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Things to Get Your Kids Interested in at a Young Age
1. God / The Bible
Teaching your child about God and the Bible (if those are your beliefs) from a young age is so foundational and powerful for them. It is never too early to pray in front of your child, read a children's bible to them, take them to church, and so on. We had my son dedicated to the Lord as a baby. What a wonderful day that was for the whole family! My pastor prayed over him. He prayed our son would love the Lord all his life and live a God-honoring life. It was such a blessing to experience that. Now that my son is two and a half, I try to point out various things in nature and explain to him that God made it, etc. We read his toddler bible together. I also try to pray with him before meals and at other times, so he knows about going to God in prayer. We also have a Bible songs CD in my old CD player in his bedroom, and every once in a while he asks me to play the CD for him. It is my privilege and joy to teach him about God and the bible as much as I can, because I know it will only benefit him in the long run and I know I can never start too early!
2. Art / Being Creative
You may not have a creative bone in your body. Or, you may be like me and find yourself absolutely in love with anything and everything artistic! Wherever you fall on the spectrum, there are many fun crafts you can do with your kids to get them interested in art at an early age. Coloring, cutting and pasting paper, and creating various projects all get their minds working in important ways that are key to their development. Even a baby can play with different colored shapes and blocks, or be exposed to various textures. Toddlers can finger paint or even be taught to paint with a paintbrush. It keeps them learning and keeps their minds entertained, and arts and crafts are also a great activity for rainy or snowy days when you can't necessarily go outside and play.
3. Imaginative Play
It is so important for kids to get their imaginations going! Pretend food and toy kitchens offer a great way for girls and boys to use their imaginations as they "cook" various food for their families and friends. My son loves to pretend to bake cookies. Probably because he not only loves eating them, but he's also seen my husband do it so many times (my hubby makes the best chocolate chip cookies around!) It is never too early for kids to learn how to use their imaginations. Toys like dolls, trucks, Barbie's, and toy houses can also facilitate imaginative play, but so can just pretending with no props or toys whatsoever! Teaching kids to imagine that they have things they don't, is a great way for them to learn and grow, and show them that they can dream and create anything! The sky is the limit. Even a simple cardboard box can instantly be transformed into a toy house or a pirate ship, all without spending a dime! They can pretend to be anything they want, or even create an imaginary friend, with our without toys, and the best part is they'll learn how to entertain themselves while also using lots of brainpower at the same time.
Reading books to your child is so important, and you can start even while he or she is still in the womb! Infants and toddlers should be read to, as well, as it helps tremendously with their cognitive development. Getting kids interested in reading earlier increases the chances that they'll have a love of reading as a teen and into their adult years. Reading a book is much more cognitively stimulating than staring at a TV or computer screen all day, so get your kids engaged in reading books as early as you can! Recently, my son and I took a trip to the local library, and we had so much fun looking at all the different books and even checking out one to take home. The best part of the library is that you can expose your child to different books that you may also have enjoyed as a child -- all for absolutely FREE! What could possibly be better? Plus, when your child sees other kids interested in books, he or she will be more likely to see reading not as a chore, but as a fun activity to be enjoyed.
5. Concern / Care for Others
It's never too early to teach your child how to love and show concern for others. If your child's friend falls down on the playground, for example, you can definitely get your child involved by asking, "Is so-and-so OK?" It is important for your child to see you actively helping friends and family members, and members of the community as well. This will teach your child from an early age that it is important to give of oneself for another's benefit. Our lives should be about God, Others, and then self, in that order! Our cousin recently had a baby and we will be delivering meals to her house soon. I am excited to be able to help out, and also show my son that its important to give food to our family members when they need us. This is just another example of what it means to teach your child from an early age about caring for and loving others.