Wednesday December 8, 2010
Get creative during the holidays
By ELAINE DONG
Nurture your child’s potential for discovery, communication and independent thinking this holiday season.
PILING children with academic work during the school break goes against the very essence of a holiday. Of course, you want them to fill their time productively, and we’re here to help. In our society, “productive” is often mistaken for anything academic, but do you realise holidays are the perfect time to nurture your kids’ creative side? Here are four great books that will give you a kickstart to things you can do with and for your children that will encourage them to become independent thinkers.
The Classic Treasury Of Childhood Wonders
Author: Susan H Magsamen
This book is by National Geographic and the vintage illustrations inside totally appeal to vintage-mad me. There are various classic poems and rhymes in the book, as well as classic children’s stories such as The Golden Key by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (more popularly known as the brothers Grimm). The games and activities are like taking a walk down memory lane and hark back to simpler times.
It is a collection of family activities, art and literature that is divided into five parts – magic and make-believe, outdoor exploring, crafts and construction, yummy for the tummy, and bedtime, bathtime and dreamtime. You will never be stumped for anything to do whether it is something simple like gathering sheets and towels to make a hideout, or a little science experiment to try and “capture” your shadow and make a shadow print.
Most of the activities are geared towards younger kids (under 12 years old) but older kids will also enjoy the various bits of classic literature peppered through the book. At the end of the book, there is a resources page that shows you where to get the books from which these stories were extracted, so this is a good introduction to classical fiction. Younger kids will thoroughly enjoy things like “how to be a superhero”, “how to build a fairy house” and more.
This book will be enjoyed by both parents and kids alike.
Mind In The Making – The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs
Author: Ellen Galinsky
The title alone is fascinating. As parents, we run around like headless chickens most of the time, hoping we’re not doing too much damage to our kids as we bring them up. Now here’s a book that offers everything to you on a silver platter – the seven essential skills your child needs! What are you waiting for?
You probably will be surprised that mathematical skills is not one of them, and neither is the ability to speak five languages before age five. You can also strike scoring straight As off that list, along with knowing how to use a computer/ playstation/Wii in kindergarten.
Instead you are taught to equip your child with these skills: focus and self control, perspective taking, communicating, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and self-directed, engaged learning. As a parent you need to read this book, whether you have a baby or a teenager.
It’ll change the way you parent, shifting to child-based parenting. If your wish is to help your child make strong connections in the world and be an independent thinker and learner, this is the first step.
A Family Of Readers – The Book Lover’s Guide To Children’s And Young Adult Literature
Authors: Roger Sutton and Martha V. Parravano
This is a collection of essays and interviews about children’s books and it helps parents gain an insight into how stories for children are weaved together. This, in turn, helps them choose books that will enrapture their audience. It is divided into four parts – reading to them, reading with them, reading on their own and leaving them alone.
The first introduces you to board books and picture books for babies and very young children. The second moves on to easy readers and chapter books. The third explores books by genre and gender, and how children read these books. The fourth is about letting the young reader participate in their choice of what to read.
In addition to the titles suggested within the chapters, each section comes with a generous list of other books to explore. If you or your child are discovering reading for the first time, this is a good starting point. If your child is already a voracious reader, and she may have read some of the books in here, you will gain a lot of additional insight into the books you have chosen and will choose in the future. This is a must-add to any library and a great reason to start reading now!
Free To Be You And Me – Stories, Songs And Poems
Authors: Marlo Thomas & friends
This is a New York Times best seller and was originally published in 1974. It is a collection of stories, illustrations, songs and more over the years, most of which have become classic markers of time. In this sense, this is similar to National Geographic’s book above, but is rendered in a very contemporary, pop-culture-influenced manner. It actually looks more like a book for adults than for kids, given the sophistication of the content. But a closer look reveals a treasury of gems to be shared with your child. It is a great bridge between your memories when you were a child, and the memories you hope to create with your child. Most of all, the book sends the message that you are free to be you, and nobody should tell you who you should be. How is that for sound parenting advice?