How To Stimulate Your Child Without a Donald Trump Budget
Updated: May 6
Although most moms realize that socializing their baby/child is very important they often don’t know where to start, where they fit in, or what groups to join. Here is a list of some great ways to get involved while spending time with your toddler/child.
MOPS (Mothers of Preschool Students – Birth through age 7) – is an excellent ministry offered through churches across the country. They usually meet twice a month and the moms enjoy some well-deserved adult discussion with other moms while the children attend moppets- a wonderfully structured preschool type program (grouped by ages) with movement activities, bible stories, crafts, etc.
Mommy and Me classes – can often be found through preschools, churches, YMCA’s or other gyms, etc. (they can be anything from tumbling to music classes to just play time). They expose the baby/child to other children, introduce him to structured settings where there is a “teacher” to listen to, and give mom a chance to form a support system by meeting other moms as they share stories/strategies, etc.
Libraries– may offer free story times that might involve singing songs, reading stories and group discussions. They’re not only educational, but a nice break for moms.
Play groups – provide great interaction with other children and a good opportunity for moms to meet other moms and form life long friendships and support systems.
Music classes– a mommy and me class- Kindermusik is an excellent national program
Tumble classes– Gymboree offers excellent classes.
The gym nursery– provides great interaction w/other children while mom gets both exercise AND a well-deserved break!
Preschool – In addition to academics, children learn many important things in this setting. They learn important social skills as a result of the peer interaction that preschool provides as well as how to respect the authority of another adult other than the parent (the teacher). They also learn rules, routines, and to wait their turn (the concept that the world doesn’t revolve around them).
**** Providing children unstructured play time time with other children helps them develop important social skills as they simultaneously learn language!!!! There are numerous opportunities to learn and grow right in your own neighborhood, with activities such as:
***Playing on the swing set or jungle gym, meeting friends at the park, riding bikes, etc.
The mall is filled with interesting stores, shops, and activities that give children an opportunity to see and explore new sights, sounds and smells.
Christmas holiday bazaars/ tree festivals
Children’s Museums – excellent way to help your child develop a sense of wonder and a love for learning!!!!
The grocery store– provides opportunities to teach him color, weight (produce), counting, reading- labels, food categories (i.e. Produce, dairy, etc.). Let him be your little helper counting 5 apples, 8 plums, etc.
The pet store – a mecca of learning opportunities. All children love animals! The pet store is a wonderful place to teach all about animals! (i.e. Types – i.e. Reptiles, behaviors, living and eating habits, etc. They will love everything from birds to snakes! The sky is the limit. Children can be entertained in pet stores for hours!
Nature walks – leaf collages in the Fall – provide a great opportunity to teach about trees, seasons, weather patterns, etc.
Baking– teaches following directions, measuring-math, nutrition, science, reading, creativity i.e. decorating bunny cakes for Easter or making gingerbread houses at Christmas – gives the child autonomy
Make crafts at the holidays (i.e. Christmas Ornaments, Valentine’s Day crafts, Father’s Day gifts)
Make a campfire and roast marshmallows, catch fireflies,. climb trees, play on the swing set/jungle gym.
The Home Environment We live in a very competitive world!!! At home, you can do your best during the early childhood years to give your child a jump start by creating an inviting, kid friendly environment . This is accomplished by making the home a positive, calm, caring, safe place with reasonable limits so that the child knows what is expected of him and does not fear excessive punishment. In addition, the home environment should allow children to develop a sense of wonder by encouraging them to explore and manipulate objects and books with plenty of time for uninterrupted play.
Speak softly to your child, play music, and avoid loud distracting, unnecessary noise.
Make toys and books accessible to the baby/child by arranging them on low shelves so that he can choose what he wants to read or play with.
When at home move baby from one room to another for a change of scenery.
Have reading material throughout the home to encourage a love for reading. Teaches children that reading is everywhere and not just in one room or at a specific time of the day. In addition, model good reading habits by letting the child see you reading regularly.
Read to your child as much as possible and teach him to respect books by handling them properly.
Allow your baby to play in the Tupperware/utensil drawer or cabinet. He will stack, bang, slide, etc. learning cause and effect like the experience of banging a plastic spatula into an upside down tupperware container to make a “drum.”
Display your child’s art work on the refrigerator and/or around the house. It makes him feel successful.
Refrigerator letter magnets are great for the baby/child to manipulate while playing.
Go outside, or take a walk, explore the yard, or even plant a garden..
Kick, roll, or throw a ball. Sometimes this simple, cheap toy can entertain little ones for hours. Buy him one with pictures of his favorite character (ie. Barney, Elmo, Dora, Thomas the Train, etc.) Balls help children develop coordination and mom can teach color, patterns, physical movement, etc. all with this simple toy.
Ride toys, kick balls, climb on jungle gyms if you have one, interact with other children……
Moms, have fun with your little miracle! Enjoy watching the wonder in his eyes as he learns about the world. It is truly a blessing.
Happy parenting… Enjoy the journey…