It’s okay to do this from time to time, but you should probably look for other diversions for your little one if you keep relying on gadgets to babysit your little ones.
Indeed, the prolonged use of smart devices can cause various physical issues such as neck and eye strain, trigger myopia and even longer-term health issues such as diabetes and obesity. Let’s not forget psychological issues such as addiction, which only spells more trouble. So, leave the gadgets behind and try these fun ideas to keep your mini-me occupied…
1) Let your paper aeroplanes take flight Turn pieces of recycled paper — of varying thickness — from newspapers or magazines, as well as regular A-4 sized paper to form your own aeroplanes. Then compete to see whose plane will be able to “fly” the furthest.
Indeed, the prolonged use of smart devices can cause various physical issues such as neck and eye strain, trigger myopia and even longer-term health issues such as diabetes and obesity.
2) Teach them how to jump rope or hula hoop Use inexpensive equipment and get your munchkin to work up a good sweat while improving their body’s flexibility and hand-eye condition. If they’re already adept at the basics, add another hula hoop or try out different ways to jump rope, such as:
* Reverse Jump Change the direction of the rope so it approaches your feet from the back instead of the front.
* One-foot Jump Jumping on one leg at a time helps build your child’s calves, quadriceps and hamstrings.
3) “I Spy” with a twist Look around your room and pick an item you’ll like your mini-me to draw. Then say, “I spy something (blank)”, the blank is filled with an adjective — it can refer to the size of the item you’ve picked, its colour or shape. But instead of getting your child to say what they think you may be referring to, get them to look around the room and draw the item instead.
4) Work on a jigsaw puzzle Depending on how much time you or your cherub has to spare, you can choose puzzles that are fewer than 100 pieces to cater to novices, as well as those that are 5,000 pieces and above for those game for a challenge.
5) Introduce them to some old-school games Take a trip down memory lane with your mini-me and show him the hottest games of yesteryear. From Five Stones to Pick-up Sticks or Hopscotch to Capteh, these games won’t just amp up the fun factor, it’ll boost their physical and motor skills, too. For instance, games like Five Stones and Capteh will put your child’s agility and hand-eye coordination to the test. Read our guide to find out which games to play.
6) Try “bowling” at home Gather up about 10 plastic water bottles and position them as bowling pins a distance away from where your child is standing. Let your mini-me toss a few balls at the “pins” to see how many strikes they’re able to bowl.
7) Play the memory card game Sort a deck of cards into four rows facing the ground. Take turns with your tyke to flip over two cards at a time to try and match the numbers. If a player makes a match, he or she sets the cards aside and goes again. If the numbers do not match, they have to be returned to its original position and it’s the next player’s turn. The participant with the most number of matching cards wins. Ease the game for your tot by playing with a smaller deck and getting them to match the shapes or colours instead of numbers. For your older child, you can make the game more challenging by requiring the card’s number, symbols and colours to match.
8) Get creative with Playdoh Grab a few tubs of Playdoh in different colours and pick out different moulds or cookie-cutters of various shapes. Remember to keep an eye on your kewpie, so that they don’t pop it into their mouths. Otherwise, replace the Playdoh with a cheaper and safer alternative — cloud dough. Read our guide to learn how to make your own.
9) Be the first to shout “Snap!” Divide a deck of cards as equally as possible between all players. Then, each player turns the card on top of their own pile at the same time and places it in the middle of the table. The moment you and your opponent’s cards are similar in terms of numbers or symbols, the first person to yell, “Snap!” will get all the cards in the middle of the table. The player with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.
Your child will relish the chance to be the chef’s assistant for the day and in return they will get a taste of what it takes to be a master chef.
10) Have a go at “Simon Says” One person — hopefully you — assumes the role of “Simon” and gives instructions to your child, which can range from touching one’s toes or jumping on the spot. Junior will only need to follow instructions that start with the phrase “Simon Says”.
11) Write a letter to their favourite cartoon character Tell your mini-me to include information such as what they like about these characters and the things they hope to do when they meet the character. They can also try drawing a family picture or their favourite food to “send” it to their idol as well. If you’re keen, you can even write a reply to your child.
12) Play with Lego Although these little bricks can be a pain you step on them, this will let your little one’s imagination take flight. From building houses to cars, a whole exciting imaginary world awaits your mini-me.
13) Start a scrapbooking project Print several of your favourite vacation or family photos and assemble them in a scrapbook. Then encourage your mini-me to pen their thoughts and experiences, as shown in images found in colourful cue cards. Don’t forget to use washi tape and stickers to decorate the pages.
14) Let your mini-me help you prepare a meal Let them stir the pot, choose the dish, accompany you to the market, taste the food or even add seasoning. Your child will relish the chance to be a chef’s assistant for the day and, in return, they will get a taste of what it takes to be a junior masterchef.
15) Design your own juice Skip the latest state-of-the-art juicers or blenders and let your peewee try using manual juicers or slow juicers. Add as many fruits and vegetables to your shopping cart, chop up and juice these ingredients, then let the mixing begin!
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