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Do you have suggestions for keeping kids stimulated and engaged?
I have three gifted boys, and as anyone with gifted kids knows, that means trouble. My boys are 5, 7, and 10 (with mental ages of 8, 11, and 15). We do Scouts, 4-H, Community Theater, science experiments a few times a week and whatever else I can think of. I'm a very clever woman but a bout of bronchitis has left me at less than creative. Any fun ideas, please? I need a few new activities for next week.

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  1. I imagine gifted or not gifted, three boys of that age would be a handful! How about the Creation Museum. :) Actually, I suggest a long hike through the woods. Any wooded areas near you with trails? At the end of the day the kids are exhausted, but of course you will even be more exhausted! :) I'm planning a project for the 10 yr old I am raising and my 6 yr old grandson. Whenever I see some fence boards or old lumber being thrown away, that are really still in decent shape, we pick them up and we are going to make a clubhouse or tree house. Also, we are going to make a Huck Finn raft, and have picked up some large pieces of styrofoam to put underneath the raft for added flotation. Actually we may have to buy the wood for the raft and I am looking into what would be the best kind. I thought of gardening logs which are cheap, but it may be too heavy. We have a fishing camp on a bayou where they can use the raft of course with a lot of supervision. The raft will float up and down the bayou with the tide and the bayou goes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Of course we won't go too far and we could always tow it back gently with our boat. But the club house, or tree house will be a lot of fun in the backyard of my house and my husband and son in law will surely get involved being the master builders they are or think they are for both upcoming building projects. lol
  2. Can't you just tell them to go play outside? Get a baseball and a bat or something. If you're in shape you can play softball with them. My parents used to do that with my brother and me. You can also get some rackets and play badminton. That's what I do when I baby sit and its so much fun. Also you can play soccer in the backyard if you're lucky enough to have one. So much fun. and they are pooped out afterwards. you know you don't have to spend a ton of money to keep them entertained! you can have a play date outside one weekend and just play soccer or softball and you can make them their favorite sandwiches. when beach season comes around you can take them to the beach while you get a tan. *well I don't know where you're from, but i'm from south Carolina). after you leave the beach you can pick up some fresh sea food and cook it at home while they are in the shower.
  3. I have an excellent idea that will require long-term commitment: a foreign language! You can do that by hiring a foreign-born nanny. Also by enrolling the youngest one in a language immersion kindergarten/elementary school (school districts seem to be offering more of these schools recently). Kids learn languages best when starting almost from birth, but starting at elementary school would be the next best thing. I assume the 7 year old already is in school, so maybe it's too late for him? If you are a stay-at-home parent: Being with children full-time can drive many parents nuts; at least that's what I've heard from multiple sources. You might appreciate time interacting only with adults for your own sanity. Don't be afraid to hire a part-time nanny at least, even if you must work part time to afford one. If you get a nanny, you can hire one who's literate (not just verbally fluent) in a useful foreign language, so your children can learn her language. Require the new nanny to always speak her language to the children, even when a son insists on replying using English. You could go further: ask her to refuse to respond when the child fails to use her language. This might seem like it would confuse your kid, but young children are well known to learn new languages much more readily than older kids or adults. Multiple languages sometimes causes them to start speaking at an older age than normal, or to mix words from the languages when speaking; those are temporary behaviors. Preferably the nanny also will have a good grasp of English, and enough cultural understanding to allow her to take your child to community activities and so on. Hopefully the nanny also can use children's books to teach your child to read that language. She can write translations on the pages of English language books. You can ask your nanny to repeat her statements to you in English when it is important for you to understand what she just said to your kid. This guarantees that your kids will be bilingual. This has many benefits (see website links below). After you look at the website links, and hire that nanny, hopefully you will feel really good about the many benefits you are giving your children by doing this. If I were you, I would seek a nanny speaking a language that's very widely spoken worldwide, but is seldom taught in your country (I'm guessing you live in the USA). That way, the language skill will be more rare and valuable. Arabic? Mandarin Chinese? If you have trouble finding such a nanny, hopefully you can hire a Spanish speaking one; I assume they're more plentiful, because there are so many Latin American immigrants in the USA. Play dates with other children could really help. Ideally, the new nanny could help you find children who speak her language, and set up play dates with them. That gives your child extra reason to try to learn the language. After a number of years, each child would easily speak the school's language, the nanny's language, the parents' language(s) (if you choose to speak a foreign language to the child), and the language of the geographic region where your kids grow up.