It’s natural if we take our children into the activity that we’ve been familiar with.
I have a friend from Aceh, aside from speaking Indonesian, she introduces Acehnese Language to her child as a daily activity. Another friend whose hobby is photography, let her 3 years old child hold the camera and teach her/him the simple use of it. The parents who are used to working with their hands, either sewing, cooking or drawing will tend to invite their children to do the same.
Why they do it? It’s simply because that’s what the parents can do: starting with nearest things around, starting from what the can do or used to do.
In its development, a daddy or mommy see the tendency in their children’s interest and how they learn and play. And parents facilitate children with their learning needs in various ways. Non-dexterous parents, yet their children like to fine-motor activity, will be encouraged to train their craftsy skill. Otherwise, it’s okay to involve our children in the groups of crafting activity. I have a friend who cannot swim, but since her daughter/son loves swimming, she did any effort to learn to swim. So it is, within parents-children’s relationship, each of them is mutually a learner.
I’d like to share a little experience of mine. Daya, our 5 years old daughter, learns quickly through linguistic and kinesthetic aspect. Her verbal and gross motor skill go far beyond her fine motor skill. And she needs a way to channel such tendencies.
Fortunately, when she was in the playgroup, we were greatly helped by the playgroup school since we think that it was capable to communicate properly regarding the outstanding aspect of our daughter and what aspect of hers that needs more stimulation. That’s was the point where I have been trying to know more about child development. I learn more about seven senses as well as the eight multiple intelligences. Here, I have two books that I’m going to refer to.
Keajaiban Tujuh Indra (The Miracle of Seven Senses) – Rumah Dandelion, 2016
I know about the vestibular and proprioceptive senses from Ma’am Ema, Headmaster of Pelangi Cilik Playgroup. This Keajaiban Tujuh Indra helps me to understand more about these two kinds of senses. This book explains that the senses are only five but seven, plus vestibular and proprioceptive ones.
We generally know that we have five senses: hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste. These five senses receive stimulation from outside the body. While the two others, vestibular and proprioceptive, receive stimulation from the internal side of the body.
Vestibular sense is related to movement and gravity, which is about how children have an ability to calculate their movement, as the results are on their reaction towards impulse and the others relating to their coordination and balance. While proprioceptive sense is related to joints, muscles, anything attributed to body awareness, the position of body parts and the position of a person in an environment, and further, to how much force we need to perform a movement.
Bakat Bukan Takdir (Talent is Not Destiny)- Bukik Setiawan, 2016
This is the second book by Bukik Setiawan, the sequel to his first book Anak Bukan Kertas Kosong. Bukik Setiawan is a psychologist and activist for child education. He gave parents many new perspectives in accompanying their children’s development. This book introduces eight types of human multiple intelligence and how to stimulate them. The stimulation will constantly change with age, as the children grow. Stimulation for toddler is certainly different from elementary students.
After we make an introduction to the seven senses and eight multiple intelligences, have you been able to analyze the outstanding aspect of your children? And how’s their interest?
Children with a big curiosity will have the strong energy to fulfill their inquisitive feeling. And playing is substantially a way for children to learn. “Play is the highest form of research,” said Einstein.
The problem is that we cannot instantly conclude what our child’s interest is. It needs a trial by trial and a patience that should not be easily broken. Bearing in mind that their interests continue to grow, change, and become more truncated along their development, so no need for being hopeless if you have introduced them to specific activities but they are not as perseverant as you expect them to be. No need to feel discouraged if you have paid for an expensive piano course then your children ask to stop. However, children have rights to choose any other thing they want to do.
Here below, some of many practicable playing activities, and for once again, it’s based on my experiences:
Telling a story is about using language, a basic instinct within the child-parent relationship. There are no children who apparently dislike listening to whatever their parents tell about. Children always want to listen to any story from their parents. Speaking, telling stories, facilitated by any kind of medium, in any language, will be forever enjoyable for the children. Even if the story composed by parents themselves.
Don’t be disheartened if you think you’re not capable to tell stories or have no talent at storytelling, or you cannot create a good story. For children, whatever story from their parents would be valuable. Of course, skill in storytelling will get better with some exercises, but trust me: practice storytelling to your children is far better than never.
Occasionally, a session of storytelling may improve to a session of discussion, especially if parents give a chance for their children to speak. Since it’s not a one-way storytelling (parents to children), so the children will more easily tell or express their opinion.
Eventhough your voice is unpleasant to listen to, convince yourself that with a little exaggerated confidence, your children will enjoy it. Daya’s Grandma loves to create a song spontaneously. How she hums a sentence in her awkward DIY melodies is enough to impress the child. Daya remembers all songs composed by her grandma, those random songs sometimes with the jumble rhymes.
Cooking Pretend Play
Allow children to be involved in the parent’s cooking duty in the kitchen. No worry about getting dirty, because your children will train their soft skill by helping the cook. They will also learn to appreciate cooked dishes, without thinking that it’s all taken care of, and will be forced to eat home meals served for them.
As another plus point, they will learn about packing by giving them a duty to clean up the vegetable scraps. Further, they can know food ingredients. You can speak of onion, clove, vegetables, chicken, beef, as well as spices and other ingredients.
Toys with Used Material
Household waste ranks first in the waste production statistics. Take any used stuff that enables us to teach about recycling, and serves as materials to make toys. Children’s creativity will be stimulated, and their sensitivity towards consumption activities will be sharpened. Moreover, they will see that toy is not something that must always be purchased.
Initially, it’s about shaking the body, then it’s up to children and their parents. You can take your children to participate in a dance course or studio. Either traditional, classical, or modern dance, all can be taken into account. Lots of trials are essentially needed. The point is to move through songs. Just create your own moves. You can borrow some dance moves from YouTube. What’s most important, such moves look interesting and easy to follow.
Bandung has many parks. Not only giving spacious areas for children to be explored, those parks provided with children’s playing ground. Children can sharpen their gross motor skill by riding a swing, hanging, climbing, walking step by step, etc.
Do you know that there are many types of characters on this earth were originally drawings? Show your appreciation when children try to express their imagination into two dimensions. Colorful or monochromatic.
You can start to play water in bathtub, small pool if any, or even soak in a big bucket, or go to baby spa. Nothing wrong with taking your children to play in the nearest swimming pool as early as possible. It’s not only good for children’s physical health, swimming will train their confidence and courage.
While doing this activity, children are told to not conquer their peers to feel brave but to conquer their own selves. And usually after swimming, there’s no worry about eating session, swimming makes your children hungry. Children will fully make their break time because of swimming.
Going On Foot or Camping
Uneven contour ground, muddy soil, feel trees, grasses, and plants on our skins, are the excellent ways to develop children’s seven senses. It’s not an obligation to do it every week if parents do not have time. But occasionally scheduling a blusukan (going for an exploration) to small forest, or garden on suburb areas of the town will be awesome.
Many more play activities remain out there to be done. There are 1001 ways for children to learn by playing (with parents). As parents, we don’t really know that our efforts will lead to what results. All that we can do is to learn together, make hope and plan, be a place for children to take shelter. Now let’s share your play activities with your children.