Friday, April 1, 2011

A's activity jar

It's been a busy week, as Q and I have been doing respite care for twin brothers since last Friday. They go home tomorrow, and hopefully, I'll be back to blogging more regularly. I've been wanting to share with you something I've been doing with our foster daughter A, which has been a lot of fun and a help, too.

It's called the Activity Jar. Inside this canning jar are strips of paper that each have some kind of activity written on it. I put a label on it with smiley face stickers on the side (I've erased A's name for privacy).

When she has finished her morning chores, she can choose an activity to do. There are some school-type activities, so it's a neat way to get her ready for kindergarten in the fall. She now attends preschool, but when she's home, this jar is a wonderful thing for us to do. Some activities require my help, but there are some that with just a minute or two of prep, she's on her own and busy for a while.

There's usually time to do a couple in the morning before lunch. Sometimes we even do a couple in the afternoon after rest time. The first rule I have is that she at least do an activity for about twenty minutes, even if it is not her favorite. Of course, we have found a few things she really loves, so she spends a lot of time on those. The second rule is that whatever she chooses, that's what we do (unless it requires me to play a game with her and I can't just then because I'm busy prepping a meal or something; then she just chooses something else).

When she gets done with an activity, it goes into another jar. When the activity jar is empty, we put them all back and start over. I've already thought of a couple things to add for the next round to keep it exciting!

Here are a few of the activities I've come up with. I've put a * next to the ones that A really loves.:)

1. Practice writing letters in tablet. *
2. Play dress-up.
3. Put on a puppet show.
4. Make a macaroni necklace. *
5. Type on the computer. *
6. Play with paper/magnetic dolls. *
7. Play with play-dough and cookie cutters. *
8. Play Candy land, Hi-ho cherrio, or Memory. *
9. Paint with watercolor pencils.
10. Do giant puzzles. *

As the weather is getting warmer, I've been thinking about coming up with a jar for outside activities like sidewalk chalk, painting with water, playing soccer, flying a kite, nature walks, bubbles, etc.

Have any of you done something like this? If so, what activities can you suggest for us to add to the jar? I'd love to hear your ideas.:)

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