“I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms… let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves.”
― C. JoyBell C.
The early elementary years mark a period when children are learning to relate to an expanding world that includes family, friends and strangers. Social development is key during this time. Ages six to nine are distinguished by varying characteristics, which will differ from child to child.
• Six year olds may still be demanding and bossy at times.
• Seven year olds begin to worry about acceptance among their peer group.
• Eight year olds tend to be a bit more outgoing and enthusiastic, but also possess a clear concern for following the rules.
• Nine year olds are growing in independence and will likely exhibit some rebellious moments.
Children need to be challenged in a way that is both fun and meaningful in order to promote a lifelong love of learning. Games and activities geared at critical thinking and creative play help to foster their emotional development.
Games that involve taking turns encourage children to share while helping them grasp how to fulfill various roles. Most of these games reinforce a multitude of cognitive skills as well.
a. This can be played with a store-bought or homemade card game in which at least two players take turns flipping over cards to match images. b. One variation is to rotate turns every time two cards are flipped. Another variation is for a player to continue flipping cards until he or she is unable to find a match.
2. Missing Object
a. Children sit in pairs with six to ten objects laid out on a table. One child turns away or closes his or her eyes while the partner removes one object, placing it in a box or under the table. The first child tries to guess which item is missing. b. Switch roles, and repeat the process.
3. Board Games
a. Virtually all board games involve taking turns. b. Be sure that children have a clear understanding of the directions and that the game is age-appropriate.
Cooperative learning is an essential skill in which children work together to accomplish a specific goal.
1. Following a Recipe
a. Not only does cooking a dish build a child’s confidence in being able to complete a task from start to finish, but it also results in a fun treat to share. b. Cooking teaches and reinforces basic math skills, such as adding and measuring.
2. Team Crafts
a. Crafts can be done in groups where each person is responsible for a different aspect in order to complete the project.
Enhance a child’s curiosity with exposure to a variety of environments and stimuli.
- Nature Hunt
a. Partners or teams are given a list of 10 to 15 things they must find and collect from a checklist.
b. This can be done at a park or anywhere outside.
c. Children are exposed to nature while utilizing problem solving and critical thinking to find all the objects on their list.
d. Delegation and task sharing are learned as children determine how to divide the roles and duties.
2. Neighborhood Hunt
a. Children are given a list of common household items to collect from neighbors.
b. Teach children how to introduce themselves, state their objective, make their request and politely end the conversation.
Activities and games should always be centered around having fun. Children can gain valuable skills and lessons without even knowing that they are learning.
Supervising Editor, B. McDonald Ph.D.
Parenting is incredibly challenging and rewarding ☺