January Ideas
January Ideas
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1. Keep a puzzle on the coffee or game table for your child to work on (with you, a friend, or alone). Whether fifty or 500 pieces, puzzles are great conversation facilitators, develop spatial abilities, help young children match colors and identify shapes, and are lots of fun.

2. Get out crayons and markers, roll out wallpaper (out-of-date rolls are cheap at wallpaper stores; some samples are free), and let kids create their own scenes of dinosaurs, funny people, and animals.

3. Buy your child a notebook or journal and encourage him to write the highlight of every day in it. He can also use it for art sketches, stories, poems, and great ideas.

4. Be a model for your child and let him see you writing, editing, and starting over on a letter or project.

5. Extend your conversation with your child by asking, "Why?" and "Why not?" occasionally.

6. Have your child cut up the parts of his favorite comic strip, then arrange them in the right order and write the story of what is happening.

7. Make paper-bag puppets with buttons for eyes and nose; yarn for hair; feathers, sequins, buttons, scraps of fabric for costume. Then put up a tension rod in a door frame, hang a curtain, and let your kids perform puppet plays in their "theater".

8. Show your child how to make her numbers line up in the right columns when she is adding or subtracting to improve accuracy in math.

9. Have your child write a thank-you note to someone who was helpful or kind to her this week.

10. After reading a story to your child, ask him to describe the main character.

11. Using a TV listing, have your child classify programs as fiction or nonfiction.

12. Keep a file of newspaper and magazine pictures and photos. On a rainy day, have your child select one and write a story about a character in the picture, or cut out a picture and make a greeting a card.