My two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter Lexie lives with me. Well, actually, her mom, dad, and Lexie live with my husband and me. However, on most days it’s just me and Lexie in our own little secret world.
Having a grandchild actually living with you is a different experience from the “drop on by and stay awhile” experience. It’s nothing like raising your own children where you may be too busy getting dinner on the table, harried from cleaning up never-ending messes, or just trying to catch your breath from a LONG day. Quite the opposite: every day is filled with loads of fun learning experiences where my inner child comes out to play with Lexie because I have the luxury of time to truly enjoy it. I love experiencing and living this whole new world as seen through her eyes. In reality, I often wonder who’s teaching whom?
One of the games we play is “Fishing for Sneakers.” This game came about by accident when Lexie was playing with a cat toy. This particular toy comprises of a long pole with a string and feather ball attached to the end of the string. Lexie came bursting into my office waving it around, and I thought, “Hmmmm, I wonder what we can do with this?” So, a new game was born.
Here’s what you need:
One dangling cat toy on a rod
Simple enough, right?
Place the sneaker on the floor, making sure to place the shoe with the sole on the ground and the foot hole facing up. Have your child stand over the shoe and dangle the cat toy above it. If the string is too long and touches the shoe, you can wind it a few times around the rod to make it shorter. The object of the game is to have your child dip the feather ball into the shoe before the count of three.
When the child has the pole and feather ball poised to start above the shoe, you count “ONE, TWO, THREE!” If the little one gets the feather ball into the sneaker, applaud and cheer her on her success. If she doesn’t make it into the shoe, you cheerily applaud her for an effort well done and encourage her with, “That’s okay; let’s try again! You can do it!” Try supporting your child through the motions of the game by placing your hand over hers and slowly guiding the feather ball into the shoe while counting. After a couple of times, it should be pretty easy. Be sure to encourage jumping around, screeching, and clapping of hands when the ball finally makes its way into the shoe.
This game, while fun, actually teaches hand-eye coordination and counting. Motor skills are an important part of childhood development, and I’ve been watching Lexie’s develop wonderfully.
Spending time with your grandchild shouldn’t be a chore. The time we have as grandparents isn’t all that long. Unless we have developed a good solid foundation with them, once they hit their teen years they’re gone, and we’ll only see them on holidays. Explore with your grandchildren. Take them for walks and show them the trees, flowers, and birds. And above all else, have fun with them!
For more information:
Stricker, Paul R., M.D. (2013). Hand-Eye Coordination in School Age Children. Healthy Children (from the American Academy of Pediatrics). Retrieved April 17, 2013, from http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/fitness/pages/Hand-Eye-Coordination-in-School-Age-Children.aspx.
Welton, Rose (2010). The Development of Hand-Eye Coordination. Livestrong. Retrieved April 17, 2013 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/147496-the-development-of-hand-eye-coordination/.
*This post was contributed by guest blogger Linda Ruzicka.
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