At this point during the year, you’re probably home with young, energetic children to entertain. During the year we often don’t get to spend as much time with them as we’d like, making the summer holidays a perfect opportunity to do some fun and memorable activities that strengthen your relationship.
Here are five great bonding activities you can do with your toddler or young child:
Toddlers and young children have enormous levels of creativity and love to make things. In our busy day-to-day lives it can sometimes be hard to arrange time and resources for arts and crafts. Then there’s also the risk things getting a little out of control and suddenly, there’s texta on the walls or glue in their hair.
One art activity at the low-risk end of the scale is painting with washable paints. These are best used outside, where you and your child can enjoy painting the driveway or the side of the garage. Some brands are non-toxic and water based, so there safe for finger-painting and will wash out of clothing.
Washable paint can be purchased from many retailers such as Officeworks.
Another safe way to get creative is with homemade edible playdough. Experiment with different colours and create sculptures and statues.
Follow this easy edible playdough recipe.
Most young children love animals. They even have a fascination for the larger, scarier ones as long as their safe in your arms! There are animal parks located across Melbourne which are designed to get toddlers and young children involved, allowing them to pet most animals. This is great for bonding, as parents can discuss the various animals with their children.
These are just a handful that we can recommend:
- Myuna Farm (Doveton)
- Moonlight Sanctuary (Pearcedale)
- Bundoora Park (Bundoora)
- La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary (Bundoora)
- Collingwood Children’s Farm (Abbotsford) – this is open every day of the year!
- Werribee Open Range Zoo (Werribee)
Play is a great way to bond with children and develop a healthy relationship. Research has found that it decreases attention seeking behaviour (aka tantrums) and separation anxiety.
One way to do this is through board games. Yes, the board games we used to play as children are still around! The give-and-take nature of board games is similar to the back and forth nature of conversation. It encourages children to share what they’re thinking, but to also control their emotions and seek suitable ways to express frustration.
Playing outdoors in your backyard or the local park is a great way to teach a new sport and develop fine motor skills. Toddlers can start by learning how to throw a ball. Once they can do this, they can learn how to kick a ball. Then they can progress onto other skills such as catching or hitting a moving ball with an object such as a cricket bat or tennis racket.
Living in a city with great beaches and a pool in every suburb, it’s important for young children to learn how to swim. This activity can often get postponed when we become busy during the year, or feel deterred by cold winter weather.
Swimming is great for bonding, as you’re able to teach children new skills and make them feel safe as they overcome their fears and develop confidence. The warm weather in the summer holidays are a great opportunity to introduce your children to the beach (don’t forget a hat and sunscreen). Teach the importance of swimming between the flags, what to do if they get caught in a rip, and how to call for help.
Cooking is another way parents can bond with toddlers and young children by sharing their expertise. Some tasks involving knives, the oven and hotplates are best left to adults, however there are many roles which are safe for children as young as two to perform.
These include gathering ingredients from the bottom shelf in the pantry. Pouring ingredients into a mixing bowl and stirring, and sprinkling in food such as raisins or sultanas.
Try some of these recipes or get creative and invent your own.