Whether you are an office based or stay at home mama, there will be times when your little ones will be home alone with the nanny (if you have one) and you’ll be wondering what they’re up to. Are they playing? Reading books? Or is your nanny simply watching your kids play by themselves? There are plenty of very easy things that you can ask your nanny to do with the kids that will help them grow.
Here is a list of my top 10:
Use play mats to teach kids color, numbers and letters. My play mats are a great tool, I have had it for 4 years and it’s still in mint condition. They might be a bit pricey to buy but you’ll get plenty of use out of them so they’re very worth it!!!
2. Sensory Activities
· Take 2 or 3 buckets and fill them with dried or cooked pastas, rice, lentils, jello, cinnamon sticks, the list is long – just go for whatever is in your cupboards (obviously it must be edible and avoid the spicy stuff!) It’s an amazing sensory activity to develop your little ones sense of touch, smell and taste. And don’t worry about mess – it can all be cleaned up (or use an outdoor space if you prefer!)
· Fill an empty water bottle with rice or sand that they can use as maracas – and get grooving around the room together!
· Take a empty container (an empty water bottle will do) and a pile of dried pasta and have your child drop the pieces into the bottle one by one. A great coordination activity.
3. Arts & Crafts
I love crafts so I have loads of boxes filled with wooden colored sticks, pompons, feathers, and plastic eyes – it really helps to stock up and be organised with all of this. I keep the toilet rolls so that they kids can decorate them. It’s a perfect way to let their imagination go wild with the guidance of your nanny. It’s also a great way to bond and have fun.
4. Reading books
A simple thing like reading a book to them is good for quiet time and to learn words, color but also to listen and interact. A lot a books are very simple yet teach a lot, even if your nanny can’t read she can use the images, colors. Baby Einstein books are amazing for that.
5. Hide and seek
This game helps children conquer their fear of autonomy and separation, it is also a game that can be easily done anywhere & everywhere. The game of hide and seek brings together children and adults into the sandbox of play. There is a shared mission to alternate exploring and being discovered. The moments of suspense, when one person looks for another adds to the tension which then leads to the excitement of coming together. It also reassures children that people in relationships can separate and they can come back together. Further, it reinforces the tremendous joy in the reunion since there is always fear that coming together will not happen.
6. Legos Duplo or Mega blocks
Playing with blocks means having fun, being creative and learning; all at the same time. It helps our kids build a new adventure every day, while exploring and investigating the world around them.
Children love bubbles, blowing them, running after them, watching them blow out, bursting them. I think it’s on the top of the list of their favorite thing to do!!! It’s such an easy fix and can be done anywhere and at any given time.
On a more serious note, bubbles help with coordination skills and also with learning new words to describe bubbles, explain tasks, and label and record bubble experiments. And guess what? Bubbles are also a great therapy tools because they can be used in so many different ways to both assess language skills and promote language development.
8. Listening to music, dancing and singing
It is amazing the positive effect that music has on all of us, it is also a great tool to grow our children.
It is a good time for them to use music to play games that require body movement, such as clapping, waving, jumping and dancing. Sing-along games are ideal for initiating movement and bringing children together in enjoyable group activities.
9. Playrooms, parks and playgrounds.
If you are lucky enough to have enough space in your house for a playroom, it can be a great learning tool. Use the Montessori method and have mostly everything at children’s reach so that your child can decide what to play with. I have an alphabet sticker on the wall and my nanny uses it everyday to teach my kids the alphabet and the colors. Books are easy to access so if they feel like having a quiet time they just pick up a book and sit down.
Dubai is full of parks and playgrounds – allow your nanny to use them with your kids and teach her to help build their confidence on the slide and swings, leading the way by encouraging them to have a go instead of being afraid that they might fall. This also gives children the chance to socialise with other little ones and to play together.
When children play, they take on different roles all the time. One minute they are a fireman, the next minute a zookeeper and a second after a train driver. As grownups we like to think that children’s role-play is a product of their vivid imagination. There is actually more to it than that. Children role-play because it helps them to learn about themselves and others. Show your nanny that it’s great to play with kids by guiding them and by creating a masterpiece together and being part of a story. Role-play also allows children the chance to take control and take the lead – let them choose which characters they’d like your nanny to be!
Play is a very important part of a child’s life mamas – encourage your nanny to enjoy it with your kids!
Top image sourced from Pinterest