Morning activities: start the day with play!

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.

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Simple As That: Happy Feet

As a parent, some days the forces of the universe align to allow you some generous pockets of precious free time and you find yourself lingering over lengthy, well-researched, thought-provoking articles on parenting.  But most days, you might have five minutes to yourself to skim through a favorite blog or make a run through your feed reader.

Bearing that in mind, I want to start a new series here at Simple Kids called “Simple As That” in which I (and hopefully eventually you, the community of Simple Kids) share a quick thought, quick fix, or quick insight on parenting.

To kick off the series, I wanted to tell you about a fun solution my four year old Dacey and I discovered this week.  Dacey is a fairly emotionally sensitive child and sometimes she just wakes up on the wrong side of the bed.  On this particular morning, she was feeling kind of mopey while she laid on the couch watching Sesame Street.  One of her favorite segments on Sesame Street is when a group of children paint the number of the day on the soles of someone’s feet. 

“Hey, mama?  Will you draw faces on my feet?”

At first I hesitated, but then thought, “Why not?  All of our markers are washable for a reason!”

So I asked her to pick out a marker (she picked brown) and then we went to work illustrating the soles of her feet.  Between the tickling of the marker and the silliness of the faces I drew, she was giggling in no time.  The pouts and sighs were replaced with laughing and fun and a Bad Mood Morning was transformed.

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What’s your best simple solution to a bad mood day?