Bag O’ Tricks

One of the things I get on my soap box about is limiting the amount of time our kids spend on screens. The reason I am so passionate about this is because screens keep our kids from interacting with the world and people around them which is where true learning happens. Screens rob kids of the opportunity to be bored, use their imaginations, get their hands dirty, and MOVE!

If you have read my book “Why is My Kid Doing That?” or have read my other blogs, you know that a good solid sensory foundation is key for developing motor skills and emotional and behavioral regulation. How do kids build this foundation? They build this through moving and experiencing the world around them.

I do get it! I’m a mom and must admit I love the quiet peace I get when my kids are absorbed into a screen. However, I know what I know so do my best to limit this when I can (even if it means more work for me ☹).

So, if I’m going to get on a soap box, I better have a solution! And that’s what I’m here to do today. We live in a time when it’s easy to use screens as pacifiers especially in waiting rooms, car rides, restaurants, etc. I want to offer some suggestions that are easy to throw in a small bag or purse and bring with you to keep your kids occupied and keep the screens turned off.

  •  Spot-it – Target and amazon carry all kinds off different versions of this game. It comes in a small little tin and you flip two cards at a time and try to find the one picture that is on both cards. I use this with kids ages 3 all the up to my 13 year old. The bonus…it’s a great visual perceptual game to build on those skills.
  • A deck of cards – You can play a simple game of “Go Fish” or “War” or just have your child sort them by color or suit.
  • Fidgets – You can often find these in the dollar section of Target or at Michael’s but some ideas would be: fidget cubes, fidget spinners, stress balls (make one using an unblown balloon and cooking flour or sand), puffer balls, Rubik’s cube, stretch toys, light up spinning toys
  • Crayons and paper
  • Play-Doh
  • Legos
  • Wikki Sticks
  • Books
  • Water wow by Melissa and Doug
  • Magnetic toys
  • Hot Wheels cars
  • Mad libs

This is just the tip of the iceberg as I’m sure you can think of many of great ideas. You can keep your “bag o’ tricks” packed and in the car or ready to grab and go at all times and just switch things out every now and then. Novelty is the key!

My goal is just to get you thinking.  I know that all we do as parents is plan ahead and it gets tiring sometimes, but with a little bit of planning before you walk out of the door, you will do an amazing thing for your children to continue to promote a great sensory foundation.  A great bonus…you may just have smiling kids and get to invest in their love banks with some extra quality time with them.

Cindy Utzinger

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