Friday, July 20, 2007

33 Things Your Child Should Do Before they Turn 10

Not sure what to do this weekend with your kids?

Here is a fun list of activities that every kid should have the opportunity to try.
1 Roll on your side down a grassy bank
2 Make a mud pie
3 Make your own modeling dough mixture
4 Collect tadpoles
5 Make perfume from flower petals
6 Grow cress on a windowsill
7 Make a paper maché mask
8 Build a sandcastle
9 Climb a tree
10 Make a den in the garden
11 Make a painting using your hands and feet
12 Organize your own teddy bears picnic
13 Have your face painted
14 Bury a friend in the sand
15 Make some bread
16 Make snow angels
17 Create a clay sculpture
18 Take part in a scavenger hunt
19 Camp out in the garden
20 Bake a cake
21 Feed a farm animal
22 Pick some strawberries
23 Play pooh sticks ( )
24 Recognize five different bird species
25 Find some worms
26 Ride a bike through a muddy puddle
27 Make and fly a kite
28 Plant a tree
29 Build a nest out of grass and twigs
30 Find ten different leaves in the park
31 Grow vegetables
32 Make breakfast in bed for your parents
33 Make a mini golf course in your garden

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Children Can Make Big Differences in the World

My son has always been a child who chooses his beliefs and arguments based on passion. He overflows with emotions when something means a lot to him. He is spontaneous. He has a very big heart and is one of the most compassionate young people I have ever met. His compassion has seldom made me more proud than in the spring of 1997, when he and I were on a ‘date’ with each other on the way to pick up a Dragon Ball Z action figure he had been doing little jobs in order to earn the money to purchase.

We were walking along, chatting in the direction of the store, when for just a moment I did not hear his voice. I turned in terror (Many know that feeling when you dread they have wandered off?) to find he had stopped in front of a young man in his 20’s who was sitting in the door way of a store panhandling for change, and dropped all of his hard earned money into this boy’s guitar case. I must admit the part of me I am not proud of that wanted to yell, “He really didn’t mean to give you all of it.” or, “He has been saving for weeks!” did not win over the other feeling I was experiencing. I am sure that at some point in each parent’s life there is that lump in your throat that signals an over whelming pride and emotion; that your child has taught you a lesson you will not soon forget.

For this reason I believe it is crucial to instill in our children an ability; moreover a desire to step outside their fortunate lives; with all their video games, DVD’s, full tummies, good health, loving families, and free education, to actually see those in life who are not as blessed. The lesson we need to teach them is not to be passive bystanders, and to acknowledge other people’s plights; to respect them to see them and their humanity, even when their situation is difficult for them to relate to.

Children can make big differences in the world

It's natural to want to shield children from situations in which they feel helpless .Yet this, many times reinforces the idea that children can't make a difference in their minds. By trying to protect them, we unknowingly encourage children to look away from the suffering of others. We miss the opportunity to share those teachable moments that build the bonds in our family stronger and build important characteristics in our children who will lead us in the future .We nurture passive bystanders (a young society who remain on the sidelines of society and allow situations to remain the same .World leaders say this poses a significant concern to our world today.

A few years ago many leaders attended an international conference with some of the greatest minds of this half a century, including the Dalai Lama. These learned individuals were gravely concerned that one of the major threats facing our world was not terrorism, but that our generation is raising a subsequent generation of passive bystanders. “How can this be?” you ask? In doing nothing we are part of the problem instead of a solution, and if everyone were to continue in this path of thinking, the problems in our world will only worsen.

Here are some suggestions that will not only help your child learn the lessons of giving, but will also unify your family by setting up a philosophy that, “We care and are grateful, and your children learn, grace and generosity

5 Ways To Make a Difference

Volunteer With Your Children at a soup kitchen, a food bank, a coat drive, to raise money for a toy drive. They will feel a sense of accomplishment and community and a feeling of pride and power that they are capable of changing someone else’s life.

Brainstorm a list of people in your community, like the elderly, homeless, blind, new immigrants, and others, that your family could help. For example, read for someone who is blind, or take an elderly person shopping, give a single mom a break by caring for her kids for an hour (just enough time for a bubble bath) .

Encourage your child to ask, "Can I help?" Gestures such as holding the door open for strangers, smiling at others or helping you with daily/ weekly chores around the house will make them feel relevant and important.

Nurture empathy by giving examples of the negative effects their bad behaviour can have on others. Children can learn to appreciate that their actions can affect others and move them to make better choices because of the empathy they feel for others. Basing your discipline in honesty and giving explanations, rather than your ultimate power over them, sends the message that those with more power must treat those with less power with justice and respect. For example, my first year working in my classroom (I have children 4-12yrs old in my room at one time) one of my older students was acting bold and saying “yeah, well tomorrow I could come in and kill everyone!” A 4 year old boy who had heard got quiet instantly and his eyes got big with fear. Now, my impulse was to instantly get frustrated with the older child, however he would have learned nothing. I asked him to come over and requested he observe the younger child for a few minutes. He observed what I had. and asked why “he ‘Timmy’ looked so sad”, I explained that because of his ill thought out words this child who looked at him as a hero, now was afraid and thought that tomorrow his “hero” would do him harm. “This room no longer is a fun safe place to him” I added. The older child told me he had been kidding. That he would never hurt his “little buddy”. I explained that since he had caused the pain he would have to make it right. He started by announcing that “I hope you guys all know I was kidding before about the killing you stuff.” And in the next week or so, proceeded to make his ‘little buddy” his special project; reading to him, playing cars, and Lego. The child that had tried to get power through his words had learned he already possessed it, and he had the choice of how to use it.

Start Collecting. With your family, collect toys and clothing your family no longer uses. Donate them to a local women's shelter or another service organization. Every year in my classroom we run an “Operation Winter Warmth” campaign from September- November. We collect blankets, pillows, coats, clothes, boots, and the children do chores at home to earn change for the purchase of toiletries. We actually walk to a Dollar store or grocery store and let them purchase these items themselves. We then donate these items to the shelters in our neighbourhood. In the spring we will be raising money to buy laundry soap for these shelters.