The following post is by contributor Amy Anderson of Let’s Explore.
What’s the mood like in your house in the morning? My girls happen to wake up early most days, ready to go. I, however, am not nearly as perky as they are. I’m not big on plopping kids in front of the TV first thing in the morning (at least not every day), so I needed an alternative for my bright-eyed and bushy-tailed girls.
When my girls were preschool age, I started setting out an art, exploration, or play activity at night before I went to bed. I chose very simple activities that the girls could play with independently, often using toys that had been tucked away or art supplies we hadn’t used in a while. The set-up time was always under 5 minutes.
When we got up in the morning, the girls could jump right in and start playing. They were always so thrilled by the surprise of seeing a project first thing in the morning – even if it was just a bin of Legos spread out on the table or a stack of forgotten coloring books and new crayons. I could sit with them, have some morning conversation, and wake up over a cup of tea or coffee.
Photo by Amy Anderson
My girls are older now, and generally grab a book or even fix breakfast on their own in the morning. I still set up morning activities for them from time to time. I usually place a morning activity in the kitchen/dining area, so we can continue to play and chat while making coffee and getting breakfast ready. Sometimes, the girls continue playing while they nibble on their breakfast.
Remember, you don’t need to set out a morning activity every day. I only do this once a week or so, and I keep it unpredictable. A big part of the fun is the element of surprise!
Starter ideas for morning activities:
Photo by Amy Anderson
• Spread out a puzzle on the kitchen table.
• Cover the whole table with paper and set out crayons and stickers.
• Fill a plastic tub with dry beans, measuring cups, spoons, and scoops.
• Offer play dough and accessories – birthday candles, shells, toothpicks, googly eyes, toy cars or animals.
• Tape a large piece of clear contact paper, sticky-side up, to a window or table. Set a basket nearby filled with tissue paper pieces, yarn scraps, cotton balls, and other lightweight things for sticking.
• Gather activity-type books from around the house – touch and feel, lift-the-flap, pop-up, I Spy, etc. Display them standing up all over the table.
• Spread out all the clean socks to make pairs – why not get a chore done at the same time?
• Gather a few nature items (rocks, leaves, flowers, bark, pine cones) and set out magnifying glasses and sketching supplies.
Whether your kids are early birds like mine, or they’re slow to get going in the morning, maybe morning activities are something to try in your house. I find that this morning activity time sets a positive mood for the day, especially for me. It’s a really nice way to wake up and ease into the day.
What are mornings like in your house? What activity would your kids love waking up to in the morning?