Monthly Archives: December 2015

  • Depending on the age and stage of your children, here are some ideas for a fun morning or afternoon activity these Christmas holidays.

    All children love to help you cook – if you have the patience, bread making can be a satisfying event because the kneading is not only good for time spent together but it’s also great for building strength in your child’s fingers and hands. Give your child the chance to be creative as they knot the bread or decorate it with cheese, salami, tomatoes and more. Even small children can participate in bread making.

    Decorate some cookies – buy some plain cookies or biscuits from the store and decorate them into faces. Talk with your child about how a sad face would look, a happy face, a pink face, a blue face … get them thinking creatively!

    Play hair dressers – time to get out the dolls, the shampoo, the blow dryer, the magazines, the clips and the hair ties. Ensure the scissors stay hidden!

    Use the hallway as a bowling alley - soft toys or plastic tumblers can become targets. A soft ball your bowling ball – and away you go.

    Have a puppet show – time to match all the sock in the house. Anything that has no pair becomes a ‘sock puppet’. Glue fabric, wool, string, or cardboard – anything that will fix to the sock as a decoration. Have your puppets talk to each other. Read a story and let the puppets act it out.

    If it’s summer where you live, a bucket of water and a paint brush. Child love to paint pictures on the path or the fence. This is a ‘low mess’ play option.

    More outdoor time can be fun with outdoor chalk [pavement chalk] – play tic-tac-toe, draw a scene on the path, or draw roads for the bikes.

    If it’s cold where you live, wrap up warmly and go for a walk, collecting items along the way for a collage picture or sand garden made at home. When you go for a walk with your child, look for things to talk about – the colour of a leaf, the way an insect walks, the sound of a bird or the speed of a vehicle. This time together can be more than a physical exercise.

    Pick up items that could be used for a craft activity – a collage, an indoor garden, leaf rubbings, or a print. To make a collage, bring out the glue and make a picture on card. To create an indoor garden, place play dough on a plate or plastic lid and stand the leaves and twigs upright. Place a sheet of paper over the leaves and lightly draw over each leaf to create a picture. To make a print, glue the items on card, paint over, then place paper over and press down. When you remove the paper, you’ll find you’ve made a print.

  • Christmas is a wonderful time for traditions. Start them while your children are young, keep them happening year after year, and look back on treasured family time in the years to come.

     

    Keep a Christmas decoration box – While your toddler may seem light years away from being a young adult, now is the time to find a beautiful storage box. Buy a special Christmas decoration each year, used on your tree. Include a photo in the box of your child standing next to the Christmas tree with that decoration in view or being held by them. When your child leaves home, send them off with a box of decorations and photos that have special meaning to them.

     

    Keep a box of Christmas books under the tree – Collect Christmas books that you store under the Christmas tree, making them the subject of bed time stories during December. Maybe you have a collection of mainly music Christmas books! Perhaps you have others you have collected or were treasured books from your childhood. Start a tradition this year that will carry into the years ahead.

     

    Involve your children in this year’s Christmas cards and wrapping. Sure, email cards are fun. But how about creating some for family members? Have a special drawing session where you provide card and drawing items. Using triangle shaped card, buttons and wool can create delightful Christmas trees to then fix onto a card. Using brown paper [often you can purchase this in rolls for packaging] children can create wrapping paper for your gifts.

     

    Do you live in a city or town where residents feature Christmas lighting decorations on their homes or in their gardens? Perhaps you live in the country where the lights are out night after night in the sky … that’s stars! Why not create some special traditions where you bundle the children into the car, in their night clothing and view the lights or stars? Talk about light – how it can’t be stopped by the dark but instead how dark is always overcome by light. Talk about the very first Christmas where one light stood out and indicated in which city Jesus was born.

     

    One tradition some families enjoy each year is the purchasing of a gift that can be passed onto families doing life tough. Operation Christmas Child is one such organisation – fill a shoe box with goodies that will opened around Christmas. Another is to buy a gift for families attending mainly music in conjunction with our Excluded Communities initiative. Give your children the perspective of giving at Christmas rather than getting.

  • Each time you come to mainly music, the songs and rhymes are providing your child with learning opportunities.

     

    Social and co-operative skills – Children ‘parallel-play’ for a long time. You’ll see them, side-by-side, moving the cars, cuddling the dolls, or digging in the sandpit. And then they learn they can move the cars to each other and share the dolls between them. Social and co-operative skills form the basis for working in teams.

    At mainly music – The Lycra panel and parachute songs encourage children to work with others. ‘You lift up and I’ll lift up – together we’ll make the parachute rise UP!’ Assist your child by having them face you or join hands with you when a song or rhyme features actions that can be done together. Initially they’ll participate best when their big person is participating with them.

    Encouraging your child to delight in seeing other children take a prop at the front and stay there helps your child understand ‘taking turns’. Going to the front with your child, instead of saying, ‘she’s shy’, assists your child to gain confidence in a social setting.

    Why is this important? As children grow and develop, they will start to become more involved in team work. Some of our learning systems are created around collaborative learning. Within business, there are times when we need to work collaboratively. If children don’t learn at a young age how to respect others, how to put forward their own thoughts, how to celebrate the ideas others bring to the group, they will flounder in a collaborative learning or working environment.

     

    Social skills bring about resiliency. They are linked to the milestones in normal development. Gaining a level of confidence in a group setting prepares children for the world ahead. A child will begin to share and take turns. Learning this at mainly music can be as simple as coming forward to hold a prop and being the one who watches others do this because we’re letting them have a turn. Understanding turn taking contributes to a child’s management of physical aggression.

     

    Marching is an exercise that helps your child develop many skills. Find a piece of rhythmic music and show your child how to use their arms and legs to march according to the beat. Encourage them to use their body correctly to make the most of the activity. Once mastered, use the marching to develop directionality.

     

    At home – make a pattern on the floor to follow through – to the window, then the door, to the front of the room … you get the idea. Start the music and have your child follow the pattern. Rhythm and repetition are required for learning. Watch how your child manages the turns. If struggling, practice some more until you see this happening smoothly. Each time you do this, make a game of it! Now remove any markings you have placed on the floor and give verbal instructions. This is helping your child follow instructions.

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Fires, floods and other nasties
Families at risk
Bring connection during Covid-19
Fires, floods and other nasties
If there has been a natural (or man made) disaster in your country, like fires, floods or even terrorism, and you'd like to support the groups in that area, depending which country you give from, we'll make sure these groups get help. The money will go to celebration items (like Christmas books or birthday gifts) and financial support of the local groups affected.
Families at risk
We're connecting with families who don't always see the value of mainly music sessions first off - but when they attend other services provided by agencies and participate, their smiles return as they connect with their child. It fills mum's life and develops the bond with her children.
Bring connection during Covid-19
We have many stories where mothers say, "I went to my GP. I was told to go on medication. I found mainly music. I don't need medication at all." Post natal depression, social isolation, anxiety along with Covid-19 restrictions can stop anyone in their tracks. Contributing to this fund from anywhere in the world will help those mainly music groups who are struggling financially.
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