Your little one needs help getting her creative juices flowing in the morning. Thinking games and activities can stimulate your child’s creativity and open her up to a world of new possibilities as she thinks beyond the circumstances around her, according to Dr. Alice Sterling Honig, professor emerita of child development at Syracuse University and author of “Secure Relationships: Nurturing Infant-Toddler Attachments in Early Care Settings.”
Open-ended questions can get your little one’s brain active in the morning. You can ask questions such as, “If you could have superhero powers today, what power would you have, and why?” or “What animal would you like to be, and why?” Keep your little one talking and thinking with more questions that feed off his answers. For example, if his super power would be to stop the rain because he wants to go outside and play, you could say, “But plants and animals need water to drink. What happens to them if you stop the rain?”
Your little one can learn to think critically with guessing games. Place a handful of fish crackers in a bowl next to his morning cereal and have your child guess how many crackers are in the bowl. Once she guesses, you can count them with her. You could challenge her to figure out what animal you’re thinking of if you supply a single critical clue, such as the noise the animal makes or where the animal lives. You could say, “Honey, Honey, what do I see? I see an animal looking at me. It makes a sound just like this.” You then supply the sound. If your child can’t guess the animal, you can supply other clues until your child figures out the answer.
Young children love stories and enjoy hearing and telling them. Let your child help you create a story, although it can help to employ a timer to limit how long he can add to the story before you have a turn again. Start with something designed to get his attention, such as using a character with his name or an activity he enjoys. You could say, “Jaimie stood next to his bike. This morning he wanted to ride further than he ever had before, but he knew he couldn’t go alone. He was waiting for …” You can use the activity to stress safety and other important issues, such as going with a trust adult or riding with protective gear.
Little children enjoy activities that allow them to move. Challenge your child to decide how a specific type of animal moves by saying, “I want you to show me how a kitty moves when it wakes up in the morning” or “I wonder how a caterpillar moves.” You can also get your little one to think through movement by asking him to match a music beat, either by stomping his feet, clapping, beating on the top of an empty oatmeal box or tapping two unsharpened pencils together.