avoid running into things.
The most important thing is to keep him moving. This physical activity is important to prevent him from being overweight, helps him get in the habit of physical activity and increases his learning ability.
Your children really need a lot of time from you all the way through their lives — yes, even into the teen years. Never do they need you as much as in the first years of their lives. Babies simply do not develop well without a great deal of quality time with their parents.
Pay attention to the time you spend with your child. You do not need to give up your job or ignore your other responsibilities to have time to spend with your child.
Do not let the time you spend be only leftover from everything else. Make it a high priority to give your little one the time she needs with you.
You are very important to him today and in his ability to develop into a healthy person tomorrow while you at the same time are becoming more creative and enjoy active playing.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and former executive director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org.