Ideas for parents and their children

Published 9:07 am Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Column: Apryl Gorton, Guest Column

Family time is precious and important. I have the wonderful opportunity to share ideas that will help you teach, connect and build healthy relationships with your children. These activities come from my experiences as a teacher, behavior counselor and a mom.

Apryl Gorton


My baby and me

Try the matching game from “The Baby Book” by Drs. William and Martha Sears. Engage your baby in a face-to-face dialogue by first opening your mouth wide and making an expressive “ah.”

Next, slowly circle your lips down into the “oh” sound and see if baby matches the sound. The ability to match your sounds indicates that speech is an intelligent activity that your baby recognizes and voluntarily attempts to reproduce. Do it over and over. Babies love repeating activities with you, and you will make the rest of your family laugh themselves silly.


A toddlers’ special gift

Every one smiles at gifts made by their little people. Here is an easy gift idea that many ages will enjoy making with Mom or Dad’s help.

Items needed: School glue, wooden letters about 1 inch large, washable/nontoxic paint and pins with safety catch and flat back.

When going off to buy items you do not have on hand, please take your child with you. Choosing the craft items allows him or her to be a part of the whole process and purchasing the items gives the child an opportunity to work with money.

The name pin: Allow your child to paint the letters chosen for the specific person. For example, G for Grandma, M for Mom, S for Sue, etc. When dry, help the child to glue the pin to the back of the letter for a decorative broach. I still love to wear my M.


Ideas for play

Here’s an idea for kids who like to dress up, and for parents who like to save money.

First, find an empty box, old dresser or toy box accessible to your children.

Second, go through the closets. (Yours, Grandma and Grandpa’s, and Auntie’s to find hats, shoes, pants, dresses, handbags and uniforms.)

Third, shop thrift stores and after-Halloween sales to complete your collection of dress-up clothes and costumes. All children love to dress up; they just need a collection to boost their imagination.

This activity is also a wonderful way for shy children to become comfortable experimenting with who they are, express themselves and talk in front of a group.

Families love it when the kids put on shows, and the older siblings may get into writing a skit or two as well. Who knows? You may find the next president, director or Meryl Streep right in your own home.


Apryl Gorton is the director of New Direction Tutoring and a volunteer with the Freeborn County Thrive Initiative. Visit the website at www.0to5infreeborn