Saturday, January 01, 2011

Having fun with children - 10 cheapskate mum's ways!

Here are some of the things I've done with my kid (and borrowed kids) for the past two weeks (besides playing online games):

1. Reading aloud. Choose interesting books where our intonation and gestures can be varied while reading, as well as books that have a lot of interesting pictures that can lead into chats or discussions with the children. Some of the books that I love are ' Good Night, Gorilla' by Peggy Rathmann, 'I Love My Family' by Brimax, and 'The Napping House' by Audrey Wood, just to name a few. For a Malay book, 'Kuda Terbang Reza' by Halimah Badioze Zaman has proven to be very entertaining to children over and over again.

2. Finger painting. All we need are some pieces of white paper and poster colours. The rest are up to our creativity or the children's. They really love this activity. To avoid messing up your house or dirtying their clothes, do this outside your house i.e. at the porch on a mat, and cut some of those unused garbage plastic bags for the kids to wear outside their clothes.

3. Gardening. Mine wasn't any real gardening though. It was just the repotting of some plants. I bought a few bags of soil, uprooted some plants from the original pots, and planted them in bigger pots. The children loved helping me out, especially when they got to touch the soils, and to water the newly potted plants.

4. Vacuuming the floor. I don't know what is it that attracts the children to this machine. I used to think that they are a nuisance when it comes to me wanting to vacuum the floor and them wanting to help so hard. Nowadays, I would just let them do it until they are tired, then I would continue, but I would be careful about vacuuming again the spots that they had vacuumed - it's like saying, "You didn't do a good job." Be sensitive - kids have feelings, too.

5. Washing the dishes. Children love this! They get the feeling of being trusted by an adult (with all the breakable glasswares), being 'useful' and at the same time get a chance to play with water!

6. Train 'joy' riding. I parked my car at the commuter station in Bangi. No, we didn't actually steal anything here. Bought a return ticket to Nilai and there we went - on a train to and fro. You can actually go to a further station than the one you paid for, provided that you don't check out from the station. Neat! I think it would be more fun if we rode to KL Sentral instead, but I didn't want to spend too much time on the train.

7. Playground hopping. We went to one playground after another in the different parts or sections in our townships. Basically, they have the same things, like the see-saw, the swingset, the slides - but they come in different designs, and each park where the playground is set in, has a different environment. Oh, what a fun time we had!

8. Eating out. In my township, there's a bakery called 'Zaty's Bakery' which is a hit with any children I've taken there. They are spoiled with the choices of bread and danish they can have, plus they love the 'ice-cream goreng' (fried ice-cream) there. A good way to make non-eating child like mine eat! The bread are all less than RM2 each and the fried ice-cream is RM1.50 each.

9. "Tengok wayang" (watching movies). All we need are a DVD player and our TV set. Then, just put in the CD and relax with the kids.' My kids' love Sinchan, Tom and Jerry, and Mr Bean (the animated series) the most. Other hits are Toy Story, as well as Space Chimps.

10. Going to "pasar malam" (night market). Great choices of food for individual kids and a chance to buy some balloons. The handcrafted ones are sold at RM1.50 each at the night market in my housing area.

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