May has just begun and Mother's Day is already next weekend! What a great opportunity to "check in" with the kids in your life – whether you work with them or have them – and enjoy some creative play together.
According to various studies, mothers' time spent with children benefits youngsters in numerous ways–from producing lower rates of obesity to higher scores on verbal tests.
But there's a more immediate advantage to spending quality time with your child. It helps you understand "where he or she is at" and gives you a chance to have fun together – a very important aspect of child development.
Here are 4 creative activities to do with kids this Mother's Day.
Make "Me" Portraits. With a marker, trace the outline of your bodies on an old sheet. Decorate your self-portraits with symbols, colors, words, and pictures. Use markers, crayons, paints, glue, sparkles, and cut-up magazines.
Make a Mini-Movie. Using a smart phone, flip cam, or video camera, write, star in, and produce your own movie. Ideas: mom and kid talent show; commercial for your favorite thing; stupid human or pet tricks with commentary; fashion show. Post it on YouTube for friends and family.
Make a Card Together. Pick someone you both want to write to – the President, Grandpa, your child's brother in Afghanistan, etc. Decorate a piece of printer paper folded in half, write a message, and even print a picture of yourselves and glue it on. Mail it together.
Make Music Together. Find objects that make music. Ideas: glasses filled with water along with a spoon to "ring" them; pot and wooden spoon; rubber bands to twang; giant salt-shaker. Now come up with a rhythm and a tune. Record it on your message machine or smart phone.
Enjoy these precious moments – they seem to pass too quickly. Perhaps you can add your own ideas; I'd love you to share them and I'll pass them on.
Charlotte Reznick PhD is a child educational psychologist, an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at UCLA, and author of the LA Times bestselling book The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success (Perigee/Penguin). In addition to her private practice, she creates therapeutic relaxation CDs for children, teens, and parents, and teaches workshops internationally on the healing power of children’s imagination. You can find out more about her at http://www.imageryforkids.com.