It’s every parent’s goal to find fun, educational projects for creating lifelong, lasting memories with their children. Remember that there’s tremendous growth in numerous areas including physical, emotional, mental and social development, so activities for 4-year-old children will be much different than those of a child at 8 years of age. Your own child’s development may vary, and you should select appropriate projects based on their growth. Below are some tips for parents to create fun and memorable occasions for their 4–8-year-old kids, providing a solid base for the future and developing long-term traditions that may be passed on to their families as adults.
“Together Times” for Parents and Kids:
Below are some fun ideas for moms and dads to spend quality time with their 4–8-year-old children.
1. Children tend to look forward to family celebrations and remember these events year to year. Whether it is celebrating their birthday, other family members’ birthdays or celebrating holidays, let them get involved decorating and making cakes. This supports their hand-eye coordination and lets them show their artistic inclinations.
2. Make a scrapbook together. Commemorate special events, school programs, etc. by getting corresponding photos and putting them together in a scrap book. This encourages decision making — what photos to use that coordinate with the event or activity.
3. Take a “child-centric” family vacation. Take your kids to Disneyland or Disneyworld, where they can truly enjoy being a kid by riding on all the age-appropriate rides. Kids can learn how to swim at hotel pools as well as take photos of special events. This is also a great reason to start that scrapbook!
4. Tell your children stories about your own childhood, or show them pictures of yourself as a child at their age and photos of other family members who may have passed on, ensuring that those family memories live on. Encourage them to write stories and begin journals of their childhood.
Spending time with your kids is a great way to keep the line of communication open as they grow into young adults, and it will make great memories for your kids — and you.
Have you been noticing how fast your child is growing up? Making memories with your pre-teen child is an important way to establish a bond that helps you weather the teen years and also gives you a chance to develop healthy lifetime habits. Here are 7 ideas for making memories:
1. Cook Together
Try out some family recipes and teach healthy choices. Help your child develop some important life skills as they learn to cook, plan family meals and grocery shop. Work with them to create their own book of special recipes.
2. Play Sports
Playing in your backyard as a family or one-on-one can be a great way to bond with your child and teach lifetime fitness. Promote a healthy interest in lifelong sports by playing golf or tennis together.
3. Cheer the Home Team
Make rooting for your favorite team a family event. Go to games when you can, and watch them together when you can’t. Teach your child to develop hospitality by hosting sports event parties in your home.
4. Volunteer Together
Working together for a cause can help your child develop compassion and empathy. Sign up to help at an animal shelter, visit a nursing home or help an elderly neighbor.
5. Take Vacations
Travel by car, or camp and hike to make time for talking together. By learning about the history, geography and culture of the places you visit, you can help your child develop a deeper understanding of the subjects they study in school.
6. Use Music
Establish a lifelong interest in music by playing instruments or singing together. Record your efforts and have fun watching them. Don’t play? Try looking up Karaoke music to favorite songs, and get the family together to sing along!
7. Game Night
Playing board and card games together can create memories that last. Pick one night a week to set aside to play your favorite games or learn new ones. Playing games can teach children to work on a team, learn how to lose, and develop strategies.
Finally, make sure you preserve your memories by taking photos and videos of your family time together. Spend time reminiscing and preserving those memories by working together to make photo albums that will keep your memories for a lifetime!
Children between the ages of two and four are capable of making long-lasting memories. They are at the age when curiosity is at its peak. Including them in various types of activities allows them to develop vital skills in both social interaction and physical dexterity.
You can use a Plaster of Paris or cement mix to create stepping stones that can be easily decorated with glass “stones” (the ones used in decorative planters are ideal). Pour the mixture into various molds and allow the children to make foot or hand prints. Add the stones and write their name, date and age on the stone. This allows the child the chance to explore new textures and learn how to combine ingredients to create a usable medium.
Pre-cut foam ornaments can be purchased at local craft stores. You can also cut your own and make several different designs. Many of the pre-cut designs have holes cut in them that allow you to add a photograph. Write the child’s name, age and the year on the back. Ornaments can be made for almost any occasion, including Easter, Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving. At Thanksgiving, use the child’s outstretched hand to form the body of the turkey and draw on eyes, a beak and the feet. This helps to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Hand Print Border
If you are planning on turning a room into a play area for the kids, you can create a hand print border. Let each child pick a color and have them alternate by placing their hands on the wall, hand over hand, until they have made a border or accent line. You can also use the hand print border in bedrooms and bathrooms for a whimsical touch. This will help children learn to identify colors as well as teach them linear concepts.
Little Hands Make Big Helpers
When it comes to family holiday celebrations, there is no better way to teach children family traditions than to allow them to help with the preparations. They can help decorate the tree, set the family dinner table and actually prepare the meal. The little things are what they will remember the most. The process may be slow, but those lessons will last a lifetime, teaching children to follow directions and helping them fine-tune certain motor skills.
A day at the beach can be both relaxing and exciting. There are many different activities you can do with your family that are both educational and fun. Children and adults of all ages can explore the beach and turn the trip into a day-long adventure.
Pack a Picnic
Pack a picnic lunch and eat while you are combing the beach for seashells. Play in the water, lay out in the sun and enjoy a healthy picnic lunch at a nearby pavilion. Spread a blanket on the sand and eat lunch while you relax on the sand.
Build a Sand Castle
Bring small shovels and little pails in a variety of shapes and sizes. Use the pails and shovels to create a sand castle masterpiece. Other types of sculptures can also be created. Your imagination is your only limit. Sand castles and sculptures can be torn down and rebuilt as many times as you want.
Make up a Scavenger Hunt
Create a list of items that can normally be found at the beach. Send everyone out in groups of two or three to begin to collect the items. The losers have to pay for ice cream for the winners. Your list can include anything you think might be easy to find, including seashells, business cards, sand, a piece of drift wood or even a cell phone picture of a sign. .
Swim with the Dolphins
Depending on where the beaches are and what type of wildlife is close by, you may be able to find a charter that allows you to swim with the dolphins or watch the whales. There are many boat owners who will take people on tours of the area.
Rent a Boat for the Day
You can also rent a boat for the day. Go sightseeing along the coast, ski or take the boat out for a day of deep sea fishing. There are many different sizes of boats to choose from. Fishing boats, sailing boats or canoes are all options. If you are on the lake, look into a pontoon boat. They are big enough to seat several people comfortably, and there is plenty of room to have a picnic.